16 Things To Enjoy In Canadian Cities this Summer

July 21, 2020

Welcome to Summer 2020, travellers! We know that though you’re itching for an epic road trip or two, you’re probably staying close to home this year. But that doesn’t have to be boring! No matter which province you call home, you can safely experience Canada’s biggest cities.


Here’s “Part 1” of our top picks for unique things to do in some of Canada’s urban centres.

Toronto Highlights

Toronto Skyline


Whether you’re visiting from another Ontario city or exploring your own backyard, we recommend these local activities!


  • Go see Van Gogh! The virtual Van Gogh exhibit made a splash this spring. Now that Toronto is in Stage 2 of reopening, you can experience the magic by car or on foot. As the website says, “Be immersed in 600,000 cubic feet of stunning projection animating the masters’ oeuvre and illuminating the mind of the genius. Wander through giant projections that highlight brushstroke, detail, and colour as you have never experienced them.”


  • Drive-in movies. You might opt for your car instead of your RV for this one. Why not take the family to an outdoor movie this summer? Here are all the details



Victoria Highlights


Supporting local businesses and restaurants in Victoria is more important than ever. Which of these activities are on your bucket list for Summer 2020?


  • Take a Gorge Tour. Victoria Harbour Ferry’s Gorge Tour is a relaxing way to get out on the water. You’ll also learn about the Coast Salish peoples and Victoria’s naval history. New social distancing procedures will keep everyone safe and healthy on the journey!


  • Eat fresh at the Farmers Market. The Esquimalt Farmers Market might have fewer vendors this year, but it’s still a vibrant place to enjoy local, fresh foods! Don’t forget to bring a mask and hand sanitizer for your stroll through the market.


  • Sip local wine, social distancing-style. Victoria vineyards like Blue Grouse Estate have offered special delivery and provincial shipping options during coronavirus lockdowns. Now that in-person tasting is possible, the winery has moved to a reservation system. Why not escape the heat of the city and enjoy a crisp Victoria wine?


  • Catch a film at the drive-in. Toronto isn’t the only city with drive-in movie options! Legacy Drive-In is even donating a portion of ticket sales to the University of Victoria’s COVID-19 Support Bursary.  

Drive in Theatre

Quebec City Highlights


From its French Canadian culture to its walkable streets, Quebec City makes a wonderful “staycation” destination this summer!


  • Find your favourite picnic view. Quebec City is the perfect place to enjoy local cuisine against a vibrant backdrop of parks, the St. Lawrence River, and Château Frontenac. To help you discover someplace new, check out the best picnic spots in the city.

Garden picnic


  • Explore Jacques-Cartier National Park. Who says city dwellers can’t enjoy a little nature too? In 2018, we recognized Jacques-Cartier National Park’s in our article on the best places to find your wildhood — and our opinion hasn’t changed! Catch a glimpse of stunning glacial valleys and lush forests. Please note that summer 2020 visitors must buy a daily pass online before arriving at the park.


  • Stroll through Old Quebec. Between postponed festivals and travel bans, you might feel like summertime itself is cancelled. But sometimes magical evening walks and new adventures are just under our noses. This summer, take a day or two to explore the Upper Town and the Old City. Find a new favourite shop or cafe. Photograph the Château Frontenac from a new angle. Enjoy your city!


  • Visit Wendake. Only 15 minutes from downtown Quebec City, you can visit the First Nations Hotel and Museum Complex for a taste of history and culture. Wendake is home to the only Huron‑Wendat Nation in Canada. Enjoy First Nations cuisine and a traditional dance performance. Please note that for social distancing purposes, tickets are limited.


Edmonton Highlights


Though most summer festivals have been cancelled, it’s not hard to find sunshine, natural beauty, and entertainment in the “Gateway to the North!”


  • Relax at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden. Nothing says summertime like a picnic in the park! This summer, local tastemakers have created picnic baskets brimming with tasty beverages and charcuterie ingredients for lunch or dinner in the garden.


  • See the wildlife at Elk Island National Park. You won’t need to look far to spot dozens of bison in Elk Island National Park. According to Explore Edmonton, the park “provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in North America.” Wildlife viewing is best during the day, but evening visitors should sit back and stargaze—the area is part of the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve!

Elk Island


  • Climb around at Snow Valley Aerial Park. Maybe quarantine has you craving an adrenaline rush. Or maybe you’ve always been an avid climber. Regardless of your skill level, Snow Valley Aerial Park is sure to help you break a sweat, laugh, and burn off your cabin fever. Masks are not required — each time slot is limited to 12 participants.


  • Hunt for public art downtown. Artsy Edmonton is full of galleries as well as public murals and sculptures. Grab a camera (or your smartphone) and try to find these 10 public art spaces in the city.