Story by Vacay.ca Staff
Romance is on the mind, and Canada with its abundance of natural beauty, charming small towns and scenic cities is filled with destinations that will make you swoon. Our team of travel writers and experts gathered to decide on the top 10 most romantic places to visit in the nation, whether it’s now as the holiday approaches or at any time during your lives together.
1. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia — Possibly the most romantic aspect of vacationing on Cape Breton Island is the fact that things move slowly there. You can live in your hotel room for days without missing your laptop. You can take a snowshoeing trip to areas with no cell-phone service and never miss that annoying buzz that comes every five minutes. In Cape Breton it’s all about you, your partner and breathtaking landscapes. Visiting Cape Breton takes relaxation to new levels, which means you have nothing but time to devote to the one you love the most.
If your ideal romantic getaway includes cozy pub booths, fresh seafood and simple country charm, then this island in the Maritimes should be at the top of your list. Cape Breton offers peaceful and idyllic surroundings as well as luxurious resorts and warm B&Bs — perfect for a Valentine’s Day weekend escape, an anniversary trip or even a romantic honeymoon.
When you cross over to “the Island” from mainland Nova Scotia, you can almost hear the music in the air — fiddle music, more specifically. Cape Breton has the most fiddle players per capita in the world and it isn’t difficult to find a quiet pub or country dance to try your hand at Cape Breton step or square dancing with your honey.
2. Lake Louise, Alberta — Natural beauty doesn’t get more spectacular than this icon of the Canadian Rockies. If gazing out from the Fairmont hotel onto the lake’s calm turquoise waters lapping against the mountains doesn’t put you in the mood, then your pulse may need a check.
Lake Louise has been named one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations because it is secluded, pristine, cozy and so breathtaking you’ll just want to hug someone to make sure you’re still on earth. Banff National Park’s jewel is romantic, no matter what time of year you go there, although spring and fall are ideal, to avoid the summer bus crowds and the winter ski visitors.
3. Quebec City — From Côte de la Montagne, stand atop the staircase leading to Rue du Petit Champlain and take in the view of what just may be the prettiest street in Canada, and possibly North America. Then descend hand-in-hand down the staircase that has been part of the city since 1635. Their name, the Breakneck Stairs, isn’t romantic, but it gives you all the more reason to hold on tight as you go down the 59 steps together. When you reach the cobblestones, you’ll stroll between the centuries-old buildings along a thin aisle that just might make you imagine matrimony. (Hint: Not a bad spot to drop down on a knee.)
Quebec City delivers all that an urban escape should for lovers: gracefulness, romantic cafés, sexy lounges and luxurious hotels ready to pamper you. If you’re not in love with the one you’re with, you’re sure to fall in love with the city you’re in.
4. Heart’s Delight, Newfoundland — On Trinity Bay and with wide ocean views and slow, rural living, this town lives up to its name. With about 650 people living in it, the little village is a place you go if you really want to get away from it all — together. Plus, you can’t get much more romantic than a place named “Heart’s Delight,” right?
Well, you could meander down the road to Heart’s Content or Heart’s Desire, two more splendid towns along the coast in beautiful rural Newfoundland.
5. Kluane National Park, Yukon — This park is home to Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak, and that alone may make it an aphrodisiac. If that doesn’t do it for you, then adventuring together in this unspoiled wilderness should build an enduring bond. Kluane remains largely undiscovered by Canadians, despite being a World Heritage Site and covering 21,980 square kilometres. You can canoe together, mountain bike, take a flightseeing tour, horseback ride and catch view of some stunning scenery in one of the most uninhabited regions of the world. The wildlife viewing alone is a compelling reason to venture up north, as grizzly bears and bald eagles abound.
6. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario — If Quebec City is the prettiest big town in Canada, then Niagara-on-the-Lake is the prettiest small one. Flower boxes, boutique stores and historic theatres line the main street of this community known for its wines, outstanding restaurants and fine hotels.
Valentine’s Day idea: Make a reservation for afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel, a special treat that every couple should enjoy once. Cost is $32 per person and up.
7. Montreal — Quebec’s biggest city is the place to heat things up, with many late-night rendez-vous options, intimate restaurants and loads of sexy, fun-filled possibilities. If all you want is a hotel room in a wonderful setting, you can’t go wrong with properties like Le Place d’Armes, Le Petit Hotel and Hotel Nelligan.
8. Sooke Harbour House, British Columbia — Sunsets are romantic. Sunsets in Sooke are enchantingly so. The little city west of Victoria is on the tip of Vancouver Island, so you can watch the sun dip into the Pacific uninterrupted. The Harbour House allows you to pair that captivating moment with a stay in one of the most environmentally conscious properties in Canada, which is the kind of commitment you want to see around Valentine’s Day. The 33-year-old property with 28 guestrooms has a water-reclamation system and an organic garden, and is increasingly using vegetable-based cleaning products.
9. Langdon Hall, Cambridge, Ontario — Set on 200 acres, this mansion that’s an hour away from Toronto was built for the grand-daughter of America’s first multi-millionaire, John Jacob Astor. From fine dining to exquisitely appointed rooms to a spa with treatments for him and her, Langdon Hall doesn’t overlook any detail. It provides decadent luxury in every way and is the place to go for a refined romantic getaway.
10. Dalvay-by-the-Sea, York, Prince Edward Island — A National Historic Site, this pristine hotel that sits between a lake, a pond and the Gulf of St. Lawrence hosted Prince William and Catherine during their royal visit last year. Strolling in the footsteps of those two lovebirds is sure to rub off, right?