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.