Hey gambling aficionados, is our slumping loonie making gambling south of the border less attractive? Not to worry. Canada has its share of casinos from coast to coast, many with cool Canadiana backstories.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a gamer, there’s a ton of stuff to do aside from plunking yourself down at a machine or throwing some dice. There are shows, concerts, stand-up comedy, some outstanding food and some pretty impressive architecture. Not to mention the casino people-watching, which is really the sport of champions.
Here’s a selection of casinos waiting to make your weekend a whole lot of fun.
Best gamblin’ joints this side of the 49th parallel
St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino (Cranbrook, BC)This high-end golf resort and casino has a surprising place in Canadian history -- it was once home to the St. Eugene Mission, a residential school for First Nations youth. Today it tries giving back to native communities, via partnerships with the Ktunaxa Nation, Chippewas of Rama First Nation and Samson Cree Nation, who make up 17 per cent of employees.St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino
Fallsview Casino Resort (Niagara Falls, Ont.)The granddaddy of Canadian casinos, Fallsview is regarded as the best in the country. With its towering lobby window and fountain, it certainly dresses to impress. Not to mention its often-staggering list of musical acts, available year-round.Fallsview Casino
Casino de Montreal (Montreal, QC)Built for Expo '67, Montreal's hulking casino -- one of the largest in Canada -- offers a notably unusual design concept for a gaming hall. While the trademark of casinos tends to be a lack of exterior light, Casino de Montreal bucks the conventions in that it actually has windows.Casinos du Quebec
Caesars Windsor (Windsor, Ont.)The only Caesars on Canadian soil is a double-towered casino resort near the U.S. border. It has a massive 100,000-sq. ft. gaming floor as well as a new luxury spa and nightclub opening soon. Best of all, as part of the Caesars group, visitors can earn Total Reward points, which are valid at Caesars properties south of the border.Caesars
Casino de Mont-Tremblant (Mont-Tremblant, QC)One of just a few casinos in Canada within spitting distance from the slopes, this casino makes an excellent vacation spot for those who love the dual adrenaline rushes of black diamond by day and blackjack by night. You can also partake in the casino's top-notch dining options, from brunch to an exclusive gastronomic experience at the chef's table at Altitude restaurant. Casinos du Quebec
Casino Rama (Orillia, Ont.)With its 2,500 slot machines and 110 game tables, not only is Casino Rama a great spot to roll the dice en route to southern Ontario cottage country, it's also an excellent place to get your musical nostalgia fix. From '80s bands such like Tears for Fears to Canadian icon Gordon Lightfoot, Rama's 5,036-seat entertainment centre is a popular venue for touring acts both new and old.Casino Rama
River Rock Casino Resort (Richmond, BC)Just a 10-minute drive from Vancouver Airport, western Canada's largest casino is also a massive entertainment complex and resort: more than 1,100 slots, and 115 tables including a dedicated Poker room, high-limit VIP rooms, open 24 hours a day. If your luck runs out, you can eat your emotions at one of six restaurants (plus a food court) or soak and pamper your cares away at the onsite spa, pool and waterslide.River Rock Casino Resort
Casino Niagara (Niagara Falls, Ont.)Only slightly less epic than the massive waterfalls just outside the door, this place offers a whopping 95,000 sq. ft. of slots and tables -- that's almost two football fields. Speaking of which, the Sports Section offers plush seating and 12 HDTVs (there are 18 more in the off-track betting area), making it a great spot to bet for your favourite team.Diego Torres Silvestre via Flickr
Deerfoot Inn and Casino (Calgary, Alta)This casino lays claim to the province's biggest-ever slot payout: $2,501,464.02. That princely sum was earned on a Diamond Millions game with a three-dollar bet, making the ROI 833,821 per cent. According to Deerfoot, there are three to four Diamond Millions payout of more than $1,000,000 each year -- something to keep in mind when you're picking between the casino's 767 slot machines.Deerfoot Inn and Casino
Diamond Tooth Gerties (Dawson City, Yukon)The oldest and northernmost casino in Canada, this place is pure Yukon gold. With 60 slot machines and a handful of table games, Gerties may not come close to the southern behemoths, but it makes up for its quaintness with true Klondike-style entertainment, including three can-can shows per week from May to September.Dawson City.ca
Medicine Hat Lodge (Medicine Hat, Alta)As if trying your luck at the tables wasn't exhilarating enough, Medicine Hat Lodge offers heart pumping fun that's suitable for the whole family. The attached four-star hotel, voted best in the city, is home to Medicine Hat's largest indoor hotel water park and the city's only wave pool. That's one casino where you won't mind ending up all wet.Medicine Hat Lodge
Red Shores (Charlottetown, PEI)What to do when you've tired of PEI's sleepy charm, Anne of Green Gables kitsch and red sand beaches? Head for the island's other Red Shores. Though the current gaming complex didn't open until 2005, gaming on the site dates back to October 2, 1889, when the Charlottetown Driving Park opened its doors for standardbred harness racing. Today visitors can still bet on live harness races, or try their luck at the 200 slot machines or Texas Hold 'Em poker or blackjack tables.Red Shores