The Best of Canada’s West
Canada is a huge country, and it’s hard to know where to start. Here are a few suggestions about the Western Half.
Beyond the first symbols conjure when we think about Canada: Beavers, Moose, and Maple Syrup, is another rich set of culture images… Maybe a snowy night on an outdoor ice rink, filled hockey games including all ages of people– bundled up and seeing their own breath.
The truth is that Canada, from East Coast to West, is massive. But, in such a large country, there are only a handful of cities that manage to stick out as notable. This article will give a concise preview of Western Canada’s best cities.
Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is distinctly– well, you guessed it: Victorian. Originally a port settlement for a lucrative fur trade between the Canadian Indigenous and the British, Victoria became a bustling city due to British Columbia’s gold rush. Located on scenic Vancouver Island, Victoria is one of Canada’s gems. It’s right on the harbour, and much of the architecture is straight out of London; from the museums, to hotels, to beautiful government buildings. Great food, fantastic nightlife, and activities such as Whalewatching await you in Victoria.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver is just a short ferry ride away from Victoria. Since hosting the Expo in 1986, Vancouver has gradually climbed its way up the ranks to being one of the world’s most liveable– and expensive– cities. Being located on the Pacific Coast, Vancouver has some wonderful beaches, and is also surrounded by beautiful, tall, often ice-capped mountains. Like Victoria, neither of these cities experience your “typical” Canadian winter, though rainfall is regular in these months. With an impressive downtown, rich multiculturalism, great cultural neighborhoods, affordable sushi, and a professional hockey team, Vancouver is well worth a visit.
Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta
These cities would hate being listing together. They are rival cities in the province of Alberta, locate a full 3 hours drive apart; which may seem like a lot, but there is no major city within a 10 hour drive east or west of either of them! They both offer brutally cold prairie winters, with at least 6 months of every year becoming accustomed to freezing temperatures. Calgary is located very close to Banff, which is a scenic Rocky Mountain town that is absolutely worth visiting. Edmonton calls itself the “Festival City” and is absolutely worth visiting to attend these summer events, including North America’s largest International Fringe Theatre Festival and several food-based events. They both have professional hockey teams that their respective populations are incredibly proud of.
This is a quick overview of the best cities in the West of Canada, but there are many beautiful small towns and regions through the mountains, lakes, and fruit-producing regions British Columbia, especially. If you’re driving, don’t miss the Canadian Rocky Mountain towns of Jasper and Banff (Alberta); the highway between those two cities is widely considered to be the most beautiful in the country.