Canada

From Vancouver to Montreal: 7 LGBTQ+ Family Vacations in Canada

Canada is one of the most LGBTQ-friendly countries in the world, so finding the right destination for your family is quite easy. To narrow down your search, we've rounded up the best hotel experiences around the country.

“Are you two sisters?”—it’s the most common question my partner and I get when we’re travelling. And just to be clear—we look nothing alike. Before we had kids, sometimes I’d just smile, nod and keep walking. But with two impressionable small boys in tow, now I make a point to correct them with a firm but friendly, “No, we’re partners.”

It’s no surprise that this experience happens more frequently outside of Canada. This country of ours is consistently voted one of the most gay-friendly in the world, and it was among the first to legalize same-sex marriage. It’s generally very easy to travel as an LGBTQ+ family in Canada—you might raise some eyebrows, but the chance of getting any negative comments is very low. So if you want a relaxing getaway with your rainbow kids, check out these LGBTQ+ friendly destinations and hotel experiences.

A Laid-Back West-Coast Vibe

Image by Max Lindenthaler / Fotolia

Vancouver’s laid-back west-coast vibe is ideal for LGBTQ+ families. The live-and-let-live vibe extends from the Davie Street Village—home of Canada’s first-ever permanent rainbow crosswalk—right through to the colourful Kids Market on bustling Granville Island.

On every family’s bucket list should be a bike ride through Stanley Park. While you’re there, stop at Vancouver Aquarium to visit the famous hand-holding otters, and wrap up your day experiencing the sights and sounds of an authentic Izakaya restaurant.

Hotels in Vancouver

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The shimmering Shangri-La Tower is a downtown landmark in itself, and the interiors don’t disappoint. The 119-room hotel is decorated in a modern, elegant style, with a refined colour palette and thoughtful design details. Request a room with a balcony (not all rooms have them) and wake up to a stunning city view. There’s also a gorgeous outdoor pool, a serene spa and a restaurant by three-star Michelin chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver

Top rated
Vancouver, 1.4 km to BC Place
9.2 Excellent (1814 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
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Family Fun in the Rockies

Image courtesy of Janik Beichler

The majesty of the Rockies is a must-see for any Canadian family, especially those with older kids. While the Banff and Lake Louise areas are best known as a winter ski destination, it’s just as stunning a trip in summer with lots of active adventures to be had. The feeling of community in the town of Banff is warm and inclusive, and it’s a great base from which to see The Rockies, whatever your comfort level with The Great Outdoors may be.

Explore the Columbia Icefield on an Ice Explorer tour, spot bears from a gondola high above Lake Louise, or take a soak in the famous Banff Hot Springs.

Hotels in Banff

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Situated in the heart of Banff, this classic lodge-style property feels authentically alpine. Rooms are comfortable, spacious and flexible; connect one of their Executive Suites (featuring oversized bathrooms with double jetted tubs, luxurious king beds and seating areas) to a Queen Guest Room to create the perfect family suite. In the Evergreen Restaurant, all organic, locally sourced ingredients are used to create inspired regional cuisine; plus, there’s a kids menu.

Delta Hotels Banff Royal Canadian Lodge

Top rated
Banff, 0.2 km to Banff Avenue
8.6 Excellent (2779 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9 / 10
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A Vibrant Celebration of Diversity in Toronto

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The biggest city in Canada is also home to the largest LGBTQ+ community, with an annual Pride celebration that draws visitors from far and wide. There’s something really special about taking your kids to such a vibrant celebration of diversity, and Family Pride gets bigger and better every year. Centred around the Church Street Junior Public School (right in the heart of the gay village), typical activities include the popular Fay and Fluffy’s Drag Queen Storytime, face-painting, crafts and musical performances.

While you’re in Toronto, take advantage of the many family-friendly activities on offer, including Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada—kids will be awestruck by the Dangerous Lagoon, where sharks swim over your heads—the Royal Ontario Museum (dinosaurs galore), and The Art Gallery of Ontario, which features a playroom and interactive activities for kids.

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There’s no shortage of hotels in this city, but the Sheraton Centre Toronto has something pretty unusual: An indoor-outdoor pool. The Sheraton also has a tunnel that leads directly into the Eaton Centre mall—home to almost any store you can think of and a huge food court. Plus, if you’re planning to visit the gay village at Church and Wellesley, it’s just a short walk away.

Sheraton Centre Toronto

Toronto, 0.7 km to Allen Lambert Galleria and Heritage Square
8.2 Very good (7027 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
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Natural Beauty in Muskoka

Whether it’s for swimming in the summer, hiking in fall or cross-country skiing in winter, the natural beauty of Muskoka is a Canadian treasure. It’s the perfect place to teach kids the value of preserving our treasured landscapes and get them away from their screens.

Start at Algonquin Park, where the visitor centre gives an overview of the area’s history. Don’t miss the Lookout Trail—a short hike to a panoramic vista —then rent a canoe from Algonquin Outfitters and paddle round to Ragged Falls for a great picnic spot.

Other family-friendly attractions in Muskoka include Santa’s Village (don’t be fooled by the name, it’s a fun theme park that’s open year-round) and the Muskoka Discovery Centre, which features interactive exhibits, historic boats and a kids zone.

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There are so many daily activities at Deerhurst, you’ll have trouble deciding what to do. From magic shows and an escape room to fishing, golfing and stand-up paddleboarding, there’s everything you could ever want to do at this 425-room property. With four restaurants, a beach and a pool on-site, it’s heaven for active, outdoorsy families.

More resorts for a relaxing break in Muskoka:

Ontario

5 Relaxing Muskoka Resorts

Deerhurst Resort

7.4 Good (1391 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.7 / 10
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A Family-friendly Getaway in Prince Edward County

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A smaller, younger version of Niagara’s wine country, Prince Edward County is surprisingly kid-friendly and has a very inclusive vibe. Unlike the slightly stuffy atmosphere of Niagara-on-the-Lake, tasting rooms are generally more casual and relaxed.

Hinterland Wine Company has hip, communal seating and a gastropub menu; at the back, Algonquin chairs look out to a patch of grass where soccer nets and toy cars keep kids busy while parents sit and sip. Waupoos Winery has a petting zoo and a great kids menu at their restaurant, while Parsons Brewing has a fire pit and outdoor games.

Families will find many things to do in the area, too, with Sandbanks beach nearby, stellar ice cream at Slickers and mini-golf at Caddy Shack.

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Located in Picton, the historic Waring House is a fantastic base from which to explore the region. Many of the rooms are decorated with charming period details that reflect the 19th-century origins of the property, which is set in beautiful grounds. They take their food seriously here, with a cooking school on-site and their popular Barley Room Pub, which features live music every Wednesday to Sunday.

The Waring House

8.0 Very good (348 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.5 / 10
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An Exciting History Lesson in Ottawa

Show your kids where Canada’s LGBTQ-friendly policies are passed into law with a visit to the nation’s capital. Aside from free guided tours of Parliament, the Senate and the House of Commons, you’ll find plenty of things to do to keep the kids entertained—rent bikes and cycle along the Rideau Canal, visit the Children’s Museum at the Canadian Museum of History, see live bees buzz around a hive at the Canadian Museum of Nature or get an education on Canada’s military history at the Canadian War Museum.

Just 15 minutes’ drive from downtown is beautiful Gatineau Park—a 36-hectare conservation area that’s beautiful any time of year but famous for its fall colours. Take a picnic or stop at one of the restaurants in nearby Old Chelsea.

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Centrally located just steps from the Rideau Canal and with an all-important kid-pleasing pool, the Westin Ottawa is a great choice for exploring the capital. Guest rooms are modern and comfortable; ask for one with a view of Parliament. The hotel is connected to the Rideau Centre for shopping and the Shaw Centre for entertainment and events.

The Westin Ottawa

Top rated
Ottawa, 0.3 km to ByWard Market
8.8 Excellent (2961 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.5 / 10
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Family Fun in Montreal

For a smallish city, Montreal really punches above its weight. There is a large LGBTQ+ community here, but the gay village is smaller and less intimidating than Toronto’s (but no less fun). Their August Pride celebration—billed as “the largest gathering of the Sexual and Gender Diversity communities in the Francophone world”—draws an international crowd.

The size of the city means it’s easy to go out with the kids by day and head out for a drink in the village by night (hello hotel babysitting). Kids will get a kick out of an Amphi Tour (“amphibious” buses that go on land and water), Voiles en Voiles (a fantastic all-ages aerial adventure), and the interactive exhibits at the Montreal Science Centre. Or get spooked as a family with a Ghost Walk through Old Montreal.

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This recently renovated gem is a “treat-yourself” kind of place with a special claim to fame: In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their Bed-in for Peace in suite 1742 of this hotel. They composed and recorded the famous Peace Hymn (Give Peace a Chance) here, without even leaving their bed. You can book John and Yoko’s suite or one of the bold and colourful redesigned rooms. Plus, the Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth features a new wellness centre with an indoor pool, a farm-to-table restaurant, a signature bar and a cafe.

Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth

Montréal, 6.7 km to Biodome
8.3 Very good (2283 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
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Feature image courtesy of Tiffany Morgan Photography