While Canada is beautiful in every season, there is something especially magical about a Canadian winter. The snow-capped mountains, the beautiful frozen lakes, the pure white vistas, winter is picture-perfect. And while it might be cold for some, if you bundle up and wrap yourself in some layers, you’ll get to enjoy some once in a lifetime experiences. Let’s take a quick journey across Canada and discover some truly unique winter events.
Quebec City, Quebec
Toboggan through town
Quebec City boasts something you won’t find anywhere else: a toboggan slide right in the centre of town. Au 1884 sends visitors down the icy track on a traditional wooden sled, reaching speeds of up to 70 kilometres an hour!
Celebrate winter with a carnival
The world’s largest winter carnival, Carnaval De Québec, ignores the cold weather and warms the hearts of everyone who attends. Hang out with Bonhomme and explore his Ice Palace, tour the ice sculptures, try a Beaver Tail dessert, enjoy live music and slide down the Christine North Slope! The 2020 Festival is from February 7-16.
Sleep like winter royalty
Take a short drive from Quebec City to The Hôtel de Glace, the only ice hotel in North America. Made entirely of snow and ice, the architectural marvel is a wonder to behold. Explore the beautiful Great Hall, chapel, ice slide, exhibitions and Ice Bar. You can spend the night in one of the themed suites (and get to use the outdoor spa and sauna) or try a delicious cocktail served in a glass made of ice.
Try the sweetest experience
Maple Syrup production, an iconic Canadian tradition, is practiced by the 4th, 5th & 6th generations of the Fulton family (Fulton’s Pancake House & Sugar Bush) on their 400-acre farm located less than 1 hour west of Ottawa. Enjoy scrumptious old-fashioned maple themed pancake meals in the Pancake House Restaurant, horse-drawn sleigh rides and hand-poured maple taffy.
Take a winterlude
Celebrate Canadian winter in Canada’s capital region, January 31 to February 17, 2020. During Winterlude you can marvel at the sculptures, skate on the world-famous Rideau Canal Skateway, and have an adventure in the Snowflake Kingdom with the giant slides, magnificent snow sculptures, shows and the Ice Hogs.
Escape the snow maze
The world’s largest snow maze – as verified by Guinness – can be found just outside of Winnipeg in St. Adolphe. Spanning over 30,000 square feet and built with over 300 truck-loads of snow, the maze features 6-foot-tall snow-packed walls. Throughout the labyrinth, you’ll encounter fire pits and various snow sculptures that will help you navigate the polar passageways.
Skate an entire river
When the rivers in Winnipeg freeze, they become one of the world’s longest skating trails. Rent some skates at The Forks Market, then head down to Red River Mutual Trail on the frozen Red and Assiniboine Rivers. While gliding down the trail – which was 10 km long in 2018 – check out the stunning warming huts.
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Take in Mother Nature’s light show
The Northwest Territories is the world’s Northern Lights mecca. Here, the Aurora dance an average of 200 nights per year. Stand in awe while above, a glowing fog floats in the ink-black sky. It creeps across the dome of the night, gaining intensity, flickering with tendrils of emerald, then jade, like plumes of strange fire.
Have a full-throttle adventure
If snowmobiling is your speed, you can rent a machine and winter gear and take a guided trek that combines forest and lake trails with serene beauty. In late March and April, you’ll find an array of super-hot snowmobile races are held at community carnivals across the NWT.
Take an ice walk
Enjoy the scenic drive from Calgary to Banff and explore the dramatic Johnston Canyon. The Upper Falls freeze during the winter and make for excellent beginner and advanced ice climbing. Or take a guided ice walk tour, ice walking is another great way to experience Johnston Canyon during the winter.
Shred the slopes
Banff is a utopia for skiers and snowboarders, offering two easily accessible world-class ski resorts, lightweight powder, and a stunningly scenic backdrop. It’s a must-visit location for all snow lovers, no matter your level of experience.
Don’t let the chilly temperatures keep you from exploring all this beautiful country has to offer in the winter. Book your flight, pack your toque and get ready for a wonderful winter adventure.
Visit westjet.com to book today.
In partnership with Destination Canada