With millions of hectares of beautiful wilderness, charming historic cities and a dramatic climate, it’s no wonder that Canada is often dubbed one of the most romantic countries in the world. Whether you plan to visit the enchanting streets of Quebec or the majestic mountains of the Rockies, a holiday to Canada with your better half is bound to serve up countless starry-eyed moments. If Valentine’s Day has got you thinking about taking your relationship to the next level, your upcoming Canada holiday may well be the perfect time for that dream proposal.
Choosing the right place
But with so many stunning locations to choose from, how can you pick that one place to ‘pop the question’? When asking the biggest question of your life, there are many factors to consider, but choosing the right location is perhaps the most important. The experts at The One Romance advise:
“The destination really must be relevant to your relationship. Don’t just propose somewhere because you think it’s ‘pretty.’ Instead, think about your partner and what they like. If they love the great outdoors then propose somewhere spectacular surrounded by lakes and trees or include numerous locations in your proposal. Perhaps ‘take a walk down memory lane’ and revisit all of the places where you have wonderful memories together (perhaps with a secret photographer taking photos as you do so!)”
As Stacy Stahl from How He Asked comments, “Canada has so many naturally stunning places to propose – especially for outdoorsy, adventurous and nature-loving couples.” So, if you’re trying to decide where to get down on one knee, here are some of the best places in Canada to propose.
Whistler is synonymous with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, whether it is the ultimate ski run or seeing your first ever Canadian lake. This mountain resort in British Columbia boasts dramatic pistes, azure glacier-fed lakes and postcard-worthy pine forests, all creating the perfect backdrop for a proposal. As Reader’s Digest points out, Whistler is an inherently romantic location, whatever your style of travel. They say:
“Imagine following up an afternoon spent sashaying down snowy mountain slopes, soaking in a steamy hot tub with your Valentine. Or perhaps you’d rather curl up together beside a roaring fire?”
Whether you choose the top of Whistler Mountain with its panoramic views or the privacy of your chalet’s Jacuzzi, Whistler is an incredible setting for any special moment.
The Rideau Canal, Ottawa
If extreme environments aren’t so much your cup of tea, Canada still has countless cultural locations to choose from in its towns and cities. Ottawa is very popular with couples on honeymoon or for a surprise engagement. The cultural hub of Canada is thriving with art, music and history, whether you’re strolling along the river or exploring the gothic parliamentary buildings. “As a capital city, Ottawa is filled with romantic backdrops – from inspiring architectural marvels to classic hotels to breath-taking natural wonders, you’ll find the perfect spot to pop the question in Ottawa,” says Jantine Van Kregten of Ottawa Tourism. When asked where to propose in Ottawa, she suggested that winter is a perfect time for an Ottawa marriage proposal:
“In winter, you might choose a romantic skate on the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink – the Rideau Canal.”
Spend a few hours twirling on the frozen waters with your loved one – whether elegantly or amusingly, before getting down on one knee for an enchanting confession of love.
Ottawa’s tulip festival parks
However, there is more to Ottawa than its winter wonders. Jantine suggests, “In spring, you might choose a park with 300,000 blooming tulips.” Symbolising ‘perfect love’, these tulips are one of Canada’s most famous icons. Each year, thousands of rainbow-coloured flowers blossom along roadsides, beside historic architecture on the rolling knolls of Ottawa’s many parks. Nothing says romance quite like the sight of countless tulips thriving all around – in fact, these flowers are famously associated with true love itself. Simply find yourself an intimate corner surrounded by these brilliant blooms and let the setting do the talking.
As Canada is home to around three million lakes – more than the rest of the world combined – it isn’t surprising that thousands of people propose beside the country’s dazzling waterscapes. Stacy notes,
“I’m always a fan of sunrise and sunset proposals in a peaceful, quiet and private setting. We’ve had couples share beautiful proposals from Moraine Lake, Revelstoke or Banff and they’ve all been drop-dead gorgeous.”
Take a romantic couple’s Rocky Mountaineer train journey through some of the most stunning landscapes you’ll ever witness, and stop off for a day trip to this glistening lake nestled among ten of the Rockies’ most dramatic peaks. Sitting along the Continental Divide, this lake is glacier-fed, giving it a dazzling turquoise hue. Along the shores of Moraine Lake, you will see dozens of brightly coloured canoes. Taking one of these out into the middle of the lake is the perfect way to propose to your other half, giving you the feeling that you are the only two people in the world for your special moment.
Perhaps one of the most popular proposal locations in the entirety of North America, Niagara Falls commands awe from all who visit. The Canadian side of the Falls is particularly impressive, with sweeping views of crashing water to captivate you and your loved one. Not only the are the Falls themselves worth a visit, the nearby town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is also especially intimate and historic, with colourful gardens and pretty buildings to explore.
“Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the town, enjoy a wine tasting tour, or canoodle after a spa break – whatever your heart’s desire, Niagara-on-the-Lake is ready to play Cupid.”
A boat ride to Niagara Falls is an unforgettable way to propose, but for a more intimate moment, head to the lake like Shalini and Chris, who shared their engagement story on How He Asked. They explained: “Both of us are very outdoorsy people and enjoyed an evening stroll by the Niagara River! Once I had found the perfect spot with the perfect sunlight, we talked about how much we loved each other; I got down on one knee and asked, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life with me?” “We later celebrated with some port wine and a delicious dinner overlooking gorgeous fireworks over the Niagara Falls – a perfect ending to this amazing night!”
Fogo Island, Newfoundland
If you’re on the search for a proposal location that is further off the beaten track, Karen Lee from Luxe Proposals recommends Fogo Island. This quaint atoll off Newfoundland is described by National Geographic as:
“…a gentle world of bright-coloured clapboard houses, sea-cliff footpaths, lush forest, and warm hospitality set against a striking coastline.”
Newfoundland is a province of Canada widely associated with love, home to towns named ‘Heart’s Desire’, ‘Heart’s Content’ and ‘Cupids’. Fogo Island’s name may not be so evocative of love, but its atmosphere will certainly nurture a budding engagement. For the more unconventional couple, no location could be more fitting for a proposal, with quirky buildings, galleries and cafes around every corner. Hike to Brimstone Head, dubbed as one of the four corners of the Earth, for a dramatic moment, or revel in the Maritime legacy of the town by proposing on a small fishing boat sailing along the coast.
Quebec is renowned for its many faces, from the city’s heavy French influences to the historic architecture of Old Quebec’s UNESCO World Heritage status streets. The only walled city north of Mexico, this multicultural city is the perfect location for a fairy-tale proposal. So much is to be discovered in Old Quebec however you choose to experience the area. Reader’s Digest recommends strolling arm-in-arm along the city’s 18th-century walls before indulging in a candle-lit dinner in one of its many exquisite restaurants. Here, expect cobbled streets, hidden passageways and high-spired architecture, all providing the perfect backdrop to your big moment. In fact, Old Quebec was named the seventh most romantic destination in the world by Travel Channel. An intimate carriage ride along the cobblestone lanes provides the perfect romantic opportunity to propose.
For a more rural location to declare your love, Tofino in British Columbia is a fantastic choice. This is a land of contrasts: waves crash against the rocky outcrops as the sun beams down on laid-back beaches, ancient forests cradle lively towns bursting with artisan cafes and restaurants. Travel Versed recommends Tofino as a lovers’ paradise:
“With temperate weather, whale watching and spectacular scenery, Tofino is one of Canada’s most popular vacation destinations for its romantic and exotic setting.”
One of the most impressive places to pop the question is Hot Springs Cove, a daytrip from Tofino that will never be forgotten. Here, stroll along the boardwalk before getting down on one knee by the cascading waterfall, or simply propose whilst bathing in one of the area’s seven luxurious natural hot springs.
Victoria, Vancouver Island
One of Canada’s oldest cities, Victoria is a vibrant and traditional location to experience with your loved one. Begin your adventure with a relaxing ferry ride from Vancouver before strolling along the wharf, marvelling at the quirky floating houses and shops that draw visitors from around the world. Victoria is often named ‘the City of Gardens’, making it the perfect proposal destination for nature lovers. Stop off by the harbour to feed the friendly seals with your significant other, or take a romantic stroll through the luscious greenery of one of Victoria’s many parks. There are countless opportunities for an unforgettable proposal in Victoria, whether it be on the cobbled stepping stones in Butchart Gardens or marvelling at the presence of Orcas while whale watching on the scenic Broughton Archipelago.
Advice for proposing in Canada
When planning any proposal, there will be many elements to consider to ensure the moment is truly memorable. Karen recommends that prospective proposers
“Always, always do a site visit before you ‘pop the question’. While Google may suggest some gorgeous places, some places don’t end up looking as good in person. If you can’t do a site visit, consider posting the question in a TripAdvisor forum and get the locals’ insight to see if your spot will have any challenges.”
She also recommends asking locals for their advice on the perfect spot to propose if you haven’t picked a final location before you arrive: “Whenever you’re booking a hotel, inform them of your plans. Since you’re from out of town, the staff can suggest the hidden gems in the city if you want to propose outside of the hotel. Many of them will make arrangements to make your stay extra special, whether it be rose petals in your room or complimentary champagne with a celebratory note.”
Stacy adds that, to keep the memory of your proposal alive throughout your married life, getting the perfect photograph of the moment is a must. She says that, in Canada, “Since you’re sure to have an unbelievable backdrop, be sure to hire a photographer to capture your proposal from afar – being able to relive your moment is priceless.”
If you’re still finding it hard to choose just one special spot in Canada to propose, The One Romance team recommend the tried-and-tested route of choosing a place that is close to your heart. They say that the perfect proposal location is “Somewhere that contains a memory for the two of you. The place where you first said “I love you”, is going to be special no matter where it is! So revisit that place for your proposal.”
Image credits: Pikoso.kz (Shutterstock) West Coast Scapes (Shutterstock) / Bruce Amos (Shutterstock) / David P. Lewis (Shutterstock) / Tyler Olson (Shutterstock) / Christopher Gardiner (Shutterstock) / Les Palenik (Shutterstock) / Albert Pego (Shutterstock) / Kate_N (Shutterstock) / 2009fotofriends (Shutterstock)