The first time in Canada: Montreal, Toronto or Ottawa?
I'm going to Canada for the first time in my life. I can choose between Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. I want to see a place that is very typical for Canada and that also differs from the things I can see in Switzerland.
If that are my only requirements, which of the three cities should I choose to go to?
How long are you visiting for? And are you hoping to see museums / galleries / old-ish buildings / open spaces / visit restaurants / cafes / do outdoor sports / etc ?
I don't know yet how long I will be there, but we're talking about some days. I'm not interested in museums, galleries and stuff like this. but landmarks, etc. would be cool. And @MarkMayo I'm also coming to Vancouver ;)
If you're into landmarks, Montreal is where you want to go. It's a much older city than Ottawa or Toronto and has fantastic architecture in many styles. Remember, this was at first a French and then a British city. Also there are impressive modern structures such as the Olympic Stadium, St Joseph's Oratory (ok not that modern), and downtown buildings.
Ottawa we can pretty safely drop from the list -- as a planned city populated mostly by government bureaucrats, it's got a few good museums but very little else to interest the casual visitor, and it's quite hard to get around without a car.
Montreal vs Toronto is a more interesting showdown. Personally, I'd cast my vote for Montreal: it feels a bit smaller and more approachable, with an incredibly vibrant cultural scene, and the presence of French everywhere gives it quite a unique flavor for a North American city. However, if you're keen on something that's less "European" and more like New York or Chicago, then Toronto may fit the bill better.
All that said, my favorite big city in Canada is actually Vancouver, which also has the most scenic location by a long shot and arguably the best climate as well.
But there you have the mountains, just as in Switzerland ;-)
@user766 The mountains in Canada are far, far more impressive than the ons in Switzerland. At least, that is my opinion.
Exactly what I would have suggested, althrough I never went to Vancouver. My favorite city is however Quebec City (but there is less to do than MTL or Toronto). Also, in my opinion, to really see Canada you have to see countryside (I have few place in mind, badlands in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Gaspésie, etc.).