Vancouver's version of the Sydney Opera House – judging by the number of postcards it appears on – this iconic landmark is shaped like sails jutting into the sky over the harbor. Both a cruise-ship terminal and a convention center, it's also a stroll-worthy pier, providing photogenic views of the busy floatplane action and looming North Shore mountains. Here for Canada Day on July 1? This is the center of the city's festivities, with displays, live music and fireworks.

Inside and outside the building there are permanent reminders of Canada's history and culture, from totem poles (inside) to the Canadian Trail (outside), a walking route illuminating the nation's 13 provinces and territories. Check out the pedestrian tunnel connecting the building to Waterfront Centre; it's lined with large-format photos of yesteryear Vancouver.