15 Stunning Canadian Landmarks Worth Visiting


Canada is known for its scenic splendor and ten uniquely different provinces. Sprinkled among these diverse regions are some incredible Canadian landmarks, from modern structures to natural formations and historic buildings.

If you’re planning a trip to Canada, you’ll want to check out these famous landmarks in Canada. Whether you’re looking for picturesque landmarks in Nova Scotia, natural phenomena in New Brunswick or popular points of interest in Ottawa, you’re sure to find something you’ll love.

This list highlights 28 of most famous Canadian landmarks. Not only are all these landmarks of Canada aesthetically pleasing to look at, but they also provide insight into the culture and history of the area.

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Banff National Park in winter

28 Canada Landmarks

1.   The CN Tower

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Canton Tower

Located in downtown Toronto, the CN Tower has been an iconic feature of the city’s skyline since 1976. It rises 553 meters up; an impressive height that gave this famous landmark in Canada the title of the world’s tallest free-standing structure for 32 years.

In 2007, the Burj Khalifa took over this title; then in 2009, it was bumped into third place when the Canton Tower also surpassed its height. Today, it’s the world’s ninth tallest free-standing structure, but the tallest on land in the Western Hemisphere.

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CN Tower

The observation deck of the CN Tower offers the best view in town. It features a glass floor you walk on if you want to get your heartbeat racing.

2.   Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal is an awe-inspiring religious landmark in the city’s historic district. Built with the Gothic Revival architectural style from 1824 to 1829, this famous landmark of Canada possesses timeless beauty that will leave you spellbound.

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notre dame montreal

The interior provides a feast for the eyes. The colour tones of deep blue, red, purple, silver and gold give it a highly dramatic and wonderfully aesthetic appeal. Detailed wooden carvings, paintings, and religious statues further catch your eye and add to the building’s elegant charm.

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notre dame montreal 2

The stained glass windows are a bit unusual for a church. Instead of depicting biblical scenes, as is common, they showcase the religious history of Montreal. The basilica is a religious masterpiece from the inside out and a must-see when visiting the city. Visiting the cathedral is one of the things you must do when visiting Montreal.

⇒ Don’t miss Canada’s capital Ottawa. Read my posts on the 17 most fun things to do in Ottawa, the Ottawa restaurants Byward Market, best Ottawa Tours and 11 Beautiful Canada Landmarks.

3.   Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls

Famed for its grand allure, Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s most visited landmarks. The land that encompasses the falls is split between Canada and the state of New York, in the United States. It features three waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls.

Horseshoe Falls is the only one of the three that resides in Canada. It’s also the largest.  It drops roughly 57 meters down and is an impressive 790 meters wide.

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Niagara Falls with a Rainbow

As you can imagine, this famous Canadian landmark is an incredible place to witness the true beauty and power of nature first hand.

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Wow Niagara Falls

4. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site

Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in south-west Alberta. It’s one of the country’s coolest landmarks and holds great historical and archaeological significance.

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head smashed in buffalo jump

For nearly 6,000 years, the native peoples of the North American plains hunted buffalo by chasing them over a precipice. Their carcasses were then retrieved and used for food and other purposes. Today, the site houses vast quantities of buffalo skeletons as well as evidence of an aboriginal camp.

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head smashed in buffalo jump

There are beautiful scenic trails you can take from the visitor’s center to a viewpoint that shows the cliff where the buffalo would jump from. The site also houses a museum that provides more insight into the Plains Indians lifestyle.

5.   Banff National Park

Banff National Park is a place where you’ll feel an instant connection to nature. Located in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, the region is characterized by mountainous terrain full of dense trees, turquoise lakes, glaciers and icefields. It’s a scene that will truly take your breath away.

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Banff National Park in spring

Lake Louise is one of the most popular points of interest in the park. It features plenty of outdoor activities, like swimming, fishing, and nature strolls and hikes. In winter, the lake freezes over and the landscape transforms into a winter wonderland. It becomes one of the country’s most visited ski destinations.

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Banff

6.   Confederation Bridge

Opened in 1997, The Confederation Bridge connects the province of Prince Edward Island to the province of New Brunswick. This landmark in Canada is classified as a box girder bridge, which is basically a structure consisting of a top and a bottom slab connected by vertical beams.

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confederation bridge in Spring

Spanning 12.9-kilometres, it’s Canada’s longest bridge and the world’s longest bridge over ice-covered water. Standing still over the ocean, it’s a marvel of engineering that makes for a lovely scenic drive.

To cross the bridge, you must be in a vehicle as pedestrians and cyclists are not permitted. For some gorgeous photos check out the land around the entrance to the bridge on the New Brunswick side.

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confederation bridge

7.   Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

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Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City is a 5-star château-style hotel. The large, castle-like building dominates the skyline and towers over the Saint Lawrence River down below and is perhaps the most famous landmark in Quebec.

It was built in the late nineteenth century by the directors of the railway society. They wanted to encourage luxury tourism, or more specifically, influence wealthy travellers to frequent their trains.

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Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in the winter

This historic hotel still operates for its original purpose. If you’re feeling frivolous, book a room and enjoy the full scale of this lavish landmark. Guests can access the fine dining restaurant, wine bar, bistro, spa, indoor pool, and more.

Having personally stayed at this hotel I highly recommend visiting. It literally does feel like you are sleeping in a Canada landmark. The hotel inside is beautiful and bustling and the rooms are excellent.

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Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

⇒ Another amazing part of Canada (and home to some beautiful Canada Landmarks) is New Brunswick. Check out my posts on the top New Brunswick Tours, the best things to do in New Brunswick, Whale Watching St Andrews and some charming boutique hotels in New Brunswick Canada.

8.   Parliament Hill

Located in the nation’s capital of Ottawa, Parliament Hill is the home of Canada’s first government. The Gothic Revival-style buildings are the headquarters for the Monarch, the Senate, and the House of Commons.

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Parliament Hill

Perched on a 50-meter hilltop overlooking the scenic Ottawa River, this famous Ottawa landmark enjoys a highly scenic location. Many statues and monuments are also showcased on Parliament Hill, including those of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II, and the second Prime Minister of Canada, Alexander Mackenzie.

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The Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill

The Changing of the Guard ceremony happens every morning in the summer. Dozens of soldiers participate and the troops march up Elgin Street and onto the lawn.

⇒ Click here for the official Changing of the Guard at Parliament Hill website and more details.

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The House of Commons

Did you know that the Canadian parliament has a temporary location for the next 10 years? Who knew? As it is going to take another 10 years to get the permanent home to the Canadian parliament completed I imagine that will be an impressive place to visit.

In the meantime, it is possible to visit the temporary home of the Canadian Parliament on an Ottawa parliament tour.

The House of Commons tour runs for about 40 minutes and takes guests through the newly renovated West Block. See where all the action happens when bills are debated and check out the speaker of the house.

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Parliament Hill

When parliament is not in session the tours run every 5 minutes – and this is a free tour. However, it is essential to book this parliament tour in advance as there are only a small number of tickets available each day for first come and first served.

Find out more about the tour of the Houses of Commons tour and some other great options in my 3 Best Ottawa Tours post.

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⇒ Book a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour to explore Ottawa top landmarks, including Parliament Hill and don’t forget to explore the fantastic Byward Market restaurants in Ottawa.

9.   Hopewell Rocks

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Hopewell Rocks from the stairs

The Hopewell Rocks are a series of rock formations uniquely shaped by tidal erosion. Located in New Brunswick’s stunning Bay of Fundy, they stand between 12 to 21 meters tall and visiting these iconic rocks is one of the best things to do in New Brunswick.

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Hopewell Rocks at high tide

The bases of the rocks are submerged in water twice a day during high tide. The time span between low and high tide is just over 6 hours. For the full perspective, visiting this famous landmark in Canada during both high and low tide is recommended.

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Me strutting my stuff at night photography!

Hopewell Rocks are visited by millions each year and are one of the best places to visit in New Brunswick. The park is open from mid-May to the middle of October. There is a lot to do – and multiple visits are required to really experience Hopewell Rocks.

I highly recommend visiting Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick, at both high tides and at low tide for photos. Both will result in very different shots.

⇒  Hopewell Rocks Tides Table

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View from the kayak

10. Signal Hill National Historic Site

Signal Hill is a historic landmark that overlooks the city of St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was the site of the final battle of the Seven Years’ War: the Battle of Signal Hill. It took place in 1762 and ended in the French forces retreating and surrendering.

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Signal Hill

There are several areas of interest around the hill. The Cabot Tower was constructed in 1898 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Newfoundland, as well as Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. There’s also a visitor center where you can watch a film and learn about the history of St. John’s.

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Cabot tower Canada

If you’re an active traveler, you’ll find plenty of walking trails and scenic lookouts that offer amazing views of the city below.

11. Peggy’s Point Lighthouse

Peggy’s Cove is a small fishing village in Nova Scotia. It’s about one hour (43 kilometres) from downtown Halifax. Famed for its picturesque seaside beauty, it contains one of Canada’s most well-known lighthouses, known as Peggy’s Point Lighthouse.

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Peggy’s Point Nova Scotia

The first lighthouse on this site was built in 1868 but replaced by its current structure in 1914.  The classic red-and-white structure stands nearly 15 meters high. This landmark in Nova Scotia is still active to this day and is operated by the Canadian Coast Guard.

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The Village of Peggy’s Point

It’s one of the main tourist attractions in the area (don’t miss lovely Lunenburg) and makes a great addition to any Nova Scotia itinerary.

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Peggy’s Point Lighthouse

12. Lake Louise

Lake Louise is a highlight of many tourists’ Canadian holidays. It’s an unforgettable sight: tall alpine trees line the slopes of snow-capped Mount Victoria, framing the sparkling topaz water.

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lake Louise

The glacial lake is part of Banff National Park, which offers a host of activities, including skiing, hiking, ice climbing, and boating.

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lake Louise

Banff National Park is so vast that you can even take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour from the town of Banff in the reserve. This is a convenient way to take in all the natural attractions in the reserve.

13. Quebec City

Quebec City is the only walled city in North America and a UNESCO-listed site. I was quite blown away by the beauty of Quebec City when I visited. It is a mix of beautiful architecture, the height given by its cliff location above St Lawrence River and the French influence.

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Quebec City is divided into the upper town and the lower town. The two towns are connected by both a funicular and winding streets.

The lower town of Quebec City is filled with cute little cobblestone streets and squares. There are many cute stores and restaurants in this atmospheric area. Don’t miss Quartier Petit-Champlain.

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A great way to get some fantastic views of this beautiful city is to take the Quebec-Levis Ferry. This ferry regularly crosses the St Lawrence River between Quebec City and Levis. Dusk is a great time to take the ferry for beautiful views.

14. The Canadian History Museum

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Loved these curved stairs – don’t miss the Canadian History Mueum, one of Ottawa’s landmarks

This museum is big – like most things in Canada. The Canadian History Museum receives over 1.2 million visitors every year, has a very cool design over its three large floors (you can get sneak peeks of other museum areas from various spots through its open design) and is Canada’s largest and most popular museum.

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Totem Pols at the Canadian History Museum, one of the top Ottawa tourist attractions

The Canadian History Museum is located on the Ottawa River and was designed by a Canadian Aboriginal architect, Douglas Cardinal. It is a stunning building with dramatic, curved lines and is one of Canada’s top-ten architectural wonders.

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The stunning Four Seasons ceiling

The building is stunning and very photogenic. The curved lines, in particular, make for some great photos. I suggest heading down to the river and photographing the museum looking back.

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Colourful Art at the Canadian History Museum

Whilst you are down by the Ottawa River, there is also a great shot to be had of downtown Ottawa, including local landmarks Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal.

The exhibitions at the building start from 15,000 years ago and run all the way through to the present time so there is a lot to learn about. This history museum has the largest indoor collection of totem poles in the world.

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The Canadian National History Museum seen from the other side of the Ottawa River

15. Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa

It doesn’t feel right to call Fairmont Chateau Laurier a hotel, as it is so much more. Like the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, the building is a Canadian landmark. It is literally a stunning castle set on the Ottawa River.

Fairmont Chateau Laurier first opened across from Ottawa rail station. A wonderful part of the expansion of the Canadian railway was the creation of premium hotels near the stations.

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One of the top sights to see in Ottawa – the magnificent Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Many of these hotels are now part of the Fairmont Group who has done a fantastic job keeping their special and unique feel alive. Most Fairmont hotels I have stayed at are considerably bigger than my usual boutique hotel.

However, each one has a unique charm and sense of place which I feel are the most important qualities when choosing a hotel.

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My room at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Back to Chateau Laurier. Built in 1912 across the road from Ottawa railway station, this castle-like building also has possibly the best location in Ottawa.

This landmark in Ottawa sits on the corner of the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal, just across from Parliament Hill in the heart of downtown Ottawa. The building itself is very photogenic – and it serves as a fantastic backdrop to shots taken on the Rideau Canal.

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The wonderful art deco pool at Fairmont Chateau Laurier

I stayed at Chateau Laurier and it was a brilliant experience. I was given a room on the 6th floor of this Ottawa hotel that was literally in one of the castle turrets.

The view was extraordinary – and best of all it faced west so I got some fantastic sunset shots.

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Sunset over the Ottawa River

There you have it, the most beautiful and famous Canadian landmarks. As you can tell, there are some pretty diverse options. Whether you’re into history, architecture, nature, or religion, you’ll easily find something that aligns with your interests.

Each of these famous landmarks in Canada does a great job of showing the unique character and culture of the area – visiting them is sure to be a highlight of your trip!

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Fairmont Le Château Frontenac quebec

This Canada landmarks post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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Amanda O’Brien is the creator and editor of The Boutique Adventurer. She has visited 80 countries and is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers as well as the IFTWTA. She is passionate about wine had has just completed Level 3 of the WSET. Born in Australia, she lives in London.