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Winter Extravaganza: Top Activities in the Great White North

There’s nothing like Canada in winter. The country is transformed into a magical winter extravaganza, offering a feast of activities and experiences that will leave you in awe.

Canada has everything from skating on frozen canals to witnessing the beauty of the Northern Lights. We have listed a dozen of the most popular adventures, along with a few you may not have heard of, especially if you are a newcomer or a first-time home buyer in a new place.

So, wrap up warmly and let us see what you can explore this winter! 

Winter Extravaganza in Canada

1. Skate the Rideau Canal Skateway

The Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa is the world’s largest naturally frozen ice rink, spanning 7.8 kilometres. Lace-up your skates and glide along this picturesque frozen canal, surrounded by stunning views of Ottawa’s historic landmarks, including Parliament Hill and the National Arts Centre. The skateway is open 24 hours a day, and you can rent skates from one of the many rental shops along the canal to enjoy a skate at any time.

The Rideau Canal Skateway is a means of transportation for locals, who use it to commute to work, school, and even grocery shopping. Depending on weather conditions, the skateway typically opens in February or March and stays open for approximately three weeks. Like you would do before investing in Ottawa real estate, be sure to check for the most up-to-date information on this popular entry on the list of the top activities in the Great White North.

2. Explore Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is perfect for those seeking a winter activity combining fitness and nature exploration. Canada offers many trails suitable for all skill levels, allowing you to glide through breathtaking winter landscapes. Whether you prefer flat terrain or more challenging trails, there are numerous locations across the country to satisfy your cross-country skiing cravings.

Some of the best places to go cross-country skiing in Canada include:

  • Silver Star and Sovereign Lake, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
  • Gatineau Park, Quebec
  • Triangle Lake Trails, British Columbia
  • Callaghan Country, Whistler, British Columbia
  • Laurentian Mountains, Quebec
  • Kluane National Park, Yukon
  • Canmore, Alberta

These destinations offer well-groomed trails and stunning winter scenery, providing an unforgettable cross-country skiing experience.

Hockey is a popular Winter Activity

3. Attend the World Pond Hockey Championship

If you’re a hockey enthusiast, the World Pond Hockey Championship in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, is a must-see. Held annually in February on Roulston Lake, this unique championship transforms the frozen lake into multiple rinks.

The World Pond Hockey Championship features different categories based on age and skill levels, ensuring everyone can participate and enjoy the action. It’s a fantastic opportunity to witness the hockey community’s passion, surrounded by Canada’s stunning winter landscape. This is one of the most popular top activities in the Great White North.

4. Marvel at Frozen Bubbles on Lake Abraham

For a more visual treat, visit Lake Abraham in Alberta, renowned for its frozen bubbles. In winter, bubbles of methane gas released from decaying plant matter become trapped beneath the surface as the lake freezes. These bubbles freeze, creating a mesmerizing display that resembles delicate crystal orbs suspended in the ice.

The crystal-clear ice of the lake allows you to see the intricate patterns and formations of the frozen bubbles, making it a photographer’s paradise. Remember to exercise caution while exploring the frozen lake.

Frozen Bubbles at Lake Abraham - A Winter marvel

5. Experience Winter Camping in Canada

For adventurous souls who enjoy embracing the elements, winter camping in Canada is an unforgettable experience. Although it requires proper preparation and gear, winter camping immerses you in the serene beauty of the snowy landscapes. Canada offers a range of winter camping destinations, and each has a unique charm.

Some of the best places for winter camping in Canada include:

  • Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
  • Glacier National Park, British Columbia
  • Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
  • Point Pelee National Park, Ontario
  • Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan

These destinations offer opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and enjoying the tranquillity of winter nature. Pack appropriate gear, including a four-season tent, warm clothing, and a reliable heat source to keep you cozy during chilly nights.

6. Enjoy the Spectacular Christmas Lights

During the holiday season, cities across Canada are illuminated with dazzling displays of Christmas lights. From Toronto to Vancouver, these light shows add a touch of magic to the winter nights, leaving locals and visitors awe-struck by their beauty.

Some of the best places to enjoy Christmas lights in Canada include:

  • Magic of Lights at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa
  • Distillery District Christmas Market in Toronto
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver
  • Sparks Street in Ottawa

Stroll through these enchanting displays, listen to carolers singing traditional holiday tunes, and warm up with hot chocolate. The captivating lights and festive decorations will put you in the holiday spirit. And who knows, get you browsing for Toronto houses for sale, too!

7. Go on Dog Sledding Tours

Dog sledding is an iconic Canadian winter activity that allows you to experience the thrill of gliding through the snow-covered landscapes pulled by a team of energetic and well-trained sled dogs. It’s a unique way to explore the Canadian wilderness and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

Dog sledding in crisp Canadian winters

Many tour operators across Canada offer dog sledding tours, allowing you to learn about the history and culture of dog sledding while enjoying the exhilaration of the ride. Whether in the Rocky Mountains or the area around Quebec City, dog sledding tours offer an unforgettable adventure for all ages.

8. Try Your Hand at Ice Fishing

For an out-of-the-ordinary experience, try ice fishing, a popular activity that combines relaxation with the thrill of catching fish. It involves drilling a hole in the frozen lake and dropping your line to catch fish – funny though this may sound, this ranks pretty high on the top activities in the Great White North.

Many frozen lakes across Canada offer excellent ice fishing opportunities. You can rent ice fishing gear or hire a guide to learn the secrets of successful ice fishing.

9. Indulge in the Niagara Ice Wine Festival

Travel to Niagara Falls to see the magnificent partially frozen river. And then, enjoy Canada’s renowned ice wines at the Niagara Ice Wine Festival. This festival showcases the best of Niagara’s ice wines in January, allowing visitors to sample and purchase these sweet wines.

Wine glasses at the Niagara Ice Wine festival

A must-visit event for wine enthusiasts, the festival features various events, including guided wine tastings, food pairings, and ice wine seminars. You can explore the beautiful vineyards and wineries of the Niagara region while immersing yourself in the world of ice wine. Of course, you can also look around for the best Niagara Falls real estate if you wish to extend your stay.

10. Hit the Slopes for Skiing or Snowboarding

And now, one of the country’s most popular winter sports. Canada is renowned for its world-class ski resorts, offering some of the world’s best downhill skiing and snowboarding experiences. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, the Canadian Rockies and other mountain ranges provide slopes for all skill levels.

Some of the top-rated ski resorts in Canada include:

  • Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
  • Mont Tremblant, Quebec
  • Sunshine Village, Alberta
  • Blue Mountain, Ontario
  • Kicking Horse Mountain, British Columbia

Hit the slopes and carve your way down the mountains, enjoying the breathtaking views and fresh mountain air. Ski and snowboard rentals are available at most resorts, making it easy to gear up and experience the thrill of winter sports.

Snowboarding or skiing - You can do both this winter

11. Heard of SkiJoring?

SkiJoring is a thrilling winter activity for dog parents that combines cross-country skiing with dog sledding. It involves being tethered to your dog while wearing skis or a snowboard, allowing your furry friend to pull you along the snowy trails.

SkiJoring is a great way to bond with your dog and get some exercise together. Many ski resorts and winter destinations in Canada offer SkiJoring experiences. Strap on your skis and let your dog lead the way!

12. Go Aurora Hunting for the Northern Lights

Seeing the Northern Lights, AKA the Aurora Borealis, is a bucket-list experience for many. Canada offers some of the best opportunities to view this natural phenomenon, particularly in the northern regions such as Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

To increase your chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis, plan a trip to these regions during the winter months when the nights are longer and darker. Venture out on your own or join a tour to find the perfect spot to marvel at the dancing colours of the night sky. Be patient and keep your eyes peeled for this awe-inspiring display of nature’s beauty.

Additional Information: Don’t forget to check the local weather and aurora forecast for the best chances of viewing the Northern Lights.

the haunting Northern lights

Happy Winter Adventures!

Experience the magic of Canada’s winter extravaganza with many unforgettable activities. From skating on the iconic Rideau Canal Skateway to witnessing the mesmerizing frozen bubbles on Lake Abraham, each adventure promises to etch lasting memories. Whether you crave adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Canada caters to every traveller’s desires amidst its enchanting winter landscape.

Whether you’re speeding down snowy slopes, marvelling at the Northern Lights, or enjoying a mountainside hot spring with hot cocoa, Canada’s winter promises an unparalleled experience. Bundle up, step outside, and embrace the beauty and excitement that the Great White North uniquely offers.

Likewise, contact us for any of your real estate needs across the country and we would love to assist you. Happy Holidays!

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