Who needs sand and sun when you've got a winter wonderland?! From the totally wild to the downright whimsical, Canada has plenty of snowy, swoon-worthy spots worth visiting with your family for a truly memorable winter vacation.
From ice hockey to ice castles, Canada has enough chilly charm up its sleeves to get even the most reluctant residents outside. Whether you’re sweet on sugar shacks or skiing across Olympic trails, sub-zero temps don’t have to equal sub-par entertainment. Not sure where to travel in the winter? Here are six spots that can make for a successful (and snowy) winter vacation.
Be an Ice Queen in Alberta
Hit freeze on your favourite fairy tale at Edmonton’s Ice Castles! Weighing in at 25-million pounds each, these hand-crafted, interactive ice sculptures might be your family’s new favourite destination for a winter vacation. Stroll through the stalactites, take in the twinkling lights, slip down a frozen slide, and of course, pose on an ice throne for a truly regal photo op.
Follow the Puck in New Brunswick
Since 2002, hockey teams and fans from around the world have been travelling to Plaster Rock, NB to kick it old school. The World Pond Hockey Championship, taking place February 14-17, 2019, features 120 teams from 15 countries battling it out in a colossal round-robin tournament. Even if your skills and skates aren’t as sharp as they used to be, the 3-hour trip from Saint John might be worth it just to take in the hockey.
Take to the Trails in British Columbia
Looking for a gold medal afternoon? Break a sweat and take in the beauty of back country views at the 2010 Nordic Olympic venue. Whistler’s Olympic Park features over 90kms of cross-country ski trails fit for everyone from first-timers to world champions. Equipment rentals are available on-site and if you’re not quite poised for the podium, they offer lessons too.
Have a Sweet Day in Quebec
Getting a master class in maple syrup at a real Quebecois sugar shack may be the most quintessentially Canadian way to beat the winter blahs. Located approximately an hour outside Montreal, Sucrerie de la Montagne is a cold-weather excursion that city dwellers and tourists alike warm up to. Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the woods, taste traditional, regional cuisine, try some maple taffy served à la snow, even bunk overnight in one of three on-site cabins!
Glow Wild in Ontario
If you’ve got more of a taste for art than adrenaline, Toronto could be just the right speed for your winter vacation. The Winter Light Exhibition at Ontario Place takes some of the province’s hottest artists and puts them outside in the cold, showcasing their work with a truly unique installation that features light, sculpture, and more. When you’re done gallery gazing, lace up for a family skate along the shores of Lake Ontario or sip cocoa by the bonfire.
Use Your Eagle Eyes in Nova Scotia
Tourists aren’t the only ones flocking to Nova Scotia. About an hour outside Halifax, the town of Sheffield Mills serves as the winter home to an impressive population of bald eagles (as many 30 can be found in a tree at one time, according to the Annapolis Valley website) and it might be one of best places to travel in Canada for a big-time birding adventure. Plan a trip during the town’s official “Eagle Watch” weekends or wing it during a quieter time.
Whatever winter adventure calls out to your family, be sure to you pack your camera and your coverage. A little extra protection while travelling might make a difference in the event of an emergency, as many medical costs may not be covered by your provincial health plan when you’re travelling outside of your province. RBC Travel Insurance is available for purchase online and can help offer that extra peace of mind so that you can get out and enjoy Canada’s cold-weather wonders.
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