I was just thinking about this topic and I recall an interesting episode about Toronto on Anthony Bourdain's Layover TV show. Toronto has a reputation for being boring and ugly, but there is more to the place when you get past the outward appearances. Might be something to consider and look around there too, as well as Quebec City.
Have you ever traveled on Amtrak? The scenery in upstate NY is lovely but the trains are likely not what you are used to in Europe.