Canadian’s don’t bother hibernating in the winters, they embrace it and this country is the perfect place to enjoy an awesome winter getaway. Whether you live in Canada and are looking for somewhere to enjoy twinkling lights, outdoor activities and awesome festivals or you are visiting from out of the country and just want some of the down home hospitality Canadians are so well known for, there is a winter getaway for you. From one end of the country to the other, discover my favourite 8 winter getaways in Canada.
8. Ottawa, Ontario
There is one famous activity that brings over one million people to Ottawa in the wintertime and that is the skating on the Rideau Canal. This famous 7.8km long skateway takes place on the picture perfect Rideau Canal during the months of January and February. Slide, twirl and whisk your way along the ice while you take in views of the impressive parliament buildings and the beauty Chateau Laurier hotel. Weekends here in February are home to Winterlude, the capital’s annual seasonal celebration where skaters will find chalets and stands selling everything from hot chocolate to BeaverTails to delicious maple taffy. Ottawa gets lit up with Christmas lights and there is something magical about strolling the streets while the snow gently falls in this nations capital.
7. St. John’s, Newfoundland
If you want snow, and plenty of snow, St. John’s is the perfect winter getaway for you. The city offers a plethora of winter activities, the chance to enjoy the dramatic coastline, friendly locals and a range of accommodations. Try your hand at ice-skating in the oldest and most historic park in the province, Bannerman Park or head to the year-round zipline adventure company where you will go whisking through the air in the snowy conditions. Pippy Park offers skiers and snowshoers two networks of incredible trails with beautiful scenery. Getting to a hockey game here is a must and join thousands of others as you cheer on the AHL IceCaps. Dine with locals, enjoy the live music of the East coast and stay in friendly B&B’s as you make your way through this awesome city and surrounding area.
6. Lake Louise, Alberta
For folks seeking winter sports, this is one of the best places to take a Canadian winter getaway. Think winter hikes to the Johnston Canyon where you will strap on ice-cleats and discover the massive one of a kind ice pillars that form around the frozen waterfalls. Think ice-skating on the beautiful Lake Louise while taking in view of the custom made ice castles. Think dog-sledding, horseback riding, ice-fishing and more. Stay in lodges such as Deer Lodge where you can grab a cocktail on the illuminated ice-lounge patio where you will snuggle into a sheepskin fur and drink by candlelight. Or stay at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise where its sheer beauty is simply overwhelming at times. Award-winning chefs will prepare you meals, the rooms are stunning and the views, well let’s just say you will never forget them.
5. Whitehorse, Yukon
Visit Whitehorse in the winter and really get a feel for the local culture and community, plus have the chance to soak up the sunshine that fills the short days, discover the incredible Northern lights and soak up a city that thrives in wintertime. Winter activities here range from dog sledding to snowmobiling to snowshoeing to ice fishing, and many more. If you want to stick indoors you are in luck as Whitehorse offers a plentiful variety of local galleries, cultural centers, shops and cafes to explore. With a wide range of accommodations and dining, this city is perfect for any budget. If you do want to splurge though make sure to book a few nights at the Takhini River Lodge where guests are treated to an intimate experience including gorgeous theme rooms, the chance to experience the Northern Lights and the chance to spend a night in the wilderness at their log cabin, only accessible by seaplane.
4. Quebec City, Quebec
Whether you are looking for a romantic winter getaway that includes strolling through medieval streets lit up by hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, or you are looking to play hard and party hard during the winter months, Quebec City offers both. Visit here during the month of December where stores are decked out in Christmas decorations and local restaurants are offering incredible seasonal menus. Or visit during the famous Winter Carnaval when a giant snowman resides in his ice palace, winter activities are offered for the whole family and locals and visitors stay up all night at the outdoor dance parties. With a range of luxury hotels, outdoor activities and plenty of warm fireplaces to curl up next to with a great glass of wine, Quebec City should not be missed in the wintertime.
3. Tofino, British Columbia
If hitting the slopes isn’t your thing and you are actually looking to avoid any kind of snowy activity there is only one destination to consider, Tofino, BC. It is here where you will find green mountains, a serious lack of snow and crashing waves. Tofino in the wintertime offers epic storm watching opportunities, winter surfing, hikes along the Pacific Coast trail and the chance to experience this popular tourist town during its down months. A range of accommodations are available here including the excellent Wickaninnish Inn, where guests will be treated to rooms with views of the Pacific Ocean, a farm-to-table dining experience, extensive wine list and superior service. Expect this winter getaway to be full of rainforest walks, wildlife viewing, a bit of rain and a destination that feels far removed from the harshness of Canadian winters.
2. Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Just mere hours from both Montreal and Ottawa, nestled in the Laurentian mountains lies a world-renowned skier’s paradise. Offering 654 acres of slopes and almost 100 trails, its not wonder this is one of Canada’s top winter getaway destinations. The accommodations here are arguably some of the best in Canada, ranging form luxury hotels to quaint villas. The village boasts excellent dining choices, bars and nightclubs, and even features a micro-brewery. One certainty won’t have trouble finding places to enjoy the nights here after a long day on the slopes. Once you have tired of the slopes, why not take the gondola up to the Casino de Mont Tremblant and try your hand at the tables. Whatever it is you are searching for in a winter getaway, Tremblant is sure to deliver.
1. Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler is truly the winter playground for anyone visiting Canada, and although it’s known for its spectacular downhill skiing, that’s not all that entices visitors here. Winter activities here range from dog sledding to sleigh rides to winter fishing to skating to snow cat tours and more. Add in an abundance of hotels and chalets, along with incredible dining choices, and it is really a no brainer why this is number one on our list. Located just two hours from Vancouver, Whistler is easy to get to, hard to leave and absolutely breathtaking in terms of scenery. Expect plenty of snow, plenty of winter sports enthusiasts and the laid-back feel of a ski town. If you really want to spoil yourself, consider booking a room as the Nita Lake Lodge, a luxury lodge with incredible farm-to-table dining and awesome amenities.