7 Winter Activities You Have to Try in Canada

Don't let the winter blues get the best of you! Canadian winters may be harsh but throw on a coat, scarf and mittens and you'll discover a snowy wonderland bursting with fun. Here are seven Canadian activities you need to experience this winter.

1) Stay at an ice hotel 

Looking for a romantic getaway this winter? Head to Hotel de Glace, a luxurious ice hotel located in Quebec City. Featuring 44 stunning rooms and suites, this is one hotel that will leave you in awe. Elaborate ice sculptures cover the premises while the hotel boasts an ice bar, church, outdoor hot tubs and saunas.  

Each bedroom is decorated with fancy ice furniture giving each suite an aura of its own. At night, you'll be given a Nordic sleeping bag which keeps you warm and toasty throughout the night.  

If sleeping in an igloo isn't for you, Hotel de Glace also offers daily tours of the hotel. 

2) Skate on the Rideau Canal 

Home to the world's largest skating rink, Ottawa's Rideau Canal is a must-visit destination this winter. The entire rink is 7.8 kilometres long and runs through the heart of downtown Ottawa.

Strap on your skates and enjoy a scenic ride past Canada's Parliament Buildings and Dows Lake. If you need a break, stop at the many rest areas where you'll find blazing fires, hot chocolate and delicious BeaverTails (fried pastries covered in sugar and other sweet goodies). The canal is usually open from January to February. 

3) Hit the slopes in British Columbia 

British Columbia is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world. The mountains in the west coast offer loads of fresh powder, long runs and gorgeous scenery. If you're a snow bunny who loves to ski or snowboard, be sure to visit Whistler Blackcomb, Big White, Apex, Sun Peaks or Silver Star for phenomenal snow conditions and a memorable winter holiday.  

It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or a pro, BC mountains have a variety of runs that suit everyone's skill level. For the more adventurous thrill-seekers, you can also go heliskiing or glacier skiing. 

4) Experience Quebec's Winter Carnival 

Photo Credit: Jamie McCaffrey

The Quebec Winter Carnival has been a tradition in Quebec City since the 1800's. Today, it is one of the largest winter festivals in the world. Every February, the city gets decked out in its most stunning winter decor and hosts over 200 activities for locals and tourists.

Photo Credit: Jamie McCaffrey

These activities include meeting Bonhomme (the festival's famous mascot), dogsledding, entertaining parades, canoe races, snow baths, sleigh rides, ice sculpture competitions and so much more. 

5) Rave all night at Igloofest

Montreal is one of the biggest party hot spots in Canada and for good reason. This city can keep the party going anytime of year, even when its -30°C out. 

Igloofest is an annual outdoor electronic music festival held at the Old Port of Montreal. Every weekend in January and February, thousands of ravers come together in snow pants and thick jackets to dance under the stars. The festival always has a killer line up and features the best local and international DJs who keep the music pumping all night long.

When your limbs get sore from all the raving, chill out at the many outdoor bars and admire the impressive ice sculptures that litter the festival grounds.

6) Go on an ice walking or ice climbing adventure in Banff

If you're in Alberta and want to feel the adrenalin pumping through your veins, book a tour with Banff Adventures and explore frozen lakes and waterfalls like never before. 

Photo Credit: Pazit Polak

At Grotto Canyon, you'll get the opportunity to walk on frozen creek beds, wander through unique rock formations and uncover ancient pictographs on canyon walls. 

Photo Credit: Pazit Polak

Banff, Canmore and Lake Louise are also perfect locations for ice climbing. Tours cater to all abilities and provide your own private guide who will lead you to some of the most beautiful landscapes Alberta has to offer.

7) Have fun at Winterlude 

Photo Credit: John Vetterli

Every February, hundreds of thousands of people visit Ottawa and Gatineau for Winterlude. This winter festival takes place at many sites and offers a variety of outdoor activities to partake in. Jacques-Cartier Park is transformed into a snow park equipped with ice slides and more. 

You'll also be dazzled by frozen works of art at Confederation Park which hosts the annual ice sculpture competition. Local museums and galleries also put on special exhibits and events during this time.


I’m a Canadian girl on a quest to step foot in every continent before I’m 30. You’ll most likely find me chowing down on Japanese ramen, partying at a music festival, hiking to the top of a scenic lookout, cuddling with cats, or chilling out at the beach. I’ve visited over 60 countries so far and hope to inspire you to do the same.


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  2. Lovely photos. As with many other destinations in the world, I would love to put this on my bucket list.