prince edward county

Small Ontario city ranked one of the best vacation spots in Canada

It's been nearly a full year now since the COVID-19 pandemic sparked Toronto's first lockdown, making the prospect of travelling anywhere seem complicated and ill-advised (if not downright impossible.)

While we've never been legally forbidden from leaving the country, many Canadians have nonetheless refrained from going abroad over the past 12 months out of consideration for public health and, perhaps more likely, out of fear — fear of getting stuck, fear of getting sick, fear of ending up with a massive bill or fear of being publicly shamed.

International travel restrictions are the strongest that they've ever been in Canada right now, but the resolve of citizens to stay put is waning: Endless lockdowns are making us miserable. Vacation vibes would help.

Enter your own proverbial backyard: Other places in Canada!

No, a fun winery tour with your girls won't replace a week in Jamaica, and it's hard to imagine a Canadian city that can compete with Europe in terms of architecture, but our home and native land does have a lot to offer.

The folks at just published a new ranking of the top 20 "Best Places to Travel in Canada for 2021" based on a survey of travel journalists across the entire country.

South Okaganan in British Columbia, Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, and Banff National Park in Alberta took the top three spots, followed by Dawson City (Yukon) and Victoria & Cowichan Valley (B.C.)

Sixth on the list, however, is Ontario's very own Prince Edward County — just a two-and-a-half hour drive east of downtown Toronto.

"Stretching just over 1,000 square kilometres (600 miles), Prince Edward County is a jewel of an island strewn with riches in every corner," reads the ranking.

"Nature abounds here with vast open spaces while the charming communities of Picton, Wellington, and Bloomfield delight visitors with artisan shops, farmers markets, and global cuisine." talks up the region's burgeoning wine scene, sandy beaches, wildlife observatories, nature trails, orchards, farms, parks and one very cool lake on a mountain.

"You won't be able to do it all in one day, so spend the night at unique and innovative accommodations — the lack of brand name and chain hotels adds to the charm," reads the ranking. "Rustic options include campgrounds, RV parks, and motels."

It's unlikely that PEC will be keen to welcome visitors from Toronto while we're stuck in the grey-lockdown zone (they're currently in the green) but it's nice to know there's a top-rated vacation spot right down the road for when things open up a bit more again — one where no passports or mandatory quarantines are required.

Here's the full ranking of the 20 best places to travel in Canada for 2021.

  1. South Okanagan, BC
  2. Cape Breton Island, NS
  3. Banff National Park & Lake Louise, AB
  4. Dawson City, YT
  5. Victoria & Cowichan Valley, BC
  6. Prince Edward County, ON
  7. Gaspereau & Annapolis Valleys, NS
  8. Quebec City-to-Tadoussac, QC
  9. St. John's & Irish Loop, NL
  10. Charlottetown, PE
  11. Golden & Revelstoke, BC
  12. Niagara Region, ON
  13. Georgian Bay, ON
  14. Gaspesie, QC
  15. South Shore, NS
  16. Shediac-to-Saint John, NB
  17. Tofino & Pacific Rim National Park, BC
  18. Saskatoon & Prince Albert National Park, SK
  19. Kelowna, BC
  20. Pukaskwa National Park, ON
Lead photo by

Mad Mou

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