5 Canadian Cities That Look Straight out of a Fairy Tale
By: Kendra Wolfman
The global pandemic has made traveling more difficult and as a result, many of us have decided to put our travel plans on hold or opt for local, weekend destinations. That said, we can all still dream! So, why not add a European-inspired destination to your bucket list? Here are five magical Canadian cities that will make you feel like you’ve stepped right into a European fairy tale.
Québec City, Québec
Québec City is arguably one of the most European-like cities in Canada. Colonized by the French in the 17th Century, the French influence and culture in Québec are still present to this day. With its cobblestone streets, French-inspired architecture, and locals speaking French, you may feel like you’ve been transported to France! What’s most magical about this city, however, is the magnificent chateau right at its center. Resembling a European castle, Chateau Frontenac is the place to stay if you want to feel like royalty. Come wintertime, stay in the wonderland that is the Hôtel de Glace—a mesmerizing hotel built entirely of ice every winter, where brave guests can sleep on a bed of ice (with plenty of blankets, of course).
Perth is a small town in Eastern Ontario, located along the Tay River, just an hour away from Ottawa, Canada. This little-known town is brimming with stone buildings that resemble European landmarks. Though small in size, there is much for tourists to discover here. You can visit the Perth Museum to learn about the town’s history or shop for unique, vintage items at the Gore St. Antique Market.
Merrickville is a vibrant Victorian village founded in 1794 by William Merrick, a loyalist from Massachusetts. Located on the Rideau Canal, Merrickville contains stone masonry buildings dating back to the 1800s. There’s even a moat and drawbridge open to the public- it doesn’t get more fairytale than that! Although Merrickville boasts the comforts of the 21st century, its historic attractions will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time to Medieval Europe.
St. John’s Newfoundland
St. John’s is one of the most colorful fishing villages in all of Canada, resembling Ireland’s brightly-colored buildings situated next to the water. The buildings were painted in unique colors to help fishermen find their way back to shore more easily, especially in foggy climates. While you won’t hear Irish brogue spoken here, you’ll still be able to experience Irish culture and influence. There are also plenty of boutiques, restaurants, and antique shops.
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Antigonish is full of Scottish influence, as many Scots decided to plant roots in Nova Scotia after they fled the oppressive Highlands in Western Scotland in the 19th Century. Not only is this city known as “the Highland Heart of Nova Scotia,” but it is also home to the oldest and most continuous Highland games outside of Scotland. Much like Scotland, Antigonish has rolling hills and scenic beaches and is also known for its fine arts and festivals, so be sure to explore its many museums and art galleries.
Although European colonization happened years ago, much of that culture remains across Canada, ranging from architecture to traditions. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to explore the Canadian “Europe,” these cities are great places to start.