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Amazing Canadian Cities You’ve Never Heard Of

Canada is well-known for its strong, vibrant cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary. However, there are tons of lesser-known Canadian destinations worthy of your time.

Here are the top picks of amazing Canadian cities you might not have heard about, as chosen by Jim Byers, a long-time Canadian travel writer.

Amazing Canadian Cities You've Never Heard Of: Sooke Harbour House in Sooke, B.C.
Amazing Canadian Cities You’ve Never Heard Of: Sooke Harbour House in Sooke, B.C.

SOOKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA

Sooke is a town that deserves to be far better known than it is. Located about 40 minutes west of Victoria in a sunny part of Vancouver Island, you will find a glorious hotel with cutting-edge cuisine and funky furnishings called the Sooke Harbour House. Not only is it located on a wonderful stretch of coastline, but they have been serving farm-to-table food for decades.

When in Sooke, you can’t go wrong with the pie at Mom’s Café. They use roughly 50 apples in each apple pie, which ends up being about the size of a basketball (except much tastier). Stop at nearby Stick in the Mud for a great cup of coffee and a real community feeling.

Amazing Canadian Cities You've Never Heard Of: Walkerville Brewery in Windsor, ON.
Amazing Canadian Cities You’ve Never Heard Of: Walkerville Brewery in Windsor, ON.

WINDSOR, ONTARIO

Windsor is not used to getting mentioned on lists of cool cities for tourists but that’s changing. The craft beer scene in Windsor is fantastic, including Walkerville Brewery, which is fashioned out of an old Hiram Walker distillery building and a place where they do not use preservatives.

The Walkerville neighbourhood feels like Windsor’s version of Toronto’s Rosedale or Montreal’s Westmount, with wonderful brick homes and gleaming gardens. You can also be part of a food and beer tour with the folks at Windsor Eats, who do a great job of showcasing the area’s charm.

Motorburger and Motor Craft Ales was named as the best burger purveyors in Canada. This is in part to their Deux Chevaux burger, that contains Gruyere cheese, Dijon mustard, spinach, caramelized onions, and smoked bacon. You can never go wrong with smoked bacon.

Amazing Canadian Cities You've Never Heard Of: Blomidon Inn in Wolfville, NS.
Amazing Canadian Cities You’ve Never Heard Of: Blomidon Inn in Wolfville, NS.

WOLFVILLE, NOVA SCOTIA

Wolfville is one of the great university towns in Canada. Acadia University has a beautiful campus with a commanding spot on a small hill overlooking the town.

The main street is the size of “blink and you’ll miss it,” but there are several nice shops and great restaurants with a lovely old-time feel.

The Blomidon Inn has lovely rooms, marvellous breakfasts, and a killer front porch that’s perfect for sipping morning coffee or an afternoon glass of local wine.

The area’s wines have become quite solid. Try Luckett Vineyards, a pretty hillside spot with a British-style phone booth in the middle of the vines (that you can use for free!).

Amazing Canadian Cities You've Never Heard Of: Saskatoon, SK.
Amazing Canadian Cities You’ve Never Heard Of: Saskatoon, SK.

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN

This is a prairie city that definitely punches its weight, with great food and a lively arts scene. Ayden Kitchen and Bar is one of my favourite restaurants in Canada; a place that can do local meats, fish and inventive plates of pasta with equal aplomb. A very cool design, too.

The Riversdale area of Saskatoon is definitely on the rise, with sleek coffee shops and galleries. The Broadway area is more sedate but equally fun for shopping or food. Check out Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan in summer for great live theatre.

Book a night or three at the sumptuous James Hotel, with a chic design that feels more like Montreal than the middle of the Canadian prairies.

Amazing Canadian Cities You've Never Heard Of: Le Germain Charlevoix in Bait St. Paul, QC.
Amazing Canadian Cities You’ve Never Heard Of: Le Germain Charlevoix in Bait St. Paul, QC.

BAIE ST. PAUL, QUEBEC

Artists seem to love the light that permeates this region located an hour or so east of Quebec City on the St. Lawrence River. Some believe the light is this way because of the enormous meteor that crashed into the region millions of years ago. Whatever the cause, the light has attracted serious artists for years, and you’ll find tons of very cool (and at times very avant-garde) work in the town’s galleries.

Le Germain Charlevoix is a truly stunning hotel, with modern design and amenities crossed with agricultural touches such as barn doors and animal statues; a nod to the fact that one of Canada’s largest farms used to sit on this land. Marvellous food, as you’d expect in Quebec.

Make your next vacation extra special by exploring these amazing Canadian cities. What are you waiting for? Check out flight deals now!