10 Canadian Vacation Spots that Locals Hate

Have you ever travelled to a country and discovered the the locals have never been to the places you’ve filled your itinerary with? Or maybe they have and give you long list of places you should go instead? Ask a Canadian local and they’ll be able to provide you with a lot of places to go…but they might not be the places you expect. This is a recent list of Canadian vacation spots that reveal where Canadians dislike travelling or find underwhelming.

“Say ‘Bonjour’ to disappointment, Eh?”

This tongue-in-cheek phrase from Julianna Marshall, Travel Expert for the International Drivers Association, defines the sentiment held by some travellers as they visit popular Canadian tourist destinations, only to be met with disappointment. From overcrowded streets to underwhelming sights, these are the places Canadians “hate” to admit they visit.

The Not-So Magnificent Canadian Vacation Spots

  1. Niagara Falls, Ontario: With its beautiful waterfalls, Niagara Falls continues to entice visitors year after year. Yet, some Canadians beg to differ. The commercialization around this natural wonder leaves much to be desired.
    Our take: We have to agree! I was blown away when driving into town that there were so many strip clubs and typical touristy locations like Ripley’s and plenty of chain restaurants. It wasn’t worth the visit. Instead try Ontario’s wine country in the Niagara area! Just a short drive from Niagara Falls you can experience some of Canada’s best wineries and the iconic ice wine. 

2. Whistler, British Columbia: Many see Whistler as a winter paradise, but for locals, high prices and overtourism feel more like a chilly encounter.
Our Take:  While it is true, Whistler is expensive, it is still my mom’s favourite spot for her birthday. In the summer we hop on our bikes and stop at viewpoints, restaurants and food trucks. It is a rainforest in the mountains with fine dining. Be expected to pay more for everything but get an AirBnB to cook on your own – get groceries in Squamish to save even more. We especially love the night hike with Vallea Lumina which is a must! Say what you will but it is a great Canadian vacation spot to go at least once.

3. Banff, Alberta: Often celebrated for its breathtaking scenery, Banff has garnered a reputation among some Canadians as a ‘tourist trap’. Not everyone appreciates the trade-off between serenity and economic success.
Our Take: This one did surprise us. I mean I get it, the long lines and overpopulation makes it difficult to really enjoy the scenery. But it is one of the must visit Canadian vacation spots to see at least once! 

The Overrated Within Urbanity

4. CN Tower, Toronto: Being one of the tallest structures in the world, the CN Tower is expected to impress. But the costly tickets just to ride an elevator and walk around a viewing deck? Some Canadians don’t buy it, literally.
Our Take:  Unless you’re looking to hang off the side of the CN Tower then it is a skip. I mean the city skyline of Toronto is made identifyable largely because of CN Tower. Otherwise, there isn’t much to look at in terms of landscape other than the lake it resides on.

5. Old Montreal, Quebec: Lovers of history might appreciate Old Montreal’s charm, but the romanticized view of the cobblestone streets doesn’t always resonate with the locals who complain about overpriced food and crowded walkways.
Our Take:  Skip it and try the historic district in Quebec City. It is charming, yes busy but not nearly as busy as Montreal.

6. Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia: The famous lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove has graced countless postcards. But for some Canadians, the iconic landmark is just a lighthouse, and not much more.
Our Take: If you’re going all the way to Nova Scotia for a lighthouse, you’re going to find your fill but we recommend going for the food! Lobster, fresh fish, it is all so delicious. We also recommend checking out NovaScotiaExplorer.com for all the best things to do from a local’s perspective!

The Less Loved Destinations

  1. Vancouver Island, British Columbia: A gem of the Pacific Northwest, yet, it appears not all Canadians share the sentiment. Complaints include the commute just to reach the island and the unpredictable weather patterns.
    Our Take: Sorta. This is a must Canadian vacation spot.
    Ok, yes, BC Ferries is a hassle to deal with in peak season or when weather is bad BUT it is worth it! To avoid the ferries you can book a flight into Nanaimo or Victoria. We love Vancouver Island from especially Tofino & Ucluelet, it is a must if you’re planning an exploration of British Columbia, Canada!

8. Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta: Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dinosaur Park has been criticized for little more than barren landscapes and sparsely scattered bones.
Our Take: I am not sure if people expect to stumble upon a perfectly preserved dinosaur skeleton in complete but it ain’t gonna happen. See this opportunity to take a hike and see POTENTIAL dinosaur bones. If you want a guarantee then visit the visitor’s centre.

Haida Gwaii AirBnb

9. Haida Gwaii, British Columbia: Known for its mystical beauty, not everyone is convinced. Due to its remote location, access to Haida Gwaii can be a commitment not everyone is willing to make.
Our Take: We visited Haida Gwaii as kids and yes the overnight ferry trip was long in the 1990s. We haven’t been recently but we’d happily go back. The remote island makes for an educational visit for kids and coastal escape filled with historical Indigenous importance.

10. Calgary Stampede, Alberta: Known ’round the world, yet despised by some locals who dread the congestion, noise pollution, and animal welfare issues.
Our Take: We haven’t been before but have considered going just for the food.

Travel Expert for the International Drivers Association, Julianna Marshall advises, “For a complete Canadian experience, veer away from the common beaten paths and discover the less-travelled, equally stunning, locations. Canada is a vast land with diverse landscapes and cultures waiting to be explored.

10 Canadian Vacation Spots Local Hate

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