Every year around this time, many places in Canada become covered in beautiful fluffy white snow. We tend to cozy up by the fire with family and friends, perhaps with a cup of hot chocolate or hot apple cider. This year is no different, and with the holiday season approaching it is a good time to be thankful for our Canadian winters and all of the possibilities!
1. Ice Skating
Whether you are a seasoned hockey veteran, precision figure skater, or just enjoy time out with the family, there are plenty of places to go ice-skating in Canada! The famous Rideau Canal in Ottawa is the biggest skating rink in the world, measuring a whopping 7.8km! If that’s too intimidating, try a smaller outdoor rink- there are tons across the country from Robson Square in Vancouver, to Nathan Phillip Square in Toronto. Check your local arena for open skating sessions, and many more outdoor options close by!
2. Skiing/ Snowboarding
For when you want to take your skating to a more vertical level. Skiing and snowboarding can be an absolute blast, and there’s nothing quite like a coat of fresh powder on the slopes. The Rockies are an obvious choice if you can make it there, but there are great options in Ontario and Quebec too! Check out Blue Mountain in Collingwood, Ontario (only 2 hours north of Toronto!) or the famous Mt. Tremblant outside of Montreal. Both of these locations offer great lodging options and plenty to do in their respective “villages”.
When you prefer to be sliding down a mountain (or hill) on your rear end rather than standing up, its time to break out the sledding gear! Sledding is a great way to enjoy the fresh winter air with family and friends while going at your own pace. There are so many types of sleds out there today from the fun spiraling ‘flying saucers’ to the speed seeking ‘crazy carpets’- there’s really a sled for everyone. If you’re feeling a bit old school, don’t be afraid to take your whole family down the hill with you on the classic wooden toboggan! What are you waiting for? Go find a hill and slide down it!
We hate when our cars or roads are covered in it, but there are tons of icy things to do across the country. La Bodega Ice Bar in Regina specializes in serving their drinks on ice- literally! The outdoor bar is completely made of ice, with local business sponsors etched into the ice surface. They serve up drinks to keep you warm on the inside and remain open unless the temperature drops below -30C! If that’s not your thing, how about sleeping in a hotel completely made from ice?! Hotel de Glace in Quebec City is truly an amazing spectacle. Stop by to take a tour of some of the majestic rooms- and even spend the night if you dare!
There’s just something about building a fort out of snow. If you’ve ever made one, you know what I mean. Maybe it releases our inner architect or maybe army general for some- either way; it’s a great winter activity. Bring in some snacks and relax, or get your snowballs ready for an epic snowball fight with a neighboring fort. This activity is great for bonding, just make sure you can trust your crew with your fort building secrets!
Winter doesn’t have to be all about avoiding the cold weather- we say why not embrace it! After all, we do live in Canada! Here are some other great winter activities to keep in mind this season- Enjoy!
Ice-fishing (like fishing, except in an outhouse on a frozen lake)
Snow Shoeing (like taking a walk in bigfoot’s shoes!)
Polar Bear Swim (my personal stance- save this activity for the polar bears- it’s not like they can go skiing!)
Winter Carnivals & Festivals. All across the country there are local holiday markets and winter festivals. Go find out what’s going on in your area!
And if you reeeally can’t handle it, there’s always the tropical destinations that preserve the summer year round just for you!