Home Discover Canada Fun winter activities in Canada for you to experience the outdoors

Fun winter activities in Canada for you to experience the outdoors

Fun winter activities in Canada for you to experience the outdoors

During the cold months, which of these two ways do you prefer to enjoy the winter in Canada – curling up on your sofa with a mug of hot cocoa or engaging in outdoor activities? If the latter sounds fun, check out this article that includes recommendations. From an outdoor hike and a winter carnival to some uniquely Canadian sports, here are fun winter activities in Canada for newcomers to get to better know their new home.

Embrace the outdoors by Skiing and Snowboarding

From east to western sea, many Canadian cities have made a name for themselves as world-class locations for skiers and snowboarding enthusiasts. One of the best locations for winter sports is Whistler, BC, which vies for the top spot with Banff, AB, and Charlevoix, QC…let’s not forget Ontario’s Blue Mountain either!

British Columbia is home to many amazing ski locations, including Kelowna, Revelstoke, Okanagan, and Sun Peaks. Banff, AB, has no dearth of winter fun either: Mount Norquay has one of the oldest skiing locations in the country, while Lake Louise offers travellers one of the largest ski areas in Canada.

Whether you’re looking for stunning mountain scenery, challenging slopes, vibrant communities, or something for the family, Canada has something for everyone.

Also read: Newcomer guide: Essential armour to stay toasty in the Canadian winter

Give in to the enchantment of the Northern Lights

One of nature’s most stunningly beautiful and spectacular phenomena, the fluorescent green, yellow, pink, and red lights of the Aurora Borealis will hypnotize you.

The north of the country – although cold – provides wonderful opportunities to witness this wonder of nature. Churchill, MB, is one of the more popular locations to which people flock to experience this phenomenon, while many also head to Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon, all of which provide the best views of this atmospheric light show. 

It’s not like Banff National Park needs another reason to be famous, but both Banff and Jasper – home to the Dark Sky Festival – are two of the best places in Alberta to witness the Aurora Borealis. If you are on the East Coast, head to Newfoundland and Labrador…we’re sure you won’t regret it!

Savour the unique flavours of ice wine 

A type of wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine, Canada is one of only a handful of countries that produce this version of the beverage, which pairs amazingly with desserts.

Why don’t you savour the flavours of some of Canada’s finest wines by checking out icewine vineyards close to where you live? Nova Scotia is known for some of the best wineries in the country, while both Ontario and British Columbia are famous for their flavourful versions of the beverage. Inspired by French wines and cultures, Quebec’s Eastern Townships are also known for some of Canada’s best ice wines. 

Be amazed by the frozen cascade of the Niagara Falls

Although it is a wildly popular tourist attraction in the summer, Niagara Falls when seen in the winter, is breathtaking in its own way: the frozen waters and the rows upon rows of icicles bathed by the winter sun are a sign of the harsh yet beautiful wonders of nature.

When you head to the falls this winter, make sure you capture pictures of the overhanging jewel-like icicles and enjoy events organized to illuminate the wonderful body of water. As different colours dance off the ice formations, it’s hard for you to not get mesmerized by the icy facade. 

Niagara Falls also has a plethora of tourist attractions and restaurants that offer plenty to visitors to the city.

Zoom through nature on a snowmobile

Canada’s varying landscapes featuring forests, mountains, and prairies make for some amazing snowmobiling experiences. For the adrenaline junkies among you, there are few things better than watching the wilderness fly by as a blur as you cruise through your green and white surroundings on a vehicle that demands patience, perseverance, precision, and determination.

Alberta has some of the best snowmobile trails around: the Iron Horse Trail features a 300km long path that would suit both daytrippers and those who are looking to spend longer in the great outdoors. Ontario, meanwhile, has the world’s largest interconnected network of snowmobile trails, while Quebec’s famed Laurentians are known for their mountain sports and rich snowmobiling heritage.

Go on an amazing ice-fishing expedition 

Some of Canada’s less explored regions are home to some of its best-kept secrets. Away from the cities of Saskatchewan, a host of frozen lakes make for the perfect ice-fishing country. Beneath the icy surface, fish gather for a feeding frenzy, providing you a great opportunity to catch plenty of walleye, Northern pike, perch, lake trout, and many others from late December to mid-March.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, then take your journey further north: ice fishing is a passion of the Northwest Territories, where heating ice-fishing cabins means you can cast your line in more comfortable surroundings. Late March through to early May is the best time to haul up plenty of large fish from beneath the surface.

Hike through a national park this winter

While national parks are lush and verdant locations in the summer, they are equally gorgeous during the winter as well, featuring landscapes that would not look out of place in a Christmas advert, or a winter tourism promotion.

There’s a starkness and mysteriousness to a park during the winter months, and depending on which part of the country you live in, make sure you visit one during this time of the year. If you are on the West Coast, then drive out to Kootenay National Park in BC, or Kluane National Park and Reserve in the Yukon.

For those on the east, head to Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick, or La Mauricie in Quebec. If the Prairies are where you live, then check out Riding Mountain National Park, MB.

Enjoy a quintessential hockey night!

Hockey is Canada’s most popular sport. Walk on the streets in any major city on a weekend, and you will find people heading out in droves to watch their favourite team, sporting the jerseys of teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Edmonton Oilers, the Ottawa Senators, or the Montréal Canadiens. 

As part of your fun winter activities in Canada, why not get acquainted with ice hockey by heading out to your local hockey arena and experiencing the amazing vibes that come from the sport? Who knows…growing up, you might have wanted a cricket bat, a soccer ball, or a baseball bat. You, however, might soon be buying your kids their first-ever hockey stick.

Ever considered playing pond hockey?

While many of us come from countries where it is common to kick around a soccer ball on a beach or a patch of grass, winter in Canada means it’s time for pond hockey, also informally known as Shinny. Whether you’re in the city or the countryside, don’t be surprised if you see groups of children and adults skating about on a pond taking part in a spirited game of hockey.

Several Canadian cities also organize training programs for adults and children to take up hockey…many of them are either free or low-cost.

Canada is also home to the World Pond Hockey Championships, which take place in New Brunswick. Having grown exponentially in popularity since it first began in 2002, every year, more than 120 teams from 15 countries take part in the championships, which are viewed by more than 8,000 people and broadcast nationwide.

Embrace endurance by going ice climbing

An outdoor activity that is fast gaining popularity among people with a fondness for mountaineering, ice climbing is an amazing way to explore Canada’s mountains and valleys. From climbing areas for beginners to more challenging courses for advanced climbers, the sport of ice climbing does have something for everyone.

Canmore, AB, boasts some of the best places in the world to go ice climbing, while Quebec has some amazing routes as well. The Canadian Rockies, with their abundant valleys – Ghost River Valleys, Bow Valley, Stanley Headwall, and the Icefields Parkway – have also attracted climbers from across the globe.

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