Canada Crossroads

21 Best Places to Visit in Canada in Winter

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Looking for the best places to visit in Canada in winter? We got you covered. From snow capped mountain getaways, world class ski resorts to Christmas markets and Ice & Lights events, a winter break in Canada is a must add to your travel bucket list. 

Pocahontas Cabins in Jasper East

In this post, we will share some of the top picks for winter destinations in Canada, sorted by provinces in alphabetical order! Happy Reading.

21 Best places to visit in Canada in winter

places to visit in canada for winter

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In a hurry? Here is a quick list of amazing winter destinations in Canada for a getaway (from mountains, and cities to snowy activities)

  • Banff National Park, AB
  • Calgary, AB
  • Edmonton, AB
  • Jasper National Park. AB
  • Lake Louise, AB
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Squamish, BC
  • Victoria, BC
  • Whistler, BC
  • Churchill, MN
  • Halifax, NS
  • Great Lakes, ON
  • Niagara Falls, ON
  • Blue Mountain, ON
  • Parc de la Gatineau, ON
  • Charlottetown, PEI
  • Montreal, QC
  • Mont Tremblant, QC
  • Trois-Rivières, QC

The winter months in Canada are from December to February. January is the coldest month, and this is the best time for winter sports-related activities. Festive events are held from mid-December to early January.

Many ice festivals take place from January to the first weeks of February. Ice fishing season starts in February.

Pyramid Lake Island Jasper

Depending on your travel destination, you may experience winter/snowy landscapes during the months of March and April as well. In places like Lake Louise and Whistler, spring skiing is also possible.

What to wear in Canada in winter clothing for Canada

There are some winter essentials to pack for Canada.  

  • Winter Parka : Pack and carry a warm parka jacket to enjoy the winters outside in Canada. Here is my favorite jacket from The North Face. It has a good length and is super warm. Click to view this winter jacket.
  • Base Layers: Highly recommend that you layer on it! Wear long johns or base layers (top and bottom), to stay warm and toasty. Click to view my favorite pair bottom here , and top here
  • Winter Boots: These are an absolute must! Wear warm boots that come with a good grip. Buy my favorite pair here
  • Add cleats for when you go exploring snow-covered canyons, or waterfalls. Click to buy here
  • Warm Beanie : Wear something in bright colors for a contrasting look to the white background. I am loving these from Amazon
  • Also pack: Warm socks , warm gloves , pretty scarf

1. Banff National Park

Banff Downtown

Banff National Park is one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter. Enjoy the stunning Canadian Rockies, sprinkled with snow dust and a beautiful winter wonderland.

One of the amazing things to do in the winter in Banff is to head to the Sulphur Sightseeing Gondola and soak in views of the mountains.  On certain nights, Banff Gondola also organizes a stargazing event, along with Christmas celebrations.  

There are tons of seasonal activities held here in the winter, from Christmas on Mountain Top to the Santa Claus parade and other leisurely activities.

Planning the perfect Christmas in Banff

For those looking for winter sports, Banff welcomes you with natural and man-made ice rinks, cross country skiing, and snowboarding, all with amazing mountain backdrops.

Mount Norquay and Banff Sunshine Village are great options for skiing in the mountains. 

Winter is also amazing for Banff hiking and ice walks. Although not all trails will be open (like it’s open in the summer months), winter hiking on selected trails is possible. Always ensure you are taking a guide on winter hikes if this is your first time. 

Johnston Canyon in winter girl hiking

Romantic winter activities from fairytale castle staycations, horse sleigh rides to fancy dining, Banff has it all for a winter holiday! Be sure to wear warm clothes, as it can be pretty windy in Banff on the mountaintop.

  • Tours : Ice climbing activities at the Johnston Canyon
  • Accommodation in Banff : Fairmont Banff Springs (5-star hotel) | Elk and Avenue Banff (3+ star)

2. Calgary  

places to visit in canada for winter

One of the prettiest cities in Canada to visit in winter is Calgary. Calgary is usually the first stop for those travelers heading to Banff from overseas or out of province. 

The majority of the city attractions are open in the winter in Calgary . Ensure you visit the Calgary Tower observation platform to soak in the views of the snow-covered cityscape.

Calgary Tower Glass floor in winter

Tons of festive concerts, markets, and restaurants menu pop up to keep you delighted throughout the stay.

places to visit in canada for winter

During this time, you must visit museums like the Glenbow Art Museum, and Fort Calgary Park to name a few. This is also a good time to shop at various retail locations in Calgary, which are normally filled with Holiday decorations and sales. 

Find how to spend a day in Calgary here

If you are into outdoor activities, include a trip to the Olympics Park and enjoy winter activities at the world-class facility. Another option is the Fish Creek Provincial Park. You can go cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing here. 

  • Accommodation : Stay in downtown Calgary, our favorites: Fairmont Palliser | Le Germain Calgary

3. Edmonton 

places to visit in canada for winter

Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta, and it has been our home for the past 7+ years. In the winter Edmonton beams with amazing activities from Xmas markets to ice castles and light festivals!

places to visit in canada for winter

Our absolute favorite is the Ice Castles festival which takes place from late December to early February (ice castles are canceled for 2020, likely to return in 2023/4). 

You can also venture into nearby places like Saint Albert, Devon, and Sherwood Park for more winter fests!

Saint Albert Christmas Glow celebrations

The city is filled with other festivals too like the amazing Luminaria Lights festival, where the Botanical Gardens are decorated with festive lights for two days.

Devonian Gardens Edmonton winter

Not too far from Edmonton is the Elk Island National Park, where you can chase the Northern Lights in the winter, or go snowshoeing.

We love to take a walk at the Legislature Grounds in the winter, as it lights up for Christmas festivities. Shopping is huge in Edmonton too. Here you can shop at the largest indoor shopping mall in the country – West Edmonton Mall.

places to visit in canada for winter

The Riverside Bistro ( Courtyard by Marriott in Downtown Edmonton) sets up winter igloos for you to dine in. We had a great time, cozying with our loved ones in an igloo, overlooking the river valley.

  • Where to stay in Edmonton : Hilton Garden Inn West Edmonton | The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

4. Jasper National Park

places to visit in canada for winter

Jasper is a winter wonderland! Being the largest park in the Canadian Rockies, there is no dearth of things to do in Jasper National Park. 

When you visit Jasper in the winter , you’ll find yourself immersed in a wonderland of outdoor activities. Skiing snowboarding, snowshoeing, and skating are just a few of the exhilarating options available to you. Ice fishing is also possible in Jasper. 

Marmot Ski Resort is where you can enjoy the lovely powder (till early spring months). 

Marmot Ski Basin Alberta

The park also offers a variety of winter activities, such as dog sledding, ice climbing, and snowshoeing. You can go ice climbing at the Maligne Canyon, or snowshoe by Sunwapta Falls. These falls look heavenly in the winter!

Winter Sunwapta Falls

The Pyramid Lake area is perfect for easy-to-moderate winter hikes and walks. You can also stay in the resort and admire the winter landscape from the comfort of your suite!

Speaking of comfort and luxurious interiors, Fairmont Jasper Lodge is an amazing spot to book a winter staycation. They have special festive getaways in the month of December that you can enjoy with your friends and family.

There is a spa on-site, restaurants as well as a frozen pond!

Fairmont Jasper Lodge in winter

Jasper Town is also very adorable. You will find everything from fast food joints, to breweries and shopping on the main street!

Wildlife in Jasper National Park Icefields Parkway Drive

But that’s not all! Jasper National Park is also renowned for its abundant wildlife sightings during the winter months. As you explore the park, keep your eyes peeled for the magnificent bighorn sheep, graceful elk, and majestic moose. These encounters with nature will add an extra layer of excitement to your visit.

With its breathtaking icefalls, frozen lakes, and stunning mountain views, it’s no surprise that Jasper ranks high on any traveler’s bucket list.

  • Tours : Icewalk at Maligne Canyon
  • Hotels : Pyramid Lake Resort | Fairmont Jasper Lodge
  • Resources : Where to stay in Jasper National Park

5. Lake Louise

Frozen lake louise winter

Located inside the Banff National Park are the turquoise blue waters of Lake Lousie. During winter , the frozen lake is like a little town in itself. You can ice skate in the natural rink, against the mountain backdrop. 

Located close by is the famous Chateau Lake Louise hotel – stay here for stunning winter views from your suite. There are ice skating rentals and an indoor rink at the chateau.

Winter Lake Louise strolls

Or stay warm and cozy by booking an afternoon tea seating!

You can also hop on a shuttle to head to the Lake Louise Ski Resort from here! Book a skiing lesson in Lake Louise

Ice Magic festival Lake Louise

In January, Lake Lousie hosts the ice sculpture festival. Called the Ice Magic Festival, it delights visitors every year. This event is free to enter and enjoy. 

If you are planning to embark on a road trip to enjoy the Canadian Rockies , including Lake Lousie, ensure you check the weather forecasts/road conditions before travel. Always add car insurance for the duration of your trip.

  • Day tour to Lake Louise from Banff : Book a day tour to Lake Louise from Banff
  • Stay at: Lake Louise Inn | Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

BRITISH COLUMBIA

6. vancouver .

Vancouver in Winter

Vancouver is one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter for those who love ‘not a lot of snow’. Considered one of the warmer places for Christmas breaks, Vancouver glows with festive colors and lights all winter long.

There are many Christmas lights events held across the city, and our absolute favorite is the lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park . The park looks like pretty postcard-like lights shining in the middle of the woods. 

The Capilano suspension bridge in Vancouver, Canada is lighted up for Christmas

Enjoy ice skating at the Robson Square Ice Rink . This is seasonally operated and open for visitors. Or head to the St. Paul’s Foundation’s Lights of Hope, where you can soak in the festive glow with over 100,000 bright lights, and shining stars.

As the weather is not very cold, you can wander Downtown Vancouver with hot chocolate in your hand, while you enjoy the urban jungle, 5-star hotels, waterfront areas, and art museums. Highly recommend adding a food tour in Gastown.

You can also enjoy a day full of skiing activities by taking a day trip to the Grouse Mountains. It hosts the 24 Hours of Winter event, where the slopes are open from sunrise to sunset.

Read: Our complete guide to things to do in Vancouver in winter

  • Hotels in Vancouver: Stay in the downtown area at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel (5-star) | Apartments in Downtown Vancouver

7. Squamish 

By Eden from Rock a Little Travel

places to visit in canada for winter

One of the most beautiful places to visit in Canada in Winter is Squamish, British Columbia. The town of Squamish is located along the Sea to Sky Highway about halfway between Vancouver and Whistler. 

It is situated next to the mountains, the Squamish River, and Howe Sound, creating an abundance of outdoor adventure opportunities for winter visitors. 

One of the most popular things to do in Squamish in winter is to visit the Sea to Sky Gondola.

Once at the top, you’ll be greeted with stunning views of Howe Sound and the snow-capped mountains off in the distance. The surrounding trails are perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. 

Squamish is also a popular winter destination for backcountry skiing, sledding, zip lining, rock climbing, and snowmobiling. 

For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, Squamish is known as a prime area for Bald Eagle viewing. The Bald Eagles return to the area each November and can often be seen flying around near the Squamish River. 

Head to Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park for your best chance at spotting the Bald Eagles. 

If you’re looking for a hotel in the area, we recommend the Howe Sound Inn located in downtown Squamish. The hotel is located just upstairs from Howe Sound Brewing, which has a fantastic restaurant and makes an excellent place to end your day. 

  • Accommodation in Squamish : Howe Sound Inn

8. Victoria

By Marcie from Marcie in Mommyland

places to visit in canada for winter

Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is one of the cutest little winter wonderland towns, especially during the holidays. The European-inspired city is all dressed up with Christmas lights and decorations. 

While many people flock to The Butchart Gardens during the warmer months, they are pretty awesome during the winter. They host a Magic of Christmas event with more lights than you can ever imagine plus an outdoor skating rink. 

Around town, you can take the Hop On Hop Off tour or hitch a ride in a horse drawn carriage for a romantic ride through the festive streets.

The Royal BC Museum is a great place to explore on cold days and Father Christmas himself even makes appearances. They also have an impressive lineup of IMAX films running all day long. 

When it’s time to warm up, head to Floyd’s diner for some amazing hot chocolate and tasty diner food. Or head up to the Dutch Bakery to fill your tummy with delectable treats, including traditional gingerbread cookies! 

Of course, there’s no better place to stay at Christmas in Victoria BC than the iconic Fairmont Empress hotel. They have one of the most gorgeous lobbies decorated for Christmas and they host some amazing high tea events. Victoria makes an awesome winter weekend getaway in British Columbia!

Read : One day in Victoria BC itinerary | Afternoon tea in Victoria

  • Tours : Butchart Gardens and Christmas tour
  • Hotels : Fairmont Empress hotel

9. Whistler  

By Rachel from A City Girl Outside

Snowmobiling in Whistler Canada winters

Whistler is the skiing capital of North America and one of the most perfect places to visit during the winter season. But there is far more to this skiing resort town.

Snowmobiling has been one of the most exhilarating activities that you must do, outside of the Whistler Blackcomb resort, and something you definitely need to try once in your life! 

Snowmobiling tours are offered through Canadian Wilderness Adventures, and they offer tours for different skill levels, including families! You can choose to share a snowmobile with a friend and take turns or for an extra fee, have individual snowmobiles.

The guides at Canadian Wilderness are fantastic and will have you trying new things in no time. You don’t need to worry about having the right attire, Canadian Wilderness supply helmets, and boots for the ride!

Tours can be booked online through the Canadian Wilderness website or you can visit their kiosk downstairs in the Carlton Lodge.

For exceptional rooms and service during your stay in Whistler, the Fairmont Chateau is one of Whistler’s most prestigious hotels and one of the resort’s only ski-in-ski-out hotels.

With stunning views of Blackcomb Mountain, a spa, and several dining options, the Fairmont has everything you’d need to complete your winter trip to Whistler .  Book your stay here!

  • Tours : Whistler Spectacular Glacier Tour by Seaplane
  • Hotels in Whistler: Fairmont Chateau Whistler | Delta Whistler Village Suites

10. Churchill 

Polar bear in Churchill

Churchill is a small town located in the province of Manitoba. It is widely known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World”. Yes, this is where cute polar bears await you for winter fun. 

Churchill is located on the shores of Hudson Bay and is home to polar bears, beluga whales, and a variety of birds. It is like a winter wonderland like no other.

In the lap of nature, and far north, Churchill is one of those places in Canada where you can witness wilderness and beat winter blues by chasing green dancing lights aka Aurora Borealis. 

Plan a trip to Churchill for an amazing winter break for wildlife and nature lovers. To get to Churchill, you can fly to Winnipeg, and then travel there. Another option is to take the Winnipeg–Churchill semi-weekly train. 

NOVA SCOTIA

11. halifax.

places to visit in canada for winter

Winters in Halifax are long. But it is a good thing as due to snow and ice you can indulge in winter activities. 

Tobogganing on Citadel Hill is very popular, and so is ice skating at the Emera Oval. Winter activities range from skiing, winter hiking, sledding, and ice tubing in various parks across the city.  And attending all the lights festivals is a must. 

The Atlantic Fashion Week Pop-Up Christmas Market pulls tourists for festive souvenirs and culinary delight. You can also visit the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market for local produce and baked goods.

If you prefer indoor festivities, head to the Student Art Gallery, and the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame for seasonal events, while you stay warm and toasty inside.

Another option is to head to Sugar Moon Farm to enjoy our maple syrup and a comfortable winter meal. 

Winter in Halifax lasts till February, and if you are visiting during this time, don’t forget to attend the Festival of Whisky. 

  • Hotels: The Inn at Fisherman’s Cove | Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel

12. Great Lakes

By Slavka from On2Continents.com

Frozen Lake Erie Canada winter destinations

Canada is charming in winter. No wonder it’s called the True North. Frozen Great Lakes add to the country’s winter charm.

If you get a chance to get to one of the large lakes in winter, you’ll be surprised by how different they look. Summer lake beaches are fun, but the frozen beauty of glittering snow and ice on the lake on a sunny day is unforgettable.

The best places for trips to frozen lakes are small towns along the shore such as Port Stanley on Lake Erie or Grand Bend on Lake Huron. Lakes are frozen solid many metres from the beach, and you’ll see people walking toward the open space.

The weather conditions for walking on frozen lakes are best in February and early March after several weeks of frost or cold snaps.

Before you set out, make sure you choose a sunny day with no wind. Wind can ruin your day more than the grey sky. Also, be sure to wear layers of winter clothing, a warm hat, mittens, good boots, and sunglasses.

And don’t forget your camera because you sure will want to snap the winter fairy tale landscape.

After a nice fresh walk on the magical glistening landscape, it’s a good idea to warm up in a cozy coffee shop. A cup of hot chocolate will be a perfect touch for a nice winter lake trip. 

Read: More places to visit in Ontario in winter

13. Niagara Falls

The Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls taken from above on the Canadian side.

If you have visited Niagara Falls in the summer, you must re-visit in the winter to see how stunning the falls look in a Narnia-like scenario. Although many of the attractions like the boat tours are closed, the falls and observation platform for viewing are open. 

Take a walk along the pathway by the side of the falls and enjoy the mighty falls glittering in white snow. It is common to see ice formations in and around the falls and the cliffs. 

Close to Christmas and New Year, you can expect fireworks and festive lights over the Falls. The Skylon Tower on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is open during winter and you can book a ticket to soak in the white-washed falls. 

For most of the winter, Niagara Falls is not super crowded, but on Christmas Eve or New Years’ Eve finding affordable hotels might be a challenge , so reserve your stay early. 

Every January, Niagara hosts the Ice Wine Festival, which is a wine-tasting event.

  • Tours : Niagara Falls Day Tour with Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Hotels: Niagara Falls Marriott on the Falls

14. Toronto  

Toronto in winter

Toronto is one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter. Toronto gets a lot of snow, and the entire city is lit with festive lights and decorations. And truly the city is never dull at any time of the year.

Festive activities begin at the historic Distillery District. This is where the Christmas Market is set up. Wander through the markets and sip in hot cocoa while you shop for souvenirs and Christmas ornaments. 

Toronto Light Festival is a must-visit, here the annual lights fest will leave you spellbound and in the festive spirit.  Guide to exploring Toronto in a day

For winter sports, enjoy skating and live music at the epic Nathan Phillips Square . This is where the City Hall is located too. 

The waterfront is one of our favorite spots in the city, whether summer or winter. There are festive decorations and stalls at the waterfront. At the Harbourfront Centre, you can also enjoy skating on a natural ice rink, whilst soaking in the city views.

For those looking for an indoor winter experience, ensure you visit museums and theatre halls for concerts and the Christmas choir. Casa Loma is an amazing place to visit this time – stay inside, take a tour of the castle, and take photos with Santa Claus.

Another item to add is the CN Tower, which is open in the winter for festive dinners (at the revolving restaurant) and the viewing platform to admire the waterfront and Downtown Toronto from up above. 

  • Tours : Best of Toronto City Tour | Food walking tour
  • Hotels : Book hotels in Toronto here!

15. Blue Mountain Resort

By Manpreet from YourVeganAdventure.com

Blue Mountain Village in winter with mountain background

The Blue Mountain Resort is located within driving distance from Toronto and although it is an amazing place to visit all year round, winter is when it becomes magical.

Once the winter season starts, the ski lifts begin operating and work all day taking guests up to the top of the slopes. However, there is more to Blue Mountain than just skiing in the winter. The wood view mountain top becomes home to an 1100m ice rink loop, with stunning views over the Niagara Escarpment. 

Ice skates can be rented for $6, and you are allowed to take your own to be more comfortable. The other popular activity is hiking through the many trails with snowshoes.

Again with views of the Escarpment, the resort provides free hiking tours on this quiet tranquil route through nature and sees a completely different side of Blue Mountain. 

Oh, and if you feel tired at the top, you can get a tube to slide your way back to the ground!

Blue Mountain truly is a resort, with plenty of eateries and hotels on site. You can spend a few nights there without having to drive anywhere outside of the area. 

The hotels on-site are the Village Suites, the Resort Inn , and the 5* luxury Westin Hotel . No matter what your budget is, there is something for you.

Traveling by road is highly recommended and there is plenty of free parking at all the accommodations so there is no stress on that front. The restaurants within the resort cater to all taste buds, ranging from a coffee shop bakery to a dine-in Japanese experience. 

  • Where to stay : Village Suites | The Resort Inn | Westin Hotel

16 . Ottawa  

places to visit in canada for winter

Ottawa is Canada’s capital city, and it is one of the must visit places in the winter. Do visit the Parliament building and admire all the festive lights lit for Christmas and New Year. 

Ottawa is home to the world’s longest natural ice rink aka the Rideau Canal – UNESCO World Heritage Site. The frozen Rideau Canal Skateway awaits you, so get ready to enjoy a fun filled day with friends and family. This is one of the most popular attractions in the winter in Ottawa. 

As with most Canadian cities, festive lights are common and Ottawa is no different. All of Ottawa is decorated with thousands of lights.

  • Tours : Hop-On Hop-Off Guided City Tour Day Ticket
  • Hotels : Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre

17. Parc de la Gatineau

By Chris from Punta Cana Travel Blog

Parc de la Gatineau in winter

Even though Canada is one of the most amazing countries in the world for downhill skiing, there are also other activities to do in winter, such as hiking or snowshoeing. 

A place easily accessible from one of the main cities in Canada is Parc de la Gatineau very close to Ottawa. It’s less than a 30-minute drive from Ottawa downtown and it’s impressive how quickly you can enter a snowy winter wonderland with nothing more than just 100% nature around you. 

The three main lakes of the park, Lac Meech,  Lac Phillipe , and Lac Mousseau, are adding their share to this beautiful and idyllic scenery.

The main winter activities at Parc de la Gatineau with more than 150km of trails are hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. All trails are divided into separate categories (easy, medium, and difficult) and are marked on a big comprehensive map which makes it easy to get around in the park. 

The idyllic setting and the gorgeous views of the lakes and the Ottawa Valley are making any activity here very pleasant on a sunny winter day. One of the possible trails with some steep inclines and three viewpoints on the way is the Wolf Trail, which we did last winter.

When visiting Parc de la Gatineau, we recommend staying right in Ottawa as is it so close, which means you can enjoy the advantages and attractions of Canada’s capital as well.

If you would like to splurge a bit, Andaz Ottawa Byward Market is a great pick and if you are looking for a more affordable downtown option, The Carleton Suite Hotel is your place to go.

  • Hotel: The Carleton Suite Hotel | Andaz Ottawa Byward Market

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

18. charlottetown.

Charlottetown in winter

The capital city of PEI/Prince Edward Island – Charlottetown is one of the unique places to visit in Canada in the winter. This winter getaway is perfect for both indoor and outdoor activities from fine dining, skating, and cross skiing to children’s festivals.

The small city has the perfect combination of indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy.

places to visit in canada for winter

Firstly, warm up with a hot drink from one of the city’s cafes in the downtown area. Then head outdoors and skate at the Founder’s Hall Rink is one of the popular places to hang out in Charlottetown.

Another option to enjoy winter fun is at Victoria Park. Activities include cross-country skiing, outdoor winter yoga, and snowshoeing. 

Winter festivals in Charlottetown include something for everybody from the young and the old. Jack Frost Children’s Winterfest for young adults, Winterdine for foodie lovers, and Festival of Lights – for everybody.  

  • Tours: Day tour to Green Gables
  • Hotels: Delta Hotels by Marriott Prince Edward | The Arts Hotel

QUEBEC 

19. montreal .

Montreal winter skating

The stunning city of Montreal is even more amazing in the winter. From staying at an Ice hotel, and listening to Christmas carols at Notre Dame to enjoying underground shopping, Montreal welcomes you to a fun-filled winter getaway. 

Ice Hotel in Montreal is a special hotel, which gets built each year (depending on winter conditions). It is open from January to late March/early April. Visitors can wander through the hotel, enjoy a drink or two at the Ice Bar, and can also book a room to stay for the night. 

For those visiting on Christmas Eve, visit the Notre Dame Basilica in Old Montreal and chime in the carols. Old Montreal, especially the port area is filled with festivities and markets to warm your heart.

Montreal in winter

Marché de Noël is a popular event in Montreal, where you can shop for traditional foods, handcrafted items – ornaments and souvenirs, etc. 

Montréal’s Christmas Village is held every year in the winter, starting in late November to early January. This winter/Christmas village is home to 50 cottages filled with bakeries, cafes, and stores selling souvenirs, and local produce. Santa Claus is also present to welcome the kids. 

If you prefer a German Christmas Market, head to the Weinachtsmarkt. This market ambiance will teleport you to Europe. Shop handmade Christmas goodies, eat sausages, sauerkraut, and sip mulled wine, while you wander the market. 

  • Tours : Christmas Brunch Cruise | Small Group Night Sightseeing Tour
  • Hotels : Hotel 10 | Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth

20. Mont Tremblant

By Danni from Danni In The Desert

Mont Tremblant in Winter

This beautiful little village is located in Quebec, Mont Tremblant was built especially for tourists who want a European resort-style ski experience with hotels, shops, restaurants, and more! 

They offer a range of slopes from beginning to advanced along with ski instructors for those who are novices or wish to improve their technique. Don’t have any ski gear? Not to worry! Everything can be hired from their ski shop!

Once you’ve finished skiing, you’ve got lots of ways to unwind with a wide range of restaurants and hotels serving an array of food and beverages. 

One of the best spots for food and drink is close to the village resort called Hotel Quintessence . Their fine dining bistro has stunning views over Lake Tremblant or lounge in their pretty cool cellar style bar.

If you’re not wanting to go too far from the action of the slopes, within the village there is everything from pizza to poutine!

Similar to the restaurants, there is a wide range of hotels available close by. Everything from hostels to 5-star boutique hotels. Despite being a skiing resort, one of the best parts of it is possible to experience skiing whatever your budget!

Another must is to check out the spas! Depending on your budget, the more budget-friendly option is the Aqua club in the middle of Tremblant Village. You can enjoy sitting in a outdoor warm jacuzzi with skiers whizzing by.

If you’re wanting the full luxury option, there are several spas in the surrounding areas offering various packages for a fully relaxing experience.

  • Accommodation at : Hotel Quintessence , or Homewood Suites Hotel

21. Trois-Rivières (Ice Trails & Winter Hiking)

By Brianna of Curious Travel Bug

places to visit in canada for winter

Quebec is the perfect place to visit if you are looking for a winter destination in Canada. While Quebec is known for its skiing, it’s also a fantastic destination for ice skating trails and winter hiking.

Domaine Enchanteur is a skating trail that winds its way through a forest only 20 minutes away from Trois-Rivières. With 15 km (9.3 miles) of trails to explore, it’s easy to spend a couple of hours here. This is not your typical ice rink experience.

Trails here take you to secluded parts of the forest and by different animals on the farm like alpacas and emus. Along the trails, there are also warming rooms and places to buy hot chocolate.

After skating, take a scenic drive toward La Mauricie National Park. The drive here feels more like you are driving through snowy European towns with cute villages that dot the sides of the Saint Maurice River. 

At La Mauricie, there are several options for exploring the park during winter. The service centre at Rivière à la Pêche offers up equipment rentals of snowshoes, cross-country skis, and crampons for hiking.

Hiking through the forest here is a magical experience. With deep snow drifts, and views from up on cliffs to the river below, this is the perfect winter activity.

This trip can be done as a day trip from Montreal , Quebec City, or Trois-Rivières. To immerse yourself in this winter wonderland you can rent a cabin at La Mauricie National Park. If you want a bit more luxury than that, check out Hotel Oui Go in Trois-Rivières.

  • Hotel : Hotel Oui Go in Trois-Rivières

Final Thoughts on Canada Winter Destinations & Travel Inspiration

Canada is a great destination to spend your winter holidays. Yes, it is cold, but it is also the perfect place to enjoy this season – bring out your winter jackets, lace-up warm boots, put on a pretty beanie/torque, and welcome the snow with wide open arms!

We hope you enjoy spending winters here, as much as we do!

Other Canada Travel Tips

  • Canada Road Trips
  • Hotels with Best Views of Niagara Falls Canada
  • 3 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Pin: Winter Destinations in Canada for your bucket list

places to visit in canada for winter

Mayuri Kashyap is an Indian Canadian traveler, writer and photographer based in Alberta. She moved to Toronto as a student in 2009, and has been calling Canada home ever since. She started the blog - Canada Crossroads - to share her travel and living experiences in the Great White North!

A History graduate and an MBA, Mayuri is a destinations marketing expert. She loves traveling with her husband, Salil and soaking in experiences across Canada, India and Europe.

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23 Comments

I’m usually against traveling in the cold, but omg, these photos make it look worth hit! It really looks and sounds incredible. Pinning for later!

It’s so hard finding things to do in the winter; this is a great list of fun things to get out of the house and explore!

I can’t decide which to do first! Great article that will help me and my family plan our next trip.

I would love to visit Banff National Park in winter. It looks so beautiful, just like a fairy tale. I have actually been to Toronto in December in a layover, and I’ve seen it cover in snow. So pretty!

Lots of great places you’ve listed, sadly I’ve only been to the ones in Ontario!

I’ve only ever visited Canada in the winter time and I’ve loved every single visit! I think there’s something magical about the snow and the beautiful scenery. Thanks for this list, there are still quite a few places I haven’t visited.

I’m in Vancouver and can vouch for all the BC places on this list. It’s a great place for winter, and not too cold. I’d love to visit Churchill though and see the Polar Bears and I do really like the Rockies. Great list

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

Omg it looks so cold! My family used to go to Niagara Falls every year around Christmas — it was a really great time to see the falls with fewer tourists!

Winter is a great time to visit Niagara Falls!

Love all these winter Canadian ideas! Sadly I’m Canadian and haven’t done any of them. I need to get on it soon!

Oh! you must visit, they are beautiful!

I want to go to Banff so bad!! I also love Toronto in the winter. I would enjoy seeing Montreal in the wintertime when there are Christmas markets.

You will LOVE Banff, we visit every winter 🙂

These are all amazing ideas! Canada sounds magical in the winter!!! I’d love to see the ice sculptures and Banff and Nova Scotia where my grandpas family was from!

Yay! Glad you like it!

An amazing capture of the winter wonderland that is Canada. I would love to see Alberta in the winter

We love exploring our province in the winter – it is stunning!

Also a cool idea on just sitting down and doing a bit of people watching, I can imagine that with the amount of people living in Canada there really is a mix of cultures and styles.

I haven’t been to Canada in about 2 decades but Banff is superrrr high up on my travel bucket list! Can’t wait til it’s safer to travel again! <3

Beautiful images. Now I am more excited to visit Canada this Christmas. Thank you for sharing some amazing places to visit in Canada

I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I’m quite certain I will learn many new stuff right here!

Best of luck for the next!

Thanks very interesting blog!

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17 Absolute Best Places to Visit in Canada in Winter

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We LOVE Canadian winters and come November the festive spirit makes us so happy and excited about all the wonderful things to come in the new year. Having lived in 3 Canadian provinces and traveled to 7, we can safely say we love it here (no wonder we don’t book overseas trips around this time!). So here’s presenting our top 16 picks for the best places to visit in Canada in winter, which I am sure you will love too! 

Preparing for Canada in winter

places to visit in canada for winter

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Canada is the second largest country in the world, and winter temperatures here really vary from coast to coast to coast. Typical winter months are from late November to February. However, in many cities and provinces, it can go for 4 to 6 months. In 2013, we had snow in Saskatoon up until the end of April/May. 

Here is a list of temperatures and winter months in each province

For your Canada winter holidays, remember to pack warm clothing and layer on when you step outside. When participating in winter sports like cross country skiing, snowboarding, and skating, ensure you are wearing appropriate gear.

Note you can easily rent ski equipment in (or near) the resort you are heading to.

Here are some of the essential items to pack for your winter trip to Canada and gear up for the cold weather. For a full list, check our post in What to pack for Canada winter clothes list

  • Outerwear: Wear warm parka/outerwear for your visit to Canada. Here is my favorite jacket from Northface, it has a deep hood, and sleeves come with tight cuffs to keep the cold wind out. Click to check it out here
  • Thermal top and bottoms: It is important to layer on, to stay warm in Canadian winters. Opt for Merino Wool thermals as your base layer – top and bottom. You can check my top picks here – TOP and BOTTOM
  • Snow boots: Wear mid or tall winter boots to stay warm. Ensure they have a waterproof exterior and strong outsoles. Here is a Sorel Caribou Boots that I adore!
  • Don’t forget warm socks
  • Winter Accessories: Wear warm gloves, beanie or cap , and scarf to protect from the cold
  • Cosmetics: Sunscreen, moisturizer, hand cream, lip balm, and perfume
  • Add sunglasses and travel documents, currency, and travel insurance
  • Don’t forget your camera gear to click amazing winter photos!

Sylvan Lake Best places to visit in Canada in winter

17 Best Places to visit in Canada in Winter: Things to do + Events Guide

1. banff national park, alberta: christmas, winter wonderland, snow activities.

Best Place To Stay in Banff : Fairmont Banff Springs | Elk + Avenue Hotel | Rimrock Hotel

Things To Do & Winter events:

  • Ski season starts in late November/early December to February 
  • November: Banff Santa Parade, Banff Christmas Markets, Banff Beer Festival
  • December: Christmas on the Mountain top, stargazing & other seasonal activities in Banff Gondola (Dec to March)

Banff in November

Banff in winter is an absolute paradise. Living in Edmonton, Banff is our easy destination for weekend breaks including winter road trips. There is so much to see and do in Banff in winter. Start with Banff Avenue, the mountain town is all decorated and lit up for Christmas. 

If you are visiting in November, you can attend the Banff Santa Parade that takes place in mid November. This event is completely free and lasts about 2 hours. Being an outdoor event, remember to dress warmly and bring in camping chairs and blankets to sit back and enjoy the show!

Banff Gondola Best Places to visit in Canada in winter

Go ice skating in natural ice rinks or indoor facilities in Banff (like Banff Rec Centre or Banff Springs Hotel). For natural rinks, ensure you are checking the warnings posted, as sometimes there could be thin ice and not solid enough for skating.

Vermillion Lakes is wonderful for skating in the winter, this is also a great spot to see the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis.

Banff photography in Banff town

Enjoy snowshoeing in Banff by taking short and/or half-day snowshoeing tours in and around the National Park. The most popular sites for snowshoeing include snow-covered areas near Banff Gondola, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, Lake Agnes, and Yoho National Park. 

For beginners, it is worthwhile to book a tour for 2 hours or so , with a certified guide and take the time to relax and enjoy the view. Check out this snowshoeing tour in Kootenay National Park in Banff. 

You can also enjoy a guided Grotto Canyon Ice Walk that passes a frozen creek, whilst checking out ice waterfalls and rock art, and mountain views!

Amazing Banff winter activities - Christmas parade & markets, skii, winter tours, hot cocoa, ice festivals & more. The best things to in Banff in winter

Banff is also a skier’s paradise. There are 2 gondolas and 26 chair lifts to take you to the mesmerizing winter wonderland. There are three primary ski resorts in Banff (Ski Big3) – Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff Sunshine Village, and Mt Norquay.

Mount Norquay Ski Resort is located closest to Banff, and only a 10-minute drive away. You can do night skiing, and snow tubing. Sunshine Village Resort is located about 20 minutes west of Banff. 

2. Lake Louise, Alberta: Ice festivals, Ski & Ice skating 

Best Place To Stay: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise | Lake Louise Inn | Airbnbs in Lake Louise

  • January/February: Ski events, Ice Magic Festival. Lake Louise is frozen, and it becomes a natural outdoor skating rink

Banff Winter Activities - Lake Louise covered in snow

Lake Louise is located just 50 minutes outside of Banff town, and this little hamlet deserves its own special winter recognition. Lake Louise in winter is not turquoise blue, rather it is frozen rock solid like an indoor ice rink (but with beautiful mountain views surrounding it).

In the winter months, you can book dog sledding tours from the Lake Louise Fairmont Hotel . Although winter hikes may not be possible you can ice skate on the frozen Lake Louise. 

Skiers can take the free shuttle to Lake Lousie Ski Resort (part of SkiBig 3). This season is from November to May, and the ski resort boasts 145 runs and amazing views! Out of the 145 runs, 25% are great for beginners. 

Banff and Lake Louise in winter

Lake Louise Ski Resort was voted the #1 Ski Resort in Canada in 2019!

In January/February, Lake Louise is even more delightful as it hosts the Ice Magic Festival. This event takes place at the Lake, and ice sculptors from all over Canada and the world display their artistic side on the ice. 

If you are driving through the Icefields Parkway to Jasper or Yoho National Park, you will see wildlife and it is a beautiful sight to see wildlife enjoy winters in the Canadian Rockies!

3. Jasper National Park in winter: Skiing snowboarding, snowshoeing, northern lights 

Best Place To Stay: Forest Park Hotel | Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge | Miette Mountain Cabins

  • November: Moonlight Madness (November sale weekend), Christmas in November (various events)
  • December : Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s annual Festival of Christmas
  • January/February: January (toque) Festival

Jasper National Park in winter is a stunningly beautiful place! The snow and the deep blue sky against the mountains make for an amazing view.

Jasper National Park has some of the best skiing and snowboarding trails in Alberta, with Marmot Basin offering over 1,720 acres of varied terrain to choose from. There are also plenty of cross-country skiing opportunities that you can take advantage of!

Snowshoeing and ice skating are available in the park, as well as many other slow winter activities such as festive dinners, spas, and markets. 

For those who want to get away from it all, there are several remote lodges in Jasper National Park that offer a unique experience! These lodges provide breathtaking views of mountains and lakes and make for a perfect winter escape.

Whether you’re looking for a ski adventure or just want to enjoy the beautiful views, there’s something for everyone at Jasper National Park in the winter season!

Read : Banff and Jasper itinerary 7 days

4. Edmonton, Alberta: Ice Castles, Riverside Igloo, Drive through & other Christmas events

Best Place To Stay: Fantasyland Hotel | Union Bank Inn | Hyatt Place Edmonton West

  • November: Santa Parade, GLOW, Magic of Lights (to Jan/Feb)
  • December : Lights at the Legislature, Zoominense, Luminaria, Ice Castles
  • January/February: Silver Skate Festival, Ice on Whyte

Christmas in Edmonton Decorations at the Legislature Building

Edmonton rings in the festive cheer and winter events in November and festivities last till February end. Edmonton’s culinary should be a part of your winter trip itinerary – when it is cold outside sit and warm with comfort food and beer!

So event wise, there are quite a few that we really like to go to every year. Ice Castles is one. In this event, you get to enjoy a winter wonderland (Narnia style) filled with ice sculptures. Check out ice castles and lights display (lights in the evening tour only). 

Ice Castles Edmonton is a unique way to experience winters in Alberta Canada. This event displays ice scuptures and runs for 2- 2.5 months,weather dependent

Other popular outdoor events include Silver Skate Festival, Ice on Whyte, Zoominense, and Luminaria. If the cold is unbearable get inside a car and head to Castrol Raceway for a drive through the Festival of lights. 

One of the things we like to do is walk the Ledge Grounds in the winter. The legislature building is wonderfully lit, adorned by a giant Christmas Tree. This event is free. 

places to visit in canada for winter

We have a ski resort in the city (Rabbit Hill Ski Resort), you can skate indoors at the West Edmonton Mall or outdoors at the Alberta Legislature Grounds, William Hawrelak Park, Rundle Park IceWay, Victoria Park Oval, and IceWay. 

Edmonton also has its very own Ice District in the downtown area. 

From Edmonton. you can head to the Elk Island National Park for snowshoeing and northern lights sightings. 

Read : 15 things to do in Edmonton in winter

5. Vancouver, British Columbia: Festive Christmas events, special festivals 

Best Place To Stay: Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel | Residence Inn by Marriott Vancouver

  • December : Santa Parade, Christmas markets, Lights at the Capilano Bridge, Annual Winter Solstice Festival
  • January: Chinese New Year

Vancouver Waterfront in winter

Vancouver in winter is NOT super cold like many other parts of Canada. It is great for those who wish to experience a city break exploring outdoors minus the bone-chilling cold!

Most of the city attractions like museums, art galleries, and shopping places are open and they decked up for the festive season. You can see and feel what Christmas and winter look like in different parts of the country by embarking on a virtual tour via FlyOver Canada.

In winter, take the time to wander the streets of Vancouver downtown and soak in the festive spirit. Eat and drink your heart out.

Visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in December for amazing light events. Santa Parade also takes place in early December. 

The Capilano suspension bridge in Vancouver, Canada is lighted up for Christmas and New Year on New Year's eve of 2014.

For outdoor lovers, take a day trip to the Cypress Mountains, Grouse Mountains, or to Whistler for a weekend getaway! You can also enjoy winter activities in the city – ice skating at Robson Square, Vanier Park, and Lynn Canyon (winter hikes). 

If you are in town for New Year, attend the English Bay Polar Bear Swim to kick off the New Year. This event is free. 

READ: How to spend 2 days in Vancouver: Itinerary and tips | Vancouver to Banff road trip itinerary

6. Whistler, British Columbia: Skiing Haven 

Best Place To Stay: Hilton Resort & Spa

  • Skiing, snowboarding, and related activities at Blackcomb Ski Resort
  • Spa and non-skier activities in Whistler Village

Whistler in winter

Whistler Blackcomb opens up for skiing and related activities at the tail end of November and continues till late April. You can celebrate Christmas and New Years too in Whistler Village, as it is just so pretty!

Located 1.50 hours away from Vancouver is the resort town of Whistler. Whistler looks like a perfect Christmas postcard with a mountain backdrop, festive lights, and snowy activities.

There is so much to do for both skiers and non-skiers. Whistler Blackcomb is a skier’s paradise. If this is your first time skiing, you can opt for ski lessons, or hop on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola for some amazing views.

Whistler Village is a nice place to hang out with your loved ones. You can also book spa and rejuvenation services in the mountains while taking in those views!

Read : 2 day Whistler itinerary for non skiers

7. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Drive through winter festivals, snowshoeing, chase Northern Lights

Best Place To Stay: ALT Hotel | Delta Bessborough Hotel | The James Hotel

  • November (starts in Nov to Jan) : Festival of Trees (WEM), Enchanted Forest, Santa Parade (November only)
  • December : Clinkskill Christmas Lights, other Christmas markets
  • January : WinterShines Festival and Skating event (end of January to February)

places to visit in canada for winter

Saskatoon may not be the first thing that comes to your mind for Canadian winters. We lived in Saskatoon for 3.5 years and we always had a white Christmas, and there is SNOW everywhere. And hey if you are in town you can enjoy winters here too. 

Start with festive events like Enchanted Forest, a drive-through festive lights event held at the Saskatoon Farm and Forestry. Or GLOW Saskatoon which takes place at the Prairie Land. 

Enchanted Forest Drive through experience

Visit the Festival of Trees at the Western Development Museum, and also take the time to learn about the industrialization and the development of railways in western Canada. 

You must attend the WinterShines Festival, this really brings the best of what the city has to offer in the winter. You can explore an Ice Park, wander an Ice Sculpture Garden, and even enjoy a Winter Camp in the City!

Go skiing or snowshoeing at the Kinsmen Park or the Wanuskewin for festive events including dog sledding in winter. 

places to visit in canada for winter

READ : Things to do in Moosejaw , day trip from Saskatoon

8. Churchill, Manitoba: See Polar Bears and Northern Lights

Best Place To Stay: Great White Bear Tours’ Tundra Lodge | Frontiers North Adventures’ Tundra Buggy Lodge

  • October/November: Best time for sighting polar bears, Northern Lights (throughout winter months)

Polar bear in Churchill

Visiting Churchill Manitoba in the winters is like experiencing a page from your travel bucket list journal. It is one of the best places in the world to see polar bears in their natural habitat. 

You join eco-tour operators who take you on a winter safari to see wildlife or follow Indigenous guides to capture some of the stunning landscapes and the Aurora Borealis. 

Don’t forget to take a tour of the Cultural and Heritage of historic Churchill to learn more about this unique place. 

Note: You can reach Churchill by air and VIA train only. Air travel to Churchill is run by Calm Air.

READ: How to spend 3 days in Winnipeg, Manitoba

9. Toronto, Ontario: Festive Christmas events, skating

Best Place To Stay: Marriot Downtown hotel- Eaton Centre  | Hotel Victoria

  • December – January: Christmas markets and events at the Distillery District, Nathan Phillips Square. New Years’ 

Nathan Philips Square - Toronto

Visiting Toronto in winter means enjoying festive activities that only take place during these months. One of my favorite things to do in Toronto winters is to visit a European style Christkindlmarkt aka Christmas markets of German origin.

The Nathan Phillips Square and the Distillery District are the best places to check out markets and buy ornaments, food, and warm drinks. 

Winter Village is also a popular spot to hang out in winter. Aurora Winter Festival starts in December and it is a great way to experience the cold season surrounded by wonderful festive creations while sipping beer or mulled wine (or both). 

Other events in the city include the Winter Solstice at the Kensington Market, and Toronto Zoo to name a few. As far as outdoor sports go, head to the Harbourfront Centre Natrel Rink. 

Toronto is also a great city break option in Canada. From culinary, and shopping events to snapping photos with Santa, the city has you covered. 

places to visit in canada for winter

10. Niagara Falls, Ontario: Winter romantic getaways, festival lights

Best Place To Stay: Courtyard by Marriott

  • Starts in November to January first week or so: Winter Festival of Lights
  • January: Niagara Ice Wine Festival

The Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls taken from above on the Canadian side.

Niagara Falls turns into a winter wonderland of sorts from December onwards. The little town as the Falls viewing areas is all dusted (and covered by the end of December/January) in snow. There are stunning icicles created in and around the falls, which are worth exploring out.

There are a ton of festive activities in the winter at Niagara Falls from fireworks starting in November to the New Year. We highly recommend riding up to the Skylon Tower and checking out all the illuminations on the near-frozen falls. The tower is home to a revolving restaurant, which I think is perfect for a romantic dining experience!

If not the Skylon Tower, hop on the Niagara SkyWheel and you can see the US side of the falls, bridges, and buildings. 

To experience Niagara Fall’s magnificence, check out Niagara’s Fury , an indoor 4D, 360 degree multi-sensory theatre.

During winter, it is cheaper to stay at Niagara Falls, plus it is less crowded. The Falls look very different at this time of the year, so we highly recommend visiting them. 

You can also visit Niagara Falls from Toronto on a day trip too.

READ : Visiting Niagara in the summer? Read this guide

11. Ottawa, Ontario: Ice Skate at the longest skating rink in the world

Best Place To Stay: Ottawa Marriott Hotel | Alt Hotel Ottawa

  • December: Lights events at the Parliament Building, Glow Around the World
  • January/February : Winterlude Festival

Ottawa in winter

Canada’s capital city, Ottawa is a wonderful place to spend the winter holidays. There are so many free activities to do in the city, plus Ottawa is compact (unlike Toronto) so you can cover a lot of ground on a short visit.

One of the must do activities in Ottawa in winter is to go ice skating at the largest Rideau Canal Skateway. It’s the longest skating rink in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site. You can also skate at the City Hall, or the Lansdowne Pavilion (for free). 

Ottawa also lights up for Christmas. You can visit the Parliament Building, or attend the Glow Around the World to check out festive lights and events. Museums and parliament building tours are also available in the winter. 

The Winterlude Festival is a popular ice sculpture event in the city, and it takes place in January or February (varies each year). During the event, you get to see beautiful ice creations/sculptures all over the city. 

When it is cold outside, embrace it in style by asking into a hot pool or spa such as The Nordik Spa or Spa Ottawa. 

12. Montreal, Quebec: Christmas Market, Winter City Breaks

Best Place To Stay : InterContinental Montreal Hotel | Hôtel Le Crystal

  • November: Marche de Noel, Luminothérapie (both events continue to January/February)
  • February : MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE

Montreal in winter

Montreal is one of the coolest places to visit in Canada in winter. Laced with European nuances, Montreal will delight you with festive events, winter sports, and unique shopping areas.

Montreal’s festive treats start at the Merry Montreal (at Place Jacques-Cartier) where you can hang out with Santa’s Elves and check out Christmas tree decorations in the city. Christmas in the Park (Place Émilie-Gamelin downtown) is another spot to ring in the Christmas winter cheer. 

Old Montreal is one of our favorite places to visit in Montreal, and it is amazing to wander there at any time of the year. During winter, Old Montreal looks extra special with activities like snow tubing, winter archery, and of course festive dining menus and live music!

The adventure park – Voiles en Voiles – located in Old Port of Montréal is a must visit in the winter, and they also organize snowboarding, snow tubing, and sliding activities.  

Skating in Montreal - Canada winter holidays

There is a Merry Montreal Christmas Market located in Old Montreal as well. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Notre Dame Basilica which is stunning inside and we highly recommend visiting it. 

During winters you can soak in snowy city views from Mont Royal Park. The park is accessible in winter, and it is possible to hike or go on a short stroll. The park organizes sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing activities here. 

You can also take in city views from the Montréal Observation Tower at Olympic Park. 

Let’s a little bit about shopping in Montreal! During our visit, we shopped at the Complexe Desjardins, and during winters you must explore it via the Underground City . There are tons of shopping destinations nearby too. 

READ : How to spend one day in Montreal Itinerary

13. Quebec City, Quebec: City centre winter activities, Winter Carnival

Best Place To Stay: Fairmont Le Château Frontenac  | Hôtel Le Germain Québec

  • February : Carnaval de Quebec

Deserted street in Quebec City decorated for Christmas

Quebec City is another Canadian destination that feels like Europe. But this capital city is more than that. Its super claim to fame is the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac – the most photographed hotel in the world, and the Au 1884 Toboggan Slide. Both are a treat in the winter.

From one hotel to another, and this time it’s the Hotel de Glace , which is an ice hotel. This hotel is set up each year when the temperatures drop to below freezing levels and it comes up with a new theme each year.

Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Quebec) takes place in  February and it brings in snow sculptures, tons of rides and activities, street parties, and a seven-foot snowman, Bonhomme.

14. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: Cuisines, Outdoor activities

Best Place To Stay: Delta Hotels by Marriott | The Holman Grand Hotel

Things to do:

  • Enjoy culinary delights and festive events at Victoria Row, the harbourfront area

Lighthouse Charlottetown in winter

Charlottetown is a great place to explore in the winter in Canada. The temperature drops to – 7 degree Celsius or 44 Fahrenheit, and you can easily wander the Christmas perfect town on Prince Edward Island.

PEI proud itself in its Culinary Trail and it is a foodie lover’s paradise. From seafood, potatoes, and vegan dishes (and cooking classes), you must add a food tour to your itinerary.

For outdoor adventure seekers, head to Brookvale Nordic Lodge for fat biking. You can visit the Terrain Park for an Alpine ski experience or hit the Nordic Touring Center for snowboarding and other winter sports.

Snowmobiling activities are open for visitors at the iconic Confederation Trail. 

Read : PEI itinerary 2 days

15. Halifax (Nova Scotia): Tobogganing, Stargazing

Best Place To Stay: Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel | The Sutton Place Hotel Halifax

  • City break, culinary delights, and winter adventures from tobogganing, cross country skiing, stargazing

Shops near the Halifax, Nova Scotia waterfront along the Historic Properties Market Mall

The stunning capital of Nova Scotia, Halifax is an awesome city break option in the country. Winters are cold in Halifax and so it is super important to dress warmly to enjoy the festive and seasonal activities.

Halifax is one of the Canadian cities where you can stargaze from the centre. Hit Point Pleasant Park to chase the stars and the moon!

Halifax waterfront is one of the most iconic landmarks in Nova Scotia, and during winter you can check out Christmas ornaments, decorations, and local produce at the Farmers Market set by the waterfront.

Within walking distance of the downtown core is Emera Oval. You can skate there (free rentals are offered here too). 

Only 30 minutes away from Halifax is the picturesque lighthouse Peggy’s Cove . Head there to capture beautiful sunset views, and remember to wear war, clothes and grab your camera. 

Add a food tour or try ice wine in Halifax, If you are visiting in February, embark on a day trip to Annapolis Valley to attend The Nova Scotia Icewine Festival. It is the premier winter wine festival held at Lightfoot & Wolfville Winery.

BOOK : Guided tour of Halifax

16. Fredericktown & other places in New Brunswick: Snowy winter getaway and festivals  

Best Place To Stay:  Delta Hotels by Marriott

  • January: Fredericton Frostival, Shivering Songs Festival
  • February: Winter Fish NB Days

Saint John  - March 9, 2019: Adults and children practice outdoor ice hockey on a frozen lake.

New Brunswick is one of the snowiest destinations in the Maritimes. Fredericton is the capital city and it organizes a 3 weekend winter festival, called the Fredericton Frostival . This family friendly event is filled with over 100 activities to keep you in the festive spirit. 

To ski and go snowboarding and snowshoeing close to Fredericton, visit Crabbe Mountain . It is located only 45 minutes away from the capital city and it invites you to over 30 kilometres or 18.6 miles of winter trails. 

New Brunswick’s most beautiful Fundy Bay National Park shouldn’t be missed in the winter. Embark on a day trip from Fredericton (less than 2 hour drive) to Alma and enjoy gorgeous views along the Laverty Falls Trail. 

Another fun activity to check out in New Brunswick (or generally in Canada) is to watch a game of Pond hockey.

It is the simpler version of ice hockey but is played on frozen ponds during the winter months. The World Pond Hockey Championship is held in Plaster Rock, NB, so this is another reason to visit the province.

You can also go on ice fishing in NB. Ice fishing season starts in January and continues till the end of March. Winter Fish NB Days will allow people to ice fish without a license in February. 

17. Whitehorse, Yukon: Nature, adventure, and Northern Lights

Best Place To Stay : Best Western Gold Rush Inn

  • December: Annual Winter Solstice Run

Strong northern lights (Aurora borealis) substorm on night sky over downtown Whitehorse, capital of the Yukon Territory, Canada, in winter.

Eeek….probably the ABSOLUTE best place to visit in Canada in winter is the territory of Yukon. It brings nature, culture, and raw winter adventure to your fingertips.

For those who love green dancing lights aka Aurora Borealis, you won’t be disappointed in Yukon . Stargazing is one of the prime attractions in the territory, and Watson Lake is the place to be in. 

It is home to the Northern Lights Space and Science Centre and the facility showcases exhibits on the northern lights and constellations. There is also a giant telescope at Watson Lake to admire the starry skies.

The Annual Winter Solstice Run (December 21) is a popular event in Yukon. Pro and amateur athletes head to Grey Mountain to run (slip, slide and roll) the 12 kilometre or 7.4 mile route. 

Another attraction in Yukon for winter is the Thaw-Di-Gras or “Nature Thawing Spring Festival”.  Held in Dawson City, this event is a perfect way to mingle with the locals, see sled dogs racing, or dive head first into a haystack to find a loonie!

Outdoor adventurers would love to embark on fat bikes and ride on frozen lakes and snow-filled trails. Fat (or thick tire) bikes can be rented in Whitehorse. Yukon’s capital city is Whitehorse. 

For slow adventure lovers, fear not there are many gooey snowy romantic activities in Yukon that you can enjoy. Imagine riding through snow-covered trails and valleys led by Yukon huskies or sled dogs. 

Canada Winter Travel Tips – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the warmest place in Canada in winter?

The warmest place in Canada during winter is the city of Victoria, British Columbia. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria enjoys mild winters due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and Gulf Islands. 

Temperatures remain relatively steady throughout the season with an average daily high of 8 degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit). This makes it a great spot for winter sun activities! 

Not only does Victoria boast warm temperatures during winter, but it also offers beautiful scenery and vibrant local culture. There are plenty of activities to do throughout the year in this city, making it perfect for both locals and tourists alike. 

Read : 3 days in Victoria itinerary

Is there any place in Canada where it does not snow at all?

There is no city in Canada that doesn’t get snow in the winter. Of course, temperatures and frequency of snowfall vary from city to city, but you will find snow and colder temps all throughout Canada.

Where are the coldest places in Canada in the winter?

Eureka, Nunavut holds the title for the coldest place in Canada, with an average yearly temperature of -19.7 °C or -3.5 °F. Its icy embrace persists throughout the year, offering a bone-chilling testament to the region’s frigid climate.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada was −63.0 °C or −81.4 °F in Snag, Yukon.

Which province in Canada is the coldest?

Nunavut is the coldest province in Canada in winter.

Where to go cross country skiing in Canada?

British Columbia and Alberta are the go-to provinces for ski season in Canada. Among the most popular ski resorts are Whistler Village and Banff, but there are also other charming ski resort towns like Revelstoke, Golden, Vernon, Kelowna, Nelson, and Jasper. You can also take ski lessons in these provinces if you are new to skiing. 

Quebec is home to the Mont-Tremblant Resort, which is also amazing for cross country skiing.

Which Canadian cities are worth visiting in winter?

If you prefer a white Christmas, and one filled with outdoorsy activities and festivities, then these are the popular Canadian cities to visit

  • Quebec City
  • Vancouver 

Is Canada worth visiting in winter?

Absolutely yes! Winter in Canada is an incredible experience, with a variety of activities and attractions to enjoy. From snowy landscapes and ice skating to skiing and snowboarding, you’ll find plenty of things to do during the colder months. And if you’re lucky enough, you might even get to see the breathtaking Northern Lights! 

Love a unique experience? Consider going on an adventure tour like dogsledding or snowmobiling trip to explore the untouched landscapes of the North. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, go on a skiing safari in the mountains, where you can ski, snowboard and enjoy beautiful vistas.

Of course, if you’re not into winter activities, there are still plenty of things to do in Canada during this time. You enjoy Christmas Parades, markets, and winter lights festivals. 

Whether it’s a weekend trip or an extended holiday, Canada is definitely worth visiting in winter. Enjoy the snow-capped mountains, stunning nature, and cozy vibes!

Visiting Canada in winter will be a delightful experience that you will remember for years to come!

Canada winter holidays are so full of fun! It is cold, but as long as you dress well you can not only survive but enjoy the winters here. Canada embraces winters with wide open arms and they have learned to do it in style.

From festive outdoor activities like alpine skiing, ice climbing, snowshoeing, and chasing Northern Lights, to Christmas decorations and lights events, ice bar, and epic culinary options, you won’t be disappointed here! 

More Canada travel inspiration here

Pin: Amazing Destinations to Spend Canada Winter Holidays

places to visit in canada for winter

Mayuri is the founder & editor of ToSomePlaceNew. An Indian-Canadian globetrotter, she has traveled to over 100 cities and 35+ countries. Mayuri has a graduate degree in History and is an MBA. She loves traveling the world, capturing historical nuances, and discussing that over a cup of coffee with her husband, Salil. She currently resides in Edmonton, Canada, and plots travel plans to Europe, the Americas, and beyond. 

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  • 15 Best Places To Visit In Canada In Winter 2024 For Experiencing The True Beauty Of Snow

23 Mar 2023

Popular as the Great White North, Canada looks no less than a beautiful picture taken right out from a fairy tale book. And the country turns into a magical land when the snow starts settling down. There are fun-festivals, world-class ski resort, beautiful snowy cities to enjoy across this mesmerizing country. From ice hockey to skating on the frozen lakes, there is something for everyone on their winter vacation in Canada.

If you love skiing, the winter slopes in Canada poses many excellent opportunities to dash through the snow and also watch rare and exotic wildlife in winters. It is definitely colder, cheaper, and prettier. Don’t believe us? Scroll through these best places to visit in Canada in winter, which will convince your heart completely! 

15 Best Places To Visit In Canada In Winter

Are you wondering about places to go in Canada in winter? Here is the perfectly curated list of the places one must explore in Canada to have an amazing winter trip. Take a quick look and pick the best to have a memorable holiday!

  • Rideau Canal: Skate Away
  • Plaster Rock: Indulge In Ice Hockey
  • Churchill: Enjoy The Beauty Of A Winter Wilderness
  • Vancouver: Explore Local Seafood
  • Ontario : The Dazzling Niagara Falls
  • Charlottetown : The Winter Wonderland
  • Halifax: For Maple Treats
  • Newfoundland: Labrador For Unique Experiences
  • Toronto: For One-Of-Its-Kind Experiences
  • Grouse Mountain: For An Incredible Winter
  • Calgary: To Experience The Mystical Winters
  • Quebec City: Stay In An Igloo
  • Winnipeg: Enjoy Skating At The Forks
  • Ottawa: Indulge In Winter Camping
  • Whistler: Go Ice Climbing And Skating

1. Rideau Canal: Skate Away

Rideau Canal

Canadian winter experience is incomplete if you haven’t skated on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal’s skateway, one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter. There are many places to visit in Ottawa , but this one is not be missed. Every year over 1 million people gather here during winters and skate away on this world’s largest skateway; equivalent to 90 olympic size skating rinks. This skateway stretches in front of the Parliament Building and Chateau Laurier hotel. You can enjoy skating here from January to mid-March, and enjoy hot delicious food from the standing stalls nearby.

Tourist Attractions: Skating Experience Best Place To Stay: Novotel Ottawa City Center Hotel Things To Do:

  • Enjoy skating
  • Witness Winterlude; annual seasonal celebration

Must Read: Go Glacier Kayaking In Canada & Live Your Craziest Fantasy Ever!

2. Plaster Rock: Indulge In Ice Hockey

Ice hockey

Winter and Ice Hockey are synonymous with Canada; and the small town of Plaster Rock is the perfect example of it. Plaster Rock town hosts the World Pond Hockey Championship. People from Canada, the United States, and Great Britain come here to this beautiful town and compete against each other amidst the beautiful backdrop of forests and snowfall. This is easily the best places to visit in Canada in winter if you are looking for some icy fun!

Tourist Attractions: Ice Hockey championship Best Place To Stay: Settler’s Inn & Motel Things To Do:

  • Witness the snowfall, and beautiful forests
  • Take part in Ice Hockey

3. Churchill: Enjoy The Beauty Of A Winter Wilderness

Churchill

Churchill is one of the best places to visit in Canada places to visit in Canada during winter for those who enjoy the peace of winters. The highlight of this small town located on the shores of Hudson Bay is polar bears and Northern Lights. Get a chance to see the powerful polar bears in the wild.

Tourist Attractions: Polar bears, seasonal bird watching and chance for wintertime Northern Lights visibility Best Place To Stay: Iceberg Inn Things To Do:

  • Play with curious Beluga Whales
  • Watch the Northern Lights dance
  • View polar bears in the wild

Suggested Read: 10 Vancouver Hotels For Luxury And Budget Travelers

4. Vancouver: Explore Local Seafood

Vancouver Christmas Market

Popularly known for its physical beauty, Vancouver is one of the best winter places to visit in Canada . The gorgeous city is famous for being one of the world’s most liveable cities. It is a great place to get away if you’re looking for a break from the snow right here in Canada. Have the best shopping and dining experience as well as visit renowned museums.

Tourist Attractions: Local seafood, shopping experience, outdoor sport and adventure Best Place To Stay: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Things To Do In Vancouver :

  • Try local seafood
  • Indulge in outdoor recreational sports
  • Build an igloo

5. Ontario: The Dazzling Niagara Falls

frozen Niagara falls in winter

Image Credit: 70154 by Pixabay

While the humongous falls are an absolute delight in summers, the frozen falls in Canada winter look equally bewitching. The sheer beauty of the frozen falls is difficult to express in the words. A spectacular dazzler is as close as you can come to describe the mystical falls in the winter. You can see the chilling mist rising above the falls looks so mystical. It is definitely one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter. But, Niagara fall is not the only attraction that the city has to offer, you can explore one of the gorgeous places to visit in Ontario in winter at Algonquin Provincial Park, a sightseeing attraction of hazy mountains with a background of dense forest.

Tourist Attractions : An ice-wine festival is organized every year in Niagara town which you ought to attend if you like sweet dessert-style wine. Best Places To Stay: The Inn At Cobble Beach Things To Do:

  • See the Capital
  • Drink the wine
  • Hike a trail

Suggested Read: Museums In Vancouver: An Encounter With The Past Of The Seaside City!

6. Charlottetown: The Winter Wonderland

Charlottetown in winters

Despite being the smallest province in the country, this city situated in the Prince Edward Island is one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter . From cozy places for staying to fun things to do in Canada in winter, this place lets you make the most of the colder months.

Tourist Attractions: Enjoy tobogganing and snowshoeing in Brookvale Winter Activity Park, a fun destination for families. Best Place To Stay: The Holman Grand Hotel Things To Do:

  • Ice skating
  • Snowshoeing
  • Downhill skiing
  • Building a snow fort
  • Attending the music week

7. Halifax: For Maple Treats

Halifax in winter

Situated in Nova Scotia, this city is another top place to visit for enjoying the Canada winter . Be it indulging in a sleigh ride at Hatfield Farm or tobogganing on the Citadel Hill, there’s a lot to do and see in the city irrespective of how low the temperature drops. Nova Scotia is also a place that offers mountaineering in Canada .

Tourist Attractions : Halifax is famous for maple syrup and other treats. Enjoy a delicious brunch made of sweet Maple syrup and taa hikeike in the woods afterwards. Best Place To Stay: The Prince George Hotel Things To Do:

  • Eat at the Brooklyn Warehouse
  • Indulge in downhill skiing at Ski Martock
  • Explore the Point Pleasant Park

Suggested Read: Temples in Canada: 9 Places That Are A Testament To This Country’s Diverse Culture

8. Newfoundland: Labrador For Unique Experiences

Newfoundland Canada in Winters

The Marble Mountain is what makes Newfoundland a perfect place to visit for your winter vacations in Canada . From offering the best of  Canada winter sports in the eastern region to spectacular views, every day here is packed with unique experiences. This is amongst the best places to visit in Canada in winter.

Tourist Attractions : Spend a week at Gros Morne National Park which has more than 50 km of skiing trails and is considered to be one of the best all year round park in Canada. Best Place To Stay: Fogo Island Inn Things To Do:

  • Indulge in snowmobiling
  • Cross country skiing
  • Snowboarding

9. Toronto: For One-Of-Its-Kind Experiences

Toronto in winter

If you embrace the winter season as much as the country does, then Toronto is the best to visit in Canada in winter . The long, cold days and nights can be best enjoyed here by indulging in one-of-its-kind experiences like fat biking, taking a tour of the trails in the Don Valley, or witnessing the icebreaker installations at the waterfront. You can visit Casa Loma, one of the famous places to visit in winter in Toronto that offers a castle-structured mansion in the heart of the city.

Tourist Attractions : Toronto hosts a food festival called Winterlicious where you can treat yourself with winter gourmet delights, definitely one of the best things to do in Canada in winter. Best Place To Stay: The Ritz Carlton Things To Do In Toronto :

  • Be a part of Winterlicious – the best food festival
  • Attend a game of hockey
  • Indulge in skiing and ice skating

Suggested Read: Festivals Of Canada: 10 Unmissable Extravaganzas That Will Give Celebration A New Meaning!

10. Grouse Mountain: For An Incredible Winter

best places to visit in canada in december

Of all the places to visit in Canada in December , Grouse Mountain in British Columbia is absolutely worth visiting. Winter in Canada not only takes you away from the crowd but also lets you have an incredible time in the snow with your loved ones!

Tourist Attractions : Watch movies at Peak’s Chalet Theatre in the Sky after you have experienced the exhilarating winter activities.

Best Place To Stay: Grouse Mountain Lodge Things To Do:

  • Mountain ziplining
  • Mountain-top skating

11. Calgary: To Experience The Mystical Winters

Downtown calgary during winter

To see what magic looks like, you need to visit Calgary in Alberta during the winter months. Being one of the best places to visit in Canada during winter, it makes your holiday a little less of a cliche by offering fun experiences like ice fishing and cross-country skiing. Irrespective of whom you visit here with, you’re sure in for a great time at one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter.  

Tourist Attractions : Visit the Fish Creek National Park, a free winter destination in Calgary, and track and guess the foot prints in the snow. Best Place To Stay: Hyatt Regency Calgary Things To Do In Calgary :

  • Dog sledding around the city
  • Visit the Banff National Park
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Ice fishing

Suggested Read: Canada Travel Tips: For A Perfect Holiday In The Largest Country Of North America

12. Quebec City: Stay In An Igloo

Things to do in quebec in winter

Are you still confused where to visit in Canada during winter to enjoy the snow activities? Then, visit the Quebec City to take part in the snow baths, ice canoe races, have a luxurious stay in an igloo, and the famous Quebec Winter Festival which makes this city a prime choice for experiencing the Canada winter at its best. If not with family or friends, you must definitely consider visiting here with your partner!

Tourist Attractions: Celebrate the ‘Quebec Winter Carnival’ and make massive snow sculptures. Also, check out the Ice Hotel carved entirely out of ice and decorated with neon lights. Best Place To Stay: Hotel de Glace Things To Do:

  • Attend the Quebec Winter Carnival
  • Indulge in snowsliding
  • Stay in the ice hotel

13. Winnipeg: Enjoy Skating At The Forks

Winnipeg canada

Image Credit: 12019 by Pixabay

From letting you party outside like a Voyageur, and skating on the longest naturally frozen trail to warming up indoors, Winnipeg is the best place for enjoying your Canada winter holidays . When here, make sure you also visit attractions like FortWhyte Alive and The Forks!

Tourist Attractions: Enjoy Thermea, an open-air Scandinavian spa in the forests of Fort Garry, just 10-minutes drive away from the city. Best Place To Stay: Delta Hotels by Marriott Winnipeg Things To Do:

  • Attend the Festival du Voyageur
  • Go for skating at The Forks
  • Enjoy a bonfire at FortWhyte Alive
  • Visit the Assiniboine Park Zoo

Suggested Read: Hanging Hotel In Canada: Free Spirit Spheres Are Here To Satiate The Wanderlust Of Free Souls!

14. Ottawa: Indulge In Winter Camping

places to visit in canada in winter

Boasting the largest outdoor skating rink in the world, Ottawa is amongst the best places to visit in Canada in December , and a paradise for people who love Canada winter. After skating for long hours on the Rideau Canal, you can explore the city and end the day on a warm note by dining at any of its gorgeous restaurants. There are a lot of guest houses in Ottawa wherein you can enjoy your stay; comfortably and affordably.

Tourist Attractions: Enjoy gorging on ‘beavertails’, a local delectable treat which has become an addiction for Canadians, even President Obama couldn’t resist. Best Place To Stay: Fairmont Chateau Laurier Things To Do In Ottawa :

  • Go for skating on the Rideau Canal
  • Visit the Gatineau Park for cross country skiing
  • Indulge in winter camping

15. Whistler: Go Ice Climbing And Skating

Whistler canada

Image Credit: ArtTower by Pixabay

This winter wonderland is the ideal place to visit, especially with your family if you wish to experience the best winter vacations in Canada . Situated in British Columbia, this ski capital of the country offers more fun adventures than just skiing, and cuts down the confusion of ‘ where to go in Canada in December ‘.

Tourist Attractions: Embark on the Peak 2 Peak Experience where you will get to witness numerous famous peaks from a prime spot. Best Place To Stay: Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler Things To Do:

  • Dog sledding
  • Ice climbing, and Ice-skating
  • Snowmobiling, and snowshoeing
  • Sleigh rides, and Ice fishing

Tips For Visiting Canada In Winter

packing hacks

  • Pack a pair of gloves, jackets, a warm cap, a woolen scarf, and sturdy shoes
  • Make sure you pack clothes, keeping your trip itinerary or activities in mind
  • Pack a good moisturizer, lip balm, and sunscreen to keep your skin hydrated
  • Keep a regular check on the weather forecast while leaving for Canada, and even when you’re traveling in the country from one place to another
  • Wear multiple layers of clothing so that it’s easy to adjust to the change in temperature
  • Make sure you don’t skip your meals, especially your breakfast

Further Read: 12 Honeymoon Places In December In India: Top Mountains, Beaches

Excited to have fun in the snow already? Unfortunately, you will have to wait for a few months more. Until then, have a look at the best places to visit in Canada in winter for an absolutely thrilling international holiday. Plan a trip to Canada and have the best time of your life.

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Please Note:  Any information published by TravelTriangle in any form of content is not intended to be a substitute for any kind of medical advice, and one must not take any action before consulting a professional medical expert of their own choice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Canada In Winter

How long are winters in Canada?

Usually winter weather in Canada begins from November and goes all the way through to late March or early April. Usually, winter seasons can last between 3-6 months with December and January being the coldest months.

Where should I go for a Christmas vacation in Canada?

Toronto, Quebec, Montreal, and Vancouver are some of the best places to spend Christmas in Canada.

Which cities in Canada are not too cold?

Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Abbotsford, and Halifax are some of the cities in Canada that have fewest frozen days and are relatively less cold than the other cities.

What you need to survive a winter in Canada?

Here are a few survival tips for winters in Canada: 1. Dress in layers- Start with a base layer like thermal leggings and wear snow pants on top of them 2. Cover your entire body including your face 3. Don’t stay outside for too long 4. Check the weather forecast 5. Make proper arrangements for staying warm indoors

Which city in Canada is the coldest?

Winnipeg is the coldest Canada’s city where most often temperature drops to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) or below and it is least likely to have a day above freezing during winter.

What is the best time of year to go to Canada?

In many ways, the fall months, particularly September and October, are the best time to travel, as the weather is frequently very pleasant, the crowds have dispersed, and accommodation prices are lower than summer. If you are looking for value, spring is another good time to visit Canada.

Which are some fun places to visit near Toronto this winter?

Harrison Park for ice skating, Atelier Arboreal for winter camping in a tipi, and Georgian Hills Vineyards for a snowshoe tour are some of the fun places to visit in and around the city this winter.

Which are the best places to visit in Canada in winter with family?

Whistler and Quebec City are the best places to holiday in Canada in winter with family. Both these places offer adventure-packed experiences that are enough to make it the most memorable vacation.

Which Canadian cities worth visiting in winter?

In Canada, Victoria, British Columbia is the best city to explore during winters where the average temperature is around 10 degrees Celcius.

Which province is best to visit in Canada in winter?

Toronto is one of the best city to visit in Canada in winter that offers loads of snow activities along with prominent landmarks.

What is the warmest province in Canada in winter?

Victoria, British Columbia is the warmest city in Canada that usually have 10-degree celsius temperature on an average and goes lowest to 4 degree celsius.

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best places to visit in Canada in winter

14 Best Places to Visit in Canada in Winter

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Canada is beautiful all year round. There’s really no denying it. But, if you’re after a snowy escape, some of the best places to visit in Canada in winter should be high on your bucket list! 

The best places to visit in Canada in winter

Winter transforms this vast and diverse country into a magical wonderland and I’m excited to share some insider tips on the best places to visit when the Great White North puts on its winter coat. From the charming city vibes of Montreal to the breathtaking beauty of the Rockies, Canada offers a winter experience like no other.

The Best Places to Visit in Canada in Winter

There are some places that just look fantastic in the winter months. Like Norway , Iceland , and definitely Canada! So, if you’re planning on exploring this magnificent country during the coldest days of the year, here are the 14 best places to visit in Canada in winter.

Average Temperature : 3°C (37°F)

One of the best destinations to visit in Canada in winter is Toronto! This sprawling metropolis is located on the northern shore of Lake Ontario in Canada.

Christmas in this city is fantastic. There is a long list of things to do in Toronto at Christmas . One of the top Christmas markets in Toronto is the Distillery Winter Village. Set in a historic neighbourhood of the city, the market is like a traditional European Christmas market. There’s everything from tasty treats to numerous huts selling fun holiday items.

Toronto at Christmas

Another great market, especially for families, is the Holiday Fair in the Square at Nathan Phillips Square. Along with various vendors selling unique gift ideas and food, there’s a fun midway.

For the best holiday displays in the city pop into the stunning Fairmont Royal York Hotel. While the theme changes every year, the displays are always whimsical.

The average temperature in Toronto in winter is around 3°C / 37°F, so make sure to pack warm clothing. It’s also pretty easy to get to. You can just fly into Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Then take the UP Express train from the airport that travels into downtown Toronto.

Top Tip : To save on entry admission, visit the Christmas Market in the Distillery District for free during the week.

Average Temperature : -4°C (24°F)

Banff is a small mountain town in Alberta, Canada, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. This quaint mountain town turns into a magical winter wonderland during the colder months and is easily one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter.

It’s pretty simple to get to Banff. The nearest airport is in Calgary, about 1.5 hours away by car. From the airport, you can rent a car or take a shuttle bus straight to Banff. Remember, the roads can be snowy, so you must request winter tires!

Banff gets quite cold in the winter, with temperatures dropping well below 0 degrees Celsius. Pack warm clothes, including a heavy coat, gloves, a hat, and warm winter boots.

Banff is one of the best places to visit in Canada in wintet

Christmas is a special time in Banff. The town is beautifully decorated with lights, and the Cascade of Time Garden turns into an enchanted place with The Spirit of Christmas .

You can go ice skating on the famous Lake Louse, take a sleigh ride , take a winter hike, or enjoy skiing in the nearby mountains (Sunshine, Lake Louise, or Mt. Norquay). The snowy peaks make the perfect backdrop for your holiday!

Remember that Banff is a popular winter destination. It can get busy. It’s a good idea to book your stay and any activities in advance. Banff is the perfect place to enjoy a classic white winter with its festive atmosphere and snowy scenery!

3. Vancouver

Average Temperature : 4°C (39°F)

If a bustling coastal city with views of picturesque snow-capped mountains sounds like your idea of the perfect winter getaway in Canada, Vancouver is a great destination for you. There are lots of great things to do in Vancouver in December making it the perfect winter escape. 

Vancouver transforms into a winter wonderland at Christmas. The streets, both in residential areas and the city centre, sparkle with colourful Christmas lights which creates a festive atmosphere. You can visit the charming German-inspired Christmas market or enjoy some public outdoor skating right downtown. 

Vancouver is a fantastic place to visit in Canada in winter

Vancouver offers moderate December temperatures typically hovering just above freezing between 2-6℃ (35-43℉). It rains often with a rare chance of snow. For those looking for the full winter experience, the city offers many different mountain escapes including nearby Grouse Mountain and Whistler. 

Reaching Vancouver is a breeze, thanks to the Vancouver International Airport, a major hub on Canada’s west coast. The advanced transit system allows you to take the Skytrain directly from the airport into the heart of downtown Vancouver and to many surrounding suburbs. 

4. Niagara Falls

Average Temperature : 2°C (35°F)

Niagara Falls may not be everyone’s first thought for a winter travel destination, but it turns into a winter wonderland and deserves to be seen! Since winter is off-season for Niagara Falls, you can travel around with ease, visit captivating attractions, eat at restaurants without waiting in line, and score amazing deals on accommodations. 

Winter in Niagara Falls is magical; from the mesmerizing Winter Festival of Lights, Hot Chocolate Trail, Falls Illumination, fireworks, and Poinsettia Show at the Floral Showhouse, these winter-specific activities are enjoyable for people of all ages. 

places to visit in canada for winter

For those seeking more, take a Journey Behind the Falls, dine with amazing views at the Skylon Tower, or wander through a lush tropical environment with butterflies and warm up at the Butterfly Conservatory. Of course, no visit to Niagara is complete without visiting a winery or two!

The average temperature in Niagara Falls during the winter can range between 2°C/35°F to -8°C/17°C, so you’ll definitely need to bundle up to enjoy this natural wonder. 

Top Tip : For those wanting to see the partially frozen falls, your best bet is to visit during the end of January or February, when temperatures are typically at their lowest.

5. Whistler

Average Temperature : -2°C (28°F)

One of the best places to visit in Canada in winter is Whistler. Located a 2-hour drive north of Vancouver in the province of British Columbia, Whistler is Canada’s premier ski resort.

With average temperatures ranging from -8 to 3° Celsius (18 to 37° Fahrenheit), and an average snowfall of 308 inches throughout the winter, Whistler has ideal conditions for skiing and snowboarding. Plus, it has the largest skiable terrain in North America, with 32 lifts across its two mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb.

Whistler in winter

Of course, hitting the slopes is the main attraction in Whistler in winter. But this isn’t all there is to do. Whistler has some of the best trails in Canada for snowshoeing, as well as tubing, snowmobiling, ice climbing, dog sledging, winter ziplining, and Nordic skiing. And, once you’ve finished a long day of activities, you can relax at the Scandinavian thermal spa, surrounded by snow and the beautiful old-growth rainforest.

The Village also has plenty of fun entertainment options for you to unwind in the evening. The resort is known for its Après Ski and nightlife, excellent restaurants and the thrilling Fire and Ice show, which takes place in Skiers Plaza every Sunday night. 

6. Jasper National Park

Average Temperature : -10°C (14°F)

If you love exploring the outdoors and aren’t prepared to let a little bit (or a lot) of snow get in your way, then you’ll love Jasper National Park. Located in the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, this destination is a paradise in winter. With natural ice sculptures, snowy scenes that look like they’re out of a Christmas postcard, frozen waterfalls, and lakes, you can’t beat a trip here in winter. 

Being out in the wilderness, it does get pretty chilly in the park. Temperatures are usually well below freezing with the average being -10°C, so you’ll definitely need to pack appropriately with lots of thermal layers and a heavy winter coat. 

Jasper National park is one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter

However, once you’ve wrapped up warm, it’s well worth it for the scenery. Whether it’s skiing down powdery slopes, embarking on a snowshoeing expedition, or simply admiring the frozen lakes, Jasper is a fantastic winter getaway in Canada. 

To get there, Edmonton Airport is your best bet and from there, it’s a 4-hour drive to get to Jasper National Park.

Top Tip : Go on a wildlife tour—Jasper’s winter landscape is not only stunning but also home to creatures like moose and wolves. A wildlife tour is a great way to see these creatures in their natural habitats.

7. Quebec City

Average Temperature : -8°C (17°F)

Located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Eastern Canada, Quebec City is a perfect cold-weather winter travel destination.

With cobblestone streets and historic architecture, Quebec City boasts a European feel , and its picturesque Old Town transforms into a winter wonderland under a cover of snow.

Winter in Quebec City can be chilly, with average temperatures ranging from -8°C to -15°C (17°F to 5°F) but the city’s snow-covered landscape means there are plenty of fun activities, perfect for those seeking a true winter experience. 

Quebec city at Christmas

No matter the temperature, the city’s Old Town is always a delight to explore. Wander through the charming streets of Old Quebec, where you’ll find small shops, cosy cafes and historic sites like the iconic Château Frontenac. 

During the month of December, soak up the festive spirit at the Quebec City Christmas Market , which is one of the best Christmas Markets in Canada.

In February, don’t miss the world-famous Carnaval de Québec, when the city turns into a huge winter playground. For ten days, the city is transformed into a snow festival, with ice sculptures, entertainment and activities for the whole family.

Other winter activities include skating outdoors or dog sledging just outside the city. 

Average Temperature : 0°C (32°F)

Halifax, a vibrant port city, is a fantastic winter travel destination on the East Coast of Canada. With milder temperatures than other places in Canada but still plenty of snow, there are plenty of great things to do in Nova Scotia in the winter .

Bundle up and stroll along the waterfront, explore the historic Citadel, or warm up in one of Halifax’s museums. Take a walk in the Public Gardens and admire the light projections or go for a skate outdoors at the Emera Oval. There are also plenty of opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking. 

Halifax is one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter

During the month of December, you’ll find entertainment, light displays and holiday shopping at the Evergreen Festival or head to the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market, which is open year-round. 

In February, the delicious Lobster Crawl happens along the South Shore and in Halifax, Dine Around happens all throughout the month, with special menus from great restaurants in downtown Halifax and Dartmouth.  

And even though the temperatures are cool, it’s still fun to get out and explore the coastlines. The iconic Peggy’s Cove is less busy in the winter months, but the snow-covered rocks and picturesque fishing village are still worth a visit.

One of the most picturesque places to visit in winter in Canada is the massive province of Ontario. While Ontario is well-known for its large metropolis of Toronto, the real beauty of this province lies in the remote wilderness far away from the city lights. If you’re looking for a serene spot to retreat, Ontario is filled with plenty of travel-worthy destinations.

For international travellers to Canada, you’ll be pleased to know that many of the best winter destinations in Ontario are within driving distance of Toronto, making them accessible by car from the airport.

Ontario in winter

Head to the quaint Old Town of Niagara on the Lake (1 hour from Toronto) to stay at luxurious boutique hotels like the historic Prince of Wales , and be surrounded by wineries, horse-drawn carriages and waterfront views. 

Drive 2 hours north of Toronto to the beautiful Muskoka district where you’ll be treated to lakeside lodges, dog-sledging and ice-fishing tours and even forested ice-skating trails. 

Or head 1.5 hours east of Toronto to the Kawarthas region known for its abundance of lakes and trails and friendly small towns.

There’s no denying that Canada in winter is magical, and spending it in Ontario is the perfect way to take in the sights, sounds, smells and friendly faces of Canadians.

10. Lake Louise

Another stunning natural beauty this startling blue lake is one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter. Located in Banff National Park, Lake Louise is a glacial lake surrounded by towering mountain peaks and pristine forests.

For international travellers, Calgary Airport (YYC) serves as the entry point. From there, a scenic drive or shuttle service will take you to the National Park in around 2 hours.

Winter at Lake Louise transforms the landscape into a beautiful snowy scene. The lake freezes over and, framed by the snow-topped pine trees, looks like a postcard. It also becomes a hub for activity. 

Lake Louise in winter

You can go ice skating on the frozen lake, embark on a dog-sledging adventure through the snowy woods, or embrace the thrill of world-class skiing on the nearby slopes. The iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, nestled on the lake’s shores, is a fantastic luxury retreat with unbeatable views of the surrounding winter wonderland.

Average temperatures in winter hover around freezing, so you’ll need to be prepared for the cold. Bringing plenty of layers and waterproofs is essential for exploring the outdoors. 

Also, if you visit at the right time, I highly recommend checking out the Lake Louise Ice Festival . This annual event features stunning ice sculptures against the backdrop of the frozen lake and is absolutely breathtaking.

Ottawa is one of the best cities to visit during the Canadian winters. Being located right on the border of Ontario and Quebec in central Canada, Ottawa has cold enough weather to provide a great winter atmosphere and lots of fun things to do in the city and nearby. The average temperature throughout the winter in Ottawa sits between -6°C and -14°C as a low, so it can get quite chilly.

The heritage buildings in the walkable downtown of Ottawa are beautifully covered in snow, and there’s a good mix of indoor and outdoor activities to keep you busy for several days.

Ottawa is one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter

The city is home to the world’s largest outdoor skating rink, called the Rideau Canal which is 200 km (125 miles) long. There are multiple entry points along the canal where you can hop on with your skates and skate for free.

Ottawa also hosts one of the country’s largest winter festivals, called Winterlude, every February. There are beautiful ice sculptures and snow games happening in the downtown core, as well as food trucks, live music and entertainment.

There are outdoor forest skating rinks on the outskirts of the city, as well as several ski resorts, several interesting museums, art galleries and indoor things to do as well to escape the cold.

All in all, Ottawa makes for a fantastic winter getaway in Canada. 

12. Montreal

Average Temperature : -15°C (5°F)

If you are looking for the perfect winter destination then Montreal should be on top of your list. The first stop should be Old Montreal, the historic part of the city which looks straight out of a postcard. The old colonial building with the white snow veil, the river is frozen and the trees are contoured with a thin white line.

The City of Festivals has a lot of winter-centric activities. MONTRÉAL en LUMIÈRE is the Flagship event of Montreal in winter with the famous Nuit Blanche. For eleven days the festival mixes art, technology, theatre, circus performances, culinary delights and parties. The festival takes place from the end of February to early March.

Montreal is one of the best winter getaways in Canada

Igloofest, an electronic music festival, is the other main event in the city. The festival takes place between mid-January and the beginning of February. Finally, Fete des Neiges (Montreal snow festival) is the third big festival in Montreal with ice sculptures and snow games.

Ice skating is a winter must and the city has numerous outdoor rinks such as the beautiful Beaver Lake by Mount Royal or the Old Port of Montréal’s Natrel Skating Rink next to the Ferris wheel or the Esplanade Tranquille in the Quartier des Spectacles. Mount Royal Park, the lung of the city, offers tobogganing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and hiking. 

Winter and cold temperatures stretch from early November to mid-April and January and February are the coldest months. The average temperature is -15°C but temperatures can go as low as -40°C.

13. Mont Tremblant

Mont-Tremblant, located within the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec, is a hit destination for winter sports lovers. The main attraction of the area is the ski resort, boasting over 100 different ski trails of varying degrees of difficulty. Here, you can take beginner classes, or opt to ski or snowboard down the Black Diamond trails if you are more experienced.

Mount Temblant in winter

On a winter getaway to Mont-Tremblant , you can expect the temperatures to be in the negatives, between -8 and -30°C. Be sure to bring very warm clothes as the clothing shops in the village are quite expensive. 

Opt to stay in a chalet in or near the ski village to have the full winter vacation experience! Be sure to explore the local shops in the village and try out a fun Canadian treat – BeaverTails! If you want to escape the cold for a while, visit the Scandinave Spa to relax. 

14. Calgary

Average Temperature : -3°C (26°F)

While most people travel to Calgary as a pass-through destination to the Canadian Rockies or Alberta as a whole, Calgary is a fantastic winter destination in and of itself!

Some of the best things to do even just for a day in Calgary include ascending Calgary Tower, where at the top you’ll learn about the tower’s construction, see 360-degree views of the city, and if you’re brave enough, get to walk over a portion of the floor that is glass!

Stop by the Devonian Gardens in the mall. These free indoor gardens are a welcome break from the potentially freezing winter days. You might even catch live music being played near the fountains. It’s quite peaceful!

Calgary

For a unique activity, check out the Calgary Public Library, which has some of the most stunning architecture inside. Curl up with a book and a coffee for a relaxing winter experience.

Temperatures in the winter hover around 30 degrees (Fahrenheit) during the day and drop to 10 degrees at night. Winter is the dry season though.

To get there, you’ll fly into YYC airport. Public transportation is available, but renting a car is also an easy option for navigating the city!

What to pack for Canada in Winter

As you may have figured from reading this post, Canada is definitely not a warm winter destination. In fact, it’s freezing and much colder than most of Europe during the winter months. As such, packing appropriately is more important than ever. 

Firstly, layers are a must – a good thermal base layer (or 2!), a cosy jumper , and a heavy winter coat are non-negotiable. You’ll need a hat , gloves , and scarf, and a pair of sturdy, insulated trousers are another must for staying warm in Canadian winter.

best places to visit in Canada in winter - British Columbia

For your feet, warm socks are a must, and if you’re venturing into serious cold, consider thermal socks for that extra insulation. Don’t forget waterproof boots to navigate through slush and snow. 

I also recommend moisturizer and lip balm to prevent your skin from drying out, along with a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.

The Best Places to Visit in Canada in Winter FAQ

I hope so far, you’ve got a good insight into what to expect from this northern country during the winter months. But, if you have any more queries, here are a few popular questions you might want to know the answers to. 

What is the coldest place in Canada in winter?

The coldest place to visit in Canada in winter is Snag, Yukon. This small village is located in east of Beaver Creek in Yukon, Canada and holds the record for the lowest temperature recorded in North America which was -63°C (-81°F). The average temperature here during the winter months is -23°C (-9°F)

What is the warmest city in Canada in winter?

One of the warmest places to visit in Canada in winter is Victoria in British Columbia. You’ll find this city on the southern tip of Vancouver on the Pacific Coast. During the winter months, temperatures typically remain around a comfortable 6°C (42°F).

Is Canada worth visiting in winter?

Yes, without a doubt Canada is worth visiting in winter. If you’ve ever wanted to see your winter postcards come to life, this country is the perfect place to see it. With snow-covered landscapes, frozen lakes, and a range of fantastic winter activities, you can’t beat a winter in Canada.

Vancouver in winter

Can you see the Northern Lights from Canada?

Absolutely! Canada is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. For the best chance of witnessing the magical phenomenon, head to the northern regions like Yukon, and Northwest Territories, or even the outskirts of cities like Yellowknife. You can also book Northern Lights tours in many of these regions of Canada, and go with a guide which will give you the best chance of spotting the lights.

Final Thoughts on The Best Places to Visit in Canada in Winter

Overall, Canada is one of the best winter travel destinations around the world. With an abundance of winter activities, bucket list experiences, and enchanting natural wonders, you really can’t go wrong with this list of best places to visit in Canada in winter.

Whether you dream of gliding across the frozen surface of Lake Louise, chasing the Northern Lights in the northern territories, or savouring the cosy charm of Canadian towns, I can almost guarantee you’ll have a fantastic time. Just remember to wrap up warm and drink plenty of hot chocolate in the evenings!

My favourite tools for finding cheap travel

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  • GET YOUR GUIDE – For attractions and tours.
  • AIRALO – For a global eSim that keeps you connected.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you make a purchase. But, I only recommend products and companies that I use and love.

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The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

22 Adventurous and fun Things to do in Winter in Canada

Written By: The Planet D

Updated On: February 19, 2024

Instead of dreading that first snowfall in Canada, get outside and embrace the winter season. During the winter months, Canada turns into a winter wonderland. Canadians know how to beat the winter blues. Once you learn how to dress for cold weather, you’ll find that there are plenty of things to do in winter in Canada that make it worth heading up North for the holidays. So instead of hibernating this winter get outside and start planning a winter trip to Canada . Don’t forget to bundle up!

Table of Contents

Fun Things to do in Winter in Canada

1. go skiing and snowboarding.

Things to do in Winter Canada Skiing Whistler

Canada is blessed with some of the best locations for downhill skiing and snowboarding in the world. In addition to the beautiful snow-capped mountains, visitors can also check illustrious ski resorts that offer excellent accommodation and facilities that complement the outdoor fun. Canada has some of the best ski resorts on earth from Whistler Blackcomb to Mont Tremblant , you can downhill ski in Canada from coast to coast!

Snowbarding in the Canadian Rockies Winter

You can have the best skiing and snowboarding experience between Alberta and British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada with the most popular being Whistler Blackcomb, Revelstoke, Sun Peaks, and Big White in BC. When skiing in Alberta, Lake Louise in Banff National Park is the premier ski resort but other great ski resorts include Sunshine Village and Marmot Basin .

In eastern Canada, Quebec is the place of choice with Mont-Tremblant, Mont Saint Anne, and Le Massif being favourites. And right here in Ontario, we love a weekend getaway to Blue Mountain too!

2. SkiJoring

Things to do in Winter in Canada Skijoring

Cross country skiing is also very popular with Canadians. You can do this winter sport in Canada nearly anywhere and most ski resorts offer it as well. If you aren’t ready for downhill skiing, give X-country skiing a try. It’s fun for the whole family. For a truly unique Canadian winter adventure, try skijoring. It mixes skiing with dogsledding and is a rip-roaring good time. We went skijoring just outside of Canmore Alberta and it was incredible. Read more Alberta travels here: The 52 Best Things to do in Alberta, Canada – The Ultimate Guide

3. Watch the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

Things to do in Canada during Winter Northern Light Churchill Manitoba

The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights , is a natural display of light in the night sky. This phenomenon is only visible in the Northern Hemisphere. The native  Cree People called the Auroras “The Dance of the Spirits”. It will cost you nothing to gaze at the beautiful Aurora Borealis and there are plenty of places to see the Northern Lights dance when you visit Canada in winter. We saw beautifu l northern lights in Jasper and Churchill

Where to See Northern Lights in Canada

Things to do in Canada in Winter Aurora Borealis

Head to  Yellowknife, Goose Bay in Labrador , the shores of Hudson Bay in Manitoba , and the prairie provinces of Canada to get the best view of the Aurora Borealis. We’ve also seen exceptional Northern Lights in Alberta around Jasper National Park and Banff National Park . And we watched the auroras every night while searching for polar bears with Churchill Wild.

4. Skate on the Rideau Canal

Things to do winter in Canada Skate on the Rideau Canal Ottawa

Ice skating on the Rideau Canal is one of the most iconic things you can do in winter in Canada. Usually, the skating season on the UNESCO World Heritage Site begins during Winterlude, Ottawa’s winter carnival . You can rent skates and hop on the world’s largest skating rink. It stretches for miles with warming stations, where you can sample frozen maple syrup and beavertails with plenty of fun adventures along the Rideau Canal that runs through the city of Ottawa.

  • Winterlude Itinerary – The Ultimate Guide to Ottawa
  • Ice Sculptures at Night at Winterlude Ottawa
  • 33 Things to do in Ottawa – A Complete Guide to the City

5. Attend a Winterlude

Experience the Winter Carnival in Ottawa Canada

Speaking of Winterlude, Canada has plenty of winter carnivals to attend. When the days grow shorter and colder, Canadians love to get outdoors to celebrate with lights, ice sculptures, and winter activities. Throughout the winter, you’ll find winter carnivals in every province. Our favorite is Winterlude in Ottawa.

6. Winter Carnivals

We’ve attended it several times taking advantage of all the winter fun including snow tubing, the ice bar at Andaz, the winter zipline network in Gatineau, and exploring all the ice formations and ice sculptures. Another great place to go ziplining in the winter is at the Marble Mountain Ski Resort in Newfoundland and Labrador. (We haven’t been there yet, but it’s on our list!)

7. Carnivale Quebec City

Ice Hotel in Quebec City

Quebec City has the famous Carnivale winter carnival. This UNESCO World Heritage City truly comes alive in winter. The old city is transformed into a winter wonderland that feels frozen in time. You can visit the famous Ice Hotel and have a drink at the ice bar. Opening in 2001, it was North America’s first Ice Hotel and you can watch ice sculpture competitions. Make sure to visit North America’s most European City in the winter. We loved our The 27 Best Things to do in Quebec City

Other winter festivals in Canada are the Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls , the Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg, Jasper in January, and the Montreal Lumiere Festival . At the winter festivals, you can expect to see an ice sculpture competition, snow tubing, ice skating, and beautiful ice bars where you can wrap yourself in a blanket and enjoy the brisk air. Read more: Montreal Festivals – Celebrate Canada’s Coolest City

8. Ice Wine Festival

Top Things to do in Winter in Canada Ice Wine Festival Ontario

A winter festival that is unique to Canada is the Ice Wine Festival in Niagara Falls . We love heading outdoors to taste the delicious ice wines of the Niagara Region. The wineries of Niagara on the Lake open their doors to sample food and the region’s popular dessert wine made from their frozen grapes while showcasing ice sculptures and winter cheer. We have even gone snowshoeing and ice tasting at the ice bar, or simply enjoying the great outdoors during the Ice Wine Festival. If you are looking for unique winter things to do in Canada, this festival is a great start! Read more: Snowshoeing Wine Tour Niagara Falls

9. Frozen Niagara Falls

Best Things to do in Canada in winter Niagara Falls

Canada has beautiful waterfalls and when they are frozen, they are even more magical. You can find them anywhere in the winter but one of the most iconic things to see is a frozen Niagara Falls . Nothing compares to seeing the massive frozen horseshoe falls. Seeing Niagara Falls frozen is something that is truly unique. Read more: Where to Stay in Niagara Falls – Best Areas

10. Frozen Waterfalls

Winter in Canada Frozen Niagara Falls at Night

And besides, just because it is winter, it doesn’t mean the town of Niagara Falls closes down, in fact, it is a rip-roaring good time in this Canadian tourist destination. There are beautiful frozen waterfalls throughout Canada. Once the temperature drops the winter wonderland of frozen cascades takes over the landscape. Read more: Romance in Niagara Falls, Ontario’s Best Weekend Getaway

11. Dog Sledding Tours

Things to do in Canada Winter Dogsledding

Dog sledding is a legendary Canadian winter adventure. It is so popular that you can go mushing in all thirteen Canadian provinces and territories. However, the sledding period is determined by the climatic variations across the country. For instance, Whitehorse in Yukon enjoys dog sledding from November to March, whereas Quebec’s mushing season runs from January to March. We have gone dogsledding from the Canadian Rockies in Alberta to Northern Ontario. Read: The Misconceptions of Dogsledding

Where to go Dogsledding in Canada

  • Haliburton, Ontario north of Toronto with Winterdance Dogsledding
  • The Great Divide between Alberta and British Columbia with SimRik Dogsledding
  • In the Laurentians of Quebec, there are plenty of places to go dogsledding from Mont Tremblant to St Sauveur.
  • Read more: Haliburton – A Four Seasons Ontario Escape

12. Ice Climbing

Things to do in winter in Canada Ice Climbing

Ice climbing is gaining increasing popularity as one of the best winter sports among winter thrill-seekers. It is a challenging and vigorous activity that demands sound physical fitness. If you feel the urge to scale new heights on frozen waterfalls and towering slopes of ice formations, head to the Rocky Mountains of Alberta .

Where to go Ice Climbing in Canada

  • Canmore Alberta is considered one of the best places in the world to go ice climbing with Yamnuska Outdoors
  • Quebec also has some of the best ice climbing in Canada with Parc de la Chute-Montmorency and Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaieb being the popular choices.
  • The Ghost River Valley, Bow Valley, Stanley Headwall and  IceFields Parkway in the Rocky Mountains have attracted climbers from across the globe to scale the glittering ice in picturesque surroundings.

13. Snowmobiling

Top Winter Activities in Canada Snowmobiling

If your legs cannot take the strain of skiing, you can gear up for snowmobiling. From Newfoundland to Vancouver, there are numerous trails that offer the perfect snowmobiling experience. Canada has gone beyond short trails by constructing the Trans Canada Trail, which connects one part of the country to the other over a 21,500 kilometer long trail. There is an amazing snowmobile route in Quebec that leaves Quebec City and goes north to Hudson Bay. We’ve explored the trails of Haliburton in Ontario and the backcountry of Whistler in BC.

14. Canyoning

Things to do in Winter in Canada Canyoning Alberta

There are so many ways to enjoy snow and ice. The sub-zero chill freezes the canyons, caves, and crevasses in the regions of Banff , Lake Louise , and Jasper National Park in Alberta. Winter transforms these resort towns into an icy winter wonderland. Climb the glistening canyon walls and take the ice walk to explore ice caves and the beauty of locations that are seemingly inaccessible during summer as you marvel at the frozen waterfalls. Read more: The Best Things to do in Banff, Alberta

Some of our favorite places to go on an ice walk in Canada are Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park, Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park, and Grotto Canyon Canmore. That’s a lot of Alberta Places. The Ice Caves of Lake Superior can become spectacular when the winter conditions are right. Read more The Greatest Things to do in Winter in Ontario

15. Ice Fishing

Winter in Canada Ice Fishing

As the temperature drops, the fishing action heats up across Canada . Ice fishing presents a unique fishing experience to locals and visitors alike. Stepping on a frozen lake, drilling a hole in the icy water, inserting a fishing line, and waiting in anticipation can be a rewarding experience. Most Canadians sit in warm fishing huts but we tried our hand in Northern Ontario during a winter expedition but there are plenty of places to go ice fishing in Canada. From Lake Simcoe (situated 60 miles north of Toronto ) to Tobin Lake in Manitoba and Renforth New Brunswick. British Columbia and Quebec are also good for ice fishing.

16. Snowshoeing

Things to do in winter in Canada Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a popular winter activity in Canada as the technique of snowshoeing is easy to learn and it is an inexpensive activity. Plan a hike in the winter forest, snowshoe across frozen lakes, and ascend mountain slopes. As a bonus, it acts as a great workout too. As a matter of fact, many walkers, runners, and hikers are choosing snowshoeing as their preferred winter activity because it burns many calories.

Snowshoeing as a couple in Winter in Ontario

The most famous snowshoeing destinations are Callaghan County in Whistler , The Rocky Mountains in Alberta, and the parks of Northern Ontario We’ve gone snowshoeing in nearly every Canadian province and the great thing about this winter experience in Canada is that anyone can do it. Just strap on some snowshoes and hit the trail.

17. Pond Hockey

What to do in Winter in Canada Pond Hockey

By late December, most of the lakes and ponds in Canada are frozen. From frozen lakes to backyard ice rinks created by the locals’. There are plenty of places to enjoy skating on public skating rinks and frozen ponds in almost all Canadian cities. The best part is that ice skating on a frozen lake is that it is absolutely free. Whether you are gracefully sliding on the ice floor or playing a game of ice hockey , you are sure to have fun on the ice. Just watch out for the ‘Thin Ice’ signs.

18. World Pond Hockey Championships

Sunset pond Hockey in Northern Canada in Winter

Canadians love ice hockey so much that we host the World Pond Hockey Championship in Plaster Rock New Brunswick . 100 teams head to the East Coast from around the world to compete in this unique tournament. Hot tip: Don’t be afraid to join a pond hockey game taking place, Canadians are friendly and will let you in on the fun!

19. Where to go Ice Skating in Canada

Things to do in Winter in Canada Ice Skating

Besides ice skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Ontario , there are countless ice trails and skating rinks around the country. Winnipeg has the longest ice skating rink in the world on the Assiniboine River. If you want to play an iconic game of pond hockey, the best place to do that is on Lake Louise. It is one of the most beautiful outdoor skating rinks on earth with the Canadian Rockies surrounding the frozen lake.

20. Sleigh Rides

Take a Sleigh Ride In winter Canada

One of the most romantic outdoor winter activities in Canada is to take a sleigh ride. We have hopped on sleigh rides from east to west across this great country, and each has been as magical as the other.

With hot chocolate in hand, a blanket on our laps, and incredible northern scenery, winter sleigh rides are some of the most romantic things to do in a Canadian winter. We’ve taken sleigh rides around Lake Louise in Banff National Park , from the Fairmont in Whistler British Columbia , in Mont Tremblant Quebec, and in Muskoka Ontario.

21. Hot Springs

Top Things to do in Winter in Canada Hot Springs

After all those winter adventures, warm up your bones at hot springs. Canadians love to sit in the outdoor hot tub. Nothing is quite as magical as having the snowfall all around you as the steam rises from the hot bath. Some of our favourite hot springs in Canada are the Banff Hot Springs in Alberta, Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia , and Takhini Hot Pools in the Y ukon.

22. Backcountry Lodges

Winter in Canada Activities

Get away from it all at a backcountry lodge. Dogsled, cross country ski, snowshoe or snowmobile into a backcountry lodge anywhere in Canada. Some of our favourite places are Winterdance in Haliburton , Ontario. Get completely off the grid and take horses to explore the Canadian Wilderness. Or ski into Sundance Lodge in Banff, Alberta for a truly off-the-grid experience. You can find backcountry lodges throughout Canada and they are truly extraordinary. Sit by the roaring fire, sip mulled wine and listen to stories by the local tour operators. They always have the most interesting lives.

And there you have it! All of the best things to do in the winter season in Canada. From the West Coast and the Canadian Rockies to our national parks and iconic cities, Canada is an amazing place to visit in Winter. If you are looking for a unique vacation destination, consider a trip to Canada during the winter months. It’s a trip you’ll never forget.

Traveling to Canada? See more information on Canadian winter experiences in these articles.

  • Ottawa Attractions – 20 Winter Activities to Embrace the Snow
  • Things to Do in Banff Alberta
  • A Day in the Life – An Extreme Winter Expedition
  • 20 Best Winter Activities in Alberta

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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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32 thoughts on “22 Adventurous and fun Things to do in Winter in Canada”

Very nice thanks for sharing.

I have lived in Canada all my life, specifically in Southern Ontario, Greater Toronto Area. I am not a big fan of winter and really don’t like it very much but I might try snowmobiling. A local ski resort (Lakeridge) near where I live also has tubing which is a lot of fun.

Wow! I think those were really a fun things to do in Canada during Winter. Very nice features!

I enjoyed dog sledding when I visited Canada last winter.

Thanks for sharing such amazing experience and pics with us. You encourage me to travel the Canada and I am now start saving money for that.

Everyone should experience ice fishing at least once! Did you catch anything when you went? Be careful about the ice though, especially in the shoulder season. Safety first!

This is great and I am really excited about traveling to Canada this winter from Colorado, however it seems like the border is closed to nearly all foreigners, likely all winter while US COVID numbers soar. Is there actually a way in for us, without the 2-week quarantine?

Thanks, Jeff

Colorado is amazing too! Yes, sadly the border is still closed, even for us we have a 2-week quarantine when we return. Dave and I are in quarantine now because we travelled to the Caribbean. It’s tough, but it keeps people safe, but hopefully with news of the vaccine, we will be opening up soon and will be able to welcome you to Canada!

Though all this sounds amazing, I would personally be best tempted by the “build you own Igloo” activity. It might be a little time-consuming, sure, but once finished you have the best refuge that will protect you against the cold and snowballs!

It is definitely an interesting experience to camp in the winter. You have to be prepared for bathroom outings in the cold for sure!

i love the first image. it seems nice to have trip there.

Thank you! That was taken from a helicopter over Banff National Park. It was beautiful!

I could not make it in fall2010 but I have planned for this fall to open in Canada and do all these fall activities but I like skiing most.

Canada is definitely a great place to celebrate winter. You may want to add visiting an ice hotel and winter camping as one of the most popular outdoor activities in Canada every winter. Hope to read more from you travels!

From these activities I think I’ll select skating the Rideau Canal, although skiing is a close second. .-= Robin´s last blog .. 10 Outdoor Ice Rinks around the World =-.

Good choice, I am on my way to check out your Ice Rinks from around the world. Very cool

Did some snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain today in Vancouver – perfect conditions and for December 5th that’s pretty sweet.

Skating on the Rideau Canal is one of the activities I miss most in eastern Canada. Grew up in Ottawa when winter seemed to last longer than now and would sometimes skate 18 miles in a day.

I hear there is a downhill skating (yes you read that correctly) race at the Quebec winter carnival in Quebec City sometime in March. Now that’s what I call crazy. .-= Leigh´s last blog ..Photos of the Week- South Winchelsea Island- BC =-.

Canada is a wonderful place to travel. Having live there my whole life, I know that it’s as filled with trees, mountains and beauty as you see in the pictures. I recommend taking a trip there! Thanks for sharing. .-= Mary Robson@ White Rock BC Hotels´s last blog ..22 Years of Travel Experiences Creates a Special Retreat for the Business Traveller! =-.

Thanks Mary. And White Rock is a beautiful place in Canada to visit.

You really make me miss the snow, Ill I ever get is rain living in Seattle now. Banff is on my to visit list for sure. You might even inspire me to make the trip this winter. The view from the top of the ski hill is amazing. We might get some snow around here this winter is what I have been told so Im just crossing my fingers. .-= Michael´s last blog ..How To Create A Budget for Your Travel in Just 3 Steps =-.

Where are you located Michael? Hope you get some snow!

Snow shoeing sounds like such hard work. I am moving to the snow in Japan soon for the season so I am hoping to improve my snowboard skills. Can’t wait to get to Canada though great photos!

I couldn’t imagine how cold it will be to go caving in winter. We went to a cave in NC during summer time and it was cold! From your list, I think I have tried only one thing. 🙂 .-= Amy @ The Q Family´s last blog .. Chiang Mai with Kids- The Road Trip to Chiang Mai &amp Odd Things You Will See =-.

Never even thought to go night skiing. Sounds lovely! Thanks for the suggestion, Davendeb! .-= Tran´s last blog ..Traveling Guyana on a Budget =-.

I’m a Canadian, but I will never be a poster child for winter. The one time I went skiing I ended up head first in a snow bank after getting hit with the chair lift……….(laugh…I am:):) Maybe that’s why I have spent the last ten winters in SEA. Nice post for those who like winter. Actually, I would like to go dog sledding sometime. .-= Nancie´s last blog ..Through the Sandbox Lens 18 &8212 The Raffles Hotel- Singapore =-.

Haha Nancie. That is awesome. Getting off the chair lift causes people a lot of grief. We have seen many a pile up happening at the end of the chair lift. We haven’t spent many winters here in the past few years and we miss the fun in the snow. We actually enjoy winter activities, the best thing to do is get out of the house. We were part of an outdoors group lead by our good friend Nani. In the summers we cycled together in the winters we snowshoed. There is nothing better then getting out in the woods after a fresh snowfall. But I totally understand you spending winters in SEA, they can be brutal too. There is nothing worse than scraping the ice off the window at 6:00 in the morning when you have to go to work.

Can’t wait. Bring on the snow! Though I must confess I wouldn’t might a little scuba diving in Fiji! 😉 .-= Cam´s last blog ..Photo of the Week- Split Harbour- Croatia =-.

I agree, I am going to miss the snow, but then again…We love the beach!

What a fun list. One more thing we’d add is tobogganing – or as we say on Nova Scotia’s Authentic Seacoast, coasting. A perfect way to spend a glorious winter day. Afterwards there’s puzzles and board games, enjoying time with friends and families during the winter months. Here’s a list of our top winter activities from DesBarres Manor Inn http://www.desbarresmanor.com/packages/wintergetaway.html

Great suggestion! We used to always toboggan. I like that you call it coasting. Puzzles and games with hot chocolate is an amazing way to spend a day. Aw, now I am sorry we are missing Winter!

After seeing these pics I feel like I need a hot chocolate! 🙂 .-= Andi´s last blog .. Cuba- Day 3 Part 1 =-.

I’m not a huge fan of winter but I do enjoy night skating with a mug of hot chocolate and Baileys. .-= ayngelina´s last blog ..Is Colombian El Corral better than McDonald’s =-.

PlanetWare.com

12 Top-Rated Things to Do in Canada in Winter

Written by Michael Law May 13, 2021 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Canada is legendary for its winters. Many people think it's a good time to hide out indoors by a roaring fire, but if you have a look around, you may be pleasantly surprised by the incredible number of amazing things to do. Some activities are close to home; others may involve a bit of travel, but all will leave you with rosy red cheeks and a smile on your face.

From coast to coast to coast, every region has their own spin on what makes getting out and enjoying all that winter has to offer fun. In Ottawa, you can skate for miles on a frozen canal. In the Rockies, you can rub shoulders with the jet set at Whistler; head north to the Yukon to watch the skies erupt in a kaleidoscope of colors as the northern lights dance overhead; or slip into your wetsuit, grab your surfboard, and hit the waves in Tofino, British Columbia.

Plan your winter adventures with our list of the best things to do in Canada in winter.

1. Skiing in the Rocky Mountains

2. carnaval de quebec, 3. skate on the rideau canal skateway in ottawa, 4. visit niagara falls, 5. go surfing in tofino, 6. festival du voyager in winnipeg, 7. see the northern lights dance in the sky, 8. try dog sledding, 9. go snowmobiling, 10. cozy up at a resort, 11. soak in a hot spring, 12. drop a line ice fishing, map of things to do in canada in winter.

Skiing at Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort

What better way to truly experience a Canadian winter than to get out into the Rocky Mountains and ski or snowboard at one of nearly 20 resorts? The clear mountain air coupled with the incredible snowcapped peaks will reenergize your body and soul. There's nothing quite like stepping out of your slope-side accommodation, strapping on your skis, and heading to the lifts. No commuting, no stress, and your whole plan for the day consists of only riding up and skiing down.

Canada's ski resorts are among the best in the world. Choose from small, laid-back local mountains like Kimberley Alpine Resort or head straight to the world-class resorts like Whistler . Ski resorts in the Rockies are an excellent family vacation idea, with many affordable destinations, primarily in the British Columbia interior region near Kelowna or Penticton. Some of the top names here include Big White and SilverStar near Kelowna. In Alberta, check out Lake Louise and Sunshine Village in Banff National Park.

Air access is easy from either Vancouver, Calgary, or Kelowna. Time it right, and you can leave your home and be at the resort in time to catch a few late day runs, or hit the slopes for night skiing.

Read More: Best Ski Resorts in British Columbia

Quebec City in the winter

One of the most enjoyable things to do in Quebec in the depths of winter is to head to Quebec City to experience the Carnaval de Quebec. This is where Quebec's joie de vivre bursts out into the open, personified by an ever smiling, walking, seven-foot-tall snowman named Bonhomme.

The city comes alive for two weeks near the end of January, as it has almost every year since 1955. Some of the most incredible sights can be seen by taking a stroll around the city. These include innovative ice sculptures; parades; and, of course, Bonhomme's Ice Palace.

Contests and competitions can be wacky and fun, like the boot hockey games, winter volleyball, and a snowshoe obstacle course, all of which are open to everyone who registers. In the evening, performance and dances take place across the city and make a great reason to get dressed up in your finest outfits and stay out late.

Read More: Top-Rated Attractions in Quebec City

Rideau Canal Skateway

Ottawa's Rideau Canal is the destination of choice for families looking for a great afternoon of skating. Each winter, the canal freezes over, and the world's largest natural skating rink emerges in the heart of the city. Stretching for nearly eight kilometers, the Skateway passes by some of Ottawa's most iconic buildings, including the Fairmont Chateau Laurier , and provides views up to the Parliament buildings.

The Skateway has five warming huts; vendors selling hot drinks; and, of course, Canada's famous Beavertails to snack on. Also located at these huts are fire pits, washrooms, and picnic tables. Don't worry about being the only skater, the Rideau Canal Skateway sees nearly 1.5 million visitors during a winter season.

All these folks make for a fun and festive atmosphere of good skaters and those doing their best to stay upright. If you don't have your own equipment, rentals are available at three locations and include a helmet, wrist protector, and support bar. Sleighs are also available to rent to tow your youngest ones.

The skating season generally runs from January through to March, and the Skateway is open 24 hours a day.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Ottawa

Niagara Falls in the winter

A visit to Niagara Falls in the winter is a low-key, relaxing experience. The summer crowds are long gone, the walkways are clear, and lineups are non-existent. Time it right, and you may have this wonder of the world all to yourself.

Despite the cold weather, the force of the moving waters keeps the falls flowing, but at the same time creates icy marvels along the cliffs and shorelines. Be sure to have your phone or camera handy, as fantastic photos of ice shrouded railings and rock faces will temp you to take more pictures than you may expect.

Everything remains open in the winter, including the Journey Behind the Falls trip. Taking this trip down into the cold, damp tunnels beneath the roaring falls and then emerging into a bizarre ice-filled world is something that is not to be missed.

Surfers in Tofino, British Columbia

As you stand on the beach in Tofino and look out at the waves rolling in, you may be surprised that those dark shapes frolicking in the surf are not actually sea lions but hardy folk catching some of Canada's best waves. Tofino has multiple sandy beaches and surf breaks, and it's a great place to learn, whether you are young or old.

The winter season brings the largest waves to the beaches on the west coast of Vancouver Island . It may seem odd to want to go into the ocean in December or January, but with the right equipment, it's really not that much different than doing it in the height of summer. In fact, the water temperature only changes by eight degrees (7 to 15 degrees Celsius) from winter to summer.

If you've had your surf lesson and decide maybe it's not your sport, Tofino is also a beautiful place for hiking. Hiking trails run through old-growth forests and along endless stretches of beach. Alternatively, settle in next to a roaring fire or warm up in a hot tub at one of Tofino's luxury resorts .

Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in Tofino

Winter in Winnipeg

Winnipeg gets a bad rap for being one of Canada's coldest cities; however, this doesn't slow down the hardy folks who live here. This prairie city's residents ensure that they make the most of the long winter through a lively cultural scene. One of the highlights of this scene is the Festival du Voyager, which takes place each February.

The festival is a lively affair, with all kinds of fun events spread over a nine-day span. Events range from a beard-growing contest, an ice sculpture competition, a pea soup cook off, and axe throwing right through to musical performances by some of Canada's best bands. The festival site has a fun atmosphere and is an ideal family outing, with fun things for the kids, including horse-drawn carriage rides, storytelling, and pancake breakfasts to start the day right.

The main location for the festival is at Whittier Park, although ice sculptures are found throughout St. Boniface.

If you can't be here for the festival, head to The Forks to enjoy skating and other outdoor activities in winter.

Northern Lights in Yellowknife

The dancing ribbons of light make you feel small under the massive skies of Canada's north. The northern lights are one of nature's best aerial shows, and the best time to see them in Canada is in the winter.

Several spots are renowned for their good viewing; however, the easiest places to see them are just outside of Whitehorse and Yellowknife respectively. If you just want to find your own way, a wide selection of hotels is readily available in town, and you don't need to venture far from the city to see the northern lights.

If you'd prefer something more luxurious, lodges specifically set up for sky viewing are found in the wilderness outside both cities. One of these is Northern Lights Resort and Spa near Whitehorse.

Dogsledding

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to race across the open snowy terrain being towed by a team of dogs, winter in Canada is your opportunity to find out. Dog sledding is available in rural and resort areas and makes for a unique and exciting experience.

This experience consists of a pack of eight or more dogs who want nothing more than to run as fast as they can, and a musher who keeps them all under control to ensure you'll be zipping along the frozen hinterlands.

Tour lengths vary; most people are happy with a couple of hours, but more adventurous folk may go for several day tours that include backcountry lodging.

While you might think dog sledding only happens in Canada's far north, like the Yukon, but you can find dog sledding tours in many places across the country. Popular areas are Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, and many of the ski resort destinations in British Columbia and Alberta.

Snowmobiling in Canada

Snowmobiling is one of the most popular motorized winter activities in Canada. Trails wind their way through the forests for thousands of miles and stop off at restaurants and hotels along the way. It's not uncommon to see snowmobilers testing out their machines as they race across lakes at breakneck speeds.

If you want to give it a try, guided snowmobile tours are easily arranged in most resort areas, such as Whistler. These make for an ideal family afternoon of fun. Half-day and full-day tours include equipment rentals, and instructional training is included. Some of the packages also include mini snowmobiles that children can drive on their own.

Should you wish to get a bit more extreme, tours that head up into the mountains through old-growth forests into the deep snow are also on offer.

Couple enjoying a cozy fire

In the infamous words of Sheryl Crow, "a change would do you good," getting out of the house with your significant other and checking into a romantic resort helps beat the winter blues. Canada is well supplied with incredible lodges in scenic locations that will have you blissed out in no time. Spend some time by the roaring wood fireplace, soak in the hot pools, go for a walk in the woods, and cap it all off with a sumptuous candlelit dinner at a local restaurant.

Some of the best lodges are surprisingly close to major cities. In Ontario, a quick trip north from Toronto will find you at places like Sir Sam's. A short drive from Calgary can have you checking into a resort in Canmore or, a little further afield, the beautiful resorts in Banff, Lake Louise, and other areas of Alberta. On Canada's West Coast, check out the resorts on Vancouver Island, where you can walk the beaches or hike in the rainforest.

Hot springs in Banff

Canada is lucky to have a fine assortment of hot springs spread across the country. Some of the best are located in Banff National Park. These historic springs date from 1886 and have been soothing the tired muscles of visitors for over 135 years.

Soak in warm waters as the steam slowly rises around you with snowcapped mountains shining in the distance. The hot springs are ideal after a day of skiing or snowboarding at the nearby resorts of Lake Louise or Sunshine. After your soak, try to stay awake long enough to head into town and have dinner at one of the many fine restaurants serving up tasty local fare.

Just one province over, British Columbia also offers a fine selection of hot springs , many of which are in scenic locations. Places like Harrison Hot Springs make great weekend getaways. Hot springs can also be a good excuse to get to some of BC's off-the-beaten-path destinations, like Nakusp Hot Springs or Halcyon Hot Springs.

Ice fishing in Canada

The concept of heading out onto a frozen lake in the middle of winter to try and catch a fish through a hole in the ice may not, on first pass, sound very appealing. However, when you fill in additional crucial details around the adventure, it starts to sound like a whole lot more fun.

These details involve the whole ice fishing process, which consists of the fact that you are likely comfortably ensconced in a heated building complete with comfortable chairs, a floor, and a table. Perhaps the easiest way to imagine ice fishing today is that you've transported your living room to the surface of the lake and drilled a hole in the floor.

The actual act of ice fishing is pretty slack. You set up your rod by the hole, make sure the rod cannot go down the hole, then sit and wait. If you've gone with a knowledgeable outfitter, it won't be long until you catch your first fish. However, if it's slow, don't worry. Spend the time playing cards, or board games, read a book, all while enjoying warm beverages. If you catch a fish, it's a bonus.

Ice fishing outfitters are in most provinces, and they can set you up for day fishing and even overnight adventures in ice fishing huts complete with sleeping areas and kitchens.

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65 Cool Things to Do Across Canada in Winter

Winter in Canada. The phrase usually evokes thoughts of deep snow, thick blizzards and freezing temperatures. It can also last for up to six months in some areas of the country.

But the truth is that winter can also be pretty exhilarating, exciting and a whole lot of fun for those who embrace (and not hibernate from!) the season. 

Gemma and Wapta falls in winter

Consider this list of 65 cool ideas (yep, pun intended) just a very small sample of things to do in Canada in winter.  Join me in making the most out of exploring Canada this winter and every winter after that!

Canada is, of course, home to an incredible amount of places to do every kind of classic winter activity from skiing and snowboarding to skating and ice-fishing.

Rather than list EVERY single place you can ski in Canada (because there is A LOT), I’ve concentrated on featuring more unusual and unique things to do in Canada in winter alongside some well-loved favourites in each province and territory.

There are affiliate links in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Looking across snowy winter landscape at SilverStar Mountain Resort, with snow covered trees and ground looking out over mountain views

Things to do in British Columbia in Winter

  • Warm up in one of the many hot springs in the Kootenays region. My pick is Radium Hot Springs !
  • Take a hike! No, really. Many trails at sea level around Vancouver and on Vancouver Island are still accessible in winter
  • Storm watch or surf in Tofino on Vancouver Island’s Pacific coast
  • Try out  the fastest ice track in the world at the Whistler Sliding Centre
  • Ski, paddle and golf on the same day in the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island

Planning to book a winter stay in Tofino?

Middle Beach Lodge – Amazing oceanfront location

The Shoreline – Good value

Sienna’s Tree House – Highly rated on Booking.com

Sunset and beach

Things to do in Yukon Territory in Winter

  • Take part in Takhini Hot Pools’ annual hair freezing contest – the water is 40c and the air usually -30c!
  • Watch the start (or end, depending on the year) of the Yukon Quest dog mushing race in Whitehorse
  • See ice sculptures, can-can dancing and chainsaw competitions at the Sourdough Rendezvous Festival
  • Rent a fat bike from one of two locations in Whitehorse and hit the trails
  • Visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and spot 11 species of animals in their natural habitat (and weather!)

Huge carved rectangular ice sculpture at Rendezvous Festival

Things to do in North West Territories in Winter

  • Watch the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in Yellowknife
  • Drive to the Arctic Ocean from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk (or explore one of the many ice roads around Yellowknife!)
  • Fly a kite or try kite skiing on Great Slave Lake
  • Visit the one-of-a-kind ‘igloo-church’ in Inuvik (Our Lady of Victory Church)
  • Celebrate the return of the sun in Inuvik at the Sunrise Festival in January

Huge frozen waterfall cascades down canyon wall in Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park

Things to do in Alberta in Winter

  • Discover frozen waterfalls in Johnstone Canyon , Banff National Park
  • Snowshoe Sunshine Meadows in Banff National Park
  • Skate on Lake Louise’s iconic ice
  • Have a go at ice climbing! Tours leave from Canmore, Calgary, Banff and Jasper
  • See the frozen bubbles on Abraham Lake
  • Play ice golf at the annual Pigeon Lake tournament (costumes encouraged!)

Read Next: 42+ Amazing Things to Do in Banff in Winter

JR is facing the camera, about to play golf on a frozen lake in Alberta

Things to do in Saskatchewan in Winter

  • Get immersed in history both above and below ground in the Moose Jaw Tunnels
  • Take a lesson in snowkiting in Regina, a winter version of kitesurfing/kiteboarding
  • Soak in Saskatchewan’s very own hot springs at the Temple Gardens Spa in Moose Jaw
  • Have a go at snowskating or kicksledding on the streets of Saskatoon
  • Slide through the boreal forest with a dog sled team

Gemma is standing next to white van at Saskatchewan border in winter, which is marked by a large yellow and green sign

Things to do in Manitoba in Winter

  • Dine at 58° north latitude and watch the northern lights on  the edge of Hudson Bay
  • Check out the unusual and award-winning warming huts on the Red River Skating Trail in Winnipeg
  • Go on a self-guided grain elevator tour
  • Explore the ice castles in Winnipeg. On Friday and Saturday evenings, there’s also a fire show
  • Get the European spa experience at Thermea in Winnipeg

Grain elevator at dusk in winter in Eastern Winnipeg, Manitoba

Things to do in Ontario in Winter

  • Skate on the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink , the Rideau Canal in Ottawa
  • Wonder at the power of Niagara Falls and stunning winter ice formations
  • Visit Toronto’s huge Christmas Market in the Distillery District
  • Stay in an igloo in Cochrane, Northern Ontario
  • Admire the views from Southern Ontario’s longest suspension bridge near Collingwood. It’s open all year!

A deer surrounded by snow in back garden in Ontario in winter

Things to do in Quebec in Winter

  • Sleep in North America’s only ice hotel at the Hôtel de Glace in Quebec City
  • Eat homemade maple taffy (maple syrup poured onto clean, white snow) at a maple sugar shack
  • Ride across the world’s highest snowmobile bridge above the Manicouagan River
  • Walk the fairytale streets of old Quebec City
  • Highline, zip line and climb on Projet Vertical’s via ferrata, the only one of it’s kind to run all year round

Driving the David Thompson Highway in Canada, vehicle view. The clear road is surrounded by snowy mountains

Things to do in New Brunswick in Winter

  • Play pond hockey…or watch others do it at the World Pond Hockey Championships in Plaster Rock
  • Stay in one of Park Canada’s more unusual accommodation offerings such as yurts, cabins and hybrid tents
  • Check out Atlantic Canada’s largest winter festival in Fredericton – the aptly named, Frostival
  • Put a line in at one of the many ice fishing villages such as Renforth Wharf and Chaleur Bay
  • Go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in Kouchibouguac National Park

JR standing on the frozen ocean at the bay of chaleur new brunswick

Things to do on Prince Edward Island in Winter

  • Walk the beach – the sands of PEI are just as beautiful with a coating of snow
  • Eat, drink and dance during PEI Music Week and Winterdine, parallel events taking place in late February
  • Get cultured at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown
  • Explore almost 1,000 kilometres of snowmobile trails including the tip-to-tip Confederation Trail
  • Try snowshoeing in Victoria Park, Charlottetown

Planning a winter stay in Charlottetown?

Rodd Royalty – Great value

1 West Inn Waterfront – Awesome location

Sydney Boutique Inn & Suites – Highly rated on Booking.com

boats at caraquet harbour in winter new brunswick

Things to do in Nova Scotia in Winter

  • Give winter surfing a try (don’t forget a warm wetsuit!)
  • Pair food and wine at the Nova Scotia Ice Wine Festival
  • Explore the trails, learn how to make maple syrup and eat plenty of pancakes at Sugar Moon Farm
  • Snowshoe the Skyline Trai l on Cape Breton Island
  • Watch wild eagles soar at Sheffield Mills in the Annapolis Valley

Winter landscape around the Bay of Fundy, with fence leading into distance and ocean visible behind

Things to do in Newfoundland and Labrador in Winter

  • Fly down Canada’s highest zip-line at Marble Mountain – open all year round in all weather conditions!
  • Get screeched in! The wild winter weather doesn’t stop this time honoured tradition
  • Check out frozen waterfalls at Middle Cove
  • Skate for free at Bannerman Park in St John’s
  • Soak in the culture of The Rooms – Newfoundland’s largest public cultural space combining Art Gallery, Museum and Provincial Archives

Planning a winter stay in St John’s?

The Duckworth Inn – Good value

Courtyard By Marriott – Great location

Blue on Water – Highly rated on Booking.com

Side profile of lynx walking through snow in Alberta

Things to do in Nunavut in Winter

  • Learn about local history, language, clothing and art at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum
  • Try traditional food such as arctic char, caribou, musk ox, seal or even polar bear
  • Visit Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly building in Iqaluit and explore the igloo-like interior
  • Embrace the lack of light and go stargazing
  • Try and stay warm…!

Read these posts next:

8 Must See Places on a Winter Road Trip Across Canada

What to Wear in Canada in Winter: A Complete Guide

10 Winter Activities You Must Do in Canada

How to Buy the Best Snowshoes: A Complete Guide

Snowshoeing 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Click here to discover 65 cool things to do across Canada this winter - every province, every territory! offtracktravel.ca

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places to visit in canada for winter

One half of the Canadian/British couple behind Off Track Travel, Gemma is happiest when hiking on the trail or planning the next big travel adventure. JR and Gemma are currently based in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Winter in Canada: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Everything you need to know about winter in Canada

places to visit in canada for winter

Getty Images/naibank

Winter might seem like an inopportune time to visit Canada – and it does get quite cold in many parts of the country between December and the end of March. But that doesn’t mean you should rule out a winter visit – especially if you pack accordingly. Not to mention, Canada is home to some excellent skiing and snowboarding, as well as ample opportunities for winter hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice skating and many other cold weather activities. In addition, prices for hotel rooms and attractions might be lower since winter is considered low season for travel in most parts of Canada.

Canada Weather in Winter

Winter is quite cold in most places throughout Canada into mid-March except for the coast of British Columbia where winters are relatively moderate. Whistler (which is two hours inland from Vancouver), on the other hand, gets quite a lot of snow, making it a major ski destination through early spring and sometimes into May. Inland near the mountains, the winters can be long. The higher the altitude (Banff and Canmore), the more snow you can expect (sometimes two feet as late as April).

Eastern Canada, including Toronto and Montreal, has a shorter, cold winter with sub-zero temperatures from December to the end of February (and sometimes into early March if it’s a particularly bad season, weather-wise). At least one or two snowfalls of eight inches or more will likely hit around the beginning of the year.

Here is a quick look at average temperatures in January for reference that will give you a better idea of what winter can feel like across the country.

  • Vancouver : High of 44 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius); low of 37 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius)
  • Calgary : High of 27 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius); low of 7 degrees Fahrenheit (-13 degrees Celsius)
  • Toronto : High of 31 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius); low of 19 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 degrees Celsius)
  • Montreal : High of 24 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius); low of 11 degrees Fahrenheit (-11 degrees Celsius)
  • Ottawa : High of 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 degrees Celsius); low of 6 degrees Fahrenheit (-14 degrees Celsius)

What to Pack

No matter your Canadian winter destination, you’ll want to ensure you have warm clothes ready to go into your suitcase, as well as waterproof outer layers. You will want to pack a winter jacket with a hood, ideally something that can also withstand wind and snowfall. In addition, make sure to bring a hat, mitts and a scarf, sturdy winter boots, a vest, long-sleeved shirts and other items that can be layered to ensure warmth on the coldest days. If you’ll be doing any skiing or winter hiking, thermal underwear and thick socks are also a good idea.

Winter Events in Canada

Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean Canada slows down when it comes to fun things to do. There are a wide range of festivals that occur throughout the winter season and here are some of the best.

Winterlude : Cold weather doesn’t hold anyone back from having fun in the snow when it comes to Ottawa’s annual Winterlude festivities . Most festival activities are free and take place in the Ottawa-Gatineau region during the first three weekends of February. You can expect ice sculptures, snow sculptures, skiing and snowboarding lessons, live performances and the chance to skate on the Rideau Canal Skateway – the world’s largest naturally frozen ice skating rink.

Ice on Whyte : Edmonton hosts the Ice on Whyte festival each winter which centres on an ice carving competition featuring some of the best ice carvers from around the world. But that’s not all. Guests can also participate in ice carving lessons, have a drink at the ice bar, cozy up at a fire pit, grab a bite to eat from a food truck and much more.

Carnaval de Québec : Quebec City is home to one of the world's largest winter carnivals featuring everything from lively night parades and snow sculptures, to shows, ice skating, local food and more. The fun takes place between the end of January until mid-February with activities and events happening throughout the city.

Aurora Winter Festival : Vancouver is where you’ll find the annual Aurora Winter Festival , which takes place towards the end of November and runs until early January. In addition to a festive atmosphere thanks to an abundance of twinkling lights, there are market stalls to browse, amusement rides, live entertainment, food huts and a skating pond to enjoy.

Frostival : This festival in Fredericton takes place over three weekends between January and February and offers visitors the chance to embrace the winter season. Atlantic Canada’s largest winter celebration includes more than 150 events, from theatre performances and family activities to a music festival, cultural experiences and sports competitions.

South Shore Lobster Crawl : The entire month of February is devoted to all things lobster during this Nova Scotia festival . Come hungry to experience more than 150 lobster-infused menus, events, experiences and activities in ports between Barrington, ‘The Lobster Capital of Canada’ and Peggy’s Cove. Chow down on a lobster roll or two, go on a lobster tour and enjoy live performances throughout the fest.

Montréal en Lumière : This fun festival in Montreal combines fine dining, outdoor festivities, interactive lighting and a cultural program. Some of the best local and international chefs serve up their best dishes, while festival-goers can also enjoy live music, activities for kids, warming stations and marshmallow roasting, bars and food trucks. Everything culminates with La Nuit Blanche, an all-night arts and cultural event for all ages.

Winter Travel Tips

  • Popular ski destinations like Banff and Lake Louise along the Rockies come to life this time of year, so they could actually be more expensive since it’s high season for winter sports.
  • Other parts of Canada, however, may see lower prices on hotel rooms and flights making winter a more economical time to travel.
  • No matter where you’re travelling in Canada in the winter, make sure to check the weather as you’re packing so you have a more concrete idea of what to expect in terms of temperatures.

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Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog

20 Best Things To Do In Canada In Winter (2023)

By: Author Lotte

Posted on Last updated: January 4, 2023

Categories Canada

20-best-things-to-do-in-Canada-lotte-travels.com

Winter is long in Canada and very cold in the largest part of the country as well (the exception being Vancouver Island and the BC coast).

But instead of hiding inside until spring, Canadians make the most of their winter by enjoying all the ice and snow!

There are lots of amazing things to do in Canada in winter , read along, and before you know it you are planning a winter trip to Canada!

Things to do in Canada in winter

Looking for the best things to do in Canada in the winter? Check out these 20 fun winter activities in Canada for a great Canada winter experience! #Canada #Winter #Bucketlist

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). We're very grateful when you use our links to make a purchase:-).

The ultimate Canada winter bucket list

This post has been created in collaboration with several other travel bloggers, who have kindly shared their favorite Canadian winter activities with me to create this post.

I hope the post will inspire you to visit these great winter destinations in Canada!

Plan your Canada trip like a pro with these tools: ✈️ Find the best flight deals with Kiwi.com . ? Rent a campervan for your Canada road trip (or a car via Rentalcars.com ). ? Arrange your Canada working holiday with Global Work & Travel . ? Plan your journey with the Canada Lonely Planet . ?️ Find the best hotel deals on Booking.com . ? Join the best tours in Canada via Get Your Guide or Viator . ?️ Travel safely and get reliable travel insurance from Safety Wing .

1. Attend a hockey game (anywhere in Canada)

NHL game in Canada

Kris from Nomad by Trade: hockey is almost synonymous with Canada, and despite growing up just across the border in Michigan, I've been a lifelong fan of the sport and had always had my sights set on attending a game at one of the Canadian teams' arenas.

When we were planning a winter trip to Ottawa , we specifically scheduled it around a game my beloved Red Wings would be playing against the hometown Senators.

Even though it was a relatively meaningless regular-season game as neither team was particularly good at the time, the atmosphere was fantastic.

We enjoyed some monster-sized servings of poutine for dinner and enjoyed rooting our team on. They lost, but it was still a great experience!

If you want to attend an NHL game in Canada (the best of the best), you'll find franchises in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto , Winnipeg , Calgary , Edmonton, and Vancouver .

Minor league franchises can be found in many more towns throughout the country. Tickets to lower-level leagues will also be cheaper.

So if you're looking to see a game on a budget just to have the experience, check out one of the smaller leagues.

2. Dog sledding in Canmore (Alberta)

Dog sledding in Canmore Alberta

Lora from Explore With Lora: dog sledding has been a Canadian tradition for years and now visitors have the chance to try it one of the most beautiful places in Alberta .

Just outside of Banff National Park is the small but charming town of Canmore, where you can find local tour companies offering dog sledding tours throughout the area.

I liked Snowy Old Tours because of their commitment to Sled Dog Welfare.

The two-hour tour takes you on a scenic and exciting ride through the Rocky Mountains and surrounding forests.

It stops halfway to give guests a chance to warm up with hot chocolate and give some love to the hard-working dogs. The tours run daily from December 1st – April 30th, pending snow conditions.

Given Canada's harsh winters, it's recommended to wear warm layers with an insulated winter jacket, snow boots, a hat, scarf, and mitts. The tour company will provide you with a complete list of what to wear.

Prices vary depending on how many people are on the sled, I paid $500 CAD for a 2-person sled. The tours are popular so you need to book in advance.

3. Ice castles in Edmonton (Alberta)

Ice Castles fountain Parenthood and Passports

Melissa from Parenthood and Passports: each winter, Hawrelak Park in central Edmonton is transformed into a dreamy winter experience straight out of a fairy tale.

The second largest city in Alberta is one of just a few places in the world where you can walk through a real-life ice castle.

But the Edmonton Ice Castles aren’t just a picturesque backdrop for an awesome Instagram photo, the attraction is a family-friendly experience .

The acre-sized frozen wonderland features exhilarating ice slides for both kids and adults, crawl spaces that open up into secret rooms, and mazes of tunnels and slot canyons made entirely from ice.

There are also fountains and an elaborate ice-carved throne that I’m sure would even earn the approval of Queen Elsa from Frozen .

At night, LED lights embedded inside the ice change from brilliant hues of blue and purple to vivid red, soft pink, and white in sync with playful music.

If you want to visit the Ice Castles, you have to visit Edmonton in winter. It is only open from early January until early March, but it is definitely something worth bundling up to see!

4. Maligne Canyon Ice Walk (Alberta)

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk - winter in Canada

Rhonda from Travel Yes Please: as one of Canada’s signature experiences, the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk is a must-do during a winter trip to Canada!

Once the temperatures dip below freezing, Jasper National Park’s Maligne Canyon is transformed into an icy wonderland.

Visitors can get an up-close look at the icicles that drape the canyon walls by strapping on a pair of ice cleats and walking along the canyon floor.

During the ice walk, you’ll see frozen waterfalls, delicate ice crystals, and even fossils embedded in the ancient rock.

Maligne Canyon is also a popular place to go ice climbing, so you may even see some people scaling the icy walls. The ice walk can be done independently or as part of a guided tour .

If you take a tour, you’ll learn many interesting facts about the canyon and how it was formed, as well as be provided with cleats and warm boots to use during the walk.

Maligne Canyon is located on Maligne Lake Road, a short drive from the town of Jasper . Spending more time in Jasper? Check my extensive Jasper hotel guide .

5. Skiing and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains (Alberta)

Banff Sunshine Village World to Wander

Ash and Dani from World To Wander : the west coast of Canada offers some of the best powder in North America, perfect for snowboarding and skiing.

There are many places to enjoy winter sports in Canada, but one of our favorites in Banff is Sunshine Village. It's easy to get to as it's located right inside Banff National Park . 

There is a shuttle bus that can take you from The Village at Lake Louise directly to the Ski Resort if you prefer not to drive. The shuttle is free with a purchase of a season pass or ski lift ticket.

You must have a National Parks pass in order to drive into the Banff National Park. 

If you don't have your own gear, no worries, you can rent this in Sunshine Village or in Banff. The ski lifts run 8 am to 6 pm in the winter season so we recommend getting there early.

Another perk to arriving early is that you beat the queue for parking and get on the snow to get one of the first runs.

We always love being the first on the slopes to enjoy the powder before it becomes packed down. 

Don’t forget to be prepared for a cold day! Bring your snow jacket , snow pants, base layers , beanie , warm merin o socks , goggles, and gloves . I recommend also including hand warmers and balaclava.

It gets cold out up on the mountain and it’s always useful to be prepared as it’s a bit more expensive to purchase any items from the retail store at the Ski Resort. 

6. Stargaze on the mountaintop in Banff (Alberta)

Banff Gondola Christmas

Mayuri from To Some Place New: Banff in winter  is a great time to visit and experience the warmth of the National Park. Image the snow-capped mountains, the Christmas lights, and the sheer joy and happiness in the air!

Banff Gondola is one of the must-visit attractions at all times of the year. It's even better during winter as it hosts a ton of seasonal activities.

Christmas on Mountain Top is a holiday season activity where you can reach the Sulphur Mountain top and meet Santa Claus and get pictures taken. This event runs from mid-November to the end of December.

Banff Gondola is also a stargazer's haven. There is stargazing technology available at 2286 meters high (7500 feet) to see the night sky.

This event runs until March, so definitely add this to your places to visit in Canada in winter list! The Stargazing activity is free to visit with a Banff Gondola entry ticket. 

If you're very lucky, you may even be able to see the Northern Lights in Banff National Park. A good viewing spot is Vermillion Lakes but keep in mind that the northern lights are unpredictable and there are never any guarantees.

However, if the sky is clear and the conditions are right, the aurora borealis paints a stunning display of colors across the night sky. It's something you'll remember all your life…

Banff National Park is amazing for a winter vacation in Canada. And to join in the holiday festivities or chase stars on a mountaintop (with ease) is just the perfect icing on the (Christmas) cake!

7. Chase the crazy festive decor in Vancouver (British Columbia)

Hycroft House winter lights Vancouver

Gemma from Two Scots Abroad : although known for glorious summers, Vancouver knows how to put on a great festive show around the city!

Locals and visitors can chase the crazy Christmas decor at the likes of Hycroft House. This is a personal favorite thing to do in Vancouver in winter .

This Edwardian mansion decks its halls, stairs, and pillars with lights, holly, wreaths, tinsel, and baubles. There's also a pop-up Xmas fayre selling local maker goods, perfect for Christmas gifts.

VanDusen Botanical Garden is another popular spot for families. The gardens are crammed with one million lights hung on rails, trees, and archways. Unfortunately, it is a really busy event so expect to wait in line at night.

Like many North American cities, Vancouver has its own Christmas market. Here you can listen to performances, drink Glühwein and eat bratwurst sausages at Canada Place.

8. Ice skating in downtown Vancouver (British Columbia)

Ice skating at Robson Square in Vancouver

Lesley from Freedom 56 Travel: Robson Square usually opens for the winter skating season in early December, just when it becomes cold enough to bundle up in your best skating outfit.

If you’re visiting Vancouver and  staying downtown , you can easily walk to Robson Square.

There’s something so magical about being able to go for a skate in the middle of downtown Vancouver in the open air. It’s a truly ‘Canadian' feeling.

There’s always music to skate to and often there’s even live entertainment. This is definitely one of the more romantic things to do in Vancouver in winter!

Don’t worry if you didn’t bring your skates as rentals and helmets are available at Robson Square for just $5. The best thing about the whole experience is that ice skating is free!

Hours are 9 am to 9 pm during weekdays and 9 am to 11 pm on the weekends. 

9. Winter sports on Mount Seymour (British Columbia)

Snowy fence

Lindsay from  Chiang Mai Family Guide : one of the best day trips from Vancouver in summer or winter is Mount Seymour. While summers on Mount Seymour are all about hiking , winter is equally if not more fun!

There are plenty of things to do on Mount Seymour in winter, such as tobogganing, snow tubing, skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing, and other fun (family) activities like building a snowman or making snow angels.

You can easily travel to Mount Seymour from Vancouver by shuttle bus from the Rupert Skytrain Station or the Parkgate Community Centre in North Vancouver. The shuttle bus is seasonal and generally operates between Oct 1 st and March 31 st .

A day on Mount Seymour is guaranteed to offer lots of fun for all ages, so add this to your Canada winter travel list!

10. Ziplining in winter in Whistler (British Columbia)

Snowy mountains in Canada

Lydia from Africa Wanderlust : you may think ziplining is only a summer activity, but nothing could be further from the truth.

For the adventurist that loves an extra element of fun, you need to try out winter ziplining. Superfly Ziplines in Whistler, BC, is the best place to have the most spectacular experience. 

Getting to Whistler from Vancouver is an activity in itself, as you get to drive the stunning Sea to Sky highway with plenty of worthwhile stops along the way.

Important note: when driving to Whistler in winter, please note winter tires are mandatory!

Practical information:

  • Address : 211 – 4293 Mountain Square, Whistler BC, V8E 1B8
  • Duration : 3 hours
  • Fun Facts : 4 zip lines, 200 meters height, 100 km/h speed, and 1.3 km length
  • Winter hours : Open 9 am – 6 pm, zipline tour at 9 am, 12 pm, and 3 pm)
  • Things to bring: a water bottle and of course your camera
Need to know: to be considered a child, you have to be between 7-12 years. Children under seven cannot participate. You need to check-in at least 20 minutes before your tour time.

Winter ziplining may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of things to do in Canada in the winter. However, it is well worth the experience! 

11. Admire the frozen Niagara Falls (Ontario)

Niagara frozen waterfalls - Canada in winter

Laura from The Travelling Stomach : Niagara Falls is naturally one of the iconic spots in Canada, with thousands of tourists flocking to visit it each year.

However, most people will visit Niagara Falls in the height of summer or fall when the colors explode in the area, and there are many things to do in Niagara Falls with kids .

However, winter is a surprisingly epic time to visit, during which you might even be able to see the incredible spectacle of the falls while frozen!

Although some of the attractions around the falls may be quieter at this time of year, you are also blessed with a smaller amount of visitors, giving you the chance to enjoy the stunning surroundings in peace!

What's more, the cold weather is just what is needed to produce the little know ‘Ice Wine', where the wine is made from frozen grapes!

There are some excellent wine-tasting experiences in the area (read more below), letting you enjoy this wonderful dessert-style wine, proving that wine-tasting doesn't just happen in summer!

12. Drink ice wine at Niagara on the Lake (Ontario)

Ice wine Niagara on the Lake

Eric from Ontario Away : if you’re in Canada during the winter, you’ll have to have a sip (or two) of a coveted Canadian product: ice wine!

Canada is a top global producer of ice wine and a majority of it comes from Niagara on the Lake, Ontario’s famous wine region.

Growing wine grapes is easy, it’s getting the grapes down to the perfect freezing temperatures that can be tricky! Luckily, the unique climate of Niagara on the Lake provides the perfect place for winter harvests.

Ice wine can be enjoyed all year round, but there’s something very special about sipping it during its harvest season. That makes winter in Ontario a great time to visit the wineries where it is produced!

If you want to sip iced wine, Niagara on the Lake is located only about a 2-hour drive from Toronto and a great Toronto road trip destination .

It’s a great idea to head down in January for the annual Niagara Icewine Festival . Here, many of the wineries in Niagara on the Lake open their doors for special tastings and outdoor events. 

One of the biggest producers of ice wine in the region is Inniskillin so be sure to check them out. Oh, and don’t forget your gloves and hat (called a toque in Canada)!

13. Ice skating on the Rideau Canal (Ontario)

Rideau Canal Ice Rink Ottawa Canada

Sam from Sam Sees World : in winter, Canada's capital city Ottawa , is transformed into a winter wonderland with a plethora of activities for people to engage in and experience.

One of the biggest and most well know of these activities is the Rideau Canal skateway! The Rideau Canal is a human-made canal turned ice-skating rink like no other.

This site attracts almost one million visitors a year eager to join the fun. It is the world's largest naturally frozen ice rink that spans over 7.8km.

It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week from January until early March. And the best part is that it's free.

The ice rink is universally accessible and has amenities such as ramps, washrooms, and heated change rooms.

More so, along the canal, there are various food and drink stands where you can get a warm hot chocolate and a fresh beaver tail.

Ottawa's Rideau Canal skate way is an experience that should undoubtedly be on your Canada bucket list!

14. Icefishing in Muskoka (Ontario)

Ice covered by snow

Michele Peterson from A Taste for Travel : as soon as the depths of winter hit in Canada, and the nights are long and the days short, it's time for intrepid Canadians to don their warmest clothes and head out to do some ice-fishing.

The layer of ice on the lakes needs to be thick enough to walk on. While generally 4 inches is considered the safest thickness, the most enthusiastic ice anglers are often willing to venture out on the lake when the ice is just two or three inches thick.

January is the safest time to go ice-fishing, however, it's wise to test the thickness of the ice by drilling a small hole in the ice with an ice auger to ensure it's a minimum of four inches thick. 

While there are many remote places to go ice fishing in Canada, one of the best places to go near Toronto is one of the  luxury resorts in Muskoka .  

Several tour operators in the Muskoka region offer half and full-day ice fishing excursions on beautiful Lake Rousseau and Lake Joseph.

The experience includes a local guide, fishing rods, lures, and bait as well as a warming hut to protect anglers from the cold temperatures and frigid winds.

You need to bring your own warm clothing (including winter boots) as well as an Outdoors Card and a fishing license from the Government of Ontario. These can be purchased online .

The Muskoka region offers an incredible variety of game fish including small-mouth bass, northern pike, lake trout, walleye, and perch.

Many of the ice-fishing tour operators even have cooking facilities and will prepare and cook your catch for you right on-site.

There's no better way to celebrate winter than by enjoying a meal of fresh-caught fish in a cozy ice hut in the middle of a frozen lake surrounded by pine-treed forest and clear winter skies…  

15. Snowshoeing and wine tasting in Prince Edward County (Ontario)

Snow shoeing in Prince Edward County

Taima from Poor In A Private Plane : Prince Edward County, located on the North Shore of Lake Ontario is a gem in the wintertime.

When the snow starts to fall and the summer visitors are long gone, you will find yourself in a winter wonderland.

One of the best things to do in Prince Edward County is snowshoeing. But what if I told you that you can go snowshoeing at a vineyard? Yup, you read that right. Snowshoeing at a vineyard!

Prince Edward County is home to miles and miles of snowshoeing trails however Sugarbush Winery is the perfect snowshoeing destination. 

Bring your own snowshoes, or rent them from the winery (this includes a wine tasting). The trail which surrounds the vineyards takes about an hour to complete. 

After you are done with the trail, get cozy in the tasting room and settle in for a wine tasting. They have several varieties to choose from and you will not be disappointed.

There is also hot chocolate for the kids! Make a day of it and be sure to visit some of the other wineries in the area as well, you will not be disappointed!

16. Toronto Islands in winter (Ontario)

Toronto Islands in Winter

Ellie and Ravi from Soul Travel Blog: for those who love nature, beautiful cityscape, and bracing winter wind, look no further than a trip to the Toronto Islands for an unforgettable winter experience. 

Just off-shore from the city of Toronto itself, the Toronto Islands are home to a permanent year-round population of around 1000 people.

For that reason, ferry services from downtown Toronto remain in operation throughout the winter, even when Lake Ontario starts to freeze over!

The ferry runs from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal to Ward’s Island (on the westerly end of the 15 Toronto Islands which link together) and runs on an hourly schedule during mid-winter.

We visited the  Toronto Islands  when the ‘polar vortex' hit Toronto. It was an incredible experience gliding through the freezing ice on the ferry, but you wouldn’t want to stay outside for long! 

On the island itself, the main activities include ice skating, joining the locals who live there in a game of ice hockey on one of the frozen creeks, snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, or just walking in the snow and enjoying the beauty.

Our favorite thing to do was to take pictures back across the lake of Toronto’s skyline surrounded by white!

For all the activities you’ll need to bring your own equipment as nothing is open on the island, and only walk/skate on ice that you are sure is safe. 

Make sure to bring some warm refreshments with you as the cafes close for mid-winter and re-open around March each year.

Important note: be sure to check the return ferry schedule closely to avoid spending longer than you meant to on the Toronto islands!

17. Ice skating on Mount Royal, Montreal (Quebec)

Skating on Mount Royal

Carine and Derek from We Did It Our Way : there’s one thing everyone will tell you about Montreal. It’s absolutely amazing… in summer when there are tons of activities, concerts, and festivals.

But winter in Montreal is a different story. It’s just cold and frigid, and the only way to embrace it fully is to enjoy outdoor activities! 

One of our favorite things to do is to head to one of Montreal’s most iconic spots, the landmark that the city is named after, Mount Royal.

Here, you can enjoy the most Canadian winter sport: ice skating. Best of all, it’s one of the few things you can do for free any day of the week!

As soon as temperatures drop low enough, the famous Beaver Lake turns into one of Montreal’s favorite skating rinks.

It’s located right next to the Beaver Lake Pavilion, which is the perfect spot to lace up or warm up with a coffee or hot chocolate between laps on the rink.

It’s also where you can rent some skates if you don’t already own a pair. Ice skating on Mount Royal is the perfect activity for couples, families, and groups of friends. 

Make sure you go on the special musical and gourmet evenings sprinkled throughout the winter. Also, make sure you wear layers, although temperatures are below 0, you can get pretty hot skating laps! 

18. Go down the Toboggan slide in Quebec City (Quebec)

Quebec City Winter Toboggan Ride

Irene of RoadGoat : the Quebec City winter toboggan ride is a century-old tradition. It's located on Dufferin Terrace behind the Chateau Frontenac.

Open from December to March between 9 am and 5 pm (longer hours in February for Winter Carnival) in suitable weather. You can buy tickets at the kiosk at the bottom of the hill for 3 CAD per person.

They also offer a package of 7 CAD for two people (plus hot chocolate from the cafe or snack shop), a package of 4 slides for 10 CAD, and packages for groups of 20 people or more.

There are three slides so multiple sleds can ride at the same time, and you can go as fast as 70 km/hr! You grab your sled and walk up to the top of the slide before racing down. Each slide fits up to four people.

Insider tips: wrap the rope of the toboggan around your body with the toboggan behind you so it doesn't slip out of your hands and hit anyone while you're walking up the hill! Also make sure to hold on tight to any hats or loose items because you'll be flying down super fast!

19. Visit Montreal's Underground City (Quebec)

Montreal in winter night

Carole of Travels With Carole: when I first heard about an ‘underground city' in Montreal , I pictured a city underground. 

Actually, it is a little different than that. It's more like an underground collection of passageways that intersect here and there. 

I found myself staying in downtown Montreal last March and made a point of going underground to do some subterranean shopping. 

There are many spots to enter, including at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel . This is where John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent their famous ‘bed-in for peace' honeymoon in 1969!

From the lobby, a curving stairwell leads down to the entrance doors, to what is credited as being the first link in the Underground City. 

Inside, it's warm and well-lit, and maps are posted along the way. Be sure to exit at St. Catherine Street for some upscale shopping opportunities. 

The network is sometimes above ground though always indoors. It's even more popular in summer because of its air-conditioning!

20. Visit the Montreal Light Festival (Quebec)

Montreal Light Festival

Eileen from Families Go: one of the best reasons to visit Montreal in winter , aside from lots of guilt-free poutine to keep you warm, is the 10-day Montreal en Lumiere festival.

Always in late February, it often coincides with Presidents’ Day weekend in the U.S. The most accessible part is an all-ages outdoor carnival on Catherine Street.

Here you'll find free activities including a Ferris wheel, ice toboggans, zip lines, curling, giant Light Bright stations, and other games.

Food vendors sell local favorites like poutine, frozen maple lollipops, hot beaver-tail doughnuts as well as beer and wine.

You can also buy marshmallows and sausages to roast in bonfires that blaze along the street.

Large-scale illuminated art dots the nearby streets. Look for special music shows and culinary events across the city during the same week. Prices for these vary and some tickets get snapped up quickly.

The highlight of the week is Nuit Blanche , an all-night, mostly free citywide festival of outdoor concerts, art exhibits, and cultural activities both above ground and below.

The Metro stays open all night just for the 300,000 people who attend!

Winter activities in Canada: in conclusion

I hope this list of fun Canada winter activities has inspired you to plan a Canada winter trip! Read more about traveling to Canada (in summer) here:

  • Charming small towns to visit in Canada
  • Things do in Drumheller
  • Things to do in Nanaimo
  • Things to do in Nelson
  • Things to do in Victoria

Looking for the best things to do in Canada in the winter? Check out these 20 fun winter activities in Canada for a great Canada winter experience! #Canada #Winter #Bucketlist

Anahita Irani

Monday 9th of December 2019

My daughter has just migrated to Canada 6 months back. And I plan to visit, even though the winters are so severe I plan to keep myself busy instead of sulking and crying about the cold. Glad I came across your post. I have forwarded it to my family too.

Wednesday 11th of December 2019

Wow, moving to Canada, that's so cool! Have a great winter trip to your daughter, I hope you can spend a lot of quality time together and do fun winter things in Canada:-)

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65 Best Things to Do in Canada in Winter (2024)

Table of Contents

Looking for the best things to do in Canada in winter?

I grew up exploring Canada in winter – from Halifax to Toronto to Ottawa and beyond. I’ve learned to embrace the cold weather and find the best things to do to stave off boredom and so I actually leave my house.

Some of my favourite activities in winter are skating, hiking with my dog, and attending festivals across the country.

I’m sharing my must do activities for winter in Canada so you can have the best trip ever, and not just hide in your hotel room from the cold.

So bundle up and let’s find you something to do in the snow!

❄️ I recommend this winter tour in Canada to ski and snowboard on the best hills in the country!

Best Things to Do in Canada in Winter

people skating on the rideau canal at winterlude

1. Skate the Rideau Canal Skateway

Did you know Canada is home to the largest outdoor skating rink in the world ?

This 7.8 kilometer stretch of natural ice runs from one end of the city to the other and is filled with people enjoying the winter festivities.

The skateway is open 24 hours a day (weather permitting) and is a great place to take in the sights of Ottawa’s historic landmarks, like Parliament Hill and the National Arts Centre.

You can even rent skates at one of the canal’s many skate rental shops for a more convenient ice-skating experience.

Locals use it to get to work, school, and even get groceries. I looked pretty silly skating home with my grocery trolley, but it worked a treat!

The canal opens sometime in February or March, depending on the weather. The longest it’s stayed open is 3 weeks, so be flexible when planning your visit.

There are other outdoor skating rinks and frozen lakes across the country too, such as Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, the Oval in Halifax, and Lake Louise in Alberta.

2. Go Cross Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is a fantastic way to stay in shape and experience nature in winter. It’s one of the most common winter spots in Canada.

Whether you’re looking for flat terrain or more challenging trails, there are plenty of places to find something that suits your needs.

I always passed people doing it in Gatineau Park, but couldn’t take my dog so I opted out.

These are the best places to go cross country skiing in Canada in winter:

  • Silver Star and Sovereign Lake, Okanagan Valley in BC
  • Gatineau Park, Quebec
  • Triangle Lake Trails, British Columbia
  • Callaghan Country, Whistler in BC
  • Laurentian Mountains, Quebec
  • Kluane National Park, Yukon
  • Canmore, Alberta (there are too many trails to name!)
  • Red Heather Meadows to Elgin Lakes, BC
  • Goat Creek to Banff Springs, Alberta
  • Fairview Loop, Alberta

hockey net on outdoor rink

3. Attend the World Pond Hockey Championship

Did you know that one of the most unique winter activities in Canada is the World Pond Hockey Championship in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick?

Held every year in February on Roulston Lake, this incredible event transforms the frozen lake into multiple rinks. Around 100 teams from all over the world gather to compete in exciting 4-on-4 games, all without goaltenders.

There are different categories based on age and skill levels, ensuring that everyone can join in on the action.

It’s been going on for over two decades, attracting hockey enthusiasts, players, and spectators from across the globe.

I grew up watching my sister and the neighbours place ice hockey on a frozen river beside our house, while my friend and I figure skated around them. It’s a fixture in most Canadians’ childhoods.

If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable winter experience in Canada, make your way to Plaster Rock and witness the World Pond Hockey Championship.

It’s an international extravaganza that you won’t want to miss!

frozen bubbles lake abraham winter

4. Spot Frozen Bubbles on Lake Abraham

Lake Abraham is one of the most photographed spots in Canada during winter, and one of the best things to do.

Every winter (usually by late December), the lake freezes over. But what makes it stand out are the thick bubbles that form beneath the surface.

The bubbles are caused by methane gas released from decaying plant matter. As temperatures drop, the bubbles become frozen below a thin layer of ice that’s often transparent enough to provide an amazing view.

These frozen bubbles are truly a sight to behold and Lake Abraham is practically made for photographers! It’s definitely worth checking out if you love outdoor photography or just want to see something incredible.

If you have a van and are road tripping across Canada, this is a really common stop to meet other vanlifers.

5. Go Winter Camping

Canada is one of the best countries for winter camping, especially if you have the right gear.

Whether it’s in a tent, an RV or a camper trailer – Canada is full of amazing places to camp during winter. Depending on where you are in the country, you can experience some truly breathtaking sights such as the aurora borealis.

I’m new to camping so I’d stick with a campervan for the cold – and because my dog would never come inside the tent with his love of snow.

Here are the best places to camp in Canada in winter:

  • Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, BC
  • Glacier National Park, BC
  • Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
  • Point Pelee National Park, Ontario
  • Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan
  • Jasper National Park, Alberta
  • Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario
  • Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, Ontario
  • Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario
  • Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick

sparks street christmas lights theo

6. Spot Christmas Lights Across the Cities

I’m not a big fan of Christmas (I always get festive in July for some reason?), but I do love Christmas lights.

And Canada is amazing for them!

We go all out at Christmas markets, city light shows, and just decorating our own houses.

It’s very common to drive to a neighbourhood just to see their fancy light displays, or to walk around with hot chocolate in a thermos checking out what the neighbours have up.

Unlike the US, we don’t have HOAs monitoring ours, so people can get very creative.

Some of my favourite places to see Christmas lights in Canada are:

  • Magic of Lights at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa
  • Distillery District Christmas Market in Toronto
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver
  • Sparks Street in Ottawa

Dog sled in Mont Tremblant

7. Try Out Dog Sledding Tours

Dog sledding was the traditional way that the Inuit people travelled in winter.

It’s still popular today and many companies offer dog sledding tours around Canada, especially in the Yukon or Nunavut.

These can range from half-hour sprints to multi-day expeditions.

I took my roommate for a tour in Mont Tremblant. I was surprised we actually had to run up the hills with the dogs, but it was so much fun!

If you’re looking for something really special, try a dog sledding tour.

The best ones can be paired with viewing the Northern Lights in the Territories ( Yellowknife and Whitehorse particularly), but you can also find them in Toronto .

You do need some level of physical fitness to be able to run with the dogs – they’re FAST!

Or book to be a passenger and sit in the sled while a musher does all the work.

🛷  This dog sledding tour  is the best winter activity in Yellowknife!

man ice fishing

8. Bundle Up For Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a classic Canadian winter pastime.

You can find ice huts all over Canada in the winter months, with big groups gathering on frozen lakes to drop their lines and hope for some dinner.

Before heading out, you’ll need to get all the right supplies: an auger (to make a hole in the ice), a fishing rod, and plenty of bait.

Most ice huts are heated, so you won’t freeze while waiting for the fish to bite.

And when you do catch your first fish, it’ll be a memory that lasts forever!

Some Canadian provinces require a special licence just for ice fishing, so make sure to check with the local government first.

It’s a common past time for guys looking to share a beer with friends. They usually snowmobile to the spot and then hang out while waiting for the fish.

🐟 Book your private ice fishing tour in Canmore!

9. Attend the Niagara Ice Wine Festival

One of the best things to in Canada in winter is visit the Niagara Ice Wine Festival.

This event takes place each year in January , with wineries from all over Ontario participating in this tradition.

You can sample some of Canada’s best ice wines, and even take home a few bottles if you like them.

Ice wine is a dessert wine made from berries picked after they’ve frozen once from the frost. Some are extremely sweet, while others have just a hint of sugar.

It all depends on which winery you get it from.

I used to love ice wine when I drank alcohol . There are tours in Niagara dedicated solely to ice wine tasting that were right up my alley.

🤩 Book your ice wine tour today!

woman snowboarding canada

10. Go Downhill Skiing or Snowboarding

Downhill skiing is another great winter activity in Canada. Or, if you’re like my sisters, go snowboarding instead!

You can find plenty of mountains to ski on in the Canadian Rockies, as well as some lower elevation areas like Whistler and Banff.

Skiing is a great way to stay active during the colder months.

This is how my parents tired us out as kids: slap on some skis or snowboards and set the 4 of us loose on the mountains until we were too tired to be fighting each other in the hotel. It worked wonders honestly!

Some of the best ski resorts in Canada are:

  • Whistler Blackcomb
  • Mont Tremblant
  • Blue Mountain
  • Sunshine Village
  • Kicking Horse Mountain
  • Fernie Alpine Resort
  • Revelstoke Mountain
  • Mount Norquay

11. Take Your Dog SkiJoring

If your dog pulls, SkiJoring might be the Canadian winter activity for you!

Basically you are tethered to your dog while wearing skis or a snowboard, and your dog is harnessed with a tether to you. It does require a special harness to ensure their safety and comfort.

Then the dog runs as fast as it can as pulls you along for the ride through the snowy trails.

This is a great way to get your pet in on some winter fun as well as get them some much-needed exercise in the cold months!

My dog just got old enough to try it (it’s not recommended for puppies), so I know what we’ll be doing this winter.

It is recommended that they wear boots just in case of rocks or other debris, and to prevent them from getting too cold.

My dog has MuttLuks that have been excellent for snowshoeing and general snow zoomies for the last two years.

Woman wrapped in a blanket in front of green northern lights above Saskatchewan in Canada

12. Go Aurora Hunting for the Northern Lights

Canada is one of the best places in the world to spot the Northern Lights.

The Aurora Borealis (AKA northern lights) is a natural light display created by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun passing through the Earth’s atmosphere.

These displays are most visible in dark, clear skies and can be seen throughout Canada during certain times of the year.

The absolute best places to see them are in the Territories or in the Dark Sky Preserve, where there’s no light pollution at all.

I recommend going on a Northern Lights tour to spot them and get some fun dog sledding adventures all in one.

✅ Book the Northern Lights and Huskies Tour Today!

13. Marvel at Ice Sculptures at Winterlude in Ottawa

Winterlude is a huge festival that takes place in Ottawa every year, and it’s a great way to get outside and have some fun with your family.

The main attraction is the Rideau Canal Skateway – the world’s largest naturally frozen ice rink.

But there are also tons of activities, performances, ice sculptures and more.

The ice sculptures are especially impressive and can be seen throughout the city. That was my favourite part as a kid. They always seemed like giants!

You can also enjoy various winter-themed activities like snowshoeing, tubing, skating and more.

14. Attend Carnivale Quebec City

Carnivale Quebec is a winter festival that takes place in the old city of Quebec.

The festival lasts for two weeks and is filled with activities like snow sculptures, ice skating, parades, fireworks displays and more.

Carnivale Quebec is the perfect place to experience winter in all its glory.

You’ll be able to take part in traditional French-Canadian customs and explore the city’s beautiful architecture while you’re there.

The festival is free to attend and you can find a full schedule of events at the official website.

Don’t forget to bundle up though – Quebec City can be freezing in winter!

niagara falls frozen in winter

15. Spot Frozen Waterfalls

Waterfall chasing is a popular past time during summer in Canada. But during winter, you can still hunt them down!

I love hiking to frozen waterfalls and seeing how the water moves beneath the surface. Sometimes they even throw rainbows in the winter sun!

The most popular waterfall in Canada is, of course, Niagara Falls, which freezes in winter.

I used to take my dog hiking to ones in Ottawa all the time. Our favourite was at the end of the Mackenzie King Estate trail in Gatineau Park.

These are the best frozen waterfalls across Canada in winter:

  • Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
  • Helmcken Falls in BC
  • Dawson Falls in BC
  • Princess Louise Falls in Ottawa
  • Albion Falls in Hamilton (Hamilton is known for its waterfalls, so you’ll find many more smaller falls as well!)
  • Kakabeka Falls in Thunder Bay

❄️ Get a unique view of the frozen falls with this helicopter tour over Niagara Falls

16. Visit the Distillery District’s Christmas Market

The Distillery District is a beautiful historic area in Toronto .

Every year they hold the Christmas market, which features vendors selling handmade gifts and artisanal food products.

You’ll also find carolers singing traditional holiday tunes, festive decorations, live music and ice skating! It’s the perfect place to fill up on holiday cheer.

The giant tree in the center of the market is definitely worth checking out. It’s one of the tallest Christmas trees in Toronto and it’s lit up with thousands of twinkling lights.

It’s a great place to get into the holiday spirit, and you can even pick up some unique gifts for your loved ones while you’re there.

The Distillery District also features unique restaurants and bars, so you can stay for dinner or a drink after exploring the market.

Pair it with a Soul Pepper show. If they’re putting on A Christmas Carol in the round again, I highly recommend it! It’s the best rendition I’ve ever seen.

theo winter boots hike ottawa

17. Go For a Winter Hike

Winter hiking is one of the only ways you’ll get my outdoors in -30°C.

I love adventuring outside of cities, so I’d take my dog every weekend to find new trails wherever we were living or traveling that winter.

The great thing about winter hikes is that you get to see nature in its most pristine form. No summer crowds, no bugs, and usually safe from wildlife.

Most Canadian parks have trails – but be careful. not to go on the cross country skiing or snowshoeing trails. They need the dense snow that you’ll disturb with your foot prints.

I’ve also found that winter hikes are great for taking photos, as the snow makes everything look amazing. It’s the perfect time to capture nature in beautiful shades of blue and white!

Plus, on your way back from your hike you can get a hot drink or something warm to eat. It’s the perfect time for poutine!

18. Experience a Winter Horseback Ride

I grew up horseback riding, so of course I had to include it on this list!

We did an amazing trail ride in Keswick, Ontario where the branches were all frozen and sparkling above us in the sunlight.

The horses made easy work of the snowy trail, so we could sit back and just enjoy the magic of winter.

If you’re looking for a really special experience, some stables even offer sleigh rides through their trails! This is a great way to explore nature and get cozy at the same time.

There are horseback riding trails across Canada , so you’ll be able to find them wherever you are!

person in red jacket while climbing ice wall at daytime

19. Go Ice Climbing

Ice climbing is a great way to experience the winter landscape of Canada, and usually involves an adventure like no other.

It’s safe too – everyone wears special helmets and harnesses that keep them secure while they climb.

Most guided tours will also provide you with all the gear you need, so all you’ll have to do is show up!

The best places to do it are Banff National Park , Canmore, and the Bugaboos.

20. Rev Up for Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is a great way to explore the countryside in winter, and it’s also just plain fun!

Most snowmobile trails can be found near ski resorts, so you’ll have plenty of options. Plus, many tour companies will offer guided snowmobile tours with experienced guides.

You can even book a tour that will take you up into the mountains to explore remote areas far away from civilization.

We’ve gone a few times on tours during family vacations, and every time I’ve had so much fun.

You do have to be 16 to drive the snowmobile, though. Sometimes they require a driver’s license too.

❄️ Book your snowmobile tour in Whistler today!

21. Brave a Polar Bear Dip

This one is for the brave (or crazy) ones.

Polar bear dips are a great way to show your winter spirit, and if you’re really daring you can even jump into icy cold water.

These usually take place during New Year’s Day , where groups of people gather around frozen lakes or rivers to strip down to their suits and jump in.

Most major cities in Canada have one. Toronto does one at Sunnyside Beach every year and they do it at Deep Cove near Vancouver , too.

It’s usually better to join a larger group, as it’s more fun and also safer. Just don’t forget your towels!

Jasper Helicopter Tours

22. Take a Helicopter Tour of the Rockies

One of my favourite fun things to do in Canada in winter is take a helicopter tour, especially over the Rocky Mountains.

You’ll see stunning views of snow-capped mountains and pristine valleys as you soar above them in the sky. It’s an incredible experience and one that will stay with you for a long time.

I’ve driven through the Rockies too, but seeing them from above really is the best way to appreciate how amazing they are.

🤩  Book your helicopter tour in Jasper today!

23. Take a Winter Rail Trip

If you’re looking for a unique way to see the beauty of Canada in winter, then taking a rail trip is the perfect choice.

There are many train lines that will take you through picturesque snowy landscapes and into charming towns. You can even book an entire car for yourself, so it’s like having your own personal cabin.

The Rocky Mountaineer is one of the most popular routes, and it goes through some stunning terrain. It’s definitely worth a trip if you’re looking for something special.

snowshoe muskoka

24. Go Snowshoeing Through the Trails

When I moved back to Canada, the first winter gear I bought was a pair of snowshoes.

Snowshoeing is the perfect way to explore Canada’s beautiful winter trails.

It’s also way less draining than hiking. The expanded surface area keeps you from sinking down into the snow, so you can go a lot further.

Pack a lunch, put on your snowshoes and head out for an afternoon of exploration. You’ll be able to get away from the crowds and take in some spectacular sights. Plus, it’s great exercise!

You don’t have to be an expert to go. I’m definitely not!

Start with a short trail to get yourself used to them, then you’ll be ready to explore more later.

25. Go Winter Tubing

This is another activity for those who don’t like skiing or snowboarding.

Winter tubing is basically just sliding down a hill on an inflatable tube, and it’s surprisingly fun!

You’ll find winter tubing parks all over Canada. They usually have them at ski hills for people who don’t like skiing, or for kids.

I’m not a kid anymore, but I still love winter tubing. The inner tube makes you soar down the hills, and isn’t nearly as bumpy as a sled.

26. Take a Winter Sleigh Ride

You can find sleigh rides all over Canada, from ski hills to ranches.

We’ve all seen the romantic movies of a sleigh ride around Central Park in winter. Well, you can do that in Canada too!

They’re very common in Quebec City and the Eastern Townships. So if you’re looking for a romantic escape, these are perfect.

The winter scenery is breathtaking, and it’s so peaceful sitting in the sleigh with just the sound of hooves on snow.

hockey outdoor rink

27. Attend a Hockey Game

Hockey is Canada’s national sport, and watching a game in person is one of the best things to do in winter.

You’ll be surrounded by cheering crowds, singing the anthem and chanting for their team. It’s an incredible experience that you won’t forget in a hurry.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a big fan of hockey. Just an hour at a game will give you a bit of insight into what this country is all about!

28. Sleep With Wolves

Sounds crazy, right?

Well you can safely sleep with wolves at Parc Omega just outside of Ottawa.

It’s a one-of-a kind experience where you can observe Canadian wildlife up close and personal.

You’ll be staying in a warm cabin, but just outside the windows is an enclosure with wolves! While they roam around, you can watch them from inside the safety of your cabin.

It’s one of the coolest things you’ll ever do!

29. Storm Watch in Tofino

Tofino on the west coast of Canada is one of the best places to watch storms.

The winter months bring in huge waves and powerful winds that make for an incredible view. Watching these forces of nature from a warm cozy beach is one of the most unique experiences you can have in Canada.

If you’re feeling brave, you can even take a surf lesson and ride the waves.

It’s one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter.

30. Visit the Most Unique Church in Inuvik – It’s an Igloo!

If you’re in the Northwest Territories, be sure to visit Our Lady of Victory Church or as locals call it, The Igloo Church.

This unique church is a major landmark in downtown Inuvik and a popular tourist attraction. Constructed in 1960, this igloo-style structure pays homage to traditional hunting shelters used by the Inuit community.

quebec ice hotel

31. Stay at the Quebec Ice Hotel

The Quebec Ice Hotel is a magical winter wonderland just 20 minutes northwest of Quebec City. It’s a unique experience, as the entire hotel is made out of snow and ice!

Admire majestic snow arches, crystal clear sculptures and cozy rooms made entirely out of ice. You can even slide down an ice slide!

It’s open from January to March and the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Don’t forget to check out nearby Village Vacances Valcartier, which offers snow tubing, ice skating and other winter activities for your entertainment.

32. Warm Up in Some Hot Springs

If you’re looking for a way to warm up, why not visit some of Canada’s natural hot springs?

Located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Banff Upper Hot Springs offers spectacular scenery while you soak in its mineral-rich waters. Meanwhile, Miette Hot Springs near Jasper is the hottest spring with temperatures reaching up to 54°C (130°F)!

Make sure to bring a swimsuit and a towel so you can relax in some hot water. It’s the perfect way to escape the winter chill!

33. Get an Adrenaline Rush Canyoning

This extreme sport combines elements of rock climbing, rappelling and swimming in a series of canyons in the Canadian Rockies. It’s a great way to explore the rugged wilderness while taking on challenging obstacles!

Most companies offer guided canyoning tours for different skill levels, so you can find the right one that suits your experience. Make sure to bring some waterproof gear and plenty of water as you’re bound to get wet!

34. Go Sledding

Get back in touch with your inner child by going tobogganing down the many hills in Canada.

Basically anything sloped and covered in snow will end up with sled marks down it by the end of winter from adults and kids alike.

Some of the best places to go sledding are Mount Macdonald in British Columbia, Camp Fortune in Quebec, and Highlands Nordic in Ontario.

What is santa called in Canada?

35. Watch a Santa Claus Parade

Santa Claus is Canadian , so it makes sense that we have some of the best parades in the world!

Many cities across the country put on a grand affair for their local Santa Claus parade. Watch gorgeous floats, marching bands and festive characters come alive along the streets.

The one in Toronto is my favourite because I grew up going to it. But the one in Halifax is also very nice.

36. Stay at Backcountry Lodges

Canada has some beautiful backcountry lodges that are perfect for a winter getaway. Many of these are only accessible during the winter months, so make sure to check out what your province or state has to offer.

The Rocky Mountains and British Columbia have some amazing places you can stay at like Mount Engadine Lodge in Canmore and Nimmo Bay Resort in the Great Bear Rainforest.

snow covered rock formations and trees

37. Try the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk

The Maligne Canyon Ice Walk is a must-do activity for any winter adventurer.

You’ll have the chance to explore one of Canada’s most spectacular canyons, frozen over with ice and snow, while your guide provides commentary about the area’s wildlife and history.

You don’t need any special equipment or skill, just a bit of courage to explore this winter wonderland.

38. See an Arctic Sunrise

One of the most magical winter activities is watching the sun rise in the Arctic.

Many towns and cities in Canada are located far enough north that you can experience a unique sunrise, with soft pink and orange hues taking over the sky. It’s a sight to behold!

Since the sun is set most of the day, you only get a few hours of light, so make sure to take the opportunity to catch a glimpse of this winter spectacle.

39. Visit the Ice Caves of Lake Superior

The incredible ice caves of Lake Superior are a hidden gem in Canada.

Despite being hundreds of years old, the frozen formations and intricate designs are still an awe-inspiring sight.

You can choose to take a guided tour or explore on your own.

40. Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara

Canada’s largest free outdoor light festival takes place in the Niagara region.

The Winter Festival of Lights i lluminates a stretch of 8 kilometers along the Niagara Parkway with over 3 million lights, creating an enchanting winter wonderland.

Experience beautiful displays and stunning attractions like the Falls Illumination Show, where the iconic Niagara Falls is lit up for a breathtaking sight.

The festival also features 40 nights of fireworks over the Falls.

41. Try Ice Canoeing in Quebec City

Ice canoeing is a popular winter activity in Quebec City. It’s an intense sport that requires skill and courage, as you paddle your team of five across the icy waters of the Saint Lawrence River.

The International Ice Canoe Race is held every year on the first Sunday of February. Be prepared to brave frigid temperatures and strong currents!

42. Attend the Sourdough Rendezvous Festival

The Sourdough Rendezvous Festival in Whitehorse, Yukon is an annual celebration of the region’s vibrant culture and adventurous spirit.

This lively event features a variety of activities from outdoor competitions such as axe throwing, dog sledding races, and snowshoe races to cultural showcases like traditional music and dance performances.

Be sure to catch the crowning of the Rendezvous Queen and Sourdough Sam, iconic figures who serve as ambassadors for the festival throughout the year.

You can also go and try a Sourtoe cocktail in nearby Dawson City if you’re feeling especially brave.

43. Shop in Toronto’s PATH

Toronto’s PATH is the world’s largest underground shopping complex. Spanning over 30 kilometers, it features over 1,200 stores and services that will keep you entertained for days!

Make your way through Toronto’s downtown core and explore its many retail outlets, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

With such a wide variety of choices in one place, PATH is the perfect place to shop during the winter season.

And a great place to hide from the cold!

maple syrup festivals in Ontario

44. Eat Maple Taffy

Maple syrup is so synonymous with Canada, it basically runs through our veins.

In winter, we have a special delicacy called “maple taffy”. It’s not really taffy though.

It’s hot, gooey, maple syrup poured over fresh snow. You then roll it up into a ball and enjoy!

It’s a great way to sample the Canadian version of winter comfort food. And with no cooking involved, it’s easy to make too. All you need is some snow and maple syrup and you’re set!

It’s a popular snack on the Rideau Canal Skateway if you don’t want to make it yourself.

45. Visit Casa Loma

Casa Loma is a grand castle located in Toronto, Ontario. It was built in the early 1900s as a residence for financier Sir Henry Pellatt.

In winter, it’s an especially beautiful place to visit. The grounds are covered with snow and frost making it look like something out of a fairytale!

As you roam through the castle, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. The combination of the beautiful architecture and its Winter Wonderland-like surroundings make Casa Loma an unforgettable experience.

I loved touring it with my grandma and my cousins every year as a kid.

pleiades star cluster wiki commons

46. Go Stargazing

The winter season is a great time for stargazing, and there’s no better place to do it than in Canada.

From the Canadian Rockies to the Arctic Circle, our country has some of the darkest skies in the world. There’s nothing like lying down on a blanket of fluffy snow and admiring the night sky above you.

I highly recommend going to a Dark Sky Preserve to see the best stars. But even Muskoka is a great spot with minimal light pollution.

47. Go Heli Skiing

Heli skiing is a thrilling winter activity that involves being dropped off on top of a mountain by helicopter and skiing down. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of Canada’s mountains without having to hike up them!

Heli skiing can be found in many places across Canada, such as British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec. The Canadian Rockies provide spectacular views and perfect powdery slopes for this exciting experience.

48. Try a Winter Zipline

Not up to jumping out of a helicopter? Get a similar rush with a winter zip lining tour. You’ll fly through the air while surrounded by beautiful snow-covered trees and enjoy breathtaking views of Canada’s winter landscape.

This is a must-try activity for any adrenaline junkie! You can find ziplines in many ski resorts across the country, as well as some indoor trampoline parks during the colder months.

49. Visit the Ice Caves in Tobermory

Tobermory is home to some of the most breath-taking ice caves in Canada. The crystal clear frozen water and snow formations make for a breathtaking sight. It’s definitely an experience you won’t forget!

You’ll need sturdy winter boots, gloves, and extra layers to stay warm while exploring this natural wonder.

50. Play Ice Golf

Looking for a fun and unique winter activity? Try your hand at ice golf!

This winter sport combines the love of golf with the icy challenges of playing on a frozen body of water.

You’ll need special equipment such as skates or spiked shoes to help you grip the ice while swinging, as well as brightly colored flags or markers to identify each hole. Be prepared for unpredictable bounces and variations in ball roll due to the slippery surface.

rescued moose Alaska wildlife conservation center

51. Try to Spot Winter Wildlife in Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park is a beautiful winter destination with plenty of wildlife. You may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of bighorn sheep grazing in the snow, moose and elk roaming through the woods, or even a majestic bald eagle perched atop a tree.

For an even closer look, you can book guided tours that will take you around the park.

52. Attend the Northern Manitoba Trappers Festival

For a unique cultural experience, check out the Northern Manitoba Trappers Festival, which takes place in February every year.

You’ll get to witness traditional winter activities such as ice fishing and snowshoeing, as well as trapper sports like dog sled racing and trap-setting competitions. There will also be music, dancing, and delicious food from local vendors.

It’s a great way to learn about the local culture and celebrate the season!

winter cabin canada

53. Cozy Up at a Cabin

For a relaxing winter getaway, rent a cozy cabin in the woods.

Spend your days by the fire reading books, playing board games, and exploring nearby trails with snowshoes. Enjoy hot cocoa and roasted marshmallows while admiring the stars above.

You can go outside and brave the cold for hiking, cross country skiing, or snowshoeing. But you can also just enjoy the slower pace of winter while cozied up inside.

54. Go Winter Bungee Jumping

I chickened out at the idea of bungee jumping in the New Zealand, but if you’re braver than me, give it a try!

Winter Bungee Jumping is a popular activity in Canada. You can jump from heights of up to 300 feet and experience a rush of adrenaline as you plummet through the snow and icy air.

It’s a great way to push yourself and get your heart racing. Plus, the views from up high are incredible!

55. Attend Edmonton’s Silver Skate Festival

Edmonton’s Silver Skate Festival is an exciting winter event that takes place in the city’s beautiful river valley.

It brings together culture, art, education, sport and recreation for a 10-day celebration of winter.

At the festival you can go ice skating, explore stunning ice sculptures, enjoy live performances from local talent, sample delicious culinary delights, and much more. It’s a great way to experience the magic of winter and have fun with family and friends.

56. Attend the Festival Du Voyageur in Winnipeg

Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture of Western Canada at the Festival du Voyageur.

Held annually in Winnipeg, Manitoba, this 10-day winter extravaganza celebrates French-Canadian heritage with a unique blend of entertainment, music, food, and outdoor activities.

Admire breathtaking giant snow sculptures, dance and jig to lively music, attend concerts featuring talented artists, and enjoy delicious French-Canadian cuisine.

The Festival du Voyageur pays homage to the voyageurs with events and activities such as voyager games, interactive exhibits, and more. So bundle up and join in the festivities at Western Canada’s largest winter festival!

57. Head to FROSTival in New Brunswick

Head to FROSTival in Fredericton, New Brunswick for a winter celebration brimming with family fun, outdoor adventure, dazzling performances, and incredible culinary delights.

This annual event takes place over three weekends in January and February and provides something for all ages and interests. Go snowshoeing, ice skating, or tobogganing for a thrilling adventure, or enjoy cultural displays, live music, and delectable treats.

FROSTival is the biggest winter celebration in Canada’s maritime provinces and has become a beloved tradition for locals and a must-visit destination for travelers.

58. Avoid the Cold in Victoria

If you’re looking to avoid the icy temperatures of the winter season, then head west to Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Victoria’s climate is milder than the rest of Canada due to its oceanic setting and sheltered location. This makes it an ideal destination for travelers who want to explore Canada during winter without having to bundle up quite as much.

59. Celebrate New Year’s

New Year’s is a big deal in Canada. We have many ball drops around the country and massive concerts.

One of the biggest is in Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, where the crowds come out to celebrate a brand new year. The event is free and includes performances by local artists, an epic fireworks show, and, of course, live music!

I’ve also attended one in Niagara Falls that had an epic concert.

60. Go Snowkiting

Looking for exciting things to do in winter in Canada?

Snowkiting is an increasingly popular winter sport combining the power of a kite and the thrill of skiing or snowboarding. If you’re bored with traditional winter sports and want something a bit more extreme, this could be just what you’re looking for!

poutine

61. Try Poutine

If you’re looking for a true Canadian experience, then try poutine! This classic dish is made with French fries, gravy and cheese curds. It’s definitely not for everyone but if you have an adventurous palate, it’s definitely worth a try.

I love it, and it definitely hits the best in the cold winter months.

It’s a popular dish at ski resorts.

62. Go on a Food Tour

If you’re looking for an immersive and tasty experience, then go on a food tour! Many cities across Canada offer guided tours of their local restaurants and specialty food shops.

This is a great way to get to know the city while tasting all the best dishes it has to offer. Plus, you’ll learn a lot about the history of Canadian cuisine and culture.

63. Attend the Inuvik Sunrise Festival

The Inuvik Sunrise Festival is a celebration held in the Northwest Territories. Every year locals and visitors alike gather for this event to celebrate the return of the sun after months of darkness.

This festival includes traditional Inuit games, food, music, and dancing. It’s a unique experience and definitely one worth checking out if you’re in Canada during wintertime.

64. Go Shopping for Warm Clothes

Winter in Canada can be incredibly cold, so you’ll need to make sure you’ve got all the appropriate attire. Look for warm coats, snow boots, and hats that will keep you warm and cozy during your travels.

You’ll find plenty of stylish winter wear at specialty stores across the country.

Wool is a great fabric in winter to keep you very warm.

65. Go Fat Biking in the Snow

Fat biking is growing in popularity in Canada, and wintertime is the perfect time to go. Fat bikes are designed with wide tires that are optimized for riding on snow and ice.

Take a fatbike out for a spin around the frozen trails of your local park or on the beach by the lake.

Stick to flatter ground with the fat bikes. They’re not made to mountain bike.

Nina smiling in ear muffs while skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa

What to Pack for Winter in Canada

For winter in Canada, always pack thermal base layers.

This is so important for enjoying winter activities. When you’re outside, your body heats up and you get sweaty.

It’s then that having a layer between your skin and your clothes is key to staying warm!

I also like to bring at least two pairs of thick socks, winter boots , and mittens .

If you’re at ski resorts or snowboarding, I recommend buying a proper jacket with Omni-Heat to keep the cold out.

Don’t forget to pack a warm hat or earmuffs to protect your ears. You’ll also want to layer up your gloves.

Bring a scarf that is not knit. Many people think a knit scarf is cute, but the holes will let in the cold. Instead, opt for a fleece scarf.

I always add reusable heaters for my gloves and boots since I have poor circulation and lose feeling in my extremities easily.

If you’re planning to ski, skate, snowshoe, or do any other winter activities, you’ll want to pack your gear. If you’re flying, it may be cheaper to buy a used set or rent them when you’re in Canada.

Click here for my guide on how to pack for winter in Canada.

Wrap Up: Best Winter Activities in Canada

Canada offers so much in the winter. You’ll actually struggle to pick just one thing to do out of this massive list!

If you need help deciding, I’d suggest putting skating at the top of your list (there’s a reason it’s at the top of mine). You can also combine experiences like trying Canadian food with your time at ski resorts, where they often serve them.

And you definitely don’t want to miss the Northern Lights! They can be tough to see in the lower half of the country, so I recommend booking a multi-day tour.

The tours include dog sledding, star gazing, cabins, and more! So you’re crossing off tons of things to do in Canada from your wishlist.

Canada Travel Planning Guide

🚑  Should I buy Canada travel insurance?

100% YES!  — Canada has “free” healthcare but it’s only for citizens! Foreigners visiting need travel insurance in case anything happens on their visit. I recommend World Nomads – starting at just $5 a day!

💧 Can you drink the water in Canada?

Yes  — In all major cities in Canada, you can drink the tap water. There are very few, rural areas that you can’t. However, you should never drink river or lake water anywhere in the country! I recommend a Brita Water Bottle for long hikes and backcountry camping to stay safe and hydrated.

🚙💨  Is it safe to rent a car in Canada?

Yes  — Renting a car is a necessity in most of Canada! If you want to go on road trips or adventures outside of the major cities, you’ll need to rent a car. ( Read more )

📲  Will my phone work in Canada?

Maybe  — Some American companies work in Canada, but many will not. If your phone doesn’t work in Canada, I recommend getting a Canadian SIM card so you can get around and stay in contact with loved ones. We don’t have a lot of free WIFI in Canada, so you’ll need your phone for maps.

🏩  What’s the best way to book my Canada accommodations?

My go-to for Canadian hotels is Booking.com . For hostels, I use Hostel World . If you want a home-y feeling, check out VRBO (which is cheaper and safer than Airbnb).

Or get free accommodations with Trusted Housesitters!

✈️  What’s the best site to buy Canada flights?

For finding cheap Canadian flights, I recommend  Skyscanner .

🎫  Do I need a visa for Canada?

Likely Not  — US, UK, and EU passport holders don’t need Canadian visas. However, some other countries do ( check here! ). And if you plan to stay for more than 4 weeks (an average tourist visa length), you will need to look into visas to live in Canada.

Nina Clapperton is the founder of Nina Out and About. She has lived in 18 countries in the past 10 years, explored more than 30 countries, and has done most of it solo. A Canadian native, she also shares her favourite things to do in the True North. She helps over 100,000 people per month plan their expat adventures and Canadian trips.

Want to move abroad, but don’t know how to start?

Get an expert’s tips & tricks, pick which country to move to – and do it.

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11 beautiful places to visit during Canadian winter

Canada is famous for its immense wealth of natural landscapes, fantastic nature reserves and dense forests (did you know that 10% of the world’s forests are found in Canada?). But Canada is also recognized throughout the world for its snowy landscapes.

Discover 11 essential winter places to see in Canada: they’ll certainly tempt you to pack your bags! Buckle up and take off on an unforgettable Canadian crossing.

Disclaimer! This article was incredibly hard to write, we could have picked 50 more places in our very own winter wonderland country! If we forgot something, tell us in the comments!

1-  WHISTLER | BRITISH COLUMBIA

places to visit in canada for winter

Lovers of the outdoors will be blown away by this stopover in Whistler . Even more famous after its starring role in the 2010 Winter Olympics, the town is like a never-ending festival throughout the winter. In addition to the epic choice of ski runs, the bobsled track is open to the public, and you can also enjoy luge runs, skidooing, a dogsled ride or even ice-climbing! In short, it’s impossible to get bored amid the breathtaking views.

The must-see event : the World Ski & Snowboard Festival takes place every April, combining winter sports with the biggest series of outdoor concerts in Canada.

2-  MOUNT EDITH CAVELL | JASPER NATIONAL PARK, ALBERTA

places to visit in canada for winter

Mount Edith Cavell is one of the most beautiful peaks in the Canadian Rockies. In the winter, you can get there by its popular cross-country ski trail, with a variety of levels of difficulty to choose from. You’ll want to lay your eyes on Angel Glacier, located at the foot of the mountain’s north face. A geological marvel, it’s divine name comes from its shape: that of an angel spreading its wings.

3- BOW VALLEY | BANFF, ALBERTA

places to visit in canada for winter

The Rockies in winter are a dreamland! Mount Sulphur , located in the Bow Valley in the Banff region, is a real jewel whose summit calls out to hikers. It’s a tough challenge, but well worth the effort once you make it the top.

The must-see event : the entire region around Banff and Lake Louise comes alive in the winter time. At the Winterstart Festival , you can have fun in the brisk outdoors and take in a parade, ski races, concerts, theatre and much more.

4- IQALUIT | NUNAVUT

places to visit in canada for winter

Winter in Iqaluit means surreal landscapes and a sky filled with more stars then you’ve ever seen before. Like the Inuit who get around by dogsled in traditional wear that keeps them warm, you may want to head out deep into the immense whiteness where silence reigns and caribou and muskox wander. And if you’re lucky, you may experience the aurora borealis. There’s so much to discover.

The must-see event : every April, the Toonik Tyme Festival celebrates Inuit traditions and the return to spring. On the program are igloo building, skidoo races and traditional Inuit treats.

5- NIAGARA FALLS | NIAGARA, ONTARIO

places to visit in canada for winter

Niagara Falls has always attracted droves of curious onlookers, and even in winter it’s a sight to behold. When the temperature drops, the impressive falls freeze, giving the impression the water has stopped flowing: an amazing spectacle!

The must-see event : during the Winter Festival of Lights , the falls and the entire city of Niagara are lit up in the colours of the rainbow.

6- RIDEAU CANAL | OTTAWA, ONTARIO

places to visit in canada for winter

Did you know the city of Ottawa hosts the world’s largest natural skating rink at seven kilometres long? Strapping on some skates and meandering the Rideau Canal Skateway is a great way to enjoy the winter! If you haven’t been yet, now is the time!

7-  QUEBEC CITY | QUEBEC

places to visit in canada for winter

Quebec City reigns truly majestic in the wintertime! The Château Frontenac is like a glowing image from a 19 th -century book, while the streets of the old city exude charm and romance under the snow. And there are plenty of activities, including the ice hotel, dog sleds and the frozen-over Montmorency Falls.

The must-see event : The Quebec City Carnaval is the biggest winter festival in the world, with programming that bursts with fun and absolutely unique activities: a canoe race on the frozen St. Lawrence River, night parades, giant soccer games, maple syrup and “beaver tail”  tastings, ice sculptures, carriage rides and much more!

8- THE CHIC-CHOC MOUNTAINS | GASPÉSIE NATIONAL PARK, QUEBEC

places to visit in canada for winter

One of Quebec’s snowy, fairy tale landscapes, the Chic-Choc mountains always have something new to discover, even for those who’ve visited several times over the years. They’re also an exceptional playground for winter mountain sports.

The must-see hotel: the beauty of the Auberge des Chic-Chocs , with 4-star lodging that’s inaccessible by car, will leave you speechless. A Quebec jewel for both lodging and nature. Relaxation guaranteed.

9-  MONTS-VALIN NATIONAL PARK | SAGUENAY

places to visit in canada for winter

Snow for miles and miles, a mountain that’s been eroded over time and breathtaking viewpoints. The impressive massif of the Monts-Valin has some fifteen peaks over 800 metres high. Its exceptional snow gives it a privileged status among snowshoers and skiers. What’s more, at the heart of the massif, the Valley of Ghosts is not to be missed!

10- COW BAY | NOVA SCOTIA

places to visit in canada for winter

Nova Scotia is not really known for skating, skiing or snowshoeing. On the other hand, die-hard surfers love it, particularly for its winter surfing. It appears that the greatest surfers prefer to practice their sport during the cold season because of the excellent waves. You’ve been warned!

11- CAPE SPEAR | NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

places to visit in canada for winter

Would you like to experience the exhilarating wonder of standing at the tip of the North Americas continent? Visit the historic Cape Spear Lighthouse on the easternmost point of the continent and discover the stretches of Labrador from an entirely new point of view. It’s here where the sun rises first every day and New Year’s Eve is celebrated before the rest of Canada. Winter also means iceberg sightings! Plus, if you’re in search of extreme adventure, you might want to try windsurfing.

And what about you? What’s your favourite winter location in Canada?

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Categories > Guides and Tips

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Canada during Winter

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Canada during Winter

Rideau canal, plaster rock, waterton lakes national park, jasper national park, québec city, mont-tremblant.

As the snowflakes fall and the temperature plunges, there’s a frigid wonderland waiting to be discovered in the Great White North. So, don your warmest parka, slip on your trusty snow boots, and get ready to explore the frosty side of Canada.

And don’t worry—whether you’re an adventurous skier or prefer to marvel at the snowy scenery from the comfort of a snug cabin, we’ve got you covered. Together, we’ll uncover the top places you can visit in Canada during the winter, so read on!

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ariel (@arielclark93)

Website: https://www.whistler.com/  

Enter Whistler, a true snow-seeker’s paradise nestled in the heart of the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia. 

This alpine wonderland is home to the famed Whistler Blackcomb resort—a skiing and snowboarding oasis boasting over 8,100 adrenaline-pumping acres of ski terrain. But don’t be fooled—Whistler isn’t just about the slopes. 

You’ll find a dazzling array of winter activities, including snowshoeing and snowmobiling, which draw families, adventure-seekers, and even those looking to practise the art of après-ski.

We dare you to hop on a snowcat and embark on a twilight snowcat tour, where you will trundle up a mountain peak for unforgettable stargazing. 

As if that’s not enough, this magical snowscape is home to some of the finest dining experiences and cosy mountain retreats you’ll ever encounter.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Rideau Canal (@rideaucanalofficial)

Next up, we’re whisking you away to the capital city of Ottawa, where the iconic Rideau Canal awaits. This UNESCO World Heritage site is transformed into the world’s largest skating rink in the winter months, with a vast 7.8 km of ice begging for your skates.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant and buzzing atmosphere of Winterlude, an annual winter festival drawing in throngs of visitors with mesmerising ice sculptures. Not quite ready to give up the excitement?

Strap in and embrace the thrill of a classic Canadian winter pastime: snow tubing! Race down the snowy slopes of nearby Mount Pakenham or Edelweiss Valley before indulging in a steaming cup of hot cocoa at the warming hut.

In the mood for a tranquil afternoon? Stroll through the ice-laden grounds of Rideau Hall, the governor-general’s residence, followed by a visit to the stunning National Gallery of Canada to indulge in world-class art collections.

Zobrazit příspěvek na Instagramu Příspěvek sdílený Little Big Adventure (@little_bigadventure)

Many consider Plaster Rock to be the epicentre of authentic Canadian ice hockey, where pickup games and friendly rivalries have been played on the frozen lakes and rivers for generations.

Each year, hockey enthusiasts from around the globe gather for this high-spirited competition, showcasing their skills on the ice while bonding over their mutual love for the sport. 

Whether you’re a seasoned hockey player or a wide-eyed spectator, there’s no doubt you’ll experience the camaraderie and connection waiting on the ice.

Plaster Rock’s appeal doesn’t stop there, as the region is enveloped by some of New Brunswick’s landscapes. Strap on your snowshoes and explore the Highland Trails, or embark on a snowmobile adventure through wooded paths and frozen lakeshores.

When the sun dips behind the horizon, don’t forget that renowned maritime hospitality awaits in the local pubs, where you’ll find food, fun, and stories to carry home.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta Canada (@watertontourism)

Website: https://parks.canada.ca/pn-np/ab/waterton/  

Address: Waterton Park, AB T0K 2M0, Canada

Contact details: +1 403-859-5133

Operating hours:

  •   Open 24 hours

Blanketed with sparkling snow, Waterton Lakes National Park is a winter nirvana, offering endless trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Trek along Crandell Lake or Cameron Lakeshore , and you’ll be graced with views so mesmerising they’d make an Instagram influencer weep. Didn’t you think picnicking was a winter activity? 

At Waterton Park, grab a Riverside Snow-Lunch in the Cottonwood picnic area and experience it first-hand. 

What’s more, Waterton is also home to a unique fusion of plants, animals, and geology that’s rare, even by National Parks standards, thanks to its location at a climatic crossroads.

Oh, I almost forgot! You can also sleigh your way through town and along the Upper Waterton Lakes with splendid views of Vimy Peak .

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Chels🌿 (@sundancer_ikwe)

Prepare your mittens! We’re heading north to Churchill, Manitoba, the Polar Bear Capital of the World! Here, majestic polar bears saunter across the snowy terrain, proving a sight like no other.

Take a Tundra Buggy tour for front-row seats to this spectacle without disturbing their natural habitat. But in Churchill, it’s not all about the bears.

In the evenings, prepare for the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) to cast a spell on the expansive skies, creating a natural light show.

For the complete Arctic experience, partake in their tradition of dog sledding through the snow-carpeted forests—clinging to the old ways, the dog sleds are still manoeuvred by local mushers.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Jasper National Park (@jaspernationalpark)

Website: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/jasper  

Address: Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canada

Contact details: +1 780-852-6176

Operating hours:  

  • Monday to Sunday – 9AM – 7PM
  • Adult – $10.50
  • Senior – $9.00
  • Youth – Free
  • Family/Group – $21.00
  • Commercial Group(per person) – $9.00  

Brace yourself as Jasper’s snow-laden landscapes unfurl before your eyes, showcasing a perfect backdrop for skiing and snowboarding. Marmot Basin Ski Area is the crowd favourite for its excellent terrain, satisfying both beginners and seasoned daredevils.

Not a skier? Worry not. Opt for a slower, more serene pace with ice walks in the Maligne Canyon . The frosty formations forged by water against limestone walls are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

And when darkness falls, another spectacle awaits. Jasper National Park is a designated Dark Sky Preserve—perfect for stargazing. So, get ready to capture the Milky Way in all its glory.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Annie Wanyi Jiang ✈ Travel Creator (@goanniewhere)

Old Québec City turns into a beguiling winter wonderland as the snowflakes settle in its cobbled streets. Think Narnia meets Harry Potter, but the magic is real, and you’re in the starring role.

Traverse the city’s enchanting alleyways, like Petit Champlain —vibrantly bedecked and straight off a Christmas postcard. Feast your eyes on the star of the city—the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac , its grandeur transforming from breathtaking to postcard-perfect in the winter.

How about being part of the annual Québec Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Québec) and getting enchanted by Bonhomme, the dazzling snowman mascot?

You may not know this, but Québec City unveils a ‘cool’ chillout spot every year—the Ice Hotel (Hôtel de Glace), where you can raise your glass in a sparkle-encrusted ice bar.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Xung Khauv (@xungkhauv)

Swaggering as Canada’s capital, Ottawa twirls into a fantastical winter destination when Jack Frost pays a visit. Lace your skates and glide along the historic Rideau Canal Skateway —the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink.

Twisting through downtown, it’s surreal yet thrilling. In February, the city embraces Winterlude—an epic festival showcasing ice sculpture competitions, snow playgrounds, and a flurry of awe-inspiring events .

Get the royal taste of winter by exploring the snow-covered Regal Gardens at Rideau Hall, the residence of the Governor General of Canada. 

Or why not appreciate indigenous and Canadian art at the National Gallery of Canada in warm and well-lit halls?

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Tremblant (@monttremblant)

Directions  

Dubbed Québec’s winter sports utopia, Mont-Tremblant is a white-capped kingdom where curling up with coffee is replaced by scaling ice-clad peaks. Strap your skis or snowboards for a thrilling descent down the slopes of Mont Tremblant Ski Resort.

There’s a run for everyone, from newbie snow bunnies to hardened adrenaline junkies. For a fantastic winter hike, gear up with crampons and trek through Mont-Tremblant National Park’s stunning valleys, where nature’s tranquillity is your only company.

If you’re not done yet with adventure, how about a dog sledding endeavour in this winter wonderland? For relaxation, retreat to Scandinave Spa Mont-Tremblant and soak in outdoor hot baths amid the snowflakes.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by ANTHONY URSO (@anthony_urso)

Welcome to Winnipeg, the Prairie City that turns into a wonderland with sub-zero romance. Start at The Forks , a melting pot locale where you can ice skate on frozen rivers under light installations twinkling like stars.

Visit the Arctic Glacier Winter Park for sizzling cultural performances, horse-drawn wagon rides, and indigenous storytelling around the fire—throwing warm light on the native folklore.

Witness the capricious spirit of winter at the Festival du Voyageur. Experience truly Canadian moments—think carving and curling—enlivened by lively music.

Don’t forget to stop by the Manitoba Museum , where you can brush up on local history indoors.

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Cheerful Trails

15 Wonderful Places To Visit In Canada In Winter 2024

(This article has affiliate links to products which we may make commission from at no extra cost to you.)

Looking for places to visit in Canada in winter that are ideal for a vacation? Check out these incredible places specially to enjoy staying in Canada in winter.

Traveling to Canada in winter is an incredible experience. The weather is a bit cold, but there are lots of destinations that offer a winter wonderland like feel. You won’t mind the chilly weather and fall in love with the beauty of snow covered and white powdery surroundings. Winter in Canada generally falls between mid December and mid March.

Apart from fun activities like snowmobiling and sledding, you will also get to be a part of the cheerful festive activities hosted in many cities in Canada for Christmas and New Years. There are plenty of things to do in Canada during winters.

So, if you are looking forward to spending your winters in Canada, here are some places that you must consider visiting for a wonderful winter trip.

British Columbia

Inuvik region, arctic canada, best places to visit in canada in winter, 1. big white ski resort.

Big White Ski Resort - Places to visit in Canada in winter

The Big White Ski Resort in the winter is a sight to behold. The snow-capped mountain tops, fresh powder, and crisp air, make for an incredible experience. As you gaze out at the endless rows of colorful ski lifts, it’s hard not to be impressed by all that Big White has to offer.

Big White Ski Resort is a favorite winter destination for many Canadians and one of the best ski resorts in Canada for families. Located in the village of Big White, it’s just two hours from Kelowna International Airport and four hours from Vancouver International Airport.

The resort features excellent skiing with a variety of runs to choose from and lots of snow. In addition, Big White is popular for families because it has an excellent child-friendly ski school and equipment rental center.

Besides skiing and snowboarding, other winter activities at Big White are Nordic skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tubing, dog sledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides. There are also many cozy restaurants to enjoy a delicious meal at after skiing or snowboarding all day. The village at Big White is perfect for holiday shopping with stores that sell clothing and gifts.

Christmas is an enjoyable time to visit this family-run winter resort as the trees are decked out with Christmas lights, and each year, there are fireworks, a laser show, a Christmas market, and the kids will love seeing Santa glide down the slopes in his red suit.

There are a few choices of where to eat in Big White, including the Black Diamond Bar & Grill. The Clocktower Coffee Co has excellent coffee and makes a mean hot chocolate.

Recommended By Christina of Travel2next

2. Whistler

Whistler - Places to visit in Canada in winter

Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America. Powder hounds flock to Whistler each winter, but you do not have to be a snowboarder or skier to appreciate the magnetic and relaxed mountain culture. Take a snowmobiling tour through the majestic snow-covered trees of the backcountry or walk through a forest of enchantment at Vallea Lumina.

Fly through the snow-covered valley on a zipline excursion, like this one . Try one of Whistler’s most unique activities by taking a ride in a passenger bobsleigh, or the public skeleton. Or explore the winter wonderland on a snowshoeing tour.

One of the best places for dinner is the Longhorn Saloon & Grill in Whistler Village. The restaurant is located at the base of Whistler Mountain, so it is among all the action. Usually, there is a DJ and it has a fun party atmosphere.

For breakfast, take a short drive to the Southside Diner in Creekside. Their signature “bigass pancake” is the size of your head. It is a cozy diner that is very non-pretentious.

There is so much to experience and explore in Whistler, it is a destination you will want to return to.

Where to stay in Whistler : AAVA Whistler is a great mid-range hotel with an excellent location. It is only a short two-minute walk from Whistler Village and a five-minute walk from the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain gondolas.

If you are looking for a hotel on the fancier side, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler screams luxury.

Recommended By Debbie Fettback from World Adventurists

3. Vancouver

Cyprus Mountain, Vancouver - Places to visit in Canada in winter

Vancouver can often be known for its rainy winters but if you get up into the local mountains then the rain turns to snow and you get to enjoy a winter wonderland. There are three local mountains in Vancouver, Grouse , Cypress and Seymour, and they are all easily accessible from downtown.

Grouse can be accessed via public transit while Cypress and Seymour both run bus services of their own from downtown Vancouver. These mountains offer downhill skiing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and sledding and on clear days you get amazing views over downtown Vancouver and over into Howe Sound.

While getting into the mountains is a great way to enjoy the winter here, there are lots of other cool activities in and around the city that you can enjoy as well. As Vancouver is on the coast, it usually gets fairly mild winters and there is rarely snow at sea level. This means there are a lot of awesome winter hikes in Vancouver that you can enjoy like Quarry Rock, Diez Vistas and Norvan Falls that will usually be completely snow free.

Cycling along the famous Stanley Park Seawall is another great winter activity although you will want to make sure you bring gloves to keep your hands warm.

When you finish exploring for the day, Vancouver is home to plenty of great bars and restaurants, like Phnom Penh and the Hawksworth , so you can enjoy some delicious food to finish off a great day. Whether you want to spend time skiing in the mountains, hiking or just exploring the city, Vancouver is a great place to visit in the winter.

Where to stay in Vancouver : Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront

Recommended By Luke Storey of Wild About BC

4. Revelstoke

Revelstoke - Places to visit in Canada in winter

In the heart of British Columbia lies the charming town of Revelstoke with its stunning natural beauty and big mountain energy. The greatest appeal of the area is its exceptional skiing and snowboarding offering throughout the winter period. With the longest vertical in North America, skiing in Revelstoke offers a tantalizing challenge and a serious adrenaline rush.

Revelstoke, in its 12 years of opening, has garnered a reputation for heli skiing. There are various tours available, such as the Eagle Pass Heli ski and Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing, or you can go cat skiing if the weather’s too harsh for heli skiing. There’s something for everybody if you visit Revelstoke during the Christmas period, from “catch the gingerbread man” to Winter Wonderland. It’s a lively, festive place for the holiday period – for kids and adults alike.

Revelstoke is fairly remote but there are a number of options for getting there;

  • Bus transfer : Busbud offers transfers from Calgary to Revelstoke in 6 hours.
  • Hire a car : If road trips are a part of your plan, then why not rent a car? Just be aware of jams and potential avalanches on the highway!
  • Ridesharing : Join the Facebook group Revelstoke Rideshare, where you can hitch a ride with someone already driving in your direction.

Where to stay in Revelstoke : Sutton Place Hotel is a fantastic place to stay, being located right at the base of the mountain. The hotel also offers spa facilities, including an outdoor heated pool, outdoor hot tubs, a gym, plus an indoor hot tub with stunning views over the mountains.

Recommended By Jessie Moore of Pocket Wanderings

Banff - Places to visit in Canada in winter

There is simply no better place to visit in Canada than Banff. Nestled between the almighty Canadian Rockies, Banff in winter is simply a winter wonderland with many activities to do.

To start it off, Banff is a beautiful town surrounded by pristine nature and alpine peaks. In the main street of Banff, visitors will find boutique shops, restaurants, and plenty of château-style hotels to host their stay.

When you are not enjoying the facilities inside the town of Banff, there are plenty of winter activities near Banff. Start off with a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain , where you are taken 698 meters above the town of Banff. Here you will be blessed with immaculate views of some of the snow-capped giants in the region.

No Banff trip in winter is complete without skiing or snowboarding at the Lake Louise Ski Resort . After a busy day, don’t forget to finish off with a relaxing soak in the Banff Upper Hot Springs.

Where to stay in Banff : Elk + Avenue Hotel

Recommended By Sean Lau of Living Out Lau

6. Lake Louise

Lake Louise Ski Hill - Places to visit in Canada in winter

When in search of a beautiful winter destination in Canada, it is impossible to overlook Lake Louise. The famous lake freezes over, and the surrounding mountains and forests are draped in a thick layer of impenetrable Albertan snow. Lake Louise really is a winter wonderland waiting to be explored.

What makes this place a truly unique winter destination is the number of amazing winter activities to do in Lake Louise . Whether you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ice-skate on Lake Louise, or whether you prefer the challenge of conquering the back bowls on your skis at the world famous Ski Resort, Lake Louise has something to offer for everybody.

For a truly memorable winter experience in Lake Louise, try and plan your visit to coincide with the enchanting ice magic festival from mid-late January. A number of ice-sculptors from around the world converge on Lake Louise to compete in an international ice-carving competition – the fruits of their labor are truly spellbinding. There is no denying that Lake Louise is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Canada in Winter.

W here to stay in Lake Louise : If you are looking for a luxury winter stay in Banff National Park, it is difficult to look beyond the acclaimed 5-star hotel, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise . If you prefer a more budget friendly option, then perhaps Lake Louise Inn , found in the village of Lake Louise, will be more suited.

Recommended By Ben from Ticket 4 Two Please

7. Winterlude on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa

Winterlude - Places to visit in Canada in winter

Ottawa is home to the Rideau Canal which freezes over every winter to become the world’s largest outdoor skating area. The full length is 7.8 km (4.8 miles) and it is usually open from early January to early March, depending on weather conditions.

During the month of February, an outdoor festival called Winterlude takes place on and around the Rideau Canal to celebrate the unique winter climate and culture of Canada.

This event features ice carving competitions, illuminated snow sculptures, musical and artistic performances and various sports races and competitions. The highlight of the festival is skating down the canal and there are skate rental facilities, warming areas, and kiosks which sell hot chocolate and a traditional cinnamon sugar fried pastry called a ‘Beavertail’. For visitors who are not comfortable skating, it is also possible to walk along the canal.

For dining options, try the Byward Market or Elgin Street for a variety of restaurants to choose from. There is also a large shopping mall with a food court called the Rideau Centre right next to the main entrance of the canal.

Ottawa has a public transit system with buses and light rail which will drop visitors close to the canal entrance. During the Winterlude festival, there are free shuttles running between different event sites throughout the city.

Where to stay in Ottawa : For accommodation, visitors can try the Chateau Laurier Hotel for a luxurious experience, or the Westin Hotel or for quick and easy access to the canal skating area.

Recommended By Claire of Claire Pins Travel

Toronto - Places to visit in Canada in winter

Toronto is a brilliant winter destination to explore in Canada’s colder months as it offers a unique opportunity to explore the city covered with snow. Toronto doesn’t slowdown in the winter as Canadians are well-used to the cold temperatures, so there’s plenty of things to do in Toronto to keep you busy. There are plenty of ice-skating rinks around for those wanting to test their abilities on the ice and ice hockey season is in full swing.

Toronto also has plenty of indoor experiences to help you stay warm during the winter, such as a tasting flight of your favorite beer or spirit in the Distillery District , a stroll with the kids through the brilliant Aquarium or simply snuggling up in a cozy pub with a plate of poutine.

The city’s most famous attraction, the CN Tower, also offers up incredible views of the snow-covered city – a perspective best appreciated from the observation deck way above ground level.

Finally, a rugged-up stroll through Toronto’s Graffiti Alley is a chilly, but beautiful way to spend an afternoon. Graffiti Alley is a long laneway covered in artist murals – made all the more special when the snow is falling all around.

Where to stay in Toronto : The SoHo Hotel

Recommended By Emma of Emma Jane Explores

9. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls - Places to visit in Canada in winter

Most people think of Niagara Falls as a summer destination, but it is actually one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter. You can see the Falls covered in snow and there are a few special events for the season.

While you have a nice view from Queen Victoria Park, the best way to see Niagara Falls in winter is to take a helicopter ride . It’s a bit of a splurge but it’s an experience you will remember for a lifetime. Alternatively, you can watch the Falls as you enjoy dinner in the revolving restaurant at the top of the Skylon Tower.

At night, you can enjoy the illuminations on the Falls. Custom colors are used to mark significant dates and to show support for charitable causes. If you have a Falls view hotel room, you can enjoy the show without going out.

During the winter in Niagara Falls , there is also the Festival of Lights, one of the biggest light festivals in Canada. They have a 8 km route with over 2 million lights through several of the Niagara Parks and all around the town of Niagara Falls.

Nearby Niagara on the Lake, they have the Ice Wine Festival in mid to late January. During the festival, you can go to the glamorous Niagara Ice-wine Gala or more low-key outdoor street festivals. They offer a Discovery Pass that includes eight unique pairings at your choice of over 35 wineries.

Where to stay in Niagara Falls : Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa

Recommended By Anisa of Two Traveling Texans

10. Muskoka, Ontario

Muskoka - Places to visit in Canada in winter

One of the best places to visit in Canada in winter is the heart of Ontario’s cottage country, Muskoka. Located a couple of hours north of Toronto, Muskoka is one of Ontario’s top summer destinations. Many overlook it in the winter months, but there is a ton of things to do in Muskoka , especially for outdoor enthusiasts.

You will find lots of great hiking trails and parks that turn into winter wonderlands. Algonquin and Arrowhead Provincial Parks are great stops for snowshoeing and winter hiking.

There are also a bunch of great skate trails across Muskoka, like in Arrowhead and at the Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery. For the more adventurous you can try your hand at ice climbing, dog sledding or skiing.

Where to stay in Muskoka : If you are looking to plan a weekend or week-filled winter adventure in Muskoka there are two great places to base yourself. Huntsville is ideal for those looking to be close to the best provincial parks and ski resorts.

You will also find great restaurants in town to fuel your adventures like The Mill on Main. For those who want to stay in a Christmas movie-like small town then you will love Bracebridge . It’s home to three of the many waterfalls in Muskoka, cute shops and great restaurants like El Pueblito.

Recommended By Stephanie of The World As I See It

11. Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County - Places to visit in Canada in winter

One of the best places to visit in Canada in winter is Prince Edward County. Located on the shores of Lake Ontario a visit to Prince Edward County is a popular summer destination. However, as the days get shorter and the lake starts to freeze over Prince Edward County turns into a winter wonderland.

A visit to Prince Edward County means enjoying winter sports like ice skating, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing just to name a few things. However, what makes Prince Edward County so special is that it is home to amazing wineries and breweries where you can warm up after a day out enjoying the snow.

For example, bring your snowshoes (or rent them) and check out Sugarbush where you can go snowshoeing on that trail that takes you past the vineyards and is then followed by a wine tasting back in the tasting room. Or check out Midtown Brewing Company where you can grab a beer, a burger and then go ice skating on the rink right behind the brewpub.

And if you prefer to just skip the winter activities check out trail estates where you can sit in the large windowed tasting room and admire the snowy vineyards from the comfort of the heated tasting room.

Where to stay in Prince Edward County : The Empty Nest B & B

Recommended By Taima Ramsey of Poor In A Private Plane

12. Quebec City – Best For Winter Carnival

Quebec - Places to visit in Canada in winter

For a winter adventure like no other, you need to visit Quebec City during carnival. Carnaval de Québec is a 3-week long extravaganza where people come together to embrace winter and celebrate all the fun that comes with the cold temperatures, ice, and snow.

It’s an action-packed festival featuring everything from street parades and canoe races, to dance parties and snow baths.

The Plains of Abraham is a good place to start your visit since this is where many of the activities like ice sculpting competitions, dog sledding, ice fishing and sleigh rides take place. Ice skating is another fun activity that can be enjoyed across the city including Place D’Youville in the heart of the Old Town, and Pointe-aux-Lièvres where they have a 1.5 kilometre illuminated skating path.

For some thrills, you can try the icy slide on Dufferin Terrace at the foot of Château Frontenac, or better yet, join an ice canoeing excursion on the St. Lawrence River.

And of course, no visit to Quebec City in winter would be complete without meeting Bonhomme; he’s the carnival’s jolly mascot and master of celebrations. You can find him in his ice palace or making appearances at various events across town. He’s a 7-foot snowman wearing a red toque and arrow sash, so he’s hard to miss.

Where to stay on your trip to Quebec City : Hotel le Priori

Recommended By Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker

13. Val-David

Val David - Places to visit in Canada in winter

Val-David is a vibrant and one of the popular places to visit in Canada in winter. The charming French-Canadian village is located about an hour’s drive north of Montreal. Cross country skiers will find a network of groomed trails for all abilities in the natural areas surrounding the town. Le P’tit Trail du Nord is a linear park that runs right through downtown for fabulous cross country skiing. The reclaimed rail right-of-way travels 200 km from Saint-Jérôme and Mont-Laurier. You can also snowshoe into ice caves at the Val-David Regional Park.

Other winter activities include ice skating and hockey at the downtown ice rink with a cosy warming centre. A local outdoor equipment store has rental equipment for many winter outdoor adventures. Kids will love the Village du Pere Noel (Santa’s Village). There is snow tubing, farm animals to pet, and, of course, Santa Claus for the kids to enjoy.

Alpine ski enthusiasts will find many classic ski resorts within a short drive. Try out the slopes at Valle Bleu or Belle Neigh ski resorts. The Plushie ski trail at Belle Neigh, festooned with hundreds of stuffed animals, is a family favourite. The food and craft beer at Le Baril Roulant shouldn’t be missed. Sit out on the terrace to sip one of the 21 brews available while tasting the classic bistro food.

Where To Stay In Val-David : Le Baril Roulant has accommodations where cross country skiers can ski right out the door.

Recommended By Karen Warren of Outdoor Adventure Sampler

14. Iqaluit, Nunavut

Iqaluit - Places to visit in Canada in winter

Iqaluit , Nunavut is not a destination many people think to visit, largely because they are unaware of all it has to offer and how easy it is to visit. Nunavut is Canada’s largest territory, stretching from Manitoba all the way to the North Pole – and Iqaluit is its capital city.

Iqaluit sits on the coast of Baffin Island and features a landscape of distant mountains, expansive tundra and the Arctic Ocean. Despite its remoteness, you can reach Iqaluit on a single 4-hour flight from Ottawa. Iqaluit has several hotels, restaurants and activities.

Iqaluit lies right below the Arctic Circle, so in the winter there is nearly constant darkness. However, this makes Iqaluit an excellent place to see the northern lights. Two companies – Arctic Kingdom and Inukpak Outfitting – offer tours for northern lights viewing on the tundra. In addition, Inukpack offers dog sledding and snowmobiling.

To take advantage of these activities, visit Iqaluit at the end of winter when the days are beginning to get longer and the temperature isn’t quite so cold.

Also, ensure you bring a good camera and tripod for capturing the northern lights. Many tour guides are excellent photographers and will help you set up your camera to perfectly capture the experience.

Where to stay in Iqaluit : Aqsarniit Hotel and Conference Centre

Recommended By Mikaela of Voyageur Tripper

Inuvik - Places to visit in Canada in winter

Canada is known for its stunning wilderness. And what more unique than the Arctic, with its white open scenery of dry deserts over the frozen tundra. And the Northwest Territories of Canada, nestled between the Yukon in the West and Nunavut in the East, and by the Arctic Ocean in the North, is the perfect destination to appreciate the beauty of Arctic landscapes.

Yellowknife is the trendy city most people heard about. Still, other places like Inuvik are little gems that are worth getting off-the-beaten paths for anyone wanting to learn about traditional Arctic culture.

Come winter, the hiking trails turn sledding grounds, lakes welcome snowmobiles, and rivers turn ice roads. Drive a car over the frozen Mackenzie River all the way to the tiny outpost of Tuktoyaktuk, right by the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean. Among the top activities is dog sledding , where mushing a team of white huskies through the tundra is a thrilling must-do. Add spending a night camping on the tundra under the Northern Lights to make the trip a once-of-a-lifetime experience.

Home to the Inuit people, learn about their culture during the Muskrat Jamboree, usually held in March, where traditional dances and songs are performed. March is also when a free-ranging herd of reindeer comes through the North of Inuvik and can be observed during a snowmobile trip. Regardless of the activities, a visit to Arctic Canada in winter is a trip of a lifetime.

Where to stay in Inuvik : Nova Inn

Recommended By Patricia Pagenel of Ze Wandering Frogs

So, now that you know about all the incredible places to visit in Canada in winter, I hope it helps you plan your getaway to a winter wonderland. Let me know about your favorite pick from these destinations or suggestions in the comments below.

Thank you for reading our post! Check out our latest stories here and follow us on Facebook to see what we are up to next.

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Anjali Wadhwa (cheerfultrails) is a travel consultant and enthusiast who has traveled to 15+ countries. She shares about her explorations through her writings. You will find detailed itineraries, best travel tips and well experienced recommendations for food, transportation and hotels on her blog.

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Canada in Winter: 7 Best Places to Visit

Looking for the best places to visit in Canada in winter? Here’s a look at some of the coolest spots in Canada for all the winter feels – make sure to pack some warm clothes!

places to visit in canada for winter

When it comes to choosing the best places to visit in Canada in winter, there are a few factors to consider. For one, the weather. Obviously, you want to visit a place that is going to be cold enough to get the full winter experience. But you also don’t want it to be so cold that you can’t enjoy yourself. 

Another factor to consider is what you want to do while you’re there. Do you want to spend your time outdoors, enjoying the winter activities like skiing and snowboarding? Or would you prefer to spend your time indoors, exploring the cities and museums? 

places to visit in canada for winter

Finally, you’ll want to think about what kind of budget you have. Canada is a large country and there are many different places to visit, so you’ll want to make sure you choose a destination that fits your budget. 

To help you make your decision, here are some of the best places to visit in Canada in winter from my travels…

Where to Go in Canada in Winter

Fancy spending some of your winter in Canada? Here are the best places to visit!

1. Quebec City, Quebec , in winter

Quebec City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada and for good reason. The city is absolutely beautiful, especially in the winter. It’s also a great place for winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. And if you’re looking for a place to enjoy some indoor activities, Quebec City has plenty to offer, from museums and art galleries to restaurants and cafes.

places to visit in canada for winter

As the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec, Quebec City is the political centre of the province. The city is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its well-preserved architecture and history.

In winter the city is covered in a blanket of snow and the streets are lined with Christmas lights. Visit Quebec City in the winter, especially if you enjoy winter activities like skiing and snowboarding. Sit in a bar and you can see frost on windows in winter as you look out to the beautiful Canadian scenes.

Winter in Quebec City

Here are some things to do in Quebec City, Canada, in winter: 

  • Visit the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
  • Go ice skating at the Place d’Youville
  • Take a walk through the Quartier Petit Champlain
  • Visit the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
  • Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate at Café du Monde
  • Explore the Citadelle of Quebec
  • Go downhill skiing or snowboarding at Stoneham Mountain Resort
  • Visit the Musée de la Civilisation
  • Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Old Quebec
  • Go cross-country skiing in one of Quebec City’s many parks

2. Banff, Alberta , in winter

The little town of Banff is located in the Canadian Rockies. It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, as there are plenty of opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and camping. But even if you’re not the outdoorsy type, Banff is worth a visit. I went when I went camping in Canada a few years ago.

places to visit in canada for winter

The charming town is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the country and is also a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs. It’s surrounded by incredible mountain scenery that’s all the more impressive when covered in snow. This kind of scenery is what Canada is known for.

There are plenty of cute shops and restaurants here and if you’re looking for a unique Canadian souvenir , Banff is the place to find it. I bought a pair of hand-crafted moccasins made by a local First Nations artist.

Canada Banff, Alberta 

Here are some things to do in Banff Canada during winter: 

  • Visit Banff National Park
  • Take a scenic drive
  • Explore the town 
  • Go skiing or snowboarding
  • Visit a museum

3. Montreal, Quebec, in winter  

Montreal is the second largest city in Canada and the cultural and commercial capital of the Quebec province. Founded in 1642 as Ville-Marie by French colonists, it has a rich colonial history.

montreal weekend away

Any visitor to Montreal loves Old Montreal. You can see the Notre Dame Basilica here , and its intricate interior design with colourful stained glass windows, grandiose alters and detailed carvings. The church also has a crypt underground which is open to the public, and it is the final resting place for many influential people in the city.

Montreal is a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with plenty of parks and green spaces to explore in Canada in winter. It’s also a food lover’s paradise, with a wide variety of restaurants and cafes to choose from. And if you’re looking for a little nightlife, Montreal has plenty of bars and clubs to keep you entertained. 

You can find out more about what to do on a weekend in Montreal here. It’s also a really beautiful place to visit in Canada in autumn if you don’t fancy the chill of winter.

Montreal Winter Skyline

Here are some great things to do in Montreal, Canada, in winter:

  • Montreal has many parks, including Mount Royal Park and Saint Louis Park, where you can go for a walk or snowshoeing.
  • Warm up with a bowl of Montreal’s famous poutine.
  • Explore the city’s museums and art galleries, such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts or the McCord Museum.
  • Do some shopping at one of Montreal’s many markets, such as the Atwater Market or Jean-Talon Market.
  • Take a tour of the Old Port of Montreal.
  • Enjoy a meal at one of Montreal’s many restaurants, such as La Banquise or Toque!.
  • Go ice skating at one of Montreal’s many outdoor rinks, such as Atwater Park or Beaver Lake.
  • Party at one of Montreal’s many clubs and bars, such as Club Soda or Stereo.

4. Ottawa, Ontario, in winter

Ottawa is the capital of the country and a great place to visit in Canada in winter. The city is home to many of the country’s most important political and historical landmarks, as well as a variety of museums and art galleries. Ottawa is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with a number of parks and trails to explore. 

Winter in Ottawa, Ontario

Here are some things to do in Ottawa, Canada, in winter:

  • Visit the Parliament buildings
  • Explore the Byward Market
  • Skate on the Rideau Canal
  • Visit the Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Explore Gatineau Park

5. Toronto, Ontario , in winter

Toronto is the largest city in Canada and is a great place to visit in winter. The city has a wide variety of things to do, from exploring the art and culture scene to enjoying the nightlife. Toronto is also a great place to shop, with many different shopping districts to choose from. 

In winter in Toronto you can walk around the city and see the beautiful Christmas lights, go ice skating at Nathan Phillips Square, and enjoy some shopping at the Eaton Centre – a huge mall in the city. There is a lot to do in Toronto in winter.

Winter in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Here are some things to do in Toronto, Canada, this winter:

  • Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Go ice skating at Nathan Phillips Square
  • Visit the Royal Ontario Museum
  • Shop at the Eaton Centre
  • See a show at the Second City
  • Go for a walk in High Park
  • Visit the Distillery District
  • Shop at Kensington Market
  • Go skiing or snowboarding at Blue Mountain
  • Visit Niagara Falls for a day

READ MORE: How to Have the Best Weekend in Toronto

6. Vancouver, British Columbia , in winter

Canada’s west coast is home to beautiful Vancouver – a great place to visit all year round, but especially lovely in the winter. There are so many things to do in Vancouver , the city is home to many different parks and green spaces, as well as a variety of shops and restaurants.

canada in winter

If you’re looking for a little adventure, Vancouver is a great place to go skiing or snowboarding. The city is surrounded by mountains and the air is so fresh. You can walk around Stanley Park and see the Vancouver Aquarium. You could also go skiing at Cypress Mountain, and enjoy the spectacular views. If you don’t have long in the city, here are a few ideas of what to do in 24 hours in Vancouver .

Vancouver, Canada during winter

Vancouver during winter has a number of fun things to do: 

  • Take a walk or snowshoe through Stanley Park
  • Visit the Vancouver Aquarium
  • Go skiing or snowboarding at Cypress Mountain
  • Explore the different shops and restaurants in the city
  • Take a ferry ride to Vancouver Island

READ MORE: How to Do a Road Trip from Vancouver to Banff

7. Niagara Falls, Ontario, in winter

Canada’s Niagara Falls is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. The falls are absolutely stunning and are a must-see for anyone visiting the country.

Niagara Falls are partially frozen in winter, and the mist from the falls creates a magical winter wonderland. There are also a variety of winter activities to enjoy in Niagara Falls, like ice skating, sledding, and snowshoeing. If you’re looking for a place to stay, there are many hotels and resorts located near the falls.

Winter in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls has the following things to do during winter:

  • Ice skate at the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort
  • Sled down the Niagara Glen
  • Snowshoe along the Niagara River
  • Visit the Niagara Falls Ice Museum
  • Take a tour of the Niagara Falls Illumination
  • Stay at a hotel or resort near the falls

Winter in Canada

Canada during winter

When it comes to choosing the best places to visit in Canada during the winter, there are many factors to consider. The weather, what you want to do while you’re there, and your budget are all important factors but some of the best places to visit in Canada during winter include Quebec City, Banff, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Niagara Falls.

Where will you choose?!

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Hi, I'm Vicky! I wrote this. You can find me on all the social media @VickyFlipFlop. I love a bit of adventure, will try anything once, and have a strong passion for the local food and drink, whatever it may be. I'm here to help inspire you to travel to places a little out of your comfort zone, or at least to explore the usual destinations in a different way. Stay, have a look around, and if you have any questions – let me know below.

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Wow these all look incredible! I’m hopefully going soon and want to do the ski season in Banff, it looks stunning!

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8 Magical Winter Vacations in Canada For Families

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As the weather gets cooler and we get closer to the end of December, the winter season is on the horizon. Canadian Winters are known for cold temperatures, beautiful snowfalls and a wide variety of winter activities. Winter is one of the best seasons in Canada , as there are so many unique outdoor excursions that visitors can enjoy, including skiing , hiking, snowboarding, and sledding. 

If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Canada in winter, then you are in the right place.

Canada offers numerous beautiful winter vacation destinations for families of all ages, so let us guide you in selecting the right family vacation to enjoy during the winter months .

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The 8 Best Places to Visit in the Winter in Canada

Banff and lake louise, alberta, quebec city, quebec, whistler, british columbia, jasper national park, alberta, niagara falls, ontario, newfoundland and labrador, churchill, manitoba, prince edward island.

Map of where to find the best winter vacation destinations in canada with a collage oCanadaf canadian winter images

Banff and Lake Louise turn into a snowy winter wonderland with snow-covered mountains, frosty forests and frozen lakes that offer a tranquil environment and incredible photos. 

CA Best Winter Vacations in Canada - Lake Louise

The Banff and Lake Louise area is a hot spot for winter sports enthusiasts as there are multiple world-class ski resorts, including Sunshine Village , Lake Louise Ski Resort , and Mt. Norquay , which offer snowboarding and skiing for various skill levels. 

If you prefer enjoying the winter landscapes without the adrenaline rush of going downhill, then you will enjoy skating on the massive rink with the mountain backdrop. 

Lastly, if you’re looking for relaxation, then check out the Banff Upper Hot Springs or witness the Northern Lights dancing in the skies if you’re lucky.

Where to Stay: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and Fairmont Banff Springs  

  • Pro Tip: While the Fairmont hotels are truly amazing, there are lots of other nearby Rental Properties that would allow you to save money and still be close to Banff National Park.

The historic city of Old Quebec is a UNESCO heritage site that is a beautiful setting of cobblestone streets and heritage buildings that looks magical when covered in snow. 

CA Best Winter Vacations in Canada - Quebec City

Visitors can enjoy ice skating outdoors at a variety of locations. However, the most picturesque location is definitely the Plains of Abraham . Head to Mont-Sainte-Anne or Stoneham if you’re looking to enjoy some downhill skiing or snowboarding.

If you plan to visit Quebec in late January or early February, be sure to explore the renowned Carnaval de Quebec , which is one of the largest outdoor winter festivals in the world. This festive event is a historic Quebec tradition that transforms the city into a winter wonderland complete with outdoor activities, parades, and ice sculptures.

If you enjoy adventure, then try a toboggan ride at the famous hill at Dufferin Terrace that overlooks the St.Lawrence River. You can experience the thrill of ice canoeing on the frozen St. Lawrence River, which is a one-of-a-kind experience. 

Quebec is also known for having traditional cuisine like poutine (fries with cheese curds and gravy) and tourtière (meat pie) from a local restaurant.

Where to Stay: Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is a historic architectural gem that looks majestic when covered in snow.

  • Pro Tip: Quebec City can be very cold during the winter months, so dress warmly in layers, and be sure to pack a scarf as it can be quite breezy.

Whistler is a world-renowned location year-round for outdoor lovers and is especially popular in winter as it is a stunning alpine location with lots of winter activities. Whistler is a popular winter getaway from Vancouver for its world-class skiing and snowboarding.

CA Best Winter Vacations in Canada - Whistler

Those who enjoy a thrill but prefer to explore the forests rather than the mountains will enjoy snowmobiling or snowshoeing. Guests can experience the magical feeling of winter by taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the forest or grabbing some skates and enjoying an outdoor skating rink surrounded by snow-capped peaks.

Even if you don’t like playing outside in the snow, you will find lots to do as Whistler has multiple restaurants, bars and shops to explore. You will also find a variety of live entertainment options, such as live music, to enjoy in the evenings.

Where to Stay: Four Season Whistler Resort is located in the village and is a 5-minute walk to the mountain. Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club is a luxury resort offering both ski-in/ski-out rooms and a shuttle to Whistler Blackcomb, as well as over 5 different restaurants.

  • Pro Tip: Book in advance, as Whistler is probably the most popular winter destination in all of Canada. Whistler was the main venue for the 2010 Winter Olympics, so has become a popular tourist spot.

Similar to Banff, Jasper National Park offers another opportunity to explore the snow-covered Canadian Rockies and enjoy wildlife encounters, outdoor adventure opportunities and some great tranquil spots to relax.

CA Best Winter Vacations in Canada - Jasper National Park

Visitors will enjoy walking or snowshoeing through the untouched winter wonderland with frozen lakes, snow-covered mountains and beautiful snowy forests that may allow them to encounter some Canadian wildlife.

A unique experience near Jasper is visiting Maligne Canyon to take an ice walk. This guided excursion highlights ice formations as you walk through frozen canyons. Another unique experience is enjoying the thrill of dog sledding through snowy trails, guided by a team of eager huskies.

Skiing and Snowboarding are available at Marmot Basin , and Lake Mildred is a popular spot for skating with the backdrop of the Canadian Rockies. To warm up after a day outside, visit the Miette Hot Springs to soak in the hot tubs surrounded by snow.

Where to Stay: Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is a luxury resort with a rustic wilderness feel yet world-class amenities.

  • Pro Tip: Make sure to make reservations in advance for the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk .

This natural wonder of the world is beautiful to visit during winter months as the falls and surrounding area transform into a snowy wonderland thanks to the frigid temperatures. The falls become partially frozen, and as the temperature drops the mist freezes on surrounding trees and rocks which creates beautiful ice formations.

CA Best Winter Vacations in Canada - Niagara Falls

There are opportunities to go ice skating near the falls as they operate 5 outdoor rinks during the winter. If you visit Fireman’s Park in the winter, you can often find kids enjoying tobogganing.

Lastly, Niagara Falls is beautiful to visit in the evening as it becomes illuminated and is a breathtaking visual against the frozen backdrop.

Where to Stay: Hilton Niagara Fallsview

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Visiting Newfoundland in the winter is another off-the-beaten-path expedition as it is not a very popular tourist location in the winter. 

CA Best Winter Vacations in Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador

In the winter, you can witness the spectacular iceberg formations along the coast in what is known as Iceberg alley where you can see various large chunks of snow and ice that have broken off from glaciers and float along towards Labrador.

Another unique winter experience is taking a winter whale watching tour . Newfoundland is one of the places where you can view whales, seabirds, and icebergs all in one location as whales and birds migrate north and the icebergs sail south.

Lastly, take some time to explore the winter beauty of Gros Morne National Park ’s by snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling, and if you’re brave, you can even try winter camping.

Where to Stay: Old Salt Box Houses

Churchill, Manitoba is the Polar Bear Capital of the World and offers a unique Arctic experience. Some of the excursions and experiences you can enjoy in winter here are unique as they can only be experienced here or in the Arctic. The clear, dark skies of Churchill are ideal for catching the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).

CA Best Winter Vacations in Canada - Churchill

Polar bears migrate to Hudson Bay, making Churchill one of the best places to see these majestic creatures up close in their natural environment as you take a guided tundra buggy tour. You may also encounter other Arctic wildlife, such as arctic foxes, snowy owls, seals and other unique birds that do not migrate during winter.

Churchill provides a chance to experience the Arctic environment up close, such as dog sledding through snowy landscapes with a team of huskies or enjoying the ice by ice fishing, skating or snowmobiling on the frozen lakes.

Lastly, learn about the local Indigenous culture and heritage through cultural programs and events that provide insight into the history of the region.

Where to Stay: Lazy Bear Lodge is a unique gem as it is built with wood from the Boreal forest, recycled windows from the 1800s Hudson Bay Trading Post and a beautiful log cabin.

  • Pro Tip: Churchill can offer a unique natural experience viewing wildlife but it’s important to remember that it gets extremely cold in its Arctic-like environment, so you must pack appropriate gear.

Prince Edward Island (PEI) is not the most popular location to visit in the winter due to its extreme cold and high amounts of snow. However, it offers a unique winter landscape and activities.

PEI transforms into a winter wonderland with its rolling countryside, red sand beaches covered in snow, and frozen coastal landscapes, creating a serene and scenic backdrop for outdoor sports like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling on the island’s trails and natural areas.

CA Best Winter Vacations in Canada - Prince Edward Island

Since Prince Edward Island is located along the coastline, it is a prime destination for winter birdwatching. The nearby frozen lakes and rivers offer great locations to learn how to ice fish from local providers that provide gear and instruction.

Enjoy culinary delights in cozy restaurants as you warm up and enjoy fresh seafood and local specialities or check out local shops for handcrafted gifts and souvenirs made by local artisans.

Where to Stay : Mill River Resort offers campfires, fabulous food, and outdoor excursions all in one convenient location.

  • Pro Tip: Tourist amenities may have reduced hours or be closed during the off-season. 

Weather Conditions During Canadian Winters

You will find amazing family vacation ideas for winter in Canada, including festivals, snow-covered landscapes, outdoor activities and indoor experiences.

While Canada can be beautiful in the winter, snowstorms, blizzards, and extreme cold can influence your plans and can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. It is recommended to save road trips for the summer when the roads have better driving conditions. 

What Kind Of Clothes Should I Pack For Canada In Winter?

The winter season in Canada varies from cool to cold depending on what part of the country you are visiting, and the snowfall also varies as the East Coast sees much more snow than the West Coast. It is important to pack the following items to stay warm and comfortable:

  • Warm Winter Clothing: layering is best
  • Insulated jackets
  • Waterproof boots
  • Mittens, hats and scarfs

Tips for Going on a Winter Getaway in Canada:

  • Book accommodations in Advance : Popular winter resorts such as ski lodges book up very quickly and won’t be able to accept last-minute arrivals
  • Plan a mix of indoor and outdoor activities: While outdoor activities are a must, plan some indoor exploration such as museums, art galleries or cafes to give yourself an opportunity to warm up
  • It’s important to stay up to date on weather conditions if driving and it is advised to only use cars with snow tires (this is a law in some provinces )
  • We have further winter road trip safety tips you should make yourself familiar with if you’re new to driving in snowy and icy conditions.

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10 Best Places to Visit in Canada in Winter for Snow Lovers

10 Best Places to Visit in Canada in Winter

If you’re chasing the chill, look no further than our guide to the best places to visit in Canada in winter.

Get ready to explore frost-kissed landscapes that will make any snow lover’s heart skip a beat. From the peaks of Whistler to the icy elegance of Niagara Falls, we’ve got an unforgettable winter adventure lined up for you.

So bundle up, and let’s dive into Canada’s frozen wonderland!

1. Niagara Falls, Ontario

In the heart of Ontario, where the Niagara River roars, lies an astonishing natural wonder – Niagara Falls. A picture-perfect postcard in summer, the landscape here turns into a snowy paradise when winter arrives.

The icy mist settling over the trees around the falls crystallizes, turning the entire area into a frozen wonderland. The Winter Festival of Lights illuminates the surroundings, turning the icy falls into a magical kaleidoscope of colors. Don’t forget to sample the famous Niagara Icewine at the festival of the same name, where local vineyards celebrate this sweet, rich delicacy.

Around the corner, there’s the Butterfly Conservatory – a tropical oasis amidst the winter chill – and the vibrant Clifton Hill, filled with attractions that add warmth to the frosty winter days.

Quick Travel Tip: Dress in layers and wear sturdy boots to navigate icy paths comfortably.

2. Quebec City, Quebec

Quebec City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, turns into a fairy-tale town during winter. The architecture of this French-speaking city, particularly in Old Quebec, becomes even more charming dusted with fresh snow.

Join the locals in celebrating the world-renowned Quebec Winter Carnival, complete with ice sculptures, parades, and the famous Ice Palace. Experience a night at the Ice Hotel, a remarkable structure made entirely of snow and ice – it’s an icy adventure you’ll remember forever!

Quick Travel Tip: Learn a few basic French phrases – it will endear you to the locals and enrich your Quebec experience.

3. Ottawa, Ontario

Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, shimmers with ice and snow in winter. The city becomes a hub of winter activities with the Winterlude Festival, and the Rideau Canal transforms into the world’s largest outdoor skating rink.

Spend a day exploring the city’s many museums and galleries, all wonderfully quiet and serene during winter. The Canadian Museum of History and the National Gallery of Canada are particularly worth a visit.

Quick Travel Tip: Hire a pair of skates and join locals on the Rideau Canal – it’s an experience like no other!

4. Banff National Park, Alberta

One of the crown jewels of Canada, Banff National Park, showcases nature’s stunning beauty with its snow-capped mountains, icy-blue lakes, and majestic wildlife.

Try your hand at skiing, snowboarding, or ice climbing, or take a peaceful gondola ride to enjoy panoramic views. End the day with a soak in the Banff Upper Hot Springs, surrounded by snow-laden trees and the tranquil silence of winter.

Quick Travel Tip: Watch for wildlife – winter is a great time for spotting elk, deer, and if you’re lucky, wolves!

5. Whistler, British Columbia

Famous for its mountains, Whistler turns into a snow-sport paradise during winter. With world-class skiing and snowboarding facilities, it’s a dream destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

Moreover, the Whistler Film Festival and the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival light up the snowy winter days and provide a lively cultural experience amidst the frosty weather.

Quick Travel Tip: Try the Peak 2 Peak Gondola ride for breathtaking views of the winter landscape.

6. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Yellowknife offers a truly unique winter experience. This small northern city is one of the best places to witness the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis. Winter nights here come alive with dancing green lights, creating an otherworldly spectacle.

Participate in the Snowking Winter Festival, where a giant castle made of snow and ice is the primary attraction. Or, try your hand at ice fishing – a calm and fascinating activity that’s quintessential to the North.

Quick Travel Tip: Dress in thermal clothing to protect against the frigid temperatures while waiting for the northern lights to appear.

7. Churchill, Manitoba

Churchill, often known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” is an intriguing winter destination. Embark on a Tundra Buggy Adventure to safely witness polar bears in their natural habitat. If you’re lucky, you might even spot beluga whales!

Dog sledding is another must-do in Churchill. Glide through the frosty landscapes led by a team of enthusiastic huskies. At night, be sure to look up and catch a glimpse of the northern lights painting the sky.

Quick Travel Tip: The best time to see polar bears is in November when they begin their move from the tundra back to the pack ice.

8. Jasper National Park, Alberta

An authentic Rocky Mountain experience awaits you in Jasper National Park. The park’s natural beauty, amplified by winter’s touch, is awe-inspiring. The Maligne Canyon Ice Walk is a unique experience, allowing you to explore frozen waterfalls and ice caves.

Hit the slopes of Marmot Basin for a day of exhilarating skiing or snowboarding. And, don’t miss the Jasper in January festival, offering a variety of winter activities, food and wine events, and live entertainment.

Quick Travel Tip: To truly appreciate the park’s beauty, consider a guided tour for the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk.

9. Lake Louise, Alberta

Tucked away in Banff National Park, Lake Louise offers a stunning winter retreat. This glacial lake turns into an icy expanse under the spell of winter and is renowned for its exceptional natural beauty.

Embark on a snowshoeing adventure along the lake’s trails or go cross-country skiing in the Lake Louise Ski Resort, home to some of the best terrains in North America. For the less adventurous, a serene sleigh ride around the lake might be more appealing.

Do visit the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, where you can try ice skating on the frozen lake or enjoy a steaming cup of cocoa with panoramic views of the surrounding winter scenery.

Quick Travel Tip: For an unforgettable experience, try ice climbing in the nearby icefalls – professional guides and equipment are readily available.

10. St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

St. John’s, the easternmost city in North America, has a unique charm in winter. It’s famous for its colorful row houses, affectionately known as ‘Jellybean Row,’ which look particularly enchanting under a blanket of snow.

Visit the historic Signal Hill for a stunning view of the city and the icy Atlantic Ocean. If you’re into winter sports, head to Pippy Park for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. St. John’s also hosts the annual Mummers Festival in winter, where locals dress in disguise and parade around the city – a fun and unique Newfoundland tradition.

A trip to Cape Spear, the most easterly point of North America, is a must. On clear nights, you might be fortunate enough to witness the mesmerizing display of the Northern Lights.

Quick Travel Tip: Try local seafood delicacies while in St. John’s – winter is the best time for fresh Newfoundland seafood.

The Great White North is more than just its summer charm. As you can see, the best places to visit in Canada in winter each offer a unique blend of nature’s majesty and man-made delights. From the icy magnificence of Niagara Falls to the spectacular northern lights in Yellowknife, Canada’s winter wonderland awaits.

So, embrace the cold. Don your warmest gear and prepare for a winter journey that promises to be as exhilarating as it is beautiful. You just might find that Canada in winter is your new favorite destination.

Additional Travel Tips

Remember, winter travel requires a bit of extra planning. Dress warmly in layers, and always have a sturdy pair of boots. Consider purchasing winter travel insurance, as weather can sometimes be unpredictable. Lastly, if you plan to drive, ensure your vehicle is winter-ready and you’re comfortable with winter driving conditions.

Canada, with its winter wonderland charm, awaits your visit. So pack your bags, and let the magic of a Canadian winter captivate you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should i pack for winter travel in canada.

For winter travel in Canada, you should pack warm clothing. This includes thermal underlayers, a heavy winter coat, snow boots, gloves, and a hat or ear muffs. You may also want to pack sunglasses for the bright reflection off the snow.

When is the best time to visit Canada for winter activities?

The best time for winter activities in Canada usually ranges from late November through late March. This is when snowfall is most abundant, making it the perfect time for skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and other winter activities.

Is it safe to drive in Canada during the winter?

Yes, it is safe to drive in Canada during the winter, but you need to be prepared. Ensure your vehicle is winter-ready with good tires, and carry an emergency kit. Always check the weather conditions before starting your journey, and be comfortable with winter driving skills.

Can I see the Northern Lights during winter?

Yes, winter is one of the best times to see the Northern Lights in Canada. The long, dark nights in northern regions like Yellowknife and Churchill provide perfect conditions for viewing this natural spectacle.

Are attractions in Canada open during winter?

Absolutely, many attractions in Canada remain open during the winter. While some national parks and historic sites may have limited access, cities often have festivals and events, and winter sports are in full swing. Always check in advance for specific hours and availability.

places to visit in canada for winter

About Ronaldo Stewart

Wantigo was born out of a deep passion for exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. With a keen sense of adventure and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I’ve traveled far and wide, immersing myself in the beauty and wonder of the world.

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Road Trip Ontario

13 Best Places To Visit In Ontario During Winter

places to visit in ontario during winter

Ontario is a large province with many activities and attractions for all kinds of people. Whether you love spending your time in the confines of a city or being out and about in nature, you won’t go wrong with these places to visit in Ontario during winter.

The province turns into a winter wonderland packed with dozens of activities during the cold months. From skiing trails and outdoor rinks to Christmas markets and art galleries, deciding where to go in Ontario can be difficult. If you find yourself in that predicament, don’t worry any further. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on the best places to visit in Ontario in winter. With this guide, you’ll be fully informed about your preferred winter getaways in Ontario .

Table of Contents

How Cold Does Ontario Get In Winter?

No matter how one looks at it, winter in Ontario can get cold. Frozen lakes, beautiful frozen waterfalls and vast blankets of snow type of cold. Being the second-largest province in Canada, Ontario has a variety of climates, ranging from extremely cold to relatively mild.

The secret to managing the coldness of Ontario during the winter is to dress in layers. Walking outside, you may find yourself in temperatures of -30°C or lower (when taking wind chill into account), but the cities generally stay around 0°C. Hence, we Torontonians start crying the minute mercury goes below 0°C.

Multiple layers on your body help you quickly adjust to the temperature changes while going in and out of buildings.

What to pack for winter in Ontario

It is important to dress appropriately for the coldest months of the year to make the most of winter. Layering is essential for staying warm, and materials like wool and thermal fabrics are great choices.

Adding a high-performance winter coat and snow pants to your wardrobe is also advised for outdoor activities. You also want to cover your extremities, as gloves, a toque, balaclava, scarf, and thick wool/thermal socks should all be included in your winter wardrobe.

Lastly, winter boots should reach up to the calf to allow you to traverse the snow easily.

The Best Winter Destinations in Ontario

If you’re set on spending winter in Ontario, here are some of the best sites to visit in this wonderland. 

Casa Loma, a Gothic Revival-style mansion dating back to the turn of the 20th century, is one of Toronto’s most renowned tourist attractions.

It is a popular spot for TV filming, photoshoots, weddings, and special events, boasting the awe-inspiring architecture and stunning estate gardens. Every year, the estate is transformed into a winter wonderland with enchanting decorations and lights. For an even more magical experience, visitors can explore the castle and its century-old artifacts.

best places to visit in ontario during winter

Toronto Christmas Market

The Toronto Christmas Market is one of the most highly-rated Christmas markets worldwide and is a must-see if you’re in Ontario during this period.

Every year, in November and December, the market is held in the Distillery Historic District. It offers many attractions, such as light canopies, cobblestone pathways, red-brick buildings, entertainers, and a 50-foot-high, fully adorned Christmas tree.

Whether you’re looking for unique gifts, souvenirs, stocking stuffers, clothes, handmade jewelry, or even a festive atmosphere, the Toronto Christmas Market has something for everyone. There are a variety of specialty shops selling an array of items, from postcards to pottery, and you can even indulge in some sweet treats from Eva’s Chimney Cakes or Brick Street Bakery.

To top it all off, nothing beats a cup of hot mulled wine or hot chocolate in the wintery weather! Trust us!

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, one of North America’s most famous landmarks, draws in millions of visitors annually. This natural wonder sits on the Canada-US border by the Niagara River and is a great visit all year round. However, the falls turn into a peaceful paradise without crowds in the winter — which is why I recommend visiting around this time.

Pathways boasting trees covered in snow, chunks of floating ice, and 50-meter cascades await here. If lady luck is on your side, you may see frozen parts of the falls. 

You can also enjoy 360-degree views from the Skylon Tower or on a 12-minute scenic helicopter flight above the falls. The former even features a revolving restaurant that ensures you enjoy the jaw-dropping scenery with delicious cuisine.

Stay until evening to enjoy the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights, where 8 km of the Niagara Parkway is lit up. This spectacle is especially mesmerizing in winter as the falls reflect the rainbow lighting.

places to visit in ontario

Blue Mountain

Blue Mountain is easily one of Ontario’s best places to go in winter. This winter wonderland is a treasure trove for anyone who loves winter sports. Skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, tubing, and the like are all offered.

I recommend going to the wondrous Blue Village to make the most of your visit. There are 42 tracks and 16 chairlifts, and lessons and gear rentals to help you take on the slopes. Once here, be sure to skate at the Woodview Mountaintop to enjoy panoramic views of the Niagara Escarpment.

Don’t fret if you aren’t a fan of adrenaline-filled winter activities — there are plenty of relaxing things to do in the town. Take in waterfront views and misty air while strolling through Sunset View Park. As an alternative, I recommend visiting a spa and enjoying serenity as the most capable hands pamper you. Since I consider the resort one of the top places to visit near Toronto in winter, I recommend you visit as part of a day trip from Toronto .

places to visit in ontario in winter

Rideau Canal Skateway

Rideau Canal Skateway is considered one of the quintessential winter places to visit in Ontario. Every winter season, this UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts thousands of visitors ready to put their feet to use. 

Once the canal has frozen over, it takes shape as the world’s largest skating rink, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The 7,8-kilometer-long rink offers you 165,621 m² of ice to skate on.

Tie your skates and glide around downtown Ottawa for the best stretch of the rink. Skaters here zoom past many of the iconic landmarks uniquely entrenched in Canadian history. Perhaps my favourite part of the downtown section of the canal is the opportunity to enjoy some delicacies from one of the kiosks here.

winter destinations in ontario

No winter trip is complete without a visit to the nation’s capital. During winter, the trees, buildings, streets, and everything in between get covered in fluffy white snow that makes for landscapes just begging to be photographed.

Not only does Ottawa look good during winter, but it also offers many Ontario winter activities . That is, of course, in addition to the marvellous Rideau Canal Skateway.

Top of the list is the Ottawa Winterlude *, a festival with something for everyone. For two weeks, attendants participate in ski racing, ice sculpting competitions, dancing parties and more.

Another activity you can’t miss is the Gatineau Loppet, a cross-country ski event with several races. Annually, over 2,000 skiers participate — and you can join in on the fun as anyone can register for it. Set up on the sides and watch the racers zoom down the slopes if you aren’t ready to compete in the competition.

*The Ottawa Winterlude has been cancelled for 2022, but keep an eye on their website for any changes.

winter destinations in ontario

Another city destination to consider as one of the places to visit in winter in Ontario is Kingston . It’s a student city on the Lake Ontario shore renowned for its beautiful scenery and limestone buildings.

Start your Kingston exploration with a stroll around Lake Ontario Park, which boasts scenic lake views. For more adventurous outdoor fun, opt for Frontenac Provincial Park, a haven of trails winding through a lush forest.

Afterwards, visit old Kingston to fill up some of the best coffee and food the city offers. Stroll the snow-covered streets admiring the landscape with a coffee in hand.

During the Christmas season, you’ll find dozens of Christmas markets selling everything from baked delicacies and light displays to gifts. For the other months, I recommend skating at Springer Market Square.

Kingston is also the gateway to the “Thousand Islands,” an archipelago with myriad outdoor activities.

winter in ontario

With good reason, Toronto is arguably Canada’s most popular tourist destination. It has a plethora of Ontario winter attractions in addition to the splendour on offer in the summer.

Many people come to Toronto for the Christmas markets, with the Distillery District being the most famous. During the festive period, raid these markets for spectacular gifts, ride a Ferris wheel, and get serenaded by local performers.

If you’re visiting after the Christmas decorations have been taken down, don’t worry, you won’t be left out to dry. The first stop should be Nathan Phillips Square, where you can skate in a rink with live DJs often around. Glide across the ice underneath brightly lit archways with the iconic Toronto sign in the background.

There are also some landmarks to stop at, the first being Casa Loma. The gothic mansion looks straight out of a fairytale and is even more majestic when the light displays are brought to life.

Secondly, visit the iconic CN Tower and stop at the observation deck or the restaurant. Once here, you’re spoiled with 360-degree views of the city’s skyline. If you’re brave enough, people-watch those on the ground through the tower’s glass floor.

places to go in winter

The Niagara Escarpment, museums and art galleries, a skiing center and hiking trails — that’s what Burlington has to offer . This city is one of the nicest places to visit in Ontario in winter, with a good selection of indoor and outdoor fun.

In the outdoors, shred the slopes while snowboarding or skiing at the Glen Eden Ski and Snowboard Center or take to the snow on a toboggan. Try snowshoeing through a part of the Bruce Trail for something less serious. During the hike, you’ll see plenty of greenery and awe-inspiring waterfalls.

Afterwards, replenish your energy at one of the bars, restaurants, and cafés driving the booming culinary scene.

Plenty of engaging activities await indoors if you aren’t down for some frosty outdoor fun. The first stops should be the ECHO Leahy Center or Ireland House Museum for any history buff interested in the city’s history. Check out over 1,000 ceramics from national artists at the Art Gallery of Burlington for the art enthusiast.

places to visit near toronto in winter

When it comes to natural beauty in winter, there may not be a city in Ontario that compares to Hamilton. This small town is home to over 100 waterfalls, all of which are worth chasing. They make for fantastic photo ops and are also a marvel.

Besides Niagara Falls, Hamilton is the best place to visit in Ontario for frozen cascades. Often, the waterfalls here freeze solid and create a mesmerizing palette of snow whites and pale blues with stone backgrounds. 

If you’d like to enjoy this fantasy-like phenomenon, it’s best to visit around January. Some of the more popular cascades here are Tiffany Falls, Webster Falls, and Felker’s Falls.

Unlike the more popular cities of Ottawa and Toronto, Hamilton’s downtown area isn’t too lively. However, it boasts incredible light display decorations during the festive season, with a large Christmas tree as the show’s star.

places to see in ontario

Kitchener isn’t high on most people’s destination bucket lists for Ontario, which is what makes it a great getaway in my eyes. Despite its small-town vibe, there are a lot of fun things to do in Kitchener during the cold months.

At the top of the list is skating, skating, and skating. Okay, I may exaggerate a little, but the town has over 30 outdoor skating rinks, including those in neighbouring Waterloo. The one at Waterloo Public Square is arguably the most popular among these rinks.

If skating isn’t your thing, take to the slopes for more winter sports. The Chicopee Ski Club is most people’s go-to, with skiing, snowboarding, and tubing all waiting for you. You can opt for Chicopee Tube Park for some kid-friendly tubing for families. McLennan Park is a great alternative spot if you find Chicopee too crowded. 

Once you’ve had your fair share of fun, take in scenic snow-covered natural greenery and landscapes at the Huron Natural Area.

Indoors, you can enjoy a few interactive exhibitions at TheMuseum — they rotate every few months, so I can’t recommend any specific one. If museums don’t pique your interest, marvel at contemporary artwork by local and international artists at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (closed on Mondays).

places to visit in winter in ontario

West of Kitchener, you’ll find the quaint city of Stratford , which is most famous for being Justin Bieber’s hometown. Pop sensation aside, the city is another good place to visit in Ontario during winter.

Firstly, make your way to River Valley Winter Tube Slide and tube slide down one of eight lanes. Alternatively, you can move over snow on foot while snowshoeing, hiking, or trekking on various trails in Stratford. This can be done at the beautiful Wildwood Conservation Area and the Avon River Trail.

For a trail of a different kind, take a walk on the Chocolate Trail, that’s famous among those with a sweet tooth. This stretch of road is sprinkled with various chocolate stores selling some of Stratford’s best chocolates. Grab a bite at the Stratford Slow Food Market for more filling food between 10:00 and 13:00.

The Stratford Winterfest is probably the city’s most famous event. This fantastic festival is a real winter wonderland, with ice carving competitions, fat biking, sledding, and igloo building on offer. It’s incredible fun for the entire family and shouldn’t be missed.

ontario winter attractions

Algonquin Provincial Park

A national park should always be part of any travel itinerary for nature lovers. Ontario doesn’t disappoint in that regard, with Algonquin Provincial Park a quintessential visit for enjoying the province’s natural beauty.

The park has a network of trails varying in difficulty and length, so bring your snowshoes and get ready for a scenic hike amongst snow-covered trees. There are also some ski trails if you’d rather slide your way around the park, with the Fen Lake Ski Trail among the popular choices.

For the adrenaline junkies, you can explore the vegetation atop a snowmobile on the Bon Echo Loop. With 200 km of pathways and diners scattered around the area, you can make this a frosty full-day escape.

where to go in ontario

Matthews Maple Syrup

Canada is renowned for its sweet Maple Syrup. You will always find a bottle of that golden elixir in our place.

During the winter months, frozen maple taffy is a must-have and Matthews Maple Syrup is the place to experience it. At Matthews Maple Syrup’s sugar shack, guests have the opportunity to learn about maple syrup production and observe maple syrup being poured onto the snow to create frozen taffy.

As spring approaches and the weather warms up, visitors can gain further insight into maple syrup production and watch how sap is collected from maple trees and transformed into maple syrup.

Huntsville and Muskoka

Muskoka and the town of Huntsville are some of the most incredible places to see in Ontario during winter. It spoils visitors with many winter activities while surrounded by beautiful trees draped in snow.

In Hunstville, you can go back to when dogs were the chosen method for sledding. The trusted husky team will take you on a winter journey through the winter wonderland in Muskoka.

If you’d rather rely on your own two feet, go ahead and cover some of the skiing trails in Muskoka. For anyone who wants to go beyond the surface, grab your snowshoes and venture deeper into the backcountry.

Some outdoor skating rinks are begging to be shredded, offering excellent skating through a snow-covered forest.

best place to visit in ontario

Bruce Peninsula National Park

Visiting the Bruce Peninsula National Park in winter is a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the snow-covered landscape. The park is surrounded by Lake Huron, offering a peaceful environment to explore on foot or cross-country skis. You can admire the majestic icicles, snow-covered trees, and cozy cabins for rent for longer stays. For those who enjoy winter activities, there are plenty of trails to explore. Pack some books and warm clothes, and you will have a memorable winter experience!

Lake Nipissing

If you’re a Canadian or have been in the country for a while, you know how popular the sport of ice fishing is. Every year, millions of people carve holes and wait with bated breath (no pun intended) to catch a big one.

For this activity, Lake Nipissing is easily one of the top places to visit in Ontario. Create a hole on top of the frozen lake, get out your rod and wait. While the cold may be an obstacle, it will be worth the amount of joy of catching a fish.

Once you’ve caught one, get back into your cabin and start working on your meal. You can sink your teeth into it or enjoy a stroll outside while admiring the lake’s landscape. Tip: Since you may be outside for a long time, layer up for the best warmth.

best places to visit in ontario in winter

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park is the place to go if you’re looking to experience nature and its unique winter landscapes.

This park is the perfect winter getaway with its scenic hiking trails, lookouts, and stunning rock formations. For a truly unforgettable experience, take the 1.3 km Spillway Trail and weave through vertical rock walls, frozen canyons, and caves while admiring the snow-covered trees and valley from the lookout point.

To avoid crowds, it’s best to plan your trip during the off-season and reserve a permit in advance if visiting in peak season, as parking is limited. Despite being close to Toronto, you won’t be the only one there, but it will still be a peaceful and memorable visit.

Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve

The Torrance Barrens Conservation Area is ideal for sky-gazing, with its notably clear night sky, unobstructed horizon, and a limited number of trees. On a clear night, visitors to the Dark Sky Preserve can observe the Milky Way, satellites, and perhaps even shooting stars!

napanee tourism

Final Thoughts: Places to Visit in Ontario in Winter

Ontario is a massive province with many big and small towns and cities, parks, and natural attractions. Each place has a unique profile that offers myriad winter activities in Ontario for anyone willing to brave the cold. From tubing with family and zooming down the slopes to marvelling at local art and skating outdoors, there’s no shortage of fun here.

Pack your warmest items and prepare for an incredible winter wonderland. Whether you go to Ottawa, Hamilton, the Blue Mountains, or any other destinations here, you’re in for a fulfilling, frosty time.

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The Best Places to Visit in Canada

By Shelby Wax

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The expansive country of Canada is a destination to be reckoned with. Filled with a diversity of landscapes and welcoming people, Canada has pockets of beauty and charm across the nation complete with exciting food scenes, outdoor escapes, and breathtaking natural wonders. The birthplace of artists like Celine Dion, Drake, and Ryan Gosling is also a mecca for some seriously cool cultural hubs—making it the perfect place to witness the country’s next generation of exciting creatives.

Looking to head north and explore the Maple Leaf Nation? Read ahead for some of the best places to visit in Canada from coast to coast.

Give Into Nature at Banff National Park

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Marvel at the 2,564 square miles of wilderness with a visit to Banff National Park . A favorite Rocky Mountain escape in both summer and winter, this natural wonderland is filled with picturesque lakes, tree-covered peaks, and towering glaciers. In warmer months, come for the 1,000 miles of hiking trails, take gondolas up to the mountain summits for spectacular views, or hop in a canoe for a scenic excursion through the lakes. In snowy seasons, hit the world-class ski resorts or take to the trails in snow shoes.

Stay Here: Fairmont Banff Springs is a historic hotel in the region and a must-visit when staying in the park. The castle-like architecture is truly awe-inspiring, as is the impressive spa.

Hit the Slopes at Whistler

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Skiers and snowboarders from around the globe flock to the 8,000-acre property of Whistler Blackcomb Resort . The stunning mountainous retreat in British Columbia is a favorite thanks to its dynamic runs, ranging from beginner-friendly to some of the steepest in North America. (Word to the wise: don’t take Couloir Extreme unless you are practically a pro.) Winter sports fans will be happy to learn that they can easily access the mountain with an Epic Pass or daily lift ticket.

Outside of the slopes, visitors can enjoy a vibrant, yet laid-back après-ski culture (think more post-slope brews over Aspen champagne showers). Favorites at the base of the mountain include The GLC or Après Après. If you're not skiing or want a break from winter sports, enjoy a spa day or explore the charming town itself.

Stay Here: Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler is the perfect option for visitors who want a luxe mountain experience. The resort offers both suites and townhouses if you want to bring the whole family or a group of friends. Just a short five-minute walk or shuttle to the slopes from a ski concierge, it’s easy to enjoy the hotel and the mountain.

Explore the Harbors of Prince Edward Island

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Canada’s smallest province is full of charm. Perhaps most famous as the setting of the book series Anne of Green Gables , Prince Edward Island is full of stretches of beaches, lighthouses, strawberry fields, and quaint towns. Walkers and cyclists can enjoy the newly opened Island Walk, which offers a 435-mile trail around the province to explore. Make sure to stop at the preserved village of Charlottetown, see the red sand beaches, and enjoy the local fare including incredibly fresh mussels and oysters at Blue Mussel Cafe . For accommodations, choose between elegant country inns and rustic bed and breakfasts around the island.

Taste the Cuisine of Montreal

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Foodies and Francophiles should make a beeline for Montreal, the cultural metropolis of Québec. The French influence on the local architecture, language, and cuisine is strong, but expect more Canadian-friendly charm than Parisian directness. Plan ahead to secure reservations at Vin Mon Lapin for the most creative, high-end (but surprisingly low-key) dining in the province with an incredible natural wine selection. You can also book a table or bar seat at L’Express for a classic brasserie experience. (Pro tip: don’t end your meal without ordering the incredible île flottante for dessert.) Vin Papillon is another favorite for an elevated yet casual meal with plenty of impressive wines by the glass, while Le Passé Composé takes brunch to the next level. Of course, your culinary adventure in Montreal is not complete without a visit to St.-Viateur for their iconic bagels or La Banquise for a late-night snack of poutine.

For scenic moments, explore the European buildings in Vieux-Port, walk along the Lachine Canal, or see the entire city from Kondiaronk Belvedere. For shopping, head to Mile End’s vintage haven Marché Floh or make an appointment at SSENSE for a personal shopping experience through the latest designer collections.

Stay Here: Hôtel William Gray is a modern escape within the Vieux-Port neighborhood. Complete with well-appointed rooms, a rooftop bar with an excellent view, and a luxe spa, it’s a perfect location to return to after your late-night excursions. A favorite local speakeasy The Coldroom can even be found right across the street.

Experience the Majesty of Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls is an incredibly popular tourist destination for a reason. The awe-inspiring waterfalls are a sight that can’t be missed. After taking a boat tour to experience the landmark, consider heading a little north to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a calmer, more elevated experience away from the flashiness of Niagara Falls. The 19th-century town is home to an acclaimed theater festival as well as wineries, nearby hiking, and spas.

Embrace City Living in Toronto

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As the biggest and most diverse city in the country, you can find practically anything within Toronto’s varied neighborhoods. From incredible Michelin star winners like Alo Restaurant to Jamaican-Asian favorite Patois, the food scene alone makes the city worth a visit. Tourists can check out the city views from CN Tower or explore the grounds of the Allan Gardens Conservatory. For a cultural outing, head to The Royal Ontario Museum or check out one of the city’s many festivals.

Stay Here: The Drake Hotel is not only known for its modern, maximalist design, but it also serves as a hub for art and events. You can find DJs performing on the rooftop during warmer months and live bands performing at the Drake Underground all year round.

Go Wine Tasting in Kelowna

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If strolling in vineyards alongside a lake is your cup of tea, then make a trip to Kelowna in British Columbia. The region alongside Okanagan Lake is home to over 40 wineries producing wines ranging from Zinfandel to Pinot Noir. Mission Hill Family Estates is a popular spot to visit, as is Quail’s Gate Winery, but custom wine tour operators can take you to a number of the area’s more unique producers. For the outdoorsy visitor, plenty of hiking and biking trails are available throughout the landscape.

Enjoy the Laid-Back Ambiance of Vancouver

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Head to the west coast of Canada to visit the beautiful waterfront city of Vancouver . The country’s third most populous city has a beautiful balance between indoors and out. The walkable metropolis has great restaurants, a thriving LGBTQ+ scene, and thrilling nightlife, as well as forest escapes just at the borders of the city. The enormous Stanley Park is a must-see during the warmer months and if you’re not afraid of heights, arrange a visit to Capilano Suspension State Park to walk the 450-foot-long bridge above a canopy of trees.

Stay Here: Fairmont Pacific Rim is a contemporary retreat along the waterfront with spectacular views. The restaurant and cocktail bar Botanist is a local favorite, while guests can also enjoy an on-site Taschen library and rooftop pool.

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places to visit in canada for winter

10 Best Places To Visit In Canada If You Love Nature And Outdoor Adventures

  • Explore the polar bear capital of the world in Churchill, Manitoba and witness the amazing sights of polar bears during fall. Don't miss the opportunity for whale watching and year-round views of the northern lights.
  • Immerse yourself in the natural paradise of Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Enjoy water sports like fishing and kayaking on the lakes and rivers, while the forests and mountains provide ample opportunities for hiking and biking adventures.
  • Discover Whistler, a ski paradise with trails for all skill levels. In addition to skiing, enjoy hiking, ziplining, and other amazing adventures. Explore the charming town with its restaurants, bars, and shops.

Canada is a massive country with many things to offer. For those who love nature and outdoor adventures, this country is the perfect choice. Here, one will find everything from towering mountains to massive lakes, charming towns, picturesque coastlines, and every other thing needed for an unforgettable adventure.

In all honesty, the list of nature and adventure destinations in Canada is inexhaustible, but these have been carefully selected to save travelers the dilemma of what to choose and also give them an unforgettable experience.

Churchill, Manitoba

Churchill is a unique town in Manitoba, situated by Hudson Bay and renowned as the polar bear capital of the world. During fall, these polar bears come out in huge numbers, offering visitors the opportunity to get on safari rides and take in the amazing sights.

In summer, Beluga Whale migration sightings are a top priority for visitors here. Plus, the northern lights are visible in this town nearly all year round, which makes it an irresistible town for outdoor recreation.

  • Things to enjoy: Whale watching, shopping, aurora borealis, wildlife watching

Related: These Are The Best Things to Do in Churchill Beyond Polar Bear Viewing

Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

The Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario is one of the largest parks in Canada . This park is a nature paradise with different ecosystems and landscapes that offer amazing scenery and plenty of outdoor adventures.

While numerous lakes and rivers set the stage for water sports such as fishing and kayaking, the forests and mountains are perfect for hiking and biking adventures.

The park is also home to diverse wildlife such as mammals, reptiles, birds, and amphibians.

  • More things to enjoy: Skiing, snowboarding, stargazing

For lovers of skiing, Whistler is one of the best destinations for the sport in the world. In winter, this place becomes a ski paradise filled with lots of ski trails for all skill levels and several other amazing attractions including a small charming town that has several facilities like restaurants, bars, and shops.

Besides skiing, Whistler also offers several other amazing adventures like hiking and ziplining.

  • More things to enjoy: Mountain biking, winter sports, gondola rides, mountain climbing, golfing

Related: 10 Reasons To Visit Whistler, Canada This Winter

Okanagan Valley

The Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, is an exciting destination to spend quality outdoor time. The valley is filled with evergreen forests, lush vineyards, and beautiful laid-back villages with pine-forested hills.

It also encompasses the Okanagan Lake, where water sports like kayaking, paddling, and fishing are active in summer. The lake is home to dozens of beaches suited for picnics, sunbathing, sightseeing, and strolling. In the winter, the valley is a hotspot for skiing at the Big White and Crystal Mountain Ski resorts.

  • More things to enjoy: Boating, hiking, train rides, wine tasting,

Big Muddy Badlands, Saskatchewan

The Big Muddy Badlands in Saskatchewan offers the ideal wilderness experience and nature's unspoiled beauty. Here, visitors will find ancient caves, cliffs, peaks, and a 200 feet Castle Butte, made of sandstone and compressed clay that rises to the sky.

The Badland is also a historical site with the famous Buffalo Jumps, a place where buffalos were forced to jump off cliffs. The area also encompasses the Big Muddy Valley, Big Muddy Lake, and the Buffalo Effigy, all iconic sites worth visiting.

Exploring the vast wilderness here on hikes and treks can satiate one's hunger for the outdoors.

  • More things to enjoy: Cave exploration, hiking, train rides

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

The Capilano Suspension Bridge that crosses over the Capilano River in Vancouver is a paradise for outdoor buffs. This iconic bridge passes through a rainforest filled with lush cedar trees and other flourishing giant trees that ooze their scents into the atmosphere.

It features seven suspended footbridges for sweeping views of the entire forest as one takes the glorious walk. There's a cliff walk 300 feet high that offers a bird's eye view of the entire vegetation and river, sending rushes of adrenaline down the body. Crossing this bridge is truly adventurous and unites one with nature.

  • More things to enjoy: Birdwatching, and hiking

Tofino, Vancouver Island

Tofino is a small picturesque resort town in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, that attracts tons of tourists all year round. The coastline of this town is a playing field for outdoor enthusiasts who love water sports activities.

Surfing the ocean, sunbathing, hiking, watching whales, and fishing are the top activities here. For more excitement, one can take a boat to Marquinna Marine Provincial Park, where its natural hot springs are a delight to experience.

The Big Trail on Meares Island, accessible by boat or kayak, is another hotspot for outdoor recreation, with a boardwalk through a lush forest.

  • More things to enjoy: Beach walking, surfing, amazing dining, shopping

Bay Of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick is one of Canada's natural wonders . The Bay is notable for its low and high tides that make its shores a high point of interest.

Here, visitors will find the interesting Hopewell Rocks where visitors can observe the tidal movements, take amazing pictures and feel the wonders of nature. Plus, the beaches and shores of Fundy Bay are home to some interesting fossils.

  • Things to enjoy: Whale watching, kayaking, and hiking

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is perhaps the most famous natural attraction in Canada. When in Canada, visitors can visit the waterfalls from Ontario and enjoy the several amazing adventures and incredible natural scenery the attraction offers.

At Niagara Falls, there are opportunities for exciting activities like zip lining, helicopter riding, and hiking. There are also opportunities for boat tours and visitors can even climb the Skylon Observatory Tower for incredible views of the waterfalls.

  • More things to enjoy: Golfing, relaxation at a spa, amazing dining, wine tasting

Related: Niagara Falls: 10 Differences Between The Canadian & U.S. Sides

Banff National Park

Banff National Park is the oldest in Canada and one of the most thrilling destinations in the country to experience outdoor adventures. Regardless of the season one decides to visit, the park has amazing scenery and plenty of activities to offer .

Everything from glaciers to mountains, valleys, alpines, forests, wildlife, ice fields, and lakes can be found here, and these natural endowments present a long list of amazing experiences for any visitor.

From hiking and swimming to kayaking and paddling, the park is a playground for outdoor adventures and one can also explore the town of Banff before or after visiting the national park.

  • More things to enjoy: Wildlife watching, shopping, gondola rides, hiking

10 Best Places To Visit In Canada If You Love Nature And Outdoor Adventures

Solar eclipse 2024: Latest news on a surprising forecast and where to snag some glasses

Mother Nature might eclipse the eclipse, top meteorologists told USA TODAY Thursday when asked about the weather forecast for the April 8 spectacle , now just nine days away.

The total eclipse will pass over parts of roughly a dozen states as it traverses from Texas to Maine on the afternoon of April 8. Millions of people are expected to travel  to see it, which will also attract scientists from across the country  to study its unique effects  on the Earth  and its atmosphere .

The  full total solar eclipse experience  will plunge people along a narrow path into darkness midday, but people outside  the path of totality  can still use eclipse glasses (maybe free eclipse glasses ) to see the moon pass in front of the sun.

That is, if clouds don't get in the way.

The forecast from the federal government's Climate Prediction Center for April 8 calls for "widespread cloudiness and precipitation for much of the eastern half of the nation," said meteorologist Anthony Artusa. "This, of course, is not favorable for good viewing conditions near the path of totality on April 8th."

AccuWeather meteorologist John Feerick was also on the pessimistic side, predicting "lots of clouds" from eastern Texas up through the Ohio Valley on April 8.

Both forecasters interviewed admit it's difficult to say for certain about the weather this far ahead. Artusa said that trying to forecast daily weather conditions this far out is "very challenging, and this fact cannot be overstated."

And some eclipse chasers say clouds aren't a deal-breaker. The shadow of the moon will plunge everything in its narrow path of totality into darkness, regardless of whether there's clouds in the sky, and writer and eclipse chaser  Jamie Carter  on  WhenistheNextEclipse.com  advises anyone who has never seen an eclipse to not be intimidated by clouds.

Meanwhile, the early forecasts also have a surprise for people living in the northeast: They show that the farther northeast you go, the better the chances of clear skies might be. That's the opposite of historical trends for cloud cover .

Surprising early cloud forecast for eclipse

"At this early stage, computer model runs depict a developing storm over the Southeast around the time of the eclipse, with extensive cloudiness and precipitation overspreading much of the eastern half of the nation," Artusa said.

Surprisingly, these early forecasts show that the farther northeast you go, the better the chances of clear skies might be. "Northern New York state through interior New England seems to be the best option," Artusa added.

Weather.com's Jonathan Erdman , in an online forecast released Thursday afternoon said "parts of the Northeast may see less cloud cover and precipitation," when compared to the socked-in central U.S.

How do I watch the 2024 solar eclipse, if clouds don't block it?

There are a few ways of watching the eclipse:

  • Get the full experience in person : If you're in a narrow band of U.S. land that spans from Texas to Maine, you could see the moon block the sun and its shadow cast a night-like darkness over Earth for a few minutes. You could briefly be able to look up without eye protection and see the moon block the sun.
  • Watch from outside the path of totality : Much of the U.S. could get a partial view of the eclipse that isn't nearly as impressive as being in the path of totality. Earth won't be plunged into complete darkness and you'll have to wear protective eyewear to see the moon partially block the sun.
  • Watch a livestream : Check back on April 8 for a video feed from the path of totality. It's not the same as being there in person, but hey,  at least you won't have to sit in traffic .

An inclusive eclipse: How blind and other disabled people can experience the celestial moment

What time is the solar eclipse on April 8?

The eclipse will begin in Texas at 1:27 p.m. CDT and end in Maine at 3:35 p.m. EDT, but the exact time of the eclipse varies by where you are in its path.

You can search by zip code  to find the exact time for your location.

Where will the April eclipse be visible?

All of the lower 48 U.S. states could see the moon at least clip the sun, but that sight is a trifle compared to being in the path of totality.

Because the narrow path includes or is near some of the nation's largest cities, expect millions of people to crowd into a band of land a little over 100 miles wide that spans from the Texas/Mexico border to the Maine/Canada border.

Here are the major cities in each state where you can expect to experience totality (note that the included times do not account for when the partial eclipse begins and ends):

  • Dallas, Texas: 1:40-1:44 p.m. CDT
  • Idabel, Oklahoma: 1:45-1:49 p.m. CDT
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: 1:51-1:54 p.m. CDT
  • Poplar Bluff, Missouri: 1:56-2:00 p.m. CDT
  • Paducah, Kentucky: 2-2:02 p.m. CDT
  • Carbondale, Illinois: 1:59-2:03 p.m. CDT
  • Evansville, Indiana: 2:02-2:05 p.m. CDT
  • Cleveland, Ohio: 3:13-3:17 p.m. EDT
  • Erie, Pennsylvania: 3:16-3:20 p.m. EDT
  • Buffalo, New York: 3:18-3:22 p.m. EDT
  • Burlington, Vermont: 3:26-3:29 p.m. EDT
  • Lancaster, New Hampshire: 3:27-3:30 p.m. EDT
  • Caribou, Maine: 3:32-3:34 p.m. EDT

NASA doesn't certify solar eclipse glasses

In the lead-up to the  highly anticipated total solar eclipse , the  online marketplace  had been flooded with manufacturers claiming to be selling protective eyewear approved by NASA.

The seal of approval from one of the world's leading space agencies sounds prestigious, doesn't it?

It should also be a surefire sign for you to avoid that particular product if possible.

Not because the U.S. space agency isn't reputable or knowledgeable when it comes to all things cosmic. But rather because NASA is just not in the business of endorsing any sort of merchandise.

Online marketplaces are flooded with retailers selling solar eclipse glasses they claim have the NASA seal of approval. Consider that a red flag to look elsewhere.

Eclipse glasses: Where to find last-minute solar eclipse glasses before April 8

Hotels are filling up fast along the path of totality

Cities across the eclipse's path of totality are also bracing for an influx of visitors who are already booking up hotels and short-term vacation rentals , officials have told USA TODAY.

Several city officials told USA TODAY that they've been planning for years for the massive crowds that are set to descend on the towns. And they're anticipating a chaotic weekend.

"We're expecting thousands and thousands of visitors on the shores of Lake Erie – between 56,000 and 200,000 visitors – which is an unprecedented amount," said Robert Lee, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania town.

Hotels, short-term vacation rentals and campgrounds along the path of totality are expensive and selling quickly. Because the eclipse is on a Monday, local hospitality industries are also expecting an unusual boost on Sunday and Monday hotel stays, days that are usually less popular for vacationers.

"We’ve never heard of anything like this where there are people coming in from all over the country. This is pretty unique – Hotels are almost sold out," said Shalissa Perry, the chief marketing officer for Downtown Dallas.

Should I wear eclipse glasses while driving?

No! Eclipse glasses are far darker than regular sunglasses, and they block the sun's intense infrared and ultraviolet lights from harming human eyes. And because they block out almost all visible light, you should not wear them while driving.

"Anyone operating a vehicle should not be attempting to look up at the sky during the eclipse – their eyes should be on the road," said Aixa Diaz, a spokeswoman from AAA. "Eclipse glasses are for eclipse viewing, not driving. They shouldn’t be treated like normal sunglasses."

Will clouds really ruin the eclipse?

Clouds are just part of weather, and as noted in the latest forecast above, it's likely that some of the millions of people  in the path of totality for April's total eclipse  will have to  endure overcast skies that will impact the experience .

But determining how clouds would change your view depends on the types of clouds – and which expert you ask. Some advise eclipse watchers to not worry about the skies, others say an overcast sky can ruin the experience.

Before last year's annular solar eclipse, National Weather Service meteorologist Tim Daldrup told  Oregon Public Radio  that if clouds are in the forecast, you should hope for the "right kind of clouds."

“If we wanna see it, we’ll want the higher-level clouds,” Daldrup told OPR. “Those tend to be the more feathery cirrus clouds that can still be seen through. They might obstruct the eclipse but you can still see it.”

Cirrus clouds would be in contrast to some of the more eclipse-unfriendly clouds, such as a thick deck of lower-level stratus or cumulus clouds that would likely completely block the sun.

Why are schools closing for the eclipse?

Primarily out of a concern for students' safety, schools across the country have given students  the day of the eclipse, April 8,  as a day off, a half day or a chance for e-learning. In Tennessee, for example, officials also say it gives students a chance  to experience the eclipse with their family and friends .

Canada's Niagara region declares state of emergency ahead of eclipse

(Reuters) - Canada's Niagara region has proactively declared a state of emergency ahead of the rare total solar eclipse on April 8 that is expected to gather massive crowds to areas in and around the region's popular waterfalls.

The Niagara region said in a statement on Thursday that Regional Chair Jim Bradley had declared a state of emergency "out of an abundance of caution."

"Declaring a state of emergency ... strengthens the tools the region has at its disposal to safeguard the health and safety of residents and visitors and protect our critical infrastructure in any scenario that might arise," a Niagara region press release said.

The dramatic waterfall, situated along the Canadian-U.S. border, is in the path of the eclipse, and many people are splurging on hotels and rentals in advance to experience the phenomenon at one of North America's natural wonders.

The mayor of Ontario city of Niagara Falls Jim Diodati predicted "by far the biggest crowd that we've ever had" on the Canadian side for the eclipse. Diodati estimated that up to a million people will be there, compared with the 14 million who typically visit during the course of an entire year.

Bad traffic and deadly traffic accidents

Traffic is predicted to be bad and potentially deadly —  especially after the eclipse ends . Millions of people will crowd into the narrow path of totality, then most will attempt to leave all at once as soon as the eclipse is over.

Experts warn the excitement could create dangerous and busy automobile traffic conditions as people pack into the small part of the country with the best view.

Roads could be especially packed at the  center of the eclipse's path  as Americans who  want the best view  crowd into cities, towns and remote areas, many without the infrastructure to handle big crowds.

Even worse than traffic, a recent study reported that the 2017 solar eclipse "was associated with increased risks of a fatal traffic crash" – potentially as much as a 31% increase, the  study said .

How will Austin's famous bats react during Texas' total solar eclipse?

Disaster declarations are declared, hotels are booked up, and Austinites are picking up pairs of glasses for April 8's total solar eclipse. But one cohort doesn't care about the eclipse at all. In fact, they'll probably sleep through the whole ordeal.

Bats in Central Texas will be asleep during the eclipse, which is when the moon passes in front of the sun causing complete darkness. The eclipse is expected to pass over Austin around 1:35 p.m. and last for roughly 2 minutes on the edge of town. Daytime is when bats are sleeping after a night of looking for food, said Fran Hutchins, director of Bracken Cave Reserve.

"There's a really good chance that nothing's going to happen because they're going to be in a dark cave and not notice," Hutchins said.

"(The bats) may not really even notice that it's getting dark outside," he said. "They're probably just going to sleep through the whole thing."

Another fun way to experience the eclipse: disco balls

Don't just reach for the solar glasses; a disco ball might be a fun and safe way to enhance the total solar eclipse experience .

Inspired by a  research paper  from European scientists, the Round Rock Public Library in Round Rock, Texas, near Austin, used disco balls during the annular eclipse in October and recommends people do the same for the April 8 eclipse. Officials said the use of a disco ball creates a "party-like atmosphere" to make a solar eclipse event more fun.

The mirrored ball can be placed outside where it can catch the sunlight and reflect it on a shaded wall at least several feet away, or it can be inside near a window to cast reflections of the sun around the room. Youth Services Librarian Andrea Warkentin recommends people get disco balls that have smaller mirrors on them as they will create bigger and better images.

"It's a way to make it really memorable and fun for little kids who may not really understand what's going on in the sky," Warkentin said.

-Fernanda Figueroa, Austin American-Statesman

Mountain View, CA

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News & features, winter center, total solar eclipse cloud forecast: what will the weather be like.

The countdown is on and in a few days, millions of people from Mexico to Canada will see a celestial spectacle unlike any other, but forecasters warn clouds could dash the hopes of onlookers in part of North America.

Published Apr 1, 2024 9:23 AM PDT | Updated Apr 2, 2024 10:21 AM PDT

AccuWeather’s Lead Long-Range Expert Paul Pastelok describes where rain, wind and other weather patterns could make for a cloudy eclipse Monday.

The final countdown is underway until the moon's shadow casts part of the United States into darkness for a few fleeting moments, and the deciding factor of whether or not people in the path of totality see the event may boil down to one thing: clouds.

The eclipse takes place on Monday, April 8, and for areas in the path of totality, it will be an afternoon affair, with the exact timing varying depending on your location. People outside of the path of totality will still be able to see a partial solar eclipse as long as clouds don't spoil the show.

AccuWeather's latest total solar eclipse cloud forecast is looking promising for some but concerning for others, AccuWeather lead long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok said. "Most places in the vicinity of the path of totality will have to deal with some level of clouds, whether high or low."

"Some high clouds may streak across the Great Lakes during the 8th, reaching northwest Pennsylvania in the afternoon," AccuWeather lead long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok said. "Another area AccuWeather forecasters are watching is southern California and southeast Arizona, where some clouds may develop from a system in that area. "

places to visit in canada for winter

Where will the best weather be for viewing the eclipse?

"The best locations for viewing can be the Southwest and the East, especially east of the Appalachians," Pastelok said. "Cities like El Paso, Albuquerque, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. New York City and Raleigh should all have great views."

Although not in the path of totality, regions in the southwest also look to have ideal weather.

"The area from West Texas to southern Arizona should also have favorable viewing conditions," Pastelok added. "These areas will be close to the path of totality with the least amount of cloud cover anticipated" 

What areas face a cloudy forecast for Monday?

AccuWeather long-range expert Joe Lundberg said places along or near the path of totality that will have more adverse viewing conditions appear to be from Missouri and Kansas southward into central and east Texas, where it is likely to be rather cloudy with showers and perhaps some thunderstorms.

"Other areas with poor viewing conditions will be from Wisconsin westward through South Dakota and Nebraska to Washington and Oregon," AccuWeather long-range expert Joe Lundberg added.

In addition to the cloud forecast, Pastelok says there are a few factors involved in the weather pattern leading up to the eclipse that could affect those traveling to viewing locations. "High southerly winds are likely across the central and western Plains Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 7, with wind gusts between 40-60 mph," he explained. This can create blowing dust and a high risk of fires impacting travelers and any campers in the region.

"Severe weather threat looks likely from late Saturday, April 6 through Sunday evening, April 7, from the western Plains to the western Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. Strong winds, torrential downpours and isolated tornadoes are possible."

Another second factor is a nearly stalled front across the southern Plains that activates on April 8, the day of the eclipse, when Pastelok says there may be a time when there is not much severe weather but showers and some thunderstorms develop with isolated severe weather. 

Continue to check back with AccuWeather through April 8 for the latest eclipse cloud forecast.

More Eclipse Coverage:

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