A couple in Toronto during the summer
Canada isn’t just home to spectacular natural landscapes; so many amazing cities are dotted across the country that are perfect for a city break. These cities are home to renowned cuisine, iconic attractions, and a variety of activities that you can try during your break in the city.
The summer is a great time to book flights to Canada and go on a city break in the country, as many cities come alive with endless festivals and outdoor activities. With the summer in Canada now upon us, we take you through some of the best Canadian city breaks you can enjoy during this time of the year.
The best city breaks in Canada in the summer
Being a maritime city, Vancouver is a must-visit in the summer as there is so much you can do here. If you look at city breaks to Vancouver, Canada, you won’t be disappointed, as it is one of Canada’s most stunning places to visit in the summer.
Located between the sea and the Canadian Rockies, you can enjoy the beautiful beaches and water sports or explore the local markets and neighbourhoods. There are also many parks and green spaces you can wander around, whilst the food scene is regarded as one of the best in the country.
Hannah, the travel writer behind the That Adventurer blog, told us why she loves Vancouver in the summer:
“I highly recommend visiting Vancouver in the summer as it’s definitely the best time to visit the city. Vancouver is known for being rainy the rest of the year, but come summer, you’re almost guaranteed a few months without rain, and the city comes alive! People are out cycling, biking, hiking, climbing, paddleboarding, and just hanging out both on the beaches downtown and in the mountains just 30 minutes from the city centre. Plus, there are so many options for bars and restaurants with patios, and Vancouverites take patio season very seriously. It’s like we come out of hibernation once the summer arrives in Vancouver!
“Definitely make the most of the good weather in Vancouver in summer and take a bike ride around Stanley Park! It’s one of the best ways to see the park and the North Vancouver mountains and get views of the oceans. There are some cafes along the way where you can stop for a drink and plenty of beaches to relax on too. You can rent bicycles from numerous shops along Denman Street, which is super close to Stanley Park, and then there’s a cycle path the whole way around, which is paved. Cycling takes most people 1-2 hours; I’d recommend starting early since it gets busy!
“If you’re going hiking near Vancouver at the beginning of the summer season (any time before mid-July), make sure you check trail reports as there’s often still snow in the mountains even though it feels like it’s been summer in the city for months!”
ALSO READ: Top attractions & things to do in Vancouver
Toronto is a great city to visit no matter what time of the year it is, but in the summer, there is so much to see and do. That’s why city breaks to Toronto, Canada, are so popular during the summer months, as its famous neighbourhoods host dozens of events in July and August alone.
The city is home to more professional sports teams than any other Canadian city. As a result, you can catch a home game and watch the likes of the Blue Jays, Toronto FC, the Wolfpack Rugby League team, or the Honda Indy event which takes place in the city in the summer months.
Toronto is famed for its food, and during the summer, you can eat out in the outside areas of restaurants and visit rooftop bars for drinks. Neighbourhoods like Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Distillery District are just some of the most popular places to visit for food and drinks.
Toronto is home to an array of summer markets, and over the summer, you can enjoy St Lawrence Market on a Saturday, the Leslieville Farmers Market, and Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington Market, which runs throughout the summer.
Sam and Steve, the couple behind The Long Term Travellers blog, spoke about some of the places they recommend visiting in Toronto in the summer:
“Whether it’s at sporting events, patios or hanging out in the multiple parks that are within the city, you’re always likely to spot Torontonians outdoors in the summer months, and another great place to really soak up the summer scene is enjoying live music at an outdoor concert or weekend music festival.
“With the Budweiser Stage at Ontario Place being arguably the most popular venue for summer concerts, especially their lawn access section, there are also many festivals that go on within the city.”
ALSO READ: What’s Toronto famous for?
Kelowna is in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, and it is one of the best spots to enjoy a summer city break in Canada.
The Okanagan Valley is one of the warmest regions in Canada, and there are plenty of beaches you can head to if you want to sunbathe or relax. If you love wine, Kelowna is also the perfect place for you, with the nearby rolling hills home to some of Canada’s best wineries.
The Okanagan wine region is famed around the world, and with all of the wineries in the area, we’d recommend going on a wine tour so you can enjoy a few different ones.
Debbie and Darcy Fettback, the couple behind the World Adventurists blog, talk about why the Okanagan Lake is a must-visit in the summer months:
“There are over 30 beaches in Kelowna along Okanagan Lake, with five of the most popular beaches in Kelowna being Hot Sands Beach, Boyce-Gyro Beach, Rotary Beach, Sarson’s Beach, and Strathcona Park.
“The lake provides a huge playground for the seemingly endless variety of watersports available. Experience an adrenaline rush as you learn to fly board, fly through the sky for a parasailing adventure, or rent a Sea-Doo jet ski to rip around. Most of Kelowna’s parks feature sandy beaches, and several have watersport rentals available.”
Prince Edward Island is certainly one of the best places you can visit during the summer, and Charlottetown is the province’s capital.
Charlottetown is steeped in history as it is home to the Province House National Historic Site, which hosted the Charlottetown Conference of 1864, spurring the country’s birth. Prince Edward Island also came to the world’s attention after Canadian writer Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote her Anne of Green Gables novels, and in Charlottetown, there is a store dedicated to the character.
If you are staying in Charlottetown in the summer, we’d highly recommend you visit Cavendish Beach, just over a 30-minute drive from the city, as it is one of the most beautiful places in Canada. At Cavendish Beach, there is a boardwalk you can walk down that offers some great views of the surrounding area, or you can try kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or parasailing.
Prince Edward Island is believed to have the highest concentration of lighthouses in North America, with more than 60 lighthouses and range lights. On average, you can find one lighthouse every 55 km, but we’d recommend making a trip to Point Prim Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the island, and home to some of the most beautiful views in Atlantic Canada.
The summer is when Montréal shines brightest with festivals taking place, the patios of restaurants and cafes buzzing, and the plethora of walking trails attracting hikers.
Music lovers will want to visit some of the amazing festivals that take place in the city over the summer months, like the Montréal International Jazz Festival, Les FrancoFolies, and Osheaga, which are some of the biggest not only in the city but the whole of Canada.
Music festivals aren’t the only type of events you can enjoy as The Caribbean carnival Carifiesta, the incredible circus performances at Montréal Complètement Cirque, and the side-splitting comedy festival Just For Laughs are all popular festivals taking place in the summer.
Montréal is home to some unique neighbourhoods, and the summer is a great time to wander around them to see the different styles of architecture and to get an insight into a local’s life. During a summer city break in Montréal, you should also stroll around the Botanical Gardens & Biodome and have a picnic at Parc Mont-Royal.
ALSO READ: 48 hours in Montreal
In the summer, Québec City hosts an astounding number of festivals and cultural events, with one of the city’s neighbourhoods hosting an event virtually every weekend.
Some of the most popular festivals you can enjoy in the city are Festival d’été de Québec – Canada’s largest outdoor music event – and the New France Festival, which is four days of shows, performers, storytelling and re-enactments that breathe new life into historical Old Québec.
Québec City is also famed for its great outdoors. With so many national parks within easy reach of the city, you can enjoy various outdoor activities and plenty of wildlife-watching opportunities. From whale-watching to incredible hiking and mountain biking routes, there are so many reasons why you should visit one of the nearby national parks.
Calgary is home to a vibrant city centre, and with the city being just an hour away, it is the perfect base camp for exploring the Canadian Rockies. Calgary is unique as it is a city centred around five UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park – making it the perfect complement to any Alberta adventure.
Whilst this city in Alberta is great to visit any time of the year, Calgary comes alive in the summer months with its buzzing arts, music, culture, and festival scene. The main summer event in the city is the Calgary Stampede, known as ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’. Each July, people from all over the world descend on Calgary to celebrate the 10-day event, which sees events like bull riding, saddle bronc and barrel racing, and a huge music festival take place.
ALSO READ: The top attractions in Calgary
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