Canada, stretching from the U.S. in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north, is filled with vibrant cities including massive, multicultural Toronto; predominantly French-speaking Montreal and Quebec City; Vancouver and Halifax on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, respectively; and Ottawa, the capital. Ita€™s also crossed by the Rocky Mountains and home to vast swaths of protected wilderness.

Ottawa

Ottawa, Canadaa€™s southeastern capital, sits in Ontario at the border of Quebec. A cosmopolitan city on the Ottawa River, it has at its centre Parliament Hill, with grand Victorian architecture and renowned museums such as the glass-and-granite National Gallery, with noted collections from Canadian and Indigenous artists. The park-lined Rideau Canal is filled with boats in summer and ice-skaters in winter.

Toronto

Toronto, the provincial capital of Ontario, Canada, is a large, ethnically diverse city sprawling along Lake Ontarioa€™s northwestern shore. A dynamic metropolis with a core of soaring skyscrapers, all dwarfed by the iconic CN Tower, it also features abundant green spaces, from the orderly oval of Queena€™s Park to 400-acre High Park and its trails, sports facilities and zoo.

Vancouver

Vancouver, a bustling west coast seaport in British Columbia, is among Canadaa€™s densest, most ethnically diverse cities. A popular filming location, ita€™s surrounded by mountains and invites outdoor pursuits of all kinds, but also has thriving art, theatre and music scenes. Vancouver Art Gallery is known for its works by regional artists, while the Museum of Anthropology houses preeminent First Nations collections.

Montreal

MontrA©al is the largest city in QuA©bec. Predominantly French-speaking, ita€™s set on an island in the Saint Lawrence River and named after Mt. Royal, the triple-peaked hill at its heart. Its 19 boroughs, many of which were once independent cities, include neighbourhoods from cobblestoned, French colonial Vieux-MontrA©al a€“ with imposing Notre-Dame Basilica at its center a€“ to industrial Sud-Ouest and artist-friendly Plateau.

Quebec City

QuA©bec City sits on the Saint Lawrence River in predominantly French-speaking QuA©bec province. Dating to 1608, it retains its fortified colonial core, Vieux-Quebec and Place Royale, with narrow streets, stone buildings and a European feel. This area is site of the famous, towering Chateau Frontenac Hotel and imposing Citadelle of Quebec. The Petit Champlain districta€™s cobblestone streets are lined with bistros and boutiques.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, Ontario, is a Canadian city at the famous waterfalls of the same name, linked with the U.S. by the Rainbow Bridge. Its site on the Niagara River’s western shore overlooks the Horseshoe Falls, the cascades’ most expansive section. Elevators take visitors to a lower, wetter vantage point. The riverbank features a promenade and an observation deck atop 520-ft.-high Skylon Tower.

Victoria

Victoria, capital of British Columbia, sits on the craggy southern end of Vancouver Island. With a mild climate and an abundance of trails and parks a€“ including sprawling, amusement-filled Beacon Hill a€“ ita€™s a destination for outdoor activities. Its beginnings as a British colony show in its Victorian architecture, such as stately Craigdarroch Castle mansion, as well as in its many formal gardens.

Banff

Banff is a resort town in the province of Alberta, within Banff National Park. The peaks of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade, part of the Rocky Mountains, dominate its skyline. On Banff Avenue, the main thoroughfare, boutiques and restaurants mix with chA¢teau-style hotels and souvenir shops. The surrounding 6,500 square kilometres of parkland are home to wildlife including elk and grizzly bears.

Winnipeg

Winnipeg is the capital of Manitoba. Its heart is the Forks, a historic site at the intersection of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, with warehouses converted to shops and restaurants, and ample green space dedicated to festivals, concerts and exhibits. Nearby, the Exchange District is known for its well-preserved turn-of-the-20th-century architecture and numerous art galleries.

Whistler

The Whistler resort area, north of Vancouver in British Columbia, exists because of skiing. With more than 8,000 acres over 2 mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, ita€™s the largest skiable area in North America. That distinction a€“ and its roughly 12m of yearly snowfall a€“ helped it earn co-hosting duties at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Its hub is a compact, chalet-style pedestrian village.