Every time I opened a newspaper or magazine this summer, the word staycation was engraved in bold lettering, somewhere in the travel-trend-and-business sections. Slyly coined, it was and still resonates with many of us. We’re staying close to home for the annual vacation, at least until we’re in the clear in these recessionary times.
That’s why I was hardly surprised then when after the standard, “how did you get this job?” question, the most immediate question was “and what are some of your top city recommendations in Canada?”
This list is not meant to serve up anything other than a hint of flavour to our fleeting days of summer, very quickly coming to and end. And it’s in no particular order of preference.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Where else can you go running, sailing and hiking on the same day, drive to Whistler, come back and check out the horse races, hobnob with celebrities at the finest hotels, walk around in an Asian summer market, eat the freshest seafood, dance, and then go for an awesome twilight nosh–all in just under 16 hours?
Dawson City, Yukon
Radiant energy keeps the sun shining all summer long in this northern city. For runners, the Midnight Dome race is a draw. Music enthusiasts need to check out the annual music festival. The sour toe shot, gold miners and charming adventures wait for those who believe in magic.
St. John’s, Newfoundland
Canada’s oldest city is phenomenal. George Street, the Rooms, cod tongue appetizers, friendly people and the East Coast Trail will keep me coming back. Oh, and the views of the moody ocean, drama-inducing cliffs and bays, now that’s something to talk about.
Watch out for the handsome police that monitor the downtown streets dressed up in cowboy gear, dangerous! The city has grown up, big time. Posh hotels, shops and restaurants make way for the fast food and steak-and-potato joints of yesteryear. It’s something for everyone.
Montreal is soul: It’s music, food, art, culture, fashion and intellect presented in a city form. What can I say?
Ottawa feels like a Toronto, Montreal and a Vancouver, all bundled into a neat-and-manageable present. I loved the trendy clothing scene of Bytown, and the even more on-point, slow food movement restaurants tucked away, sneaking up on you in alleys and courtyards. Uber-cool.
Quebec City, Quebec
European elegance, preserved history and glorious food is Quebec. Forward thinking, the romance can be bundled up during the winter, but blossoms during the summer. Oh, how sweet it is…
Victoria, British Columbia
It’s not about the horse-drawn carriages and high tea with grandma anymore. Hipsters have transformed Low-Jo (Johnson Street) to be one of the most unique shopping districts in BC, and the restaurants are alive-and-well with organic-and-local foods. Not what you’d expect to find in a city this size. It’s refined.
Toronto is fun. For someone who needs a ton of extracurricular activities, this city will be a hit. Check out the Drake Hotel, call Bruce the historian and go for a walk, and check out the Torontoist.com for the latest blogger gossip.