These are the 12 best small towns in Canada

Sep 23 2021, 5:15 pm

From East to West, 12 small towns in Canada stand out as the best.

Travel+Leisure magazine scoured the country for the best, most charming little towns in 2021. These small towns have a lot to offer, whether it be an ocean or mountain view. Next time you need to escape the city, check out one of these small towns:

Golden, British Columbia


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Get the adventure started in the Canadian Rockies small town of Golden, BC, about a day’s drive from Vancouver. The town has a lot to offer adventure seekers, with white water rafting, skiing and snowboarding, and a seven-day Adrenaline Adventure.

For those who don’t want the adrenaline boost, this town is surrounded by six national parks. It’s the perfect place to take in Canada’s natural beauty.

“Beyond the obvious draws, it’s also home to Canada’s highest suspension bridge, the newly opened Golden Skybridge,” the magazine said.

When you’re ready to kick back and refuel, Golden has craft breweries and unique dining experiences to offer, including a restaurant in a historic log cabin.

Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec

If you’re looking for a more culture-focused trip, Baie-Saint-Paul may be the place for you. Located about four hours from Montreal, this small town is the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil. While Cirque may have moved on to bigger cities, Baie-Saint-Paul is still a hotspot for artists of all kinds.

“Only an hour’s drive from Quebec City, this destination is the epitome of French Canadian charm,” said Travel+Leisure.

With charming accommodation options, visitors are sure to get that small town feel. It has more to offer than just an arts scene. There’s a massive crater from a meteorite, guided tours, and a local cheese shop. This town has plenty to offer any type of traveller.

Churchill, Manitoba


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This small town describes itself as being “on the edge of the Arctic” and features experiences with polar bears and belugas for those who want to take in some wildlife. This polar bear and beluga hotspot is also one of the best places in Canada to see the Northern Lights.

“Known as the polar bear capital of the world, Churchill draws wildlife lovers from far and wide,” the magazine said.

The adventure starts before even arriving in Churchill, where travellers have to take a train or plane into the town. You can kayak with belugas, get a bird’s-eye-view flying over the arctic, or sit back next to a crackling fire and enjoy a hearty meal. This small town has big adventures.

Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

This town is famous for its three churches view, but it has more to offer than just beautiful skylines. Visitors can watch artisans make hand-crafted pieces from molten pewter, hit local breweries for a taste of the town and take a hike or a ride on a 10 km lakeside trail.

“It’s often included as a stop on the popular driving route from Peggy’s Cove to Lunenburg, but you could easily spend more than an afternoon here,” Travel+Leisure said.

Tofino, British Columbia


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Tofino, BC, on Vancouver Island, is a hotspot for tourism on the West Coast. From surfers to nature enthusiasts, Tofino has it all.

“Situated within the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and surrounded by the UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, it’s an ideal location to immerse yourself in one of British Columbia’s most culturally significant swaths of nature,” Travel+Leisure said.

If you’re up for an adventure, Tofino has kayaking, hiking, fishing and surfing to offer. If you’re more of a foodie, they have a food tour that will fill you up. If shopping is more your thing, they’ve got that too.

Elora, Ontario


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Elora, Ontario, is well known to Torontonians as a beautiful place to visit and camp in the summer.

The Elora Gorge Conservation Area is the main attraction for tourists to this town. Hikers, swimmers and campers turn out to take in nature and go for a tube down the Grand River.

“Though it’s just a 90-minute drive from Toronto, Elora feels like a world away from the big city,” said Travel+Leisure.

It’s not just a conservation area that makes this one of Canada’s top small towns. It also boasts shopping, historical buildings and local artists.

Victoria-by-the-Sea, Prince Edward Island

Victoria-by-the-Sea, PEI is halfway between Charlottetown and Summerside. The seaside town is one of the most beautiful that PEI has to offer.

“The best way to soak it up is to simply explore the coast lined with relics of the past, including its famous red-and-white lighthouse,” said the magazine.

Kayaking and clam digging tours that are popular among visiting tourists.

Banff, Alberta


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Located in Banff National Park, this small town has gorgeous mountain views and lots of adventures. Go mountain biking, hike, or kayak in this small town surrounded by Canada’s natural beauty. The adventures continue year-round.

“Whether you’re here for a quick hike up Mount Rundle, a full day of skiing, or paddling at one of the many nearby glacial lakes, adventuring is a year-round affair,” said Travel+Leisure

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario boasts some of Ontario’s best wineries. Hop on a wine tour and drink your way through the town, or rent a bike and take in the sites that this charming small town has to offer.

“Famed for its sun-drenched vineyards and charming heritage homes, Niagara-on-the-Lake gives visitors to Niagara Falls a good reason to stay, sip, and savour the countryside,” said the magazine.

St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

St. Andrews by-the-sea has something for everyone, with restaurants boasting local flavours, small town shops and gorgeous views.

“St. Andrews by-the-Sea is a perfect stop on the way to Canada’s iconic Fundy National Park,” said Travel+Leisure.

This is the perfect small town to take in the views, catch sight of a whale and relax.

Dawson, Yukon


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Dawson, Yukon was home to thousands of people during the Yukon gold rush, but now just 1,000 people remain in this beautiful town. This small town boasts frontier-style buildings and one of Canada’s oldest gambling halls.

“The midnight sun also guarantees epic nightlife,” said the magazine.

Adventurers can also head out to snowshoe, pan for gold and immerse themselves in the local Indigenous culture.

Trinity, Newfoundland

Take in the history of this small town in Newfoundland before heading to the shore to watch for whales and icebergs.

“Beautifully preserved saltbox houses, calligraphed street signs, and a thriving theatre tradition make Trinity one of Newfoundland’s most storied towns,” said Travel+Leisure.

Brooke TaylorBrooke Taylor

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