Some people prefer staying indoors huddled under a blanket during the winter. But, in Canada, many people rush outside to enjoy a spectacular snowy wonderland. The season can be ideal for visitors who can experience all sorts of adventures among magical scenery while avoiding the tourist crowds of summer. Grab your warm coat, gloves, and hat, and check out some of these top Canadian winter getaway destinations.
One of the most stunningly beautiful places in Canada, many come to Banff in the summer, but in the winter, it’s a true snowglobe of beauty with lots of things to see and do. There are multiple ski areas and opportunities for ice-climbing frozen waterfalls, or take the famous Johnston Canyon IceWalk for an unforgettable trek surrounded by magnificent ice formations. Be sure to visit Moraine Lake, too – with the mountains that surrounded it covered in snow and the brilliant blue waters reflecting even brighter, the scene is surreal.
Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler is one of Canada’s most famous ski destinations, thanks to hosting multiple events during the 2010 Winter Olympics. In fact, it’s likely a big part of the reason the Vancouver, Coast and Mountains region brought in nearly half of total foreign travel spending in the nation during the first quarter of 2019, according to Statistics Canada. Simply riding the Peak 2 Peak Gondola for the breathtaking views is worth the visit, but this outdoor adventurer’s paradise offers some of the best slopes in the world for skiers and snowboarders. If that’s what you’re into, you might even consider taking a look at the Whistler real estate while you’re here. It’s the perfect spot to buy a vacation home or even a year-round residence with plenty to do in every season.
Quebec City, Quebec
Quebec’s world-famous Winter Carnival has been hosted annually for over 60 years and is considered one of the country’s must-visit spots in the winter. It includes all sorts of events, from snow sculpture competitions and parades to ice skating, tubing, and snow rafting. Old Quebec City, its historic center, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only walled city north of Mexico, looking even more beautiful under a blanket of snow, and you can even spend a night at an ice hotel by staying at Hotel de Glace nearby.
The cobblestone streets in the French-influenced Old Montreal Quarter are beautiful in the winter, creating a postcard-perfect scene for horse-drawn carriage rides. In January, it’s livelier than many other warmer cities are in July while providing opportunities for ice skating, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing right within the city limits. The city also hosts one of the world’s largest winter festivals, Montreal en Lumiere, with the highlight Nuit Blanche, bringing hundreds of thousands to enjoy free musical, culinary, cultural, and sports activities all night – from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Famous Niagara Falls is just as stunning, if not more so during the winter, with ice sculptures created by nature as the mist freezes into icicles and spires. The town of Niagara-on-the-Lake nearby hosts the annual Icewine Festival in January, and from November through January, the enchanting Winter Festival of Lights illuminates fountains, Ferris wheels, and trees.
Yellowknife is one of the world’s best destinations for experiencing the magic of the Northern Lights, with frequent clear skies and long, dark nights. When the aurora is particularly active, a system of “Northern Lighthouses” flash red to alert visitors and residents.