Winter in Canada. The phrase usually evokes thoughts of deep snow, thick blizzards and freezing temperatures. It can also last for up to six months in some areas of the country. But it can also be pretty exhilarating, exciting and a whole lot of fun for those who embrace (and not hibernate from!) the season.
Consider this list of 65 cool ideas (yep, pun intended) just a very small sample of things to do in Canada in winter. Join me in making the most out of exploring Canada this winter and every winter after that!
Canada is, of course, home to an incredible amount of places to do every kind of classic winter activity from skiing and snowboarding to skating and ice-fishing.
Rather than list EVERY single place you can ski in Canada (because there is A LOT), I’ve concentrated on featuring more unusual and unique things to do in Canada in winter alongside some well-loved favourites in each province and territory.
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Things to do in British Columbia in Winter
- Warm up in one of the many hot springs in the Kootenays region. My pick is Radium Hot Springs!
- Take a hike! No, really. Many trails at sea level around Vancouver and on Vancouver Island are still accessible in winter
- Storm watch or surf in Tofino on Vancouver Island’s Pacific coast
- Try out the fastest ice track in the world at the Whistler Sliding Centre
- Ski, paddle and golf on the same day in the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island
Planning to book a winter stay in Tofino?
Middle Beach Lodge – Amazing oceanfront location
The Shoreline – Good value
Sienna’s Tree House – Highly rated on Booking.com
Things to do in Yukon Territory in Winter
- Take part in Takhini Hot Pools’ annual hair freezing contest – the water is 40c and the air usually -30c!
- Watch the start (or end, depending on the year) of the Yukon Quest dog mushing race in Whitehorse
- See ice sculptures, can-can dancing and chainsaw competitions at the Sourdough Rendezvous Festival
- Rent a fat bike from one of two locations in Whitehorse and hit the trails
- Visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and spot 11 species of animals in their natural habitat (and weather!)
Things to do in North West Territories in Winter
- Watch the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in Yellowknife
- Drive to the Arctic Ocean from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk (or explore one of the many ice roads around Yellowknife!)
- Fly a kite or try kite skiing on Great Slave Lake
- Visit the one-of-a-kind ‘igloo-church’ in Inuvik (Our Lady of Victory Church)
- Celebrate the return of the sun in Inuvik at the Sunrise Festival in January
Things to do in Alberta in Winter
- Discover frozen waterfalls in Johnstone Canyon, Banff National Park
- Stay at a backcountry lodge in the Rockies
- Skate on Lake Louise’s iconic ice
- Have a go at ice climbing! Tours leave from Canmore, Calgary, Banff and Jasper
- See the frozen bubbles on Abraham Lake
Things to do in Saskatchewan in Winter
- Get immersed in history both above and below ground in the Moose Jaw Tunnels
- Take a lesson in snowkiting in Regina, a winter version of kitesurfing/kiteboarding
- Soak in Saskatchewan’s very own hot springs at the Temple Gardens Spa in Moose Jaw
- Have a go at snowskating or kicksledding on the streets of Saskatoon
- Slide through the boreal forest with a dog sled team
Things to do in Manitoba in Winter
- Dine at 58° north latitude and watch the northern lights on the edge of Hudson Bay
- Check out the unusual and award-winning warming huts on the Red River Skating Trail in Winnipeg
- Go on a self-guided grain elevator tour
- Explore the ice castles in Winnipeg. On Friday and Saturday evenings, there’s also a fire show
- Get the European spa experience at Thermea in Winnipeg
Things to do in Ontario in Winter
- Skate on the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink, the Rideau Canal in Ottawa
- Wonder at the power of Niagara Falls and stunning winter ice formations
- Visit Toronto’s huge Christmas Market in the Distillery District
- Stay in an igloo in Cochrane, Northern Ontario
- Admire the views from Southern Ontario’s longest suspension bridge near Collingwood. It’s open all year!
Things to do in Quebec in Winter
- Sleep in North America’s only ice hotel at the Hôtel de Glace in Quebec City
- Eat homemade maple taffy (maple syrup poured onto clean, white snow) at a maple sugar shack
- Ride across the world’s highest snowmobile bridge above the Manicouagan River
- Walk the fairytale streets of old Quebec City
- Highline, zip line and climb on Projet Vertical’s via ferrata, the only one of it’s kind to run all year round
Things to do in New Brunswick in Winter
- Play pond hockey…or watch others do it at the World Pond Hockey Championships in Plaster Rock
- Stay in one of Park Canada’s more unusual accommodation offerings such as yurts, cabins and hybrid tents
- Check out Atlantic Canada’s largest winter festival in Fredericton – the aptly named, Frostival
- Put a line in at one of the many ice fishing villages such as Renforth Wharf and Chaleur Bay
- Go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in Kouchibouguac National Park
Things to do on Prince Edward Island in Winter
- Walk the beach – the sands of PEI are just as beautiful with a coating of snow
- Eat, drink and dance during PEI Music Week and Winterdine, parallel events taking place in late February
- Get cultured at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown
- Explore almost 1,000 kilometres of snowmobile trails including the tip-to-tip Confederation Trail
- Try snowshoeing in Victoria Park, Charlottetown
Planning a winter stay in Charlottetown?
Rodd Royalty – Great value
1 West Inn Waterfront – Awesome location
Sydney Boutique Inn & Suites – Highly rated on Booking.com
Things to do in Nova Scotia in Winter
- Give winter surfing a try (don’t forget a warm wetsuit!)
- Pair food and wine at the Nova Scotia Ice Wine Festival
- Explore the trails, learn how to make maple syrup and eat plenty of pancakes at Sugar Moon Farm
- Snowshoe the Skyline Trail on Cape Breton Island
- Watch wild eagles soar at Sheffield Mills in the Annapolis Valley
Things to do in Newfoundland and Labrador in Winter
- Fly down Canada’s highest zip-line at Marble Mountain – open all year round in all weather conditions!
- Get screeched in! The wild winter weather doesn’t stop this time honoured tradition
- Check out frozen waterfalls at Middle Cove
- Skate for free at Bannerman Park in St John’s
- Soak in the culture of The Rooms – Newfoundland’s largest public cultural space combining Art Gallery, Museum and Provincial Archives
Planning a winter stay in St John’s?
The Duckworth Inn – Good value
Courtyard By Marriott – Great location
Blue on Water – Highly rated on Booking.com
Things to do in Nunavut in Winter
- Learn about local history, language, clothing and art at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum
- Try traditional food such as arctic char, caribou, musk ox, seal or even polar bear
- Visit Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly building in Iqaluit and explore the igloo-like interior
- Embrace the lack of light and go stargazing
- Try and stay warm…!