Canada's biggest city is safe, clean, and family-friendly, consistently ranking as one of the best places in the world to live. Toronto's most famous landmark is the CN Tower, and is the tallest free-standing structure on the continent. Toronto is a hotbed of sporting activity. Take your little sports fan to see their teams in Major League Baseball (Blue Jays), the National Hockey League (Maple Leafs), National Basketball Association (Raptors) and Major League Soccer (Toronto FC). Toronto also has a vibrant theater scene, with productions rivaling those on Broadway.
Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris, and although most signage includes English translations, don't expect to get any help from the locals if you're monolingual. Mount Royal Park is a wonderful place for a family stroll and a picnic overlooking the city. The district of Old Montreal features wonderful 18th-century architecture, including the City Hall, which was gutted by a fire in 1922, but now houses rebuilt offices. Olympic Stadium, built for the 1976 Summer Olympics, no longer gets much use, but is worth the short subway ride to see its distinctive leaning tower.
Banff is one of the most popular National Parks in the Americas, hosting millions of visitors every year. It is famous for its ski resorts, in particular Lake Louise, with 4,200 acres of mostly challenging terrain. The park includes natural features such as a hot springs and glaciers, making it popular for campers. Both backcountry permits and reserved spots at campgrounds are available. For those seeking luxury, there are many high-class hotels with all the amenities.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver has enjoyed a reputation as a Hollywood of the north, because with a wide range of geology and urban areas, it can double as almost any other city in the world, and thanks to tax incentives, many movies and TV shows have been filmed there. Vancouver will host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, with alpine events to be held at the massive Whistler Blackcomb resort. For a scenic drive unlike any other, take a spin on the Sea to Sky Highway.
Nova Scotia is one of the original Canadian provinces, and is located on a peninsula on the country's easternmost edge. It has mild winters and cool summers, so despite being surrounded on almost all sides by water, it's not exactly a tropical beach destination. It is, however, an incredible spot for fishing, going on a whale watch, or visiting Sable Island, which is notorious for causing shipwrecks. Though in some ways Nova Scotia is worlds apart, it's also easily accessible from the Northeastern United States.
The world-famous Niagra Falls have become something of a kitschy tourist destination, but the force of the falls themselves breaks through the superficial stuff. As much as 202,000 cubic feet of water may be surging over the edge every second. Take a cruise in the Maid of the Mist, a boat that will ferry you right up to the powerful falls, but don't forget to wear a poncho!