The Top 50 Signature Winter Experiences in Canada

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Bucket List Worthy  

 

Travelers have an insatiable hunger for adventurous getaways. It’s the once-in-a-lifetime experiences, strange flavors, and adrenaline rushes that make exploring new destinations so exciting. Our team of intrepid travel writers (and die-hard adventurers) searched far and wide for the most thrilling and iconic winter experiences that can be had in one of the world’s most naturally stunning and underrated travel destinations — Canada.

These 50 Canadian winter experiences are the ones our experts chose for best exemplifying the natural beauty, cultural uniqueness, and adventurous spirit of Canada and its people.

Nunavut

Pond Inlet, NU | Baffin Island, NU

British Colombia

Whistler, BC | Tofino, BC | North Vancouver, BC | Revelstoke, BC | Vancouver, BC | Pemberton, BC | Likely, BC

Alberta

Canmore, AB | Lake Louise, AB | Jasper, AB | Banff, AB | Airdrie, AB | Athabasca, AB

Yukon

Whitehorse, YT | Haines Junction, YT

Manitoba

Churchill, MB | Winnipeg, MB

Québec

Québec City, QC | Nunavik, QC

Ontario

Niagara, ON | Algonquin Park, ON | Haliburton, ON | Muskoka, ON | Ottawa, ON | Toronto, ON | Blue Mountains, ON | Kitchener, ON

Northwest Territories

Inuvik, NT | Yellowknife, NT

Newfoundland and Labrador

St. John’s, NL

Nova Scotia

Earltown, NS

New Brunswick

Plaster Rock, NB | Kent, NB

1. Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari, Pond Inlet, Nunavut

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View unique Arctic wildlife, including the elusive narwhal, polar bears, bowhead whales, and icebergs under the midnight sun. Guided by Inuit explorers, travel in small groups to the northern reaches of Baffin Island where the sea ice opens up, and marine mammals and other wildlife congregate at the floe edge – also known as the “line of life.” Revel in dramatic landscapes, towering granite cliffs, glaciers and icebergs. This adventure is ideal for families, first-time visitors to the Arctic, and also professional photographers.

The Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari by Arctic Kingdom is an exclusive opportunity to see narwhal and other Arctic wildlife as they congregate at floe edge in the famed Northwest Passage, part of one of the world’s great marine migrations.

The Details:

This safari takes place at Pond Inlet, Nunavut. Guests stay in a Premium Safari Camp nestled between the majestic mountains of Baffin Island and Bylot Island, near the floe edge. The trip includes eight days and seven nights and is offered only on four departures in 2017, leaving May 21, May 28, June 4, and June 11. Each trip costs $9,995 USD plus tax (based on double occupancy), and Air Packages are available for $3,160 USD plus tax (round trip Ottawa to Pond Inlet). Find out more about visiting Pond Inlet here.

2.Wapta Ski Traverse, Canmore, Alberta

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The Wapta Traverse is the ultimate Canadian Rockies hut-to-hut ski tour. The Wapta Icefields spread for many miles north along the continental divide from the Lake Louise area. With vast glaciers, easy peaks and a superlative hut system, the area is perfect for a great ski traverse.

The Details:

A four-day tour costs $995 CAD, plus tax. Price includes guiding, hut fees, evening meals & drinks, transport shuttle if necessary, and National Park Wilderness Pass. Trips are scheduled from mid-February to the end of April.

3. Floe Edge Ski and Kayak Expedition, Pond Inlet, Nunavut

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The Floe Edge Base Camp is located on the sea ice, off the Northern coast of Baffin Island, Nunavut. This arctic skiing and sea kayaking expedition explores the area known as the Floe Edge – where the frozen ocean meets the open sea. Each Spring, wildlife is abundant in this area. Roaming polar bears, curious seals, the elusive narwhal, and the massive bowhead whales can be found living here. Kayak near massive icebergs, ski under the midnight sun, photograph incredible wildlife, or bask in this vast and beautiful arctic landscape. Exceptional Black Feather guides and local Inuit interpreters make this experience a must for any Arctic adventurer.

The Details:

With 24 hours of sunlight, moderate temperatures, and wildlife migration, the Floe Edge season runs from May 15 to June 21. Nine-day, all-inclusive packages start at $7,595 CAD.

4. Arctic Heli-skiing & Polar Bears, Baffin Island, Nunavut

Weber Arctic offers the world’s northernmost heli-skiing adventures, situated on Baffin Island in the Northwest Territories. The one-week-long experience focuses on skiing first-descents of some of the largest fjords in Canada and polar bear viewing by dogsled.

The Details:

The Arctic Heli-skiing and Polar Bears expeditions offered by Weber Arctic will take place in April, 2017, and cost $21,000 CAD per person from Ottawa.

5. Whistler Heli-skiing, Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler Heli-skiing has been the area’s favorite heli-ski company for 36 years. The company is home to 432,000 acres of big mountain terrain that awaits the most adventurous skiers and snowboarders from around the world. Whistler Heli-skiing’s terrain includes 475 runs and 173 glaciers in a space that’s 50 times larger than the Whistler Blackcomb resort, which means you’re guaranteed to get first tracks.

The Details:

Heli-ski operations are underway from Dec. 5 to April 17, and you can call 1-888-HELISKI to find out more about pricing and reservations today.

6. Helicopter Flightseeing Tour over Niagara Falls, Niagara, Ontario

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To truly appreciate the grandeur and the awe-inspiring wonder of Niagara, Canada, visitors to the city absolutely must see the falls from above – especially in wintertime, when the mist from the falls covers the trees and freezes. Everything appears as though it’s dipped in glass.

From the air, everything sparkles and twinkles. Add the astounding rainbows and you couldn’t get a more picture-perfect Winter Wonderland. Seeing everything covered in a blanket of snow or witnessing the famous Niagara Ice Bridge (a bridge made entirely of ice that has travelled over the falls and wedged at its base) is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This view is available nowhere else on earth.

The Details:

The rate for a single adult is $140.00 CAD, including all taxes. Children fly for $87.00 CAD. Family rates are available as well. Niagara Helicopters is located at the corner of Victoria Avenue and the Niagara Parkway – very close to the Whirlpool Observation area. The best time to fly depends on the experience you wish to have. Some people enjoy the fall season when the trees literally look like they’re on fire. Summer is fantastic for viewing the crowds of people by the Falls, and winter is for the romantics in the crowd.

Find out more about Niagara, Canada, by visiting Niagara Tourism’s official website.

7. Winter Storm Watching, Tofino, British Columbia

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Gale force winds, giant swells and lashing waves – just another winter’s day on Vancouver Island’s rugged West Coast. Whether you bundle up and join the seabirds dancing in the wind or watch it all from the comfort of your fireplace-warmed suite, winter storm watching is an awe-inspiring experience that invigorates the soul. The Canadian Tourism Commission named Winter Storm Watching at the Wickaninnish Inn a Canadian Signature Experience in 2011.

Embrace the drama of the west coast winter season like nowhere else on the planet.

The Details:

Typically, the most reliable time to enjoy the storm watching experience in the Tofino or Pacific Rim areas is from Nov. 1, through the end of February; although, it is not unusual to have an early storm or two arrive in late October or early March. Storm Watchers packages begin at $814.50 CAD.

8. Visit the only Ice Hotel in North America, Québec City, Québec

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Made entirely of snow and ice, this architectural marvel is a wonder to behold. Explore the beautiful Great Hall, Chapel, ice slide, exhibitions, and Ice Bar. You can spend the night in one of the themed suites (and get to use the outdoor spa and sauna) or try a delicious cocktail served in a glass made of ice. The Hôtel de Glace is the only ice hotel in North America, and it’s perfect for a wintry romantic retreat or a get-together for family or friends.

The Details:

You can visit or spend the night fromJanuary 4 to March 26, 2017. Rates are available on the hotel website.

9. Ice Road to Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvik, Northwest Territories

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This challenging ice road is open to traffic only during the winter months (between December and March), when the water of the Mackenzie River Delta freezes, tracing a natural road over the length of the river and parts of the Arctic Ocean.

Join Arctic Range Adventure as they travel overland from the Pacific to the Arctic, along snow covered highways and roadways built of ice along ancient wildlife corridors, and traditional trading routes of First Nations traders – later used by Klondike Gold Rush prospectors and NWMP patrolmen. The tour finishes with a thrilling excursion to the Inuvialuit village of Tuktoyaktuk, on the Arctic coast, accessible only by a winter “ice-road” constructed out of the frozen ice of the Mackenzie River and the Arctic Ocean.

This winter 2016-2017 is the last time visitors can travel the ice road between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.

The Details:

The Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road is only open from December to March, so there’s no better time to go than the height of winter. Tours by Arctic Range Adventure include eight days of adventure for $3,490 CAD. 10. Ice Climbing Experience, Whistler, British Columbia

10. Ice Climbing, Whistler, British Columbia

A male ice clmber tackles some steep ice in Johnstone Canyon, Banff National Park, AB

Whether you have years of ice climbing expertise, or have never climbed before, this experience is for you.  Mountain Skills Academy matches ice climbing to your ability and enthusiasm, leaving you craving for more.

First time climbers will be introduced to the exhilarating sport of ice climbing (a surprisingly easy activity); while more experienced climbers will be guided up the finest ice climbs, matching their ability. All tours are guided by professionally certified ACMG guides. Amazing multi-pitch routes, multi-day trips, private tours, and ice climbing courses also offered. The Canadian Rockies hold some of the best ice climbing and frozen waterfalls in the world, and Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures is your key to discovering them.

The Details:

The Ice Climbing Experience is available in both our Canadian Rockies/Canmore and Whistler locations. The best time for ice climbing varies from late November to late April, depending on conditions, elevation, and winter temperatures.

Pricing starts at $359+ per person for a one day experience, which includes all technical climbing gear and a professionally certified ACMG guide

11. Québec Winter Carnival, Québec City, Québec

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Every year, thousands of visitors flock to the Québec Winter Carnival to enjoy a host of activities for all ages, including now baths, ice canoe races, night parades, snow slides, giant foosball, snow sculptures, shows, sleigh rides, skating, and so much more. Bonhomme Carnaval is the ambassador of this must-visit and classically Canadian winter celebration.

The Details

The Carnival takes place at numerous locations across Québec City.

12. Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, North Vancouver, British Columbia

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Tell us the best features of your winter experience:

The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest, and canyon will be transformed into a world of festive lights and dazzling visual enchantment. Lights will illuminate Capilano River and the canyon’s cliff face. See the world’s tallest living Christmas tree (153 feet tall and growing) and search for the glowing owls in the Snowy Owl Prowl. The holiday fun doesn’t stop there — visitors are invited to sing along to carols with the holiday band, decorate gingerbread cookies, make Christmas crafts and take family photos throughout the park.

The Details:

The festival takes place from November 24, 2016, to January 8, 2017 (closed December 25 Christmas Day), from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with holiday activities beginning at 4 p.m. each day. Regular admission rates apply, and more info can be found on the festival website.

13. Kingmik Dogsled Tours, Lake Louise, Alberta

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Tell us the best features of your winter experience: 

Travel through the pristine scenery of Banff National Park, Canada’s World UNESCO Heritage site, behind a team of powerful, hardworking Alaskan huskies. Lead by an experienced Musher, take in the striking mountain landscape and discover local flora and fauna. The excitement of the dogs and the silence of nature surrounds you as you cover 16 kilometres of trails from Banff National Park to Yoho National park, through the Kicking Horse Pass at the Continental Divide, a little piece of heaven, not many get to discover.

You will enjoy the warmth and intimacy of your own private sled, as Kingmik does not seat strangers with strangers. On the way home, learn the basics of mushing and take your turn driving your dog team along the trails. The Kingmik experience and dog care is unsurpassed, and the Great Divide Tour treats guests to a full 1.5 hours in the dogsled and an additional half hour getting to know your team.

The Details:

The Great Divide Tour costs $175 per person ($195 per person during the high season). The staging area is located in Lake Louise.

Operational from Dec. 1 through March 30th, Great Divide Tours typically sell out over the holidays (Dec. 19 – Jan. 6) roughly six months in advance. Early booking is recommended.

14. Algonquin Dogsled Ski and Snowshoe Adventure, Algonquin Park, Ontario

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Join the Best Winter Package in Canada “Footsteps of the Pioneer” – as selected in March 1998 by the Canadian Tourism Commission. This three-day Algonquin Park winter trip offers a sample of winter adventures, including dog sledding, back country skiing, and snowshoeing. It’s a great way to get a taste of all aspects of winter.

Snowshoe to forest lookouts. Back country ski across frozen lakes. Learn to mush and dogsled through the inter wonderland. The Algonquin Log Cabin Lodge offers comfort after an energetic day on skis or snowshoes. Enjoy a wood-fired sauna, shower, and then sip a hot drink in front of the stone fireplace. Feast on home cooked Canadian fare served up at the massive harvest table.

The Details:

Three day trips operate from Dec. 22 through March 25, 2017. The cost is $725 per person, and it includes two nights of Algonquin Log Cabin accommodation, lunch each day, and fully-guided adventures, ice fishing and a thrilling luge run. January and February typically offer the best winter conditions.

15. Heli-Dogsledding, A Trip Back In Time, Haliburton, Ontario

A heli-dogsledding adventure with Winterdance Dogsled Tours allows you to experience a thrilling helicopter ride and dogsledding in a single day. In less than an hour, a private helicopter will whisk you from Toronto to land in the snowy wilderness of Haliburton, bordering the edge of world famous Algonquin Park.

Your wilderness dogsled guide for the day will be waiting to introduce you to the six beautiful, friendly purebred Siberian Huskies that you will spend the day with. After a quick instruction, you, your guide and huskies will be off for the day, exploring 2000 acres of pristine wilderness, frozen lakes, towering ridges, wetlands and forests, looking for the stories left in the snow by the tracks of the wildlife who call this home.

The Details:

Winterdance Dogsled Tours is located in Haliburton, Ontario. The best time of year to join them is from late December to late March. The company’s non-helicopter tour prices start at $130/person + HST, helicopter tour pricing is based on how many people in your group take the tour.

16. Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Revelstoke, British Columbia

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Revelstoke Mountain Resort has the most vertical of any resort in North America and with 9 to 12 meters of snow per season, it ranks amongst the best in terms of snow quantity and quality. Couple these stats with phenomenal fall line runs and vast glades and you will see why Revelstoke Mountain Resort ranks amongst the best ski resorts in the world. Even more, Revelstoke is the only resort to offer lift, cat, heli and backcountry skiing from one village base.

The Details:

If you are looking for deals on everything from online lift tickets to accommodations, consider visiting in the first three weeks of December. With an average daily snowfall of 6 to 8 centimeters, this time of year often offers the best powder skiing.

17. Marmot Basin Ski resort, Jasper, Alberta

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Tell us the best features of your winter experience: 

The authentic mountain town of Jasper in the Canadian Rockies largest National Park offer a great home base for ski mountain adventures. Untouched, pristine and secluded, Marmot Basin presents a completely unique skiing experience with more than just great snow to be excited about. Abundant wildlife and beautiful landscapes is just another day at Marmot.

Experience the only ski resort in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Jasper National Park with high alpine bowls, deep chutes, and wide open groomers – this is a playground for everyone to enjoy.

The Details:

A day on the hill costs anywhere between $30 – $90. Marmot’s located just 20 minutes from the town of Jasper and makes the perfect day trip. The ski season runs from the middle of November until end of April.

18. Tundra Lodge Polar Bear Adventure, Churchill, Manitoba

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The Tundra Lodge is one of the world’s truly unique accommodations: a mobile hotel designed for polar bear observation, placed each season directly in the bears’ habitat.

The Lodge is situated outside Churchill on the vast expanse of subarctic tundra on the shores of the Hudson Bay. From your own private cabin window or the open-air observation platforms, you have constant proximity to polar bears in the area around the clock.

Guests make daily excursions by Polar Rover along the ice-bound shores of Hudson Bay in search of polar bears and other wildlife including Arctic fox, Arctic hare, caribou, ptarmigan and snowy owls. There’s no more thorough immersion in the polar bear’s Arctic realm than on this most unique of northern adventures.

The Details:

Tundra Lodge Polar Bear Adventures start in Churchill, Manitoba, and take place in October and November. Packages start at $7695.

19. Snowshoeing on Top of the World, Banff, Alberta

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Incredible panoramic views of the stunning Rocky Mountains are made accessible to all ages and abilities by snowshoe.  Snowshoeing On Top of the World allows anyone to get up close and personal with a true Canadian Winter experience in the Rocky Mountains.

The Details:

These snowshoe tours depart Banff at 1 p.m. daily, and return at 5 p.m. They take place from November through April, and cost $79 (and up) per person.

20. Rocky Mountain Winter Adventure, Rocky Mountains, Alberta

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Get ready for some of the most spectacular winter scenery in the world. Winter in the Rocky Mountains is a true bucket-list experience. It lacks the crowds of summer, and snow-cover allows access to places unreachable any other season. At the heart of this Rocky Mountain Winter Adventure by Great Canadian Trails is a three-night stay in historic Shadow Lake Lodge, which is accessed by snowshoe. The cozy, solar-powered lodge is fully-serviced and provides delicious meals each day, meaning you need only personal belongings for your stay.

Stunning Lake Louise and Kananaskis Country (where much of the movie ‘The Revenant’ was filmed) offer consistent snow cover in idyllic settings, making them perfect options for snowshoeing and winter hiking. You’ll explore the world-famous Icefields Parkway without the mass of summer drivers – a very special experience – and strap on crampons to enjoy ‘ice walking’ within beautiful Johnston Canyon. At night, you’ll return to comfortable lodges and warm up by the fire or soak in a rooftop hot tub. There is no better way to enjoy the quiet calm of winter in the mountains.

The Details:

Prices start at $3,050, and departures take place in January and February.

21. Maligne Canyon Icewalk, Jasper, Alberta

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Experience the wonders of the Maligne Canyon from the ground up. Your guide will lead you safely along the frozen canyon floor through its maze of fascinating ice sculptures. Explore the entrance to a cave system, ice caves, fossils, and towering frozen waterfalls stretching over 30 meters up the canyon walls. Provided tread enhancing cleats and warm winter boots will help you stay warm and feel secure while walking on the ice.

Maligne Canyon sees tens of thousands of visitors who enjoy the beauty of the Canyon from above in the summer months. The best feature of this offering is that you travel on the bottom floor of the Canyon, which is a frozen riverbed, in the winter months with towering limestone walls on each side of you as a guide helps you explore the Canyon bottom.

The Details:

Daily trips available with Maligne Adventures from December through early April at 9:00am, 1:00pm, and Dark Skies tours at 6:00pm. Cost is $65.00 for an adult and $32.50 for youth ages 7 to 14. Not recommend for youth under the age of 7.

Sun Dog Tours also offers tours for $65 for adults and $29 for children ages 6 to 14. This company offers three daily trips — morning, afternoon and evenings — under the stars.

22. Winter Culinary at St. John’s & Fogo Island Inn, St. John’s, Newfoundland

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CapeRace is using food as a conduit to crossing cultural barriers, allowing travellers to peer further into the rich Newfoundland cultural scene. Newfoundland is a secret foodie destination, with unparalleled cuisine inspired by the New Nordic movement that Copenhagen and Stockholm embraced ten years ago. St. John’s is the closest city to Europe and has similar variations of the local flora that first inspired Scandinavian chefs to forage in their backyards. Ingredients evoke landscapes, recipes recall history and certain dishes can unlock the very essence of a place and its people.

CapeRace is proud to be the first operator to offer winter Culinary trips to Newfoundland. The success of our Culinary Weekend Getaway trip prompted us to create a longer version that includes the legendary Fogo Island Inn’s Winter Season.

This company has taken the “nowhere to be found elsewhere” dining experiences of St. John’s and the Fogo Island Inn and combined them with winter outdoor activities, such as caribou tracking, storm watching, coastal hiking and skating on frozen ponds.

The Details:

This six night gastro-cultural winter adventure costs $5,990 per person. Your digs for the week are at the Hares Ears Cottage, nestled in the cliffs of the quirky Outer Battery Neighbourhood in St. John’s and the famed Fogo Island Inn. You can find out more about visiting St. John’s and popular nearby destinations here.

23. Arrowhead Ice Skating Trail, Muskoka, Ontario

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The Arrowhead Ice Skating Trail has quickly become one of the province’s most sought after winter ‘bucket list’ experiences.

The 1.3-kilometre ice skating trail winds its way through the thick Muskoka forest. If you get to skate the loop after a fluffy snowfall, consider yourself in luck. Being surrounded on all sides by snow-covered evergreen trees is an absolutely stunning sight, and one that you won’t soon forget.

Weather permitting throughout the winter, the Arrowhead Provincial Park hosts Fire & Ice nights at the Ice Skating Trail on select nights in January and February. As if a skating trail through the forest wasn’t awesome enough, this is an experience you have to try first hand! Once the sun goes down and the stars come out, the Ice Skating Trail is illuminated by hundreds of tiki torches lighting your way as you carve through Muskoka’s beautiful evergreens.

The Details:

Admission is $17 per vehicle, and the trail is located at the Arrowhead Provincial Park in North Muskoka. For the absolute best experience, go midweek to beat the crowds and get the best ice conditions

24. Niagara Icewine Festival, Niagara Falls, Ontario

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For three weekends in January, the Niagara Region celebrates Canada’s iconic Icewine. This golden elixir has put the Canadian wine industry on the global map. The Niagara Icewine Festival provides visitors from all corners of the world an opportunity to take part in incredible wine and culinary programs, including gala evenings and outdoor activities, like Icewine marshmallow roasting, ice sculptures, and live entertainment. The 22-year-old celebration has become a must-visit winter event in the Niagara Region.

The Details:

Visit on the following weekends in January: 13-15, 20-22, 27-29. The event takes place across the Niagara Region in Twenty Valley, Niagara on the Lake and Niagara Falls. Gala events start at $175, and wine and culinary pairings starting at $40

25. Winter Aurora Spectacular, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

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Tell us the best features of your winter experience: 

Blachford Lake Lodge is located in the rugged wilderness of Northern Canada, in superb Aurora-watching country. Perched on a rock knoll overlooking Blachford Lake, it is a half-hour bush-plane from the city of Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories. After spending your days filled with a number of different winter activities (from snowshoeing to snowmobiling, to handicrafts indoors), you’ll head outside and cast your gaze to the sky. Unpolluted by artificial light or noise, you’ll enjoy the perfect setting for watching the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights). Stand in awe as the lights dance above you; almost feeling as if they could rain down over you.

The Details:

Blachford Lake Lodge is open for winter Aurora viewing from Dec. 20, 2016 to April 10, 2017. Prices vary depending on the length of stay, but package prices can be found here.

Tip: For igloo building workshops, we recommend visiting after Feb. 10, when the snow conditions are perfect!

26. Jasper Dark Sky Festival, Jasper, Alberta

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In 2011, Jasper was designated as a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society in Canada, due to its limited light pollution that creates ideal conditions for dark sky viewing. Jasper’s Dark Sky invites stargazing adventurers to get lost in the wonder of one of the world’s largest dark sky preserves.

The Jasper Dark Sky Festival is an ever-growing celebration aimed at connecting all ages to our universe and beyond through various stargazing and science-related activities as well as enlightening international keynote speakers.

The event takes place in Jasper, Alberta, and the town of Jasper is in the heart of Jasper National Park. At 11,228 square kilometres (4,335 square miles), Jasper National Park is Canada’s largest park in the Rocky Mountains. The park was also named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of only 15 such sites in Canada.

The Details:

As daylight hours begin to recede, October is the ideal time to celebrate the sky with the annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival. However, stargazing in Jasper can be done all year long.

Many of the events are completely free; however, there are a few main events that are ticketed and have a cost associated.

27. Basic Aurora Borealis Package, Whitehorse, Yukon

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Live your Yukon adventure with Aurora Borealis and Northern Lights package tours and optional winter activities, such as dog mushing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and ice fishing, in beautiful Whitehorse and its surrounding wilderness.

The Details:

Northern Tales offers two, three, and four night packages, and rates start at $495 plus 5-percent GST per person (double occupancy). Tours are offered from Aug. 18th through April 15th.

If you are flexible in your time of travel, you might want to avoid a full moon phase, because the moonlight can take away some of the weaker aurora displays. Seven days before and after a new moon is considered ideal.  Find out more about visiting the Yukon on the Yukon Tourism website.

28. The Boreal Glide at Foret Montmorency, Québec City, Québec

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Forêt Montmorency, the biggest university research and teaching forest in the world, offers the longest cross-country skiing season in the country. With its Boreal Glide opening every year on the last Friday of October and offering more than 2.5 kilometres of groomed artificial, classical, and skate track, Foret Montmorency is the only place in eastern North America to open this early.

When natural snow arrives, Foret Montmorency offers 57 linear kilometers of cross-country skiing for all levels. Also offered at this location are snowshoeing, ski-shoeing, off-trail skiing, guided boreal forest outings, a cafeteria (boreal cuisine) and lodging for 150 persons.

The Details:

The end of October means snow at Foret Montmorency, even if the grass is green everywhere else. At the heart of the Boreal Forest, we offer sustainable tourism activities for all.

29. Airdrie Festival of Lights, Airdrie, Alberta

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The Airdrie Festival of Lights is a month long event in December that provides affordable entertainment for families. You will walk through many large, commercial-quality light displays, set on pathways around a portion of Nose Creek Park. And there’s no doubt you’ll want to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while standing beside one of the open fires, before catching a ride on one of the miniature riding trains. You can experience a night of fun for the whole family without emptying your wallet.

The Details:

There is no admission charged to visit the festival, however, we do welcome (and encourage) you to make a donation, either by dropping cash into one of the donation boxes or by putting cash into one of the Jingle Jugs circulated around the festival by our volunteers. Train rides and hot chocolate are low-cost at just $2 each per person. The festival is open every night in December from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

30. Whistler & Shannon Falls Tour with Peak 2 Peak Gondola, Vancouver, British Columbia

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Winter in Canada is when the mountains come to life. Take a day trip to Whistler, British Columbia, and ride the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola to the top. Watch locals as they play in our backyard: skiers, snowboarders and snow galore await at the top of the mountain. Sit back and relax on a mountainside terrace as you watch the snow fall peacefully outside.

The Details:

The Whistler Mountains & Adventures Tour, including tax in Canadian Dollars, costs $140 per adult ($80 per child ages 3-12), and you can purchase a PEAK 2 PEAK ticket for an additional $54 per adult ($27 per child). This 11-hour day tour starts at 8:30 a.m., and you will be back to your hotel by approximately 6:30 p.m. The company offers door-to-door service, and picks up from hotel in downtown Vancouver as well as near the airport in Richmond.

31. Surfing in Tofino, Tofino, British Columbia

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Tofino is quickly becoming one of the world’s popular surfing destinations, but many adventurers probably don’t assume winter is one of the best times of year to catch Canadian waves. Tofino is home to a thriving winter surf scene that’s exciting whether you ride waves or simply stand on the sand as a spectator. Cold water surfing in the frigid Pacific waters is a favorite pastime in Tofino, and you haven’t truly surfed Canada unless you’ve experienced it.

The Details:

Winter is one of the best times of year to experience Tofino’s biggest and sometimes wildest waves. Surfing is always free, but you may want to take a surf lesson or rent equipment for one of Tofino’s favorite surf companies.

32. Maple Magic, Earltown, Nova Scotia

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Tell us the best features of your winter experience: 

Explore Sugar Moon Farm — hear the farmers’ stories, take a snowshoe tour, and learn about one of Canada’s most iconic exports, maple syrup. The Maple Magic package from Sugar Moon Farm includes their signature brunch with the best local ingredients, featuring organic Red Fife buttermilk pancakes, local sausages, house made maple baked beans, fresh biscuits with maple butter, maple blueberry compote, maple whipped cream topping, and of course, plenty of maple syrup.

The Details:

Because Sugar Moon Farm is open year round, folks can visit and experience maple in all four seasons. The sugar season is exciting because of maple production, but winter is awesome because of the snow (this area gets more snow than anywhere in mainland Nova Scotia). Find out more about visiting Nova Scotia here.

33. Canadian Championship Dog Derby, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Experience the best of competitive Canadian dogsled racing at the Canadian Championship Dog Derby. This family-friendly, iconically Canadian event will take place on March 25, 26, and 27, this year. Complete with professional, amateur, and kids races, everyone in your family can watch and take part in a distinctly Canadian activity that dates back to the late 1700s.

The Details:

This year’s event will be held March 25 through 27. Registration takes place on Thursday, March 24.

34. BeaverTails Pastry on the Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Ontario

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BeaverTails has been an iconically Canadian indulgence since 1978, and the pastry has become an indulgent staple dessert for many tourists and locals. Available only in tourist and leisure areas, BeaverTails pastry is best enjoyed after an afternoon of skating on the Canal or a long day of skiing. The piping hot whole-wheat pastry is topped with your choice of nine toppings and is sure to warm you while satisfying your sweet tooth.

The Details:

Pastries range in price from $5 to $7.50, depending on the topping choices. BeaverTails also sells poutine, smoothies, hot chocolate, and gelato.

35. Yukon Breakfast Snowmobile Tour, Whistler, British Columbia

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Yukon Breakfast Snowmobile Tour guests get to carve their way through the remote backcountry of the Callaghan Valley to a rustic remote cabin on Sproatt Mountain for a full Canadian Yukon breakfast. Cooked on an old fashioned wood stove, this skillet style mountain feast includes Canadian back bacon, Yukon gold potatoes, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, sauteed onions, and bell peppers along with pancakes and real maple syrup. After guests have had their fill and taken in the beautiful views of the Coastal Mountain Range, they get to explore the alpine before descending back to reality.

It is a true canadiana experience, that lets guests feel as though they have been let in on a little secret, since our backcountry cabin is tucked away in the remote wilderness.

The Details:

Cost: $209 single riders – $169 per person sharing

The Yukon Breakfast Snowmobile Tour generally operates from Dec. 1, through mid-April.

36. VIA Rail Trans-Canada Experience, Toronto, Ontario

There’s arguably no better way to experience the natural, rugged beauty of Canada than aboard a train that cruises from the vast Pacific Ocean to the deep blue Great Lakes. This comfortable, easy-paced adventure allows you to travel along the rails that helped Canada advance westward roughly 125 years ago. Best of all, you can snap photos, sip cozy beverages, socialize, and marvel at the Great White North’s iconic beauty the entire way.

The Details:

Traveling aboard The Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver in the winter months means you can enjoy the beauty of Canada in wintertime without feeling the frigid temperatures. Book and plan your adventure on the VIA Rail Canada website.

37. Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain, Blue Mountains, Ontario

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The Scandinavian Baths experience is a year-round outdoor activity that promotes health and wellness, tranquility and serenity, nature and adventure. In the winter, guests spend time outdoors embracing the elements whilst relaxing in the hot pools, thermal waterfall, saunas & eucalyptus steam room. The spa offers cold plunges and relaxation areas as well. The full experience involves a hot-cold-relax sequence that guests are recommended to follow in a two- to four-hour visit.

Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain is the only spa experience where Guests can embrace the chill of winter while relaxing in the heart of a natural forest.

The Details:

Scandinave Spa is situated on 25 acres of natural forest minutes from Blue Mountain Resort and Collingwood. The Spa has expansive views of the UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve Niagara Escarpment as well.

Scandinave Spa is most popular in the fall and winter months, especially on weekends and holidays. We recommend that guests visit on weekdays. Scandinavian Baths are priced at $55 for the day (Unwind Wednesdays are $45). Registered Massage Treatments start at $145 and include access to the baths and a robe rental.

38. Guided Ice Fishing, Athabasca, Alberta

From two to 10 plus guests, Reel Angling can make your ice fishing experience unforgettable. They supply all the equipment, bait, the drilled holes, and their expert guides will work hard to get you onto fish. They even provide a hot meal for lunch, with snacks and beverages while fishing. Ice fishing can make a long winter feel shorter by allowing enthusiasts to enjoy time with friends and family in the great outdoors.

The Details:

Prices start at $400 for two people and roughly eight hours on the ice at lakes in the Athabasca region.

39. Wild Cave Tours – Rat’s Nest Cave, Canmore, Alberta

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Canmore Cave Tours begin with a short hike to the cave entrance surrounded by beautiful snow-covered mountains. Once you arrive at the cave, counterintuitively, you’ll have to take off some of your winter clothes, because the interior of the cave is a balmy 5 degrees – every day of the year, no matter the temperature outside. When you walk up to the entrance in the winter months, there are often beautiful ice stalagmites there to greet you. That 5 degree air is also waiting, beckoning you forward, and in just a few short steps, you’ll leave winter behind (for a few hours).

The Details:

Available every day of the year, Rat’s Nest Cave offers rich cultural history, exciting adventure, and the beautiful cave formations.

Cave tours range in price from $125 to $155 per person. Consistently ranked as one of the top five things to in Alberta by Trip Advisor, Canmore Cave Tours offers a unique and engaging experience combining cultural history and exciting adventure. Located just a few minutes drive from Canmore, Rat’s Nest Cave convenient location and consistently warm temperatures mean our tours are available all year long, whether is raining, shining, or in a deep freeze.

40. Ice Fishing in Pemberton, Pemberton, British Columbia

Ice fish for four species of sport fish in one day, set in a spectacular, mountainous winter wonderland. Located 25 minutes north of Whistler, in the friendly neighboring town of Pemberton, is an area that boasts trout in excess of 10 pounds. There are numerous lakes within 40-minute drives, some remote enough that cell phones do no get in the way.

Fish with Pemberton Fish Finder and enjoy your catch freshly prepared on a barbecue for lunch, while ice fishing from one of the company’s comfortable, portable, heated ice huts. All fishing equipment and transportation are included, and you’ll be greeted by one of the friendly, knowledgeable guides for a full or half day tour.

The Details:

The ice fishing season in this area runs from Dec. 20 to March 15th, weather dependent. The majority of ice fishing takes place within 10 to 40 minutes of Pemberton, British Columbia’s surroundings. All fishing equipment is provided, including ice huts and heaters for extra comfort. All that is required of guests is a basic freshwater fishing license, which can be purchased online at www.fishing.gov.bc.ca, waterproof foot wear, and clothing appropriate for subzero temperatures. Prices depends on the size of the group and length of the tour, but they typically range from $179 per person to $395

41. Whistler Bungee, Whistler, British Columbia

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Whistler Bungee provides an exhilarating, adrenaline filled rush that no other activity can compare to. This once-in-a-lifetime activity gives thrill seekers an unforgettable experience by jumping 160ft (50 meters) over the glacial fed Cheakamus River. Jump on your own, tandem, or in a wheelchair.

Whistler Bungee is Canada’s highest year-round Bungee and Whistler’s ultimate adrenaline rush.

The Details:

The fee for first-time jumpers is $130 (includes free t-shirt), and the member rate is $80. Whistler Bungee is located 20 minutes south of Whistler off highway 99, and visitors can take part at any time of year.

42. Snow Tubing at Chicopee Tube Park, Kitchener, Ontario

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The Chicopee Tube Park offers six chutes that are 76-meters high and and 274-meters long, with an uphill capacity of 1,500 people per hour.

Winter Tubing doesn’t require any form of talent and is a fun and exciting experience for all ages and walks of life. The Chicopee Tube Park also offers a beautiful chalet style lodge with panoramic views year-round.

The Details:

The Chicopee Tube Park is located in Kitchener, Ontario. Prices start at $21 and are based on two hourly tube passes. The best time of year to visit the park is from January through March, and special rates are offered for groups.

43. Festival du Voyageur, Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Every winter since 1970, Saint-Boniface, Winnipeg’s French quarter, is transformed into a winter paradise and becomes host to the largest winter festival in Western Canada. Voyageur, Métis and First Nations histories are brought back to life, not only through the historical interpretation offered inside reconstructed Fort Gibraltar, but also through the many attractions inside Voyageur Park and at the festival’s various official sites. Music of old, traditional cuisine, sensational snow sculptures and captivating shows are but a few examples of the entertainment you can expect to witness during this convivial gathering. Offering a vast array of historical, recreational and educational activities, Festival du Voyageur has something for all tastes and all ages!

The Details:

Festival du Voyageur is a 10-day winter festival, offering very affordable prices, varying from $13 to $34. The annual winter festival will be held from Feb. 17 to 26, in the heart of Winnipeg, Manitoba’s french quarter, Saint-Boniface.

44. Tobogganing at Dufferin Terrace Slides, Québec City, Québec

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Tell us the best features of your winter experience: 

This more than a century-old slide is a unique attraction in Quebec City. This impressive structure, which has become familiar to residents of Quebec, appeared on the Dufferin Terrace in 1884. A few years later, the iconic Château Frontenac (the most photographed hotel in the world) was erected next to the slide, projecting shade on what we believe is the oldest attraction in town. It was then closed in 1981, but regained its appeal in December 1992, and has been operated since then.

The slide always provides thrills with possible speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour as you slide down the hill. As long as Mother Nature cooperates, the three aisles of ice will be available from mid-December until mid-March or even later. With up to four passengers per toboggan, be sure to hold on tight to your hats and friends as you fly down.

The Details:

Located behind the famous Fairmount Chateau Frontenac, the slides are on the Dufferin Terrace boardwalk. The cost is $3 person per run, and they are open from mid-December to mid-March.

45. Call of The Wild, Likely, British Columbia

This authentic Canadian wilderness experience is a one of a kind adventure that takes you into the Cariboo Mountains on snowshoes on a quest for moose, wolves, and lynx. The solitude, peace and beauty of winter in this mountain wilderness fills your senses as you experience raw nature and the habitat and amazing adaptability of the wildlife to the often harsh conditions of the Canadian winter.

This is also a wonderful opportunity for winter birding and photography including eagles, swans, Barrows Goldeneye and ducks on the rivers, owls, hawks and other raptors to tiny mountain songbirds like chickadees, juncos, varied thrushes, grosbeaks, pine siskin, jays and many more that winter in the Cariboo Mountains. In the quiet of the winter evenings listen to the howl of the wolves as the aurora borealis dance overhead. And don’t forget the Northern Lights which are often seen during the winter months complete this winter wonderland.

The Details:

Mid-January to mid-March offers the best opportunities to see wolves, moose and lynx in the Cariboo Mountains, especially for wolves as this is their mating season and the time when they are most cautious. Prices start at $2200 CAD for five days and four nights. Packages of longer duration are available as well. Ecotours BC is located in the old gold rush village of Likely at the base of the Cariboo Mountains in central British Columbia, easily accessible by paved road or by air to Williams Lake where ground transport can be arranged. For more information about Likely, BC please visit here.

46. Kluane Glacier Air Tours, Haines Junction, Yukon

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Kluane Glacier Air Tours offers spectacular flights deep in the heart of Kluane. Many of Canada’s highest peaks are here, in the stupendous St.Elias Mountains. Amongst these giants, Mount Logan rises to 19,545 feet above sea level (5959 meters). It is surrounded by the world’s largest non-polar ice-fields. Kluane Glacier Air Tours showcases the largest mountains and glaciers outside the Antarctic.

The Details:

Kluane Glacier Air Tours is located in Haines Junction at the Municipal Airport. The operation will be open seasonally from May 1 to Oct. 1, 2017, and prices range from $250 to $480.

47. Puvirnituq Snowfestival, Nunavik, Québec

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Every two years, the Inuit come to Puvirnituq for approximately a week for the Snow Festival. On this occasion, many different, exciting activities are put on, from snow sculpture contests to traditional games and competitions. In 2007, a five-meters-high polar bear made of snow marked the festivities. The Puvirnituq Snowfestival offers a real life encounter with Inuit cultures and traditions.

The Details:

Puvirnituq is located in Nunavik, and admission fees start at $5 per person. The event includes indoor and outdoors activities in the city of Puvirnituq, Hudson Bay.

48. World Pond Hockey Championship, Plaster Rock, New Brunswick

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The World Pond Hockey Championship is an outdoor hockey event that started in 2002, played on Roulston Lake in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick. It features 120 teams from around the world in four-on-four hockey action. Teams from every continent (except Antarctica) have competed in Plaster Rock, and this year is no different with teams from Europe, the Caribbean, every Canadian Province and 18 American states scheduled to attend.

The World Pond Hockey Championship represents pure Canadiana, playing our game outside on a frozen lake.

The Details:

The 2017 event has been booked full (teams) since June 1, and will take place from February 16-19, 2017

49. Reindeer Crossing/Muskrat Jamboree, Inuvik, Northwest Territories

Inuvik’s Reindeer Crossing and Muskrat Jamboree take place over the course of one weekend in late March or early April. Perhaps the most iconic event in all of Canada’s North, the Reindeer Crossing is truly something you have to see to believe. Make sure you have your camera ready. It’s not every day you get to watch 4500 reindeer herded over an ice road in the Arctic tundra.

And the esteemed Muskrat Jamboree is your chance for an authentic glimpse into life in Canada’s Western Arctic. Watch dog races, enjoy country food and tap your feet to the drummers and dancers.

The Details:

The Reindeer Crossing takes place every year. Usually sometime in late March or early April. Since the herd is domesticated, the date of the crossing is decided upon well in advance. This year, the Reindeer Crossing will take place on April 9, 2017.

50. Fat Biking in a National Park, Kent, New Brunswick

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Maybe you’ve tried fat biking before, but have you done it on groomed trails throughout one of Canada’s National Parks? In Canada, we love our winters. But when A for Adventure was invited to be part of the launch of the new fat biking program at Kouchibouguac National Park, we couldn’t wait to see what it was all about. Canadians and visitors can now experience a roller coaster ride through the woods on groomed trails and on a bike. It’s fun for fat bikers of all ages and abilities.

The Details:

You can rent the fat bikes right at Kouchibouguac National Park, and stay at the park in rustic cabins or a yurt. The prices vary but are around $50/day for the bikes. The best time of the year to go would be late January- late March. Or whenever there is enough snow! Watch video here: https://youtu.be/aA94ux0M2Vs

 

*Some entries do not take place during the heart of the traditional winter season, but due to the year-long or early winter weather, they are classified as winter experiences. 

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.