A tale of four cities

Selling Canada takes an offbeat look at Canada’s fab four gateway cities: Toronto, Vancouver, Montréal and Calgary

Toronto

Culture spot: With more than 90,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the most distinguished art museums in North America.

Foodies: Try dim sum and noodle soups in Chinatown or sample an array of dishes at St. Lawrence Market Head.

Hipsters: Sip coffee in Kensington Market. Instagram pic: The Distillery District dates back to the 1830s. The former Gooderham & Worts distillery is now a national historic site.

On trend: Unwind with cocktails and a stunning panorama of the East Side from the rooftop of The Broadview Hotel.

View: The SkyPod observation deck at the CN Tower offers 360-degree views from 1,465 feet above the city.

Neighbourhood: Riverside and Leslieville, east of the Don River, which has a distinct charm thanks to its one-off small businesses.

Pillow talk: The King Blue Hotel Toronto is a contemporary landmark on the corner of King Street West and Blue Jays Way.

Don’t miss: In the Fashion District, Graffiti Alley spans three city blocks. It has some of the best of Toronto’s street art and mural culture.

Vancouver

cities vancouver

Culture spot: The newly-opened Museum of North Vancouver (MONOVA) presents a collection of more than 9,000 artefacts exploring the stories of North Vancouver.

Foodies: Thai, Lebanese, Italian, Teriyaki or seafood? You will find a food truck serving it.
Hipsters: Join a kayaking or stand-up paddleboard (SUP) class at Kits Beach.

Instagram pic: Look out for actor Ryan Reynolds (of Deadpool fame) who was born in Vancouver and is often seen around the city.

On trend: Be in Vancouver for the VMF Winter Arts Festival, an open-air gallery of augmented reality art and light installations in the heart of downtown.

View: Take a drive up Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver to the Highview Lookout.

Neighbourhood: Kitsilano (or ‘Kits’ as the locals call it) is laid-back, buzzy, and populated by shops, organic cafes and sandy beaches.

Pillow talk: The Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim was recently named one of the best spas in the world.

Don’t miss: Enjoy a picnic in Stanley Park – buy local fare bought from shops close to the park.

Calgary

cities calgary

Culture spot: Studio Bell tells the story of music in Canada over five exhibition floors, with artifacts, memorabilia and live recording studios.

Foodies: John Jackson and Connie DeSousa, local restaurateur duo, own three locally loved restaurants: CHARCUT Roast House, CHIX Eggshop and Alley Burger.

Hipsters: Buy boots inspired by the Canadian prairies but suited to modern cowboys and cowgirls at the Alberta Boot Company.

Instagram pic: The nearest ocean is 1,000 kilometres to the west but that won’t stop you taking a selfie in a wetsuit and with a surfboard on the Bow River.

On trend: A beer at Brothers in Brewing, one of many pubs in Calgary’s big craft beer scene.
View: The revolving bar and restaurant at the top of the Calgary Tower. There’s a glass floor extension on the 360degree observation deck.

Neighbourhood: East Village is known for riverside pathways that meander along the Bow River, as well as heritage buildings and parks.

Pillow talk: Built in the early 1900s, The King Edward Hotel was once the ‘Home of the Blues’, where Buddy Guy and Jeff Healey played.

Don’t miss: Heritage Park charts Western Canada’s history from the 1860s to the 1950s.

Montréal

cities montreal

Culture spot: The fine craftsmanship of up-and-coming and established Inuit and First Nations artists are on display at La Guilde.

Foodies: Tuck into flavourful Cambodian street food at Les Street Monkeys, housed in hip, industrial-chic surroundings.

Hipsters: Have a breakfast crepe, grilled cheese or veggie ‘pulled pork’ at Depanneur Le Pickup. Instagram pic: Old Montréal, which dates back to the 17th century, provides images imbued with a familiar European vibe.

On trend: Enjoy fine dining and a cocktail at Les Enfants Terribles, the highest restaurant and terrace in Montréal.

View: Au Sommet PVM, an indoor observation deck 617 feet above street level, offers 360-degree view of the city.

Neighbourhood: On the banks of the St. Lawrence River, Verdun’s parks are full of locals cycling riverside bike paths, kicking a ball around or picnicking on grassy banks.

Pillow talk: The Ritz-Carlton Montréal is the first and only Five Diamond property in Québec.

Don’t miss: Meander over the Champlain Bridge and spend an afternoon at Nun’s Island, a leafy suburban area with quiet parks, waterfront paths and the Strøm Nordic Spa.