When most people think of beautiful places in Canada, they tend to think of the hidden gems found in nature like mountains, lakes and forests. However, this land has some very beautiful cities, too (some of the best cities in the world, in fact). Need some inspiration when it comes to stunning cities in Canada? We’ve got you covered. Here are 20 of the most beautiful Canadian cities that are also great to live in.
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Ottawa, Ont. is the capital city of Canada, and it's also one of the most beautiful cities you can live in. Among the functional government buildings, you’ll also find plenty of architectural gems like the Vimy Memorial Bridge and the National Gallery of Canada. Thinking about your living situation in the long-term? Ottawa also happens to be one of the top 10 best places for Canadians to retire.
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Quebec City, Quebec
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quebec City is the only city in Canada and the United States to still have its original city walls. And, if you're looking for a city that's full of incredible photo opps, Quebec City is also home to the world's most photographed hotel, the Chateau Frontenac. With its fairytale architecture, the capital of Quebec is often rated as the most beautiful city in Canada.
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Love all things theatre and Shakespeare? Best known for the internationally acclaimed Stratford Festival, Stratford, Ont. is located amid farm country on the banks of the Avon River. The city (which gets its name from Stratford on Avon in England) also boasts stunning Victorian architecture.
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At first glance, Winnipeg may look like any other city, but look closer and you’ll see a collection of stunning parks and innovative architecture. The city’s historic terracotta buildings are the most extensive collection of its kind in North America. A bonus? Winnipeg is also one of the Canadian cities with the cheapest rent.
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Vancouver, British Columbia
Its diverse scenery has made Vancouver a popular filming location, earning it the nickname "Hollywood North." The beautiful city boasts mild weather, stunning beaches and a laid-back attitude, making it a paradise – albeit an expensive one – to live in. VanCity is also a city where you can enjoy some seriously delicious dining — especially now that the Michelin Guide has made Vancouver picks for the first time.
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With its skyscrapers overlooking the greenery of Prince’s Island Park, Calgary can easily remind you of New York City. This resemblance is continued in the diverse, vibrant neighbourhoods, but the Stampede Grounds and the Scotiabank Saddledome remind you that you’re on the edge of the Prairies. Calgary is also full of plenty of Instagram-worthy locations — here are just a few.
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It may sound like a bit of a stretch to call Saskatoon the Paris of the Prairies simply because of its bridges and art nouveau buildings. However, the beautiful city is surprisingly sophisticated, with plenty of galleries, festivals and one of Canada’s highest rates of restaurants per capita. Saskatoon is also home to some of this land's most gorgeous sunsets.
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Halifax, Nova Scotia
Often ranked as one of Canada’s best cities to live in, Halifax is home to great beaches, beautiful parks and stunning historic buildings. If you want a beautiful city to live, Halifax has no shortage of cozy and charming homes to inspire you, too. The city is also known for its warm atmosphere and vibrant nightlife.
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The Yukon’s only city, Whitehorse’s beauty rests in its spectacular natural surroundings. Best for people who don't mind chilly temperatures (Whitehorse is one of the coldest cities in Canada), this is a city for lovers of the great outdoors and also has less air pollution than any other city in the world. It's also a stunning city to visit in the summer.
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Victoria, British Columbia
The capital of British Columbia is also known as the Garden City because of its abundance of green space. Victoria is renowned for its high quality of life and its pleasant warm climate. In the fall, Victoria is a great place to check out a spooky walking tour, though you can enjoy a photo-worthy culinary adventure in the city anytime (Victoria is Canada's top city for tipping, too!).
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Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Quaint Charlottetown is one of only two cities on Prince Edward Island. The island’s capital, Charlottetown, is known for its many historic buildings and delicious seafood. Looking for a beautiful city in Canada to live in while you're studying? Charlottetown is also a great city to live in if you're a student.
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Kelowna, British Columbia
Nestled between vineyards and the shores of Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is a beautiful Canadian city that's popular with tourists and retirees alike (the region recently got a shoutout from Vogue for being an underrated wine region). In the warmer months, people are drawn here for watersports; in fall, it’s time for wine-tasting and in winter the action is found at the nearby ski resorts.
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Fredericton, New Brunswick
Located on the banks of the Saint John River, the beautiful city of Fredericton is a haven for artists, writers and poets (which makes sense, as it made our list of the best cities to work remotely). Living in Fredericton, you're sure to find inspiration in the City of Stately Elms’ historic architecture, parks and tree-lined streets.
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The city of Cambridge was formed by amalgamating several separate communities, each of which still retains its unique character. The city's historic industrial buildings give it an old-time character. In recent years, Cambridge has also been a filming location for several acclaimed TV series like the Handmaid's Tale.
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St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s is believed to be the oldest English-founded city in North America. When it comes to beautiful surrounding to live in, St. John’s has plenty of stunning spots to spare: its hilly terrain and brightly coloured old buildings are reminiscent of San Francisco; so is the fog.
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Nanaimo, British Columbia
Located on the east coast of Vancouver Island and due west from Vancouver, Nanaimo is a popular seaside destination and a beautiful city to live in. It enjoys a mild climate and is especially famous for its annual bathtub races. Love dessert? Nanaimo is also the namesake of an iconic Canadian treat: the Nanaimo bar.
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The world’s second largest mainly French-speaking city, Montreal is highly rated for its livability. Montreal has more university students per capita than any other North American city and is ranked as the best city for studying abroad. If you're looking for romance, Montreal is also full of super-cute spots for date nights.
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Located at the confluence of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence rivers, Saguenay is decidedly French. Surrounded by farmland and wilderness, it’s a paradise for foodies and nature lovers alike. If you define a beautiful living space as one with lots of square footage, good news: Saguenay is currently ranked as the top city in Canada where you'll get the most space for your money.
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Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador
Corner Brook has the amenities of a big city but the atmosphere of a small town. In the warmer months, the waters in this beautiful Canadian city are frequented by whales, dolphins and cruise ships. In the winter months, the area around Corner Brook offers some of the best skiing east of the Rockies.
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Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John was the first incorporated city in what would become Canada. Its location where the Saint John River flows into the Bay of Fundy makes it a popular cruise-ship port. Saint John is home to the curious Reversing Rapids (Falls), when the tides force the river to flow backwards. It's also home to some of the most Insta-worthy spots in New Brunswick.