Canada offers up unique experiences that you won’t find in any guidebook — you just have to know where to find them. To help you explore like a local, we’ve asked friends from across the country to share their top spots and experiences from the cities they call home. Bundled by interest or passion, consider this your local’s guide to travelling through the country’s vibrant cities and boundless wilderness.
Thanks to Tamara Elliott, Scott Bakken, Ali Inay, and Julia Weber for their local tips.
Canada’s cities were designed to be enjoyed to the fullest by its citizens. So it’s no wonder there are surprising adventures wherever you go. Year-round, Canada’s cities host secret exploits that inspire, excite, and keep you coming back for more.
Cycling Ottawa and the Rideau Canal - Ottawa
Experience the capital on two wheels
The capital is one of Canada’s most bikeable cities. It’s easy to join in when you’re visiting, too. Stop by the RentABike by Chateau Laurier and ride the pathway alongside beautiful Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bicycling across Ottawa is a great way to cover ground and explore unique neighbourhoods and communities, like downtown Bank Street, the Glebe, Chinatown, and more. Stop by local institution Moo Shu Ice Cream downtown for the perfect break cycling around the city. You can also trek across Major’s Hill Park towards Alexandra Bridge, you’ll find a great view of Ottawa River, Parliament, Ottawa Locks, and picturesque Chateau Laurier.
Calgary Archery Centre - Calgary
Aim for a good time
When the weather gets cold, you can take your adventures inside at the Calgary Archery Centre. The Centre boasts the world’s largest indoor archery range so novices and experts of all ages can learn and practice their precision. Bullseye.
Flyboarding - Okanagan
Walk on water
Looking for a unique way to experience the beautiful lakes of British Columbia’s Okanagan? Flyboarding is it. Whether you’re in Kelowna, Penticton, or Osoyoos, boost yourself up over a lake and learn some tricks while on a water-powered board with Okanagan Adventures. Might we suggest experiencing the Okanagan’s lakes from a new perspective, then hunkering down for some serious wine tasting?
Snow tubing - Winnipeg
Snow before you go
If you’re tired of the slopes, locals recommend trying snow tubing in Winnipeg. Hop in a special inner tube for a super fun way to experience the snow without any hefty equipment – just bundle up and go! You’ll get towed up the hill, then gravity and the slippery slope do the rest. After a few runs, warm up with a hot chocolate (or a drink – we support either) and experience the beauty of Canadian winter.
Skyline Luge Track - Calgary
A (de)luge of adrenaline
If you can imagine flying around a track like a real life game of Mario Kart, you have an idea of the crazy fun that awaits at the Skyline Luge Track at WinSport Winter Sport Institute. Riders speed down a full mile of exhilarating twists and turns – and a 91-metre drop (gulp). It’s Calgary’s most thrilling, adrenaline-fueled adventure for all ages. Other WinSport activities include a zipline course that starts from an Olympic ski jump and offers amazing views of the city, and a summer bobsleigh run that clocks in at over 80 km/h. That sound you hear? Just our teeth chattering.
Formula 1 bicycling - Montreal
Bike a world-famous racetrack
June is always a hopping month for Montreal. That’s when tens of thousands of racing enthusiasts descend on the city for the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. But when the Circuit isn’t in use, the 4.3-kilometre track in famous Parc Jean-Drapeau opens up to bicyclists for an unforgettable experience pedaling around the famous raceway. The roar of engines is replaced by the rhythm pedals turning for a tranquil day riding your bicycle.
Skate the Rideau Canal - Ottawa
Hockey isn’t Canada’s only icy passion
Ottawa’s outdoor adventures don’t stop in winter. When the Rideau Canal freezes over each year, it becomes the world’s largest outdoor skating rink. The 7.8-kilometre canal skateway is a true winter haven for locals and there are plenty of skate rental shops so visitors can lace-up and join the fun too. It’s an only-in-Ottawa experience you can’t find anywhere else. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a BeaverTail (a very Canadian, very good fried-dough pastry) or a warm meal from Flapjack’s Pancake Shack. They have a bonfire right on the water for an extra cozy time. If you skate-up a bigger appetite, get off at Dow’s Lake and walk to the diner on Preston Street.
Locked Room - Calgary
Escape from the ordinary
Locked Room is an indoor escape room adventure that begins in a locked, fun-themed room. You and your group have exactly one hour to find your way out and make an escape. Participants have to work collaboratively to find a creative way out. Whimsically-themed escape rooms like The Great Train Heist and The Hipster Hangover add to the adventure.
Take a turn off the beaten path to discover Canada’s unknown treasures. Canadians are inventive with their fun, finding new and exciting ways to turn every day into an adventure.