All articles

Discover the best small towns and villages in Canada

We know that travel is especially difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you'll be ready.

Some of the prettiest places in our huge country can be found in its small towns. From stunning seaside towns in New Brunswick and BC to small villages in Ontario and Quebec, the wonders of the Canadian countryside await you. Read on and discover the best villages and small towns in Canada worth visiting when it’s time to travel again. Before booking any travel, always check local government guidelines to ensure it’s safe to visit the destination.

Best small coastal towns in Canada

Trinity, Newfoundland and Labrador

landscapes in trinity newfoundland
Best small towns in Canada: Trinity, Newfoundland

Trinity is one of the cutest towns in Newfoundland, it looks like it came straight out of a postcard! Located on the picturesque Bonavista Peninsula, Trinity has a rich history that dates back to the 1700s when fishermen would come here for the season. While the year-round population of Trinity is under 200, it comes to life during the summer as one of Newfoundland’s most popular tourist destinations.

The best time to visit Trinity is during the summer when everything is open and visitors can explore this remote town, enjoying cultural attractions like going to a show at the beloved Rising Tide Theatre. The summer months in Newfoundland are also the best time to go whale watching, sea kayaking, bird-watching, and iceberg hunting. Trinity is also home to some of Newfoundland’s best coastal hikes including the Skerwink trail, which is a perfect spot for some whale spotting.

Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

shores of Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick during the day
Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick is one of the most beautiful places in Canada

When it comes to picturesque seaside towns, it doesn’t get better than Saint Andrews-By-The-Sea in New Brunswick. This is one of the prettiest small towns in Canada where you can mix historical experiences and outdoor adventures all in one getaway. Spend a few days exploring the colonial heritage and lots of century-old buildings, including the famous Algonquin Resort and Hotel which you can still stay in today. Located just a couple of hours away from Fundy National Park, this is the perfect place to kick off a summer road trip in New Brunswick.

Saint Andrews-By-The-Sea has a population of less than 2,000 but becomes a bustling town during the summer. There are many different activities to do here but some of the most popular are whale watching and sea kayaking tours on the Bay of Fundy, one of the natural wonders of Canada.

Victoria-by-the-Sea, Prince Edward Island

Lighthouse in Victoria-by-the-Sea in PEI, one of the best small towns in Canada
Best small towns and villages in Canada: Victoria-by-the-Sea in PEI

Prince Edward Island is home to many seaside towns, but Victoria-by-the-Sea is one of the most picturesque of the bunch. Founded in 1819, this small village consists of just four blocks, with buildings painted in bright colours.

Victoria-by-the-Sea has become a hub for artists, with painters, potters, and sculptures making up the population of this quaint Canadian Atlantic town, which is only 200 year-round residents. While visiting, you can explore art galleries and even take a pottery class. The farming and fishing culture also has a strong presence here. During your visit, be sure to indulge in some of the best seafood in all the East Coast, where restaurants here will serve you the fresh catch of the day.

Please note that any outside travel to the Maritimes continues to be limited at this time to residents of the Atlantic provinces.

Tofino, British Columbia

wharf in tofino british colombia
Best small towns and villages in Canada: Tofino, British Columbia

If you’re looking for a small town in Canada with easy access to the wilderness, Tofino is a perfect choice. It takes just 20 minutes to walk the width of Tofino’s main village, but the activities are abundant here.

What’s unique about Tofino is that the climate here is a temperate rain forest, and you can see huge trees in the forest. Hiking is one of the major attractions here, as well as the magnificent beaches. Tofino is known as the best surfing destination in Canada, but you can also go sea kayaking, canoeing, and whale watching. If you’re looking for outdoor adventures, Tofino is the perfect small town to visit.

Best countryside villages and towns in Canada

Baddeck, Nova Scotia

Founded in 1908, Baddeck is one of the nicest small towns to visit in Nova Scotia. It’s considered to be the beginning and the end of the Cabot Trail, which is one of the most scenic road trips in Canada.

Although there are less than 1000 permanent residents here, this Canadian small town is packed with amazing restaurants and shops catered towards visitors. Make sure you try a lobster roll while visiting! Situated along the shores of the stunning Bras d’Or Lake, Baddeck is the perfect place for water sports including sailing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Best small towns in Ontario: Niagara-on-the-Lake

Located on the southern shores of Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the perfect small town in Canada to come and relax for a weekend. It’s a town filled with historic houses and small Victorian streets lined with hotels, shops, and restaurants. The mild climate here makes it home to Canada’s best vineyards, so be sure to book a wine tasting tour before your visit. And save room in your suitcase to bring home a few bottles of some of the top wines in all of North America!

Nearby to Niagara-on-the-Lake is the world-famous Niagara Falls, which you visit by biking along the stunning Niagara Parkway. The two destinations make a perfect weekend getaway from Toronto, offering visitors endless things to do including golfing, shopping, and dining.

Dawson City, Yukon

colourful houses in dawson city yukon
Best small towns in Canada: Dawson City, Yukon

Although the population today is less than 2,000, this Canadian town was once over 16,000 during the peak of the Gold Rush. Dawson City is the second-largest community in Yukon Territory and is a great place to come and learn about the history of this area through museums, tours, and fun activities.

You can explore the Discovery Claim National Historic Site, where the famous Gold Rush started. The town of Dawson is also a pretty town to explore in Canada’s North, filled with scenic storefronts and brightly houses along the main streets. But no trip to Dawson City is complete without an adventure into the surrounding forest. You’ll find ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and it’s also an ideal place to see the Northern Lights in Canada. Yukon residents, now is the time to explore your beautiful backyard!

Jasper, Alberta

rocky mountains of jasper alberta
Best small towns in Alberta: Jasper

Jasper is the perfect small town in Canada to visit if you want to explore the stunning Canadian Rockies. It’s quieter than nearby Banff but has just as many activities to offer. Although the park gets more than three million visitors a year, the population of the town is fewer than 5,000, so it still has a charming small-town feel. This classic Canadian mountain town is lined with little bistros, boutiques, and hotels.

Jasper is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts all year round, with opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, ice climbing, and more. Given its northern location, Jasper is also a great place to watch the Northern Lights. For the best views of this town, head up the Jasper SkyTram which takes you more than 2,000 metres up to the top of Whistlers Mountain.

Churchill, Manitoba

a polar bear in churchill manitoba
Best small towns in Canada: Churchill, Manitoba

If you love wildlife, Churchill Manitoba is one of the best small towns in Canada to visit. There are as more polar bears in Churchill then permanent residents, and it’s also home to a large population of beluga whales that migrate there every year.

In addition to the rare wildlife, Churchill has stunning landscapes due to its rare subarctic terrain, and the location makes it an ideal location to view the Northern Lights. The town of Churchill also has it’s own charm, with a Sea Walls murals that span 30 kilometres along the shore of the Hudson Bay.

Kamouraska, Quebec

landscapes of kamouraska quebec, one of the prettiest villages in Canada
Best villages in Canada: Kamouraska, Quebec

Quebec is home to many beautiful rural towns and villages but Kamouraska is one not to be missed. Set on the shores of the St-Lawrence River, this small Quebecois village is the perfect place to go for a peaceful escape.

Be charmed by the main street, which is lined with boutiques as well as 19th-century resort town style homes. The population of this small town is just over 500, but it has become a popular foodie destination due to the high-quality bakeries and restaurants here. While visiting, you can eat amazing locally-sourced seafood. This town is famous for its sunsets, so be sure to stay out until the evening.

Frequently asked questions

What is the oldest town in Canada?

St John’s, Newfoundland is the oldest English-founded settlement on the North American continent. It was founded in 1497 and is the capital city of Newfoundland today.

What is the smallest town in Canada?

The smallest town in Canada is Tilt Cove in Newfoundland and Labrador. It has a population of just four people! 

We’ve just scratched the surface of all the villages and small towns in Canada. Each province and territory has its own that makes it special. We hope this list could inspire your future travels for when you’re ready to get back out there. Always make sure to follow the safety guidelines while visiting these small villages and towns.

Discover where you can go

Making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.

Want to read more?