When many of us think of places to visit in Canada, major cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal immediately spring to mind. However, the True North is blessed with a number of charming smaller communities that are rich with Canadian history and culture. Whether it’s a week-long retreat or weekend getaway, there are a number of small local towns to tickle your fancy. Here are a few hidden gems to consider as you set off on your next Canadian adventure this season.
Photo: che_barber from Instagram
Not to be confused with the City of Light, Paris was once dubbed the prettiest town in Ontario. Located in the heart of a quaint valley, where the Grand and Nith Rivers meet, Paris is full of unique architecture. The streets of downtown Paris are lined with a mix of Victorian, Edwardian, Gothic and Post Modern structures. In addition to its rich history, this small town offers shopping, dining and canoe rides down the Grand River. The picturesque town is only about an hour and a half outside of Toronto, and offers a quiet retreat for those looking to relax and escape the city lights.
Prince Rupert, BC
Located on the secluded Kaien Island, Prince Rupert is a must-see town in the Pacific Northwest. Home to the Tsimashian Nation and many other First Nations, this waterfront community is rich with history. With the majority of its population made up of several local First Nations, visitors get a taste of their traditions and cultures. It’s normal to see dozens of men; women and children cloaked in handmade traditional button blankets and carved masks. Because of its proximity to water, Prince Rupert is a prime fishing destination for avid anglers and fishermen. From clams and scallops to salmon and halibut, there is no shortage of local seafood.
With a name which you ironically can’t forget, this small town in Saskatchewan is actually pronounced For-jay. Forget literally puts the ‘small’ in small town with just over 100 residents. Found approximately 90 minutes from Regina, this town was once called ‘The Small Town with Big Music’ by local non-profit Amanda Arthouse. For those of you wondering what locals do for fun in such a small town, you’ll want to visit the Happy Nun Café. The café frequently hosts open mic nights and offers a hearty menu that changes with the seasons.
Hudson is located about an hour west of Montreal and holds the arts at the centre of the community. This quiet and rural region is a popular destination for artists looking to be inspired by the locale. Bordering the Lake of Two Mountains, Hudson offers a picturesque landscape to admire. Summer visitors can check out the annual week-long Hudson Music Festival and local beach. This bilingual community is perfect for English speakers who want to brush up on their French.
Saint Andrews, NB
Often referred to as St. Andrews-By-The-Sea, this Maritime town is one of New Brunswick’s oldest settlements. It boasts a public art gallery, national marine research centre and waterfront golf course. Conveniently located on the Bay of Fundy, visitors have a chance to do some whale watching and beach bumming. For accommodations, TripAdvisor recommends the legendary Algonquin Resort. This historic hotel may be ideal for those looking for luxury by the sea.