What makes you happy? It could be an amazing meal, a great day of surfing, or simply cozying up with a good book and a warm latter it could be all of these things and more. Canada consistently ranks among the top ten happiest countries in the world, and there are tons of reasons why.
From the villages of Vancouver Island to the national parks of Newfoundland and Labrador, there is certainly no shortage of locales where you can “go to your happy place.” But which one is the happiest?
Here are The 10 Happiest Places in Canada
1. Lake Louise/Banff, AB
The happiest city in Canada should come as no surprise. No human can resist the cozy lodges, gorgeous vistas, and crisp mountain air of Banff and Lake Louise. Take the chairlift to the top of Mount Norquay or climb the Via Ferrata route then reward yourself with a 2,100-metre-high meal at the Cliffhouse Bistro. Even indoorsy types will find something to love here, like watching the snow fall from the famous Fairmont Banff Springs or indulging in delicious beverages at Banff Ave. Brewing Co.
2. Tofino, BC
Hanging ten in Canada’s surfing capital is sure to bring you pure bliss, and winter is the best season for surging swells. Here’s how you live your best life in Tofino: Head to Chesterman Beach to catch a wave, then warm up with one of Chocolate Tofino’s famous hot chocolates. Another way to warm up: a beach bonfire. They’re allowed on Chesterman Beach, and you’ll probably find one roaring once the sun goes down.
3. Wiarton, ON
Could Wiarton’s good mood have something to do with the Wiarton Willie Festival? Only the locals know for sure, but we’d be willing to bet Ontario’s biggest winter festival has something to do with it. This year, Willie’s understudy will be taking over the weather-predicting tasks of the town’s albino rodent (#RIPWiartonWillie). If you start feeling chilly, duck into Bedford Street Bookstore & Bazaar for a locally roasted coffee amongst stacks of books. If that’s not happiness, we don’t know what is.
4. Sandspit, BC
If a peaceful day of fishing sounds like your happy place, Sandspit is for you. This small town is a year-round hotbed for salmon and trout; in the winter, its steelhead trout fishing is legendary. Get out on the river in search of this elusive, prized fish—we’re sure you’ll be “hooked”! Or, just head to the pub at the Sandspit Inn to trade tales with the locals—you’ll feel like you were there.
5. Jasper, AB
Forget Whistler; Jasper is one of Canada’s most pristine winter wonderlands. Icy blue Maligne Lake and cascading Athabasca Falls provide the breathtaking scenery, while Marmot Basin ski resort provides legendary powder and action-packed photo ops. You’ll even find Insta-worthy subjects in the pretty pastel pastries and latte art at local favorite Coco’s Café. It’s no wonder this town is so happy.
6. Trout River, NL
With natural beauty like Gros Morne National Park in its backyard, it’s easy to see why Trout River is one of Canada’s happiest places to live. Take a hike on the Eastern Point Trail and you’ll see what we mean, with its sweeping views of craggy mountains, green meadows, and Trout River Bay. Reward yourself for a day well spent at Seaside Restaurant, where a glass of wine, relaxing harp music, and sunset ocean view definitely equal happiness. It’s just math.
7. Mingan, QC
It’s no mistake that so many of the happiest towns are near nature reserves. And Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve isn’t just any park. It has another thing that makes everyone happy: puffins! Loads of them, along with dramatic limestone cliffs and whales frolicking in the waves. After a long day of exploring, live music and a cocktail at Bar l’Écoutille in nearby Havre-Saint-Pierre is the perfect nightcap.
8. Port Hardy, BC
Being outdoors makes people happy—that’s science. In Port Hardy, you can go from sand to snow in under two hours, experiencing all that Mother Nature has to offer. First, have a picnic on Storey’s Beach featuring the famous maple salmon from local legend Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish. Then, take a road trip to Mount Cain Alpine Park for an afternoon of skiing or snowboarding. End your day back in town sipping a latte at Café Guido, and you’ll never want to leave.
9. Red Lake, ON
When the days get shorter and the nights get colder, the residents of Red Lake get happier! This region in northwestern Ontario’s “Sunset Country” embraces winter with festivals and events galore, from gallery shows featuring local artists to the Winter Carnival in February. For the seriously adventurous, Red Lake Outfitters even offers a special winter experience into the wilds of Woodland Caribou Provincial Park.
10. Windsor, NS
Does hockey make you happy? Of course, it does! Windsor is the birthplace of hockey and a must-visit for anyone who calls themselves a hockey fan. The Windsor Hockey Heritage Centre is only open until the end of September, but luckily, playing this sport is even better for the soul.
Do some skating of your own on Long Pond, then join the locals for a pint at Spitfire Arms Pub. You can ask them why they’re so happy yourself, but we bet it has something to do with—you guessed it—hockey.