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While we already know that Canada is home to a seemingly endless collection of natural wonders, you might have forgotten about the many man-made architectural marvels found across the country.
Luckily, we’ve outlined some of the best architecture and design in seven cities—which are all accessible by flying with WestJet. Check out the 14 architectural wonders worth flying to see below:
The untrained eye might zoom right past Brookfield Place, an unassuming office complex in the heart of the financial district, but housed within the 49-storey tower is the gorgeous Allen Lambert Galleria. Built in 1992, it’s often referred to as the “crystal cathedral of commerce,” thanks to its six-storey-high arched roof.
To Toronto, WestJet offers 130 flights a day from 22 Canadian, 10 U.S.and 23 international cities.*
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Aga Khan Museum
About a half-hour drive from the downtown core, you’ll find the Aga Khan Museum, a recent addition to Toronto’s ever-growing list of must-see architecture. The Aga Khan Museum, which houses Islamic and Iranian art, was designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. The building features walls coated in white granite and is surrounded by a serene courtyard.
Cree Cultural Institute
In addition to being a stunning piece of architecture, the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute acts as a museum and gathering space. The structure’s concept replicates the Cree’s traditional longhouse called a shaptuan, and is made of fir, cedar and maple wood to symbolize the importance of the forest to the Cree people. Developed in part by native architect Douglas Cardinal, the centre is unique because its ability to combine contemporary design with the time-honoured traditions of Cree heritage.
To Quebec City, WestJet offers seven flights a day from Montreal and Toronto.*
Canadian Museum of History
Also designed by Cardinal, the Canadian Museum of History has flowing contoured walls of the building were inspired by features of the Canadian landscape. In 1984, Cardinal explained his design: “Within this great continent, wherein lies this expansive and diverse nation, I could sense the feeling of time, the rhythm of time and the way nature had shaped and formed the land – that the formations had been carved by the elements and forces of nature, by wind, rain, the movement of water, the warmth of day, the coolness of night, the seasons. I felt that the building itself should express the evolution of the natural formations.”
You can’t say “Canada” and “architecture” without mentioning the stunning Habitat 67 in Montreal. Built back in 1967 by a young Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Sadfie, Habitat 67 represented an ambitious utopian way of city living that promised “For everyone a garden.” The 354 cube structures of the building make up 148 residences and combined green space, natural light and urban living.
To Montreal, WestJet offers 25 flights a day from seven Canadian and one U.S. city.*
The 2-22, located in the center of the revitalization of St. Laurent Boulevard is a striking, six-storey landmark in Montreal’s entertainment district. Combining wood and glass to create a modern double wall, this environmentally-friendly office building has allocated 75 per cent of its space to cultural and art organizations, including CIBL community radio, La Vitrine, Artexte, Vox and the Regroupement des centres d’artistes autogérés du Québec. It’s recessed angular front isn’t just an aesthetic choice—it was designed this way to allow more sidewalk space for the crowded pedestrian traffic that the intersection sees, especially during the summer.
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
This Canada’s first national museum built outside of Ottawa and uses glass, limestone, steel and concrete to create the swooping structure. With a stunning interior to match, the museum plays with the duality of light and dark. Architect Antoine Predock explains: “It’s a big-picture duality, dark where you begin, light where you ascend,” he said. “There’s a lot of bad stuff you learn about. But a lot of good stuff too.”
To Winnipeg, WestJet offers 32 flights a day from 14 Canadian, one U.S. and one international city.*
Precious Blood Church
The Église du Précieux Sang, built between 1967 and 1969 in St. Boniface, Manitoba, remains one of the most innovative Canadian church designs to date. Designed by Winnipeg native Étienne-Joseph Gaboury, the church draws subtle inspiration from the Aboriginal tipi (the church services a large Metis community), the interior is a modern, geometric and brilliant.
Vancouver Convention Centre
Located on the waterfront, this architectural wonder brings the astonishing surrounding nature and vibrant city culture together. Featuring a six-acre green living roof and hosting 400,000 native plants and grasses, the Vancouver Convention Centre was also the first convention centre in the world to achieve platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for its incredibly sustainable design.
To Vancouver, WestJet offers 72 flights a day from 18 Canadian, eight U.S. and three international cities.*
As one of Vancouver’s most recognizable buildings, the Art Deco architecture of the Marine Building is unlike any other found on the West Coast. The exterior is decorated with whimsical images of mermen, octopuses and puffer fish. The building’s entrance and lobby are marveled by many as one of the greatest in the country.
This landmark structure connects the Calgary north side of the Bow River and community of Sunnyside with the southern Eau Claire district. Designed like helix, the vibrant red colour of the Peace Bridge starkly contrasts the green and grassy landscape it’s backdropped against.
To Calgary, WestJet offers 116 flights a day from 26 Canadian, 12 U.S. and four international cities.*
This 58-storey structure sits proudly east of Calgary’s downtown and was designed by British firm Foster and Partners. As the third-tallest building in Canada outside of Toronto, The Bow’s steel-framed curved exterior is both sleek and environmentally efficient. The curve towards the sun takes advantage of daylight and deflects winds, allowing the structure to be much lighter.
Canadian War Museum
This modestly designed museum has a low-lying body that sweeps up into an 80-foot-high peak in the air, illustrating the building’s theme of regeneration. The small windows on the copper roof of the building hide a message in morse code, reading, in both French and English, “Lest we forget.”
To Ottawa, WestJet offers 20 flights a day from seven Canadian cities.*
As we near the end of our first year on Instagram, we’re looking back at all the images of the Museum that our visitors posted in 2016. Among the 1,921 images tagged #canadianwarmuseum, a few common themes have emerged. Over the next few days, we’ll share some that stood out for us. Enjoy! We really liked this photo, by @naoo_mi, for the way it shows the sun reflecting off the copper roof. #myottawa #igersottawa #mycanadianwarmuseum #myCWM #explorecanada #discoverontario #Repost @naoo__mi with @repostapp ・・・ Canadian War Museum- GRC arch. Inc. #architecture #canadianwarmuseum #griffithsrankincookarchitects #museum #ottawa #ontario #canada #architecturelovers #sun #texture #explore #roadtrip #design
National Gallery of Canada
Built in 1988 and also designed by Habitat 67’s Safdie, this gallery is a work of art itself. The glass pavilions are an homage to the Parliament’s library, while the colonnaded ramp near the main entrance and Great Hall is reminiscent of the Notre-Dame Basilica.
*Schedule subject to change. See westjet.com for details.