Endowed with gorgeous scenery and fascinating cities coast to coast, Canada is one of the most romantic countries in the world for couples to discover. Whether you love adventure and the great outdoors, are fans of dynamic festivals or are sophisticates who relish culture and cuisine, they can all be found here.
So look north and get your passports in order as you begin planning a Canada honeymoon or romantic getaway. What follows are recommendations for what to see and do in the country's most charming places, west to east.
Falling in Love with Tofino
On the westernmost tip of Vancouver Island, the remote village of Tofino is located on a peninsula surrounded by the calm Clayoquot Sound, roaring Pacific Ocean and Pacific Rim National Park. Vast landscapes and tree-lined mountains where eagles glide overhead lure lovers to this spot, where nature is at its most raw and spectacular.
With landscapes like this, it's a haven for artists and the town features many galleries. Kiss before you board kayaks and paddle amid seals. If you're truly rugged, plan to visit between November and February, when storms occur — and knowledgeable couples go storm watching. Crashing waves and howling winds create a vivid and dramatic backdrop, whether you're sheltered in a protective cove wearing rain gear or safely tucked into your hotel wearing little.
Falling in Love with Victoria
Calling itself Canada's most romantic city, easy-going Victoria lies at the southern shore of Vancouver Island, 43 miles from Vancouver. It's also the capital city of British Columbia.
Its charm derives from its Victorian architecture and its allure includes a range of outdoor experiences — among them biking, hiking, boating, golfing and whale watching.
Victoria's most romantic places include the Veranda restaurant at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, which overlooks the Baroque Parliament Building and shimmering Inner Harbour. Come for afternoon tea to savor delicious fare and gracious living. Later, visit Victoria's small Chinatown, home to Fan Tan Alley, a very narrow passageway where you may not be able to resist a kiss.
Falling in Love with Vancouver
Canada's coolest city on the West Coast, Vancouver will appeal to couples of all kinds. Love the outdoors? Thousand-acre Stanley Park features miles of forest trails as well as ones along the mountains and sea to bike. Hungry for interesting and ethnic cuisine? Granville Island is an open-air market with dozens of places to eat.
Do you ski or snowboard or want to learn? It's just an hour and a half by shuttle from urban Vancouver to Whistler, a popular ski resort whose powder normally dusts Whistler and Blackcomb mountains from November through early May.
Falling in Love on the Train
Via Rail's The Canadian travels between Vancouver's Pacific Central Station and Union Station in Toronto. If you don't have time to take the full coast-to-coast journey, plan to exit the train in Jasper. Before that, treat yourselves to an overnight in the Prestige Car's Cabin for Two.
You'll have a spacious cabin all to yourselves, with a wide picture window overlooking the towering and usually snow-capped Canadian Rockies. By day, chill on the L-shaped leather couch. When you return from dinner, your concierge will have transformed it into a Murphy bed for two. There's also a private bathroom with a shower and a stocked minibar. And at night you can watch videos on the flat-screen when there's no moon to illuminate the magnificent scenery.
Falling in Love with Jasper
The largest National Park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is endowed with glaciers, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls and miles of pristine nature for couples to explore. The park's altitude ranges from 3,200 feet in the Athabasca Valley to over 12,000 feet atop Mount Columbia. Arrive on horseback or motorcycles, raft the whitewater, go on guided wildlife walks, see it on a helicopter tour.
November through April, visitors can experience a guided Maligne Canyon Ice Walk past frozen waterfalls and the river they feed into. Still chill? Explore Another the Columbia Ice Fields. There you can walk right onto a glacier or take the explorer bus that goes directly to the top of the mountain.
For the quintessential mountain getaway., consider the 903-acre Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge beside sparkling Beauvert Lake and surrounded by towering pine trees. A couple would be delighted to spend the first few nights of married life in its Honeymoon Cabin. A compact, freestanding log cabin, it features the three requisites of romance: a kingsize bed, a fireplace, and a bathtub big enough for two. It also has a flatscreen TV in the living room and a small terrace with overlooking Pyramid Mountain.
Falling in Love with Edmonton
Extending for 264 square miles, Edmonton is larger than Toronto, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other sizable cities. And it's not normally on romantics' lists of must-see places. Yet it is home to one utterly unique place to spend the night: The Fantasyland Hotel.
About a third of the guest rooms in the 12-story Fantasyland Hotel are themed. They're silly, they're kitschy, they're a hoot. And if you use your imagination and squint, you can transport yourself to an artist’s conception of a Polynesian paradise; an Arabian nights hideaway; a Hollywood boudoir; or even outer space.
When you come back down to earth, walk through to the West Edmonton Mall. It's no longer the world's biggest, but it does lay claim to the world's largest indoor wave pool, complete with a zip line overhead.
Falling in Love with Ottawa
Canada's capital city has been accused by some people of being dull. But that's because those people haven't visited during the best time of year: Winter. That's when Ottawa's Rideau Canal, which extends for more than 125 miles to the head of Lake Ontario, freezes overs and opens to ice skaters.
Dressed in skates and warm clothing that you can move in, glide to your hearts' content, pausing now and then to stop for some beaver tails and hot chocolate before continuing on your way.
Falling in Love with Niagara Falls
Honeymoon couples and other romantics have made their way to Niagara Falls for generations, and it's true that this natural wonder inspires awe and exhilarates the senses. Yet it's not easy to fall in love with the Falls. Both on the New York and Canadian sides, it's become a tourist trap.
So come for the rushing waters, sail close to the thundering cascades and mist on a boat, but then head a half hour north to Niagara on the Lake. A haven for adults, NOTL has a number of wineries where you can taste the local vintages and sweet ice wine. There are plenty of good places to stay and the world-class Shaw Festival productions to entertain you.
Falling in Love with Toronto
Urban Toronto has been likened to a "clean New York," but it's more than that. A recent building spurt has endowed it with a spate of world-class hotels including a new Four Seasons (the brand's flagship), Shangri-la Toronto, Park Hyatt Toronto, and The Ritz-Carlton Toronto.
Toronto is the kind of big city where you can customize a romantic getaway to your taste. You can get your exercise walking all over town or pick up Bixi bikes. Public transportation is available as well, but it doesn't reach everywhere. Foodies ought to pay a visit to the St. Lawrence Market, where purveyors of the city's best comestibles display their wares — and often press samples on you.
Toronto's a great restaurant town, thanks to its many ethnic enclaves. Don't miss a trip to Greektown, where the fare is fresh, delicious and budget-friendly.
Devour culture? You could spend a whole day at the Art Gallery of Ontario. We loved Frank Gehry's ingenious architectural update of the museum and the impressive collection of Canadian art.
To get really high, head to the top of the CN Tower for an eagles eye view of the city. Sunset is the most romantic time to visit. Daredevils can go outside on the 116th floor to do the EdgeWalk (strapped in with a safety harness, of course).
Falling in Love with Quebec City
You'll hear French, the language of love, spoken as you explore Québec City on the Saint Lawrence River. Yet that's not it's only charm. Old Québec is a UNESCO world heritage treasure thanks to the tall stone walls that have protected it from invaders since 1608.
Inside those walls are Haute-Ville (the upper town) and Basse-Ville, the lower town, connected by a funicular. Stone buildings and narrow cobblestone streets, trendy shops and inviting bistros make travelers feel as if they're strolling the streets of Paris.
If you can swing it, the place to stay is the castle-like Château Frontenac. A grand hotel that's kept up with the times, it's both iconic and eco-sensitive. One exit from the hotel leads to Dufferin Terrace, a wide boardwalk that overlooks the St. Lawrence River and attracts more than its share of loving couples pausing for a selfie and a smooch.
Even more thrilling is a night in Quebec's Ice Hotel, where you can cuddle in a room or suite artfully carved from the ice and kept at sub-zero temperatures in winter (but you won't freeze; there's a nearby heated hotel to take refuge).
Falling in Love with Montreal
Among all of Canada's cities, Montreal is its most romantic and dynamic. In summer, it's a cavalcade of festivals ranging from jazz to comedy. And at night, this city really comes alive. The old part of the city is beautifully lit from Notre Dame Cathedral down to the enchanting port.
The city also has a casino shaped like an ocean liner. It's located on an island close to the city center and shuttles are available and taxis inexpensive.
Montreal also has a place in the history of romance. It was here that a Beatle and his new wife held The John Lennon/Yoko Ono Bed-In for Peace in the Queen Elizabeth hotel. The couple's suite was recently renovated and you can reserve a stay.