Often when planning a vacation we think of faraway historic and/or exotic places. Although I have crossed the border and the Atlantic Ocean many times, I’ve also found that Canada is wonderfully diverse and has many treasures to visit as well. The following are some of my favourite Canadian destinations.
Wedgewood Hotel & Spa, in Vancouver, B.C.
Vancouver has been on the world’s top ten list of destination places to live and visit for many years. What I love is the year-round green. The drive in from the airport down Granville is especially pleasing…passing all the grand homes, giant hedges and lovely gardens.
My go to in Vancouver is the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa conveniently located on Hornby Street. Opened in 2003, the family-run hotel is a member of Relais and Chateaux which is a group of the finest hotels and restaurants around the world. Although I have never visited the spa, it has won numerous awards for its services and products. The Bacchus lounge pictured here is a fabulous spot for a glass of wine at the end of a day of shopping. If weather permits, a table in front of the open windows is the best in the house for people watching both inside or outside which is lit by twinkle lights in the trees in front of the hotel. The final tweaking of my Apres CC on Whyte blog set up was completed in this room last August!
Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, AB.
The Banff Springs was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1887-1888. A fire destroyed the original building in 1926. Over the years the hotel has undergone many additions and renovations. The “castle” is nestled in the Canadian Rockies with a view of Mount Rundle. The Bow Falls and Banff townsite are within close walking distance. My first stay at the hotel was a memorable one…it was on my 30th birthday. With the opportunity to spend plenty of time on my own that weekend I got lost exploring the maze of public rooms, thankfully not happening on one or more of the many ghosts that are rumoured to roam the halls. It was great fun!
This room is one of the many dining areas in the hotel. On the occasions that the family spent Thanksgiving weekends in Canmore, the “girls” would drive into Banff for a relaxing lunch at the Banff Springs while the “guys” kept an eye on the turkey cooking in the oven. We would get home in plenty of time for the dinner preparations, but it was always a special tradition to have lunch in front of this amazing view.
Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, Edmonton, AB.
The “Mac” is at the heart of Edmonton’s skyline, on the bank high above the North Saskatchewan River. Although this hotel is in my hometown, it still feels like a trip away from the ordinary when I’m here. It’s a special occasion place saved for reunions, celebrations of birthdays and Christmas Eve with the family. In all seasons the best view is in the Confederation Lounge which overlooks the river valley. The room is cozy and warm and I especially love being there on a snowy evening!
Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa, Ont.
Built in 1912, the Chateau Laurier is conveniently located close to shopping, the Parliament Buildings and the Rideau Canal.
I’ve only been in Ottawa once but thoroughly enjoyed a day of shopping downtown, going to the market, wandering through the Parliament grounds, and having lunch at Zoe’s lounge in the Chateau Laurier It was on a Saturday, possibly quieter than on a weekday, but delightful. I had a window table, a glass of cold champagne and a delicious lunch. It’s very elegant.
Shopping area, Montreal, Que.
Like in all big cities, shopping in Montreal has changed over the years. When I first went to Montreal in the late 1970s, small, independent boutiques lined St- Laurent Street and St. Catherine Street. The fashion in these shoppes reflected the sophisticated styles worn in Montreal. It looked very European and I loved it. The charming Ritz-Carlton Hotel around the corner on Sherbrooke was a special place to stay. The dining room had small table lamps on each table which cast a soft romantic glow in the room. The beautiful McGill University campus is not too far down the road. Although many of the boutiques have been replaced by chain stores and Montreal isn’t as French as it once was, this area known as the Golden Square Mile is still beautiful to walk with many temptations along the way.
Quebec City, Quebec
There is no other place in Canada like Old Quebec. Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Quebec City still remains the only walled city in North America. You can still see the canons overlooking the St. Lawrence River. When I first saw the Plains of Abraham, I was shocked at how small it actually was. When I studied the battle (Sep. 13, 1759) in junior high school, I just assumed it would have covered a large area. The English won the battle but both General James Wolfe (British) and General de Montcalm (French) lost their lives.
The Old City is picturesque with an old European look and feel. The food served in the many charming restaurants like the one pictured here is amazing. I remember ordering a pot of baked beans with freshly baked bread. To die for…or at least cheating on a low carb diet for!!!
Anne of Green Gables, Cavendish, PEI
The Anne of Green Gables “Farm” is the setting of the “Anne of Green Gables” novels written by L. M. Montgomery. Like many of you, I read every book in this series as a preteen. On my only trip to PEI, it was a priority for me to visit this literary landmark, a place where I spent many hours in my imagination! It was pouring rain when I arrived and I was completely soaked by the time I crossed the parking lot. I didn’t care…there was nothing stopping me from going in. I bought my daughter an “Anne” doll at the gift shop thinking she would treasure it as much as I would have as a young girl. You can only imagine my dismay when I spied this sweet little doll on the children’s toy table at a garage sale we held several years later. She did not share my love for Anne!!!
P.S. As you can see, for the most part, I like to travel to walking cities, stay in older character hotels, and particularly like a room with a view!
July 1 marks Canada’s 151st birthday. I hope you have a wonderful long weekend visiting or reminiscing about some of your favourite places in Canada.