With the spring period fully upon us, there’s never been a better time to book a last-minute escape to give you a pick-me-up before the summer. The weather is warming up, flowers are blooming and you can avoid the bustle of the summer high season – the perfect combination for a rejuvenating escape for solo travellers, couples, groups and families alike.
Spring in Canada has much to offer, with the climate and landscape varying from coast to coast. One of the best ways to ensure you get the most out of a short time in this vast country is with an escorted holiday to Canada. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-fuelled break or a chance to wind down in stunning surroundings, here are a few of our favourite destinations you could visit during spring in Canada.
Whistler is a popular winter destination thanks to its perfectly powdery mountainsides, making it a dream come true for skiers. You might be surprised to hear, however, that the famous resort in British Columbia still offers snowsports of international calibre right into the spring. By March, Lonely Planet explains that Whistler enjoys “longer days, clear skies and a good snowpack”, making a spring holiday in Whistler the perfect choice for skiers and snowboarders.
Whistler Mountain is open until April 22nd this year, and Blackcomb until May 20th, so if you’ve got a west coast Canada holiday planned, now is the perfect time to organise an excursion to the Rockies.
There is a real sense of regeneration in the air in Whistler during spring. Cherry blossoms greet you from every street corner as you arrive in British Columbia, black bears are emerging from hibernation in the conifer forests, and alpine flowers begin to greet the world. Temperatures average between -8 and 5 degrees Celsius on the mountains, meaning that some hardy skiers and snowboarders even go out in t-shirts or bikinis!
Spring is also a great time to witness professional-level snowsports, as the 25th Whistler Cup is held between 10th and 16th April this year. The event welcomes the world’s elite young ski racers to its mountains as they show off their unbelievable skills and compete for the famous cup.
From 7th-16th April you can enjoy the 2017 World Ski and Snowboard Festival – a fantastic event full of competitions. Make time for the Monster Energy Boarderstyle finals and the Canadian Junior Freestyle National Championships, which includes skiing, riding and halfpipe. Along with this, you can watch free live concerts each day, catch some great films and participate in some fun activities. The costumed Dog Parade is a favourite, while the hilarious Twisted Tea Slush Cupinvolves riding down the snow and across the icy slush pond in fancy dress!
Biking in Whistler Blackcomb
If snowsports aren’t on your agenda, spring may actually be the ultimate time to visit Whistler for an array of other outdoor pursuits. The famous Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Bike Park opens on May 17th this year, initiating a whole new season of exhilarating sports. Ride from the Alpine Top of the World trail to the technical Garbanzo run, or cruise through the Fitzsimmons Zones – all full of jumps, drops and stunts to test out your extreme cycling skills.
The snow is beginning to melt now in Quebec, leading countless visitors to flock to the province, along with the snow geese, which form an impressive white V shape against cerulean skies.
It is a slightly quieter period here, allowing you to experience the best of this historic province without having to negotiate the crowds. From the countryside regions’ enchanting flowering orchards to the sun-drenched architecture of the UNESCO World Heritage Quebec City, a holiday to Quebec at this time of year is a truly uplifting experience.
Hotel de Glace, Quebec City
The Huffington Post advises families to “forego a sweaty and crowded trip to Disney World for an unforgettable visit to the Hotel de Glace in Quebec City. The iconic ice hotel offers springtime fun for the entire family with a dose of education on Canada’s aboriginal groups too. The annual ice hotel features a skating rink, an ice slide, ice carvings, hot cocoa for the kids and those much-needed holiday cocktails served in ice glasses for the adults.”
White water rafting
There are also plenty of brilliant activities to try in Quebec during spring, one of the most popular being white water rafting. Join Expeditions Nouvelle Vague and head to the Jacques-Cartier River 35 minutes from Quebec City, or with Rafting Nouveau Monde to Red River, an hour from Montreal. Enjoy the thrill of speeding down rapids with friends or family, bumping over the challenging currents as water sprays through the air – all safely led by an expert guide.
Quebec’s street food
If you consider yourself something of a foodie, you will love Quebec in spring. The popular food trucks begin setting up stalls once again, selling Quebecois and Canadian delicacies in the sunshine.
The province’s sugar shacks are also well worth a visit, hosting their annual feasts in many urban centres. These feasts are full of home-cooked tourtière (meat pie), oreilles de crises (crispy salt-fried pork) and tire – a unique dessert made of hot taffy poured on snow and pulled around a stick to harden. Springtime in Quebec is also maple syrup season – need we say more?!
If you want to return home with a truly unique holiday story to tell, the Okanagan Valley is the perfect place to set the scene.
This unusual landscape can be found in southern British Columbia, but it is far from the snow-capped vistas of Whistler. Instead, Okanagan is one of the warmest regions in all of Canada, boasting almost desert-like landscapes, sandy beaches and hills adorned with sunflowers and vineyards.
Tugo blog recommends Okanagan as the perfect place for a bit of Canadian sun. They say:
“The Naramata Bench, Oliver’s Golden Mile (famous for wine tasting), renowned golf courses and not to mention watersports on the many Okanagan lakes, can ensure your family has many warmer weather activities to stay busy and maybe even catch a bit of sun. The Okanagan region is a good place for shorter road trips too. You might even want to rent an RV and take off from there across B.C.”
This region is home to countless fascinating natural landmarks, such as the beautiful Kettle Valley, where you can take a 104-year-old steam train through rural Summerland and over the Trout Creek Bridge with a sweeping view of Okanagan Lake and the dramatic canyons below.
The Spotted Lake
Lakes are a key component of the Okanagan Valley, but the most impressive is undoubtedly the ‘Spotted Lake’. The minerals in the water begin to evaporate in the approach to summer, leaving crystallised dots that you may be able to see changing colour over the months.
If you’re looking for an active trip this spring, the Okanagan Valley is also a great destination. Whether it be biking along the Kettle Valley trail, hiking the black sage hills in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park, golfing at the area’s many gorgeous courses, or even rock climbing in the canyons, there is plenty to give you that much-needed adrenaline fix here!
Finally, for a true taste of the natural world untamed, head to Churchill, Manitoba. Nothing could be further from the rituals of daily life. The land of polar bears, Churchill is home to majestic national parks and incredible wildlife, making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any lover of the great outdoors.
Polar bear watching
For many, the number one attraction in Churchill is the polar bears. The area is one of the world’s only human settlements where these rare creatures can be spotted in the wild, leading to thousands of people visiting each year in the hopes of seeing these magnificent bears with their own eyes.
In the spring, Churchill is less busy, meaning that you are free to explore without crowds, but it is slightly more difficult to find polar bears than in winter. However, heading on a bear-watching tour to their summer territory on the tundra and coastal rocks is well worth it to see families frolicking with adorable young cubs.
Activities for animal lovers
Spring is the perfect time to see plenty of other species in Manitoba. At Hudson Bay, you can see beluga whales in the waters, and even swim or kayak alongside these gentle, elegant creatures!
Get your adrenaline pumping with various exciting outdoor activities including dog sledding or snow-kiting across frozen lakes, skydiving over the pristine panoramas and horseback riding through luscious pine forests.
Watching the Northern Lights
Manitoba is also a prime destination for viewing the Northern Lights, making an adventure tour to see the stunning multi-coloured aurora borealis an experience to remember.