Canada is a popular destination for winter travel and activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and snowmobiling. If you’re looking for something a little different, however, many of Canada’s cities are hidden gems for winter sports and adventures. Take a look at the best cities for unique winter activities in Canada to plan your trip.
Home to Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, Whistler, British Columbia, is one of the best places for unique winter activities. Its famed Whistler Blackcomb resort offers traditional sports like skiing and snowboarding, as well as snowshoeing, tobogganing, and ski jumping. You could also bungee jump from a bridge above the glacier-fed Cheakamus River, or ride the Guinness-World-Record-holding PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains for stunning views of the ancient glaciers, coastal forests, and volcanic peaks in British Columbia.
Ontario’s capital city, Ottawa, is home to a variety of fun winter activities in the indoors and outdoors, such as the Canadian War Museum, the National Gallery of Canada art museum, and Parliament Hill, the neo-Gothic home of the legislature. In winter, residents and visitors enjoy ice skating on the frozen Rideau Canal, which turns into the world’s largest skating rink. Many of the city’s landmarks look beautiful under a blanket of snow as well, such as the National War Memorial and sculptures throughout the city.
Located on the Saint Lawrence River, Quebec City is one of the most fascinating destinations in Canada and one of the best cities for unique winter activities. Quebec City is home to Hotel de Glace, the only ice hotel in North America, which features an array of ice sculptures throughout its rooms, snow vaults, and events. The city is also home to one of the world’s largest ice festivals, Winter Carnival Quebec, which features an array of activities, including night parades, an ice canoe race, snow slides, sleigh rides, and a snow bath.
Edmonton, Alberta’s capital city, is a great destination for outdoor winter sports and indoor activities. You could walk through a winter wonderland at Ice Castles, a handcrafted structure of icicles and water, or hike and snowshoe to check out spectacular wildlife like bison and elk in Elk Island National Park. Edmonton also hosts the Silver Skate Festival, a family-friendly gathering of Dutch winter traditions and activities like theatrical performances, live music, winter sports, snow sculptures, a winter triathlon, and horse-drawn sleigh rides.
Banff is home to many exciting winter activities, such as winter hiking, climbing, skiing, and snowboarding. If you’re looking for something a little different, you can take a guided historic tour of Banff National Park to see the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies and the trading route of the First Nations people. Banff is also home to Ice Magic, a fun-filled festival that brings skilled ice artists together for a challenging ice carving competition on Lake Louise.
Manitoba’s capital, Winnipeg, is one of the best cities for unique winter activities. The city is not only home to shops, restaurants, and art galleries, but it also hosts the Festival Du Voyageur. The fantastic winter festival is a celebration of the French heritage and culture in Canada. It features a meeting of Voyageur, Metis, and First Nations histories with music, displays, exhibits, entertainment, snow sculptures and arts and crafts that showcase the area’s unique cultural influences. The family-friendly event runs for 10 days and is a must if you’re visiting Winnipeg.
The small town of Inuvik is a hidden gem for fun and adventure in winter. One of the highlights of Inuvik is the Sunrise Festival, a celebration of the return of sunlight in January that features dance, music, food, and winter activities like dog sledding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snow carving. Another unique event is the Snowmobile Reindeer Herding Experience, an event that showcases the arctic way of life with rides in a snowmobile with Inuit reindeer herders. The event also has an array of cultural activities, entertainment, and food.
Calgary is a vibrant city that’s home to many fun attractions, such as the Glenbow Museum, the Calgary Zoo, and the Heritage Park Historical Village. In winter, Calgary is home to many intriguing events, such as the Calgary Expo Holiday Market, a seasonal cosplay and holiday market with costume contests, games, art exhibits, and more. Calgary hosts Adrenaline Winter Sports at Canada Olympic Park, which allows you to experience the luge and bobsleigh firsthand with a trained pilot taking you through twists and turns at top speed.
Plan your vacation
Whether you want to experience the great outdoors and Canada’s vibrant wildlife or you’d rather take in a unique festival or event, Canada has no shortage of things to do in winter. If you’re planning a trip, take a look at Banff vacations or Edmonton vacations on Expedia to save on your next adventure!