Are you hoping to take a flight to Canada, but worried about the cost? As someone who has visited The Great White North many times, a question I get asked a lot is “What are the cheapest places to fly to in Canada?” Departure location and time of year both play a big role. However, to make things easier for you, I’ve put together this helpful guide to the cheapest flights to Canada!
As the largest country in the Western Hemisphere, Canada has a lot to offer adventurous travelers. There’s the cosmopolitan cool of Vancouver, the natural beauty of Thunder Bay, the historic charm of Quebec City, and so much more.
The best thing about visiting Canada, though, might just be how affordable it is. There’s no shortage of competitively priced luxury hotels and Airbnb rentals in Canada. Flights to Canada can be similarly inexpensive… if you know where to look.
To make the most of a trip to Canada, I always hit sites like Skyscanner and Google Flights to compare airline prices. Saving money by scoring cheap flight tickets to Canada means having more cash for fun activities. This includes skiing the Edelweiss Valley just outside of Ottawa or catching a Leafs game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Whether you’ve been to Canada a hundred times or this is your first visit to The Great White North, you’re sure to find something new and exciting that will capture your imagination. Here are the cheapest cities and airports to fly into Canada in 2023.
#1 tip for finding cheap flights to Canada
Looking for cheap flights to Canada? Before we get into my picks for the very best cities and airports to fly into, I want to share a quick tip to save money on airfare.
For the past two years, I’ve used Going to find cheap tickets to Canada, and I’ve never once been anything less than fully satisfied with the results. To try it for yourself, all you have to do is enter in your home airport and planned destination and they’ll send mistake fares and other extra cheap flight deals directly to your inbox. Best of all, it’s FREE!
In 2022 alone, I saved thousands of dollars using Going’s email alerts – including most recently, a $335 roundtrip fare from Boston to Vancouver. On average, I save about $300 roundtrip on selected flight routes. In other words, if you’re looking for cheap airfare to Canada, get going to Going!
Other considerations when looking for cheap places to fly into Canada
Ready to escape to the snow-kissed mountains and bustling metropolises of Canada? We’ve scoured the data from major airports in the US to bring you 8 of the cheapest places to fly into Canada.
Worried about having to fly from a small airport? Don’t sweat it. Chances are, you’ll be connecting through a larger US hub like New York City and Boston before arriving in The Great White North. Keep in mind, however, that prices can vary depending on where you’re flying from. For example, a flight from Philadelphia or NYC to Toronto or Ottawa will probably be cheaper than one from Houston or LA.
Fortunately, it doesn’t matter where you’re departing from; these destinations offer the best deals for any Canadian vacation. So pack your bags and get ready to explore everything from the gorgeous shoreline of Halifax to the urban wonderland of Toronto.
Not sure where to kick off your Canadian vacation? What better place to visit first than the national capital, Ottawa? Located at the confluence of the Ottawa River and the Rideau River in the province of Ontario, Ottawa is one of Canada’s biggest cities. It’s also one of its most beautiful, fun, and culturally rich.
In winter, tourists visiting Ottawa can skate the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest ice-skating rink. Or experience the Winterlude, the largest outdoor festival in Canada. There are countless other annual events throughout the year, too. Examples include Bluesfest, the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, Fringe Festival, CityFolk Festival, and more.
Feeling hungry? Dine like a true gourmand at Le Cordon Bleu, the Ottawa campus of France’s legendary culinary school. Or indulge your sweet tooth with some BeaverTails, a one-of-a-kind deep-fried Canadian pastry that comes with a wide variety of toppings, from cinnamon and sugar to apple slices, chocolate hazelnut spread, or crushed Oreo cookies.
Entering Canada through Ottawa International Airport (YOW) is sure to provide you with a great first impression. In addition to offering affordable flights, Ottawa International has won numerous awards over the years. These include the Airport Service Quality Awards for Best Airport in the World and Best Airport in North America. Practically a museum unto itself, the airport is decorated with an array of original artworks by local and indigenous creators.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Though Canada is popularly known as The Great White North due to its heavy snowfall, tourists looking for warmer temperatures can enjoy the warm, oceanic summers and mild winters of the Nova Scotia province. Of course, if you’re visiting Nova Scotia, you have to visit its capital city of Halifax, which boasts 93 miles of gorgeous shoreline dotted with sandy beaches and stony inlets.
As soon as you exit Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ), you’re sure to notice the difference between this place and frostier Canadian locales. The wind currents that drift in from the Atlantic Ocean are refreshing, enticing you toward the city’s scenic waterfront. Here you can explore one of the world’s longest boardwalks, browse local produce and crafts at the Halifax Seaport Market, or even set out on a whale-watching excursion!
History buffs can trace their roots at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 or marvel at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic’s extensive collection of artifacts rescued from the Titanic. Feeling spooky? The Halifax Ghost Walk is one of the oldest ghost walks in North America, taking tourists on a creepy-fun jaunt through Halifax’s haunted downtown.
During the daytime, there’s no better way to experience Halifax than lounging on the beach, soaking up the sun. When the sun goes down, however, you’ll find the city home to one of the hippest and most happening nightlife scenes in the country. Take in some live music at a local pub, cruise down the harbor in a party boat, or quench your thirst at a trendy cocktail bar. Halifax has it all.
Quebec City, Quebec
Canada was originally founded as a French colony in 1535, before being handed over to the British in 1763 and finally becoming a self-governing entity in 1867. All that history and more can be seen and felt in Quebec City (not to be confused with the province of Quebec, of which it is the capital).
Dating back to 1608, the heart of Quebec City can be found in the historic Old Quebec neighborhood. With its cobblestone streets, beautiful colonial architecture, and ancient, ornate churches, the area feels like taking a trip back in time. It’s no wonder Old Quebec has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If your tastes run more toward natural scenery, you can choose to visit Montmorency Falls. This majestic waterfall is nearly 100 feet taller than Niagara Falls, and can be experienced via ferrata, cable car, zipline, or suspension bridge. In other words, it’s an attraction just as perfect for thrillseekers as it is for nature lovers.
Such wonderful sights and sounds have resulted in Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) being one of the busiest airports in Canada. Between 300 thousand and 1 million passengers pass through the airport annually. There’s plenty of public transportation options available to take visitors into the downtown area.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Biggest doesn’t always mean best, as evidenced by the quaint Canadian destination of Charlottetown. Located in Prince Edward Island, the smallest of all Canadian provinces, Charlottetown has an estimated population of around 40,500 residents. This amounts to a small fraction of those populations of the larger cities listed above. If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, Charlottetown is an ideal vacation spot.
Although there aren’t as many locals in Charlottetown as there are in, say, Ottawa or Halifax, it’s worth noting that virtually every Charlottetown resident is warm and welcoming. The city is known for its hospitality, as well as the charming mom-and-pop shops and locally-owned restaurants that line Victoria Row. You can also enjoy delicious craft beer at any of the nearby microbreweries, most notably Upstreet Craft Brewing, Red Island Cider, Gahan House, and Prince Edward Island Brewing Company.
Probably the number one thing Prince Edward Island is most famous for is being the setting of the novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The province is full of sites and attractions related to Montgomery’s book, including the Anne of Green Gables Store in Charlottetown. Here, fans of the literary classic can peruse a wide selection of Montgomery-themed books, movies, souvenirs, and apparel.
In keeping with Charlottetown’s low-key nature, the Charlottetown Airport (YYG) can only accommodate around 60 passengers at a time. This makes it an ideal point of entry for tourists hoping to avoid big crowds.
Looking for the cheapest airports to fly into Canada? Look no further than Toronto.
The Toronto skyline is one of the most iconic images associated with the province of Ontario, and arguably with the entirety of Canada. This is thanks not only to its glittering skyscrapers, but also to the dome-like Rogers Centre Stadium (home to Toronto Blue Jays) and the majestic CN Tower (where visitors can take in awe-inspiring views of the entire city).
Why you should fly to Toronto
One of the great things about Toronto is how lively and diverse it is, even having its very own China Town district. Here, you’ll find many of the city’s best restaurants. If you’re hungrier for artistic stimulation, on the other hand, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the biggest and best galleries in the entire country, boasting a wide selection of permanent and temporary exhibitions. You never know what you’re going to find, but it’s always a delight.
Of course, it would be a crime not to mention all the activities available to sports fans in the city. In addition to being the home of the Blue Jays (MLB), Toronto boasts no less than 12 professional teams. This includes the Maple Leafs (NHL) and the Raptors (NBA). You can also visit the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum, which houses memorabilia and even the Stanley Cup itself!
There’s a lot of ground to cover here, but don’t worry. Car rentals, shuttles, taxis, buses, trains, and more are available to take you from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) into the city. It’s easily the largest airport in Canada to fly to, serving as a hub for Air Canada and WestJet airlines.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Often referred to as “Hollywood North” due to its popularity as a production location for both domestic and foreign filmmaking projects, Vancouver, British Columbia has all the glitz and glamor of its California namesake, as well as a few extra perks all its own.
For two weeks every September and October, celebrities from all over convene here for the Vancouver International Film Festival. It’s one of the largest events of its kind in all of North America. If you prefer more active forms of entertainment, the VIFF Center is also home to the Game Design Expo. This draws thousands of video game industry professionals and fans to the city annually.
Don’t like sitting on your butt? Want to get out and enjoy the fresh air? If so, you’re in luck, because located a short drive from Vancouver is the resort community of Whistler, one of the premier skiing destinations in the world. In fact, Whistler and Vancouver together hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, cementing its place as a can’t-miss hotspot for winter athletes.
Like Toronto’s airport, the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is a hub for both Air Canada and WestJet, and is also the operating base for Air Transat. In addition to serving the city of Vancouver, Vancouver International also offers direct shuttle transportation to Whistler, Squamish, and Victoria.
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Back during WWII, the airport now known as Thunder Bay International Airport (YQT) was used to train fighter pilots and also to test newly manufactured aircraft. Fittingly, the city of Thunder Bay in Ontario has its own rich legacy. This is evidenced by one of its most beloved attractions: the Fort William Historical Park.
A fully immersive “living museum,” Fort William Historical Park features no less than 42 reconstructed buildings, including a fur trading post, a small farm, and even an indigenous Ojibwa village. Here, an active community of skilled tradesmen (such as blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, tinsmiths, and canoe builders) lovingly craft products using genuine 19th-century tools and techniques.
Those aren’t the only people still plying their trade in Thunder Bay, mind you. If you’d like to experience what it’s like working as a miner, you’re in luck. The greater Thunder Bay area is famous as a mining region for semi-precious amethyst stones, with no less than three tourist mining experiences available in nearby Shuniah.
At Amethyst Mine Panorama, Diamond Willow Amethyst Mine, and Blue Points Amethyst Mine, visitors can explore amethyst deposits and even take mine stones themselves to take home as souvenirs. After you’ve worked up an appetite, stop over at The Hoito Restaurant for dinner. This unique establishment has been in business since 1918, serving up heaping plates of Finnish cuisine, including pancakes, pasty, hot pots, fish soup, and salmon-potato casserole.
For a cheap airport to fly into Canada, Montreal has got you covered.
Fun fact: Montreal, Quebec, is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, behind only Paris. So if you’ve been dying to take a vacation in the City of Lights but haven’t been able to make the trip, this might be the next best thing. In fact, it’s often been called the “Paris of North America.” This is due to the large number of French-speaking residents and its reputation as a lightning rod of art/culture.
Indeed, downtown Montreal has no shortage of museums, restaurants, and boutiques to explore. Though, the most interesting attraction of all might just be the Underground City. Designed to be fully walkable by pedestrians, this subterranean network of malls, movie theaters, food courts, and passageways makes for a fun, fascinating excursion anytime, even at night or when it’s raining.
Above ground, visitors can enjoy the outdoor festivals and live music venues of the trendy Plateau neighborhood. Or, test your luck at the famed Montreal Casino in Parc Jean-Drapeau. Likewise, Mile End is the hippest spot to go if you’re looking for fashionable cafes, bookstores, or thrift shops.
Keep in mind that traveling from Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) to the city center can take as long as an hour, depending on traffic. While the wait is certainly worth it, be sure to factor in the drive time.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the cheapest flights to Canada
Need some more information? Here are some common questions and answers about the cheapest flights to Canada:
What is the best time of year to visit Canada on a budget?
Airline tickets to Canada rise and fall based on demand. January, February, and November tend to see the biggest surge in visitors. That’s because skiing is one of the most popular tourist activities and those months often have the highest snowfall.
Luckily, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in the summer months, however, such as April, May, June, and July. Those are also the times of the year when you’ll have an easier time finding cheap flights to Canada.
How many airlines offer direct flights to Canada?
There are currently 8 airlines offering direct plane tickets to Canada, without any layovers or connections. Those 8 airlines are:
- Air Canada
- Air Canada Jazz
- SkyWest Airlines
- American Airlines
- Republic Airways
Is it always cheaper to fly non-stop to Canada?
Unfortunately no. While direct flights are usually more convenient, they don’t always give you the best bang for your buck. So, giving up the convenience of a non-stop flight can actually save you money on your Canada plane tickets.
Whenever planning to travel by air, it’s a good idea to compare the prices of direct and non-direct flights. Don’t forget to factor in estimated layover times, too. Depending on how long it takes to get to your destination, it might be worth making a stop somewhere else. This is a good way to get a better bargain.
How far in advance should I book a flight to Canada?
If you’re looking for cheap air tickets to Canada, your best bet is to look to book 4-6 months beforehand. This is the period in which availability is at its highest and prices are at their lowest.
What is the cheapest airport to fly to in Canada?
At the time of this writing, the cheapest airport to fly to in Canada is the Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF), also known as the Kitchener / Waterloo Airport.
How long is the average flight from the US to Canada?
Obviously, flight times vary heavily depending on what part of the country you’re departing from. That said, since you’ll be traveling within the same continent, that cuts down on your air time considerably. If we crunch the number for all flights from the US to Canada, we find that the average flight length comes to somewhere between 1.5 and 3 hours total.
Why you should fly to Canada in 2023
Between the affordability of airfare to Canada and the charming attractions to be found in the 8 destinations described above, there are a lot of reasons why you should consider taking a trip to The Great White North this year.
Whether you’re looking to shred some powder on the slopes, learn something from the many museums and universities, or scarf down a plate of poutine with a glass of locally brewed beer, the possibilities are endless. Most importantly, you can do all this (and more) without breaking the bank!
Fun fact: based on current conversion rates, one US dollar is worth $1.34 CAD. So not only are cheap flights to Canada plentiful, but you’ll also spend much less when you travel there. That’s right; in addition to being filled with friendly people, beautiful natural landscapes, and clean and walkable cities, Canada is also a bargain hunter’s dream destination.
From the diverse (and delicious!) restaurants of downtown Montreal to the stunning waterfront views of Charlottetown’s harbor boardwalk, there’s so much to discover and enjoy, even when you’re on a budget! After just one week of exploring British Columbia or Ontario, you’ll never want to leave. This brings me to the last (but not least) of my favorite things about Canada. It’s so close to the northern US border that it’s easy to go back again and again and again!
For more travel tips (and inspiration), follow my adventures on Instagram: @Global.Viewpoint. Happy Travels! -Jon