Osoyoos, British Columbia
Stretching up from the US, the Great Basin Desert ends in Osoyoos, a small town just north of the border. Picture blissfully humid-free summers and dry weekends, and you’ll understand why it’s a perfect vacation spot. Golf is a year-round attraction, as is the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa, a luxurious escape for anyone looking to unwind. Taste an award-winning Chardonnay nearby at Nk’Mip Cellars, the continent’s first Aboriginal winery. Outdoorsy types can opt for surf or turf adventures. At Lake Osoyoos, throw in a line or indulge in a leisurely kayak ride. Environmentally-minded tourists can join Great Horned Owl Eco-Tours for birdwatching, a visit to an abandoned gold mine, or a hike.
Chester, Nova Scotia
This quaint town on the province’s south shore could easily be called “the Hamptons of the east.” A favourite getaway of the affluent for over a century, New England families spent their summers here in stately homes overlooking the Chester Basin. Today, Canadians are discovering the area, using it to explore nearby cities like Lunenberg and Halifax. Cut your normal walking pace in half and enjoy Chester as you stroll along its main streets, savouring the views. Window shop for antiques and hand-crafted items, then pause for an almond croissant at Julien’s Patisserie. Nibble while watching sailboats in the harbour float by and wonder why you haven’t visited sooner.
St. Boniface, Manitoba
Crossing the bridge from Winnipeg into St. Boniface, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d arrived in another country. Once a fur trade town, it’s home to Western Canada’s largest Francophone community and boasts a rich cultural heritage of art galleries, theatre companies like Cercle Moliere, and museums linked to hometown hero Louis Riel. Food is also front and centre, with exquisite boulangeries, and charming bistros that offer everything from muscles and fries, to Italian gelato. Architectural gems dot the area, including the Saint-Boniface Cathedral, which incorporates walls from an earlier incarnation of the church that burned down in 1968. At night, head to a venue like Le Garage Café for live music.
Just a short drive from Hamilton, this wee town is a gem. Its main street takes you back to a time when the downtown core was a community’s lifeblood. Spend an afternoon shopping along charming King Street. The Keeping Room is a cook’s dream, chock full of every kind of kitchen gadget imaginable, while foodies can sample the selection at Mickey McGuire’s Cheese Shop. For heartier fare, head to the Collins Brewhouse, built in 1841, for classic pub grub, or dine in luxury at Quatrefoil. And did you know Dundas is also the cactus capital of Canada? Every August, this prickly history is celebrated with the Dundas Cactus Festival.
Fogo Island, Newfoundland
About an hour by ferry from Newfoundland‘s north-eastern coast, this island charms with its picturesque fishing villages and stunning ocean views. With less than 3000 inhabitants, visitors are greeted here like long-lost cousins. Fogo Island’s 11 communities include names that will bring a smile to your face: Seldom, Little Seldom, and Joe Batt’s Arm. Though it originally developed around fishing, these days tourism drives the area. Every August, a province-wide crowd travels to Fogo for the Brimstone Head Folk Festival, celebrating the Island’s heritage while taking in the sounds of traditional Irish-Newfoundland music.