It is one of the most awaited times of the year, where you and others from all over the world indulge in a partying spree. But where are the best places to see in the New Year?
If you read any shortlist of the best places in the world to bring in the New Year, Canada invariably features. As 2019 approaches, this year’s New Year celebrations in Canada are set to be even bigger and more exciting than ever before.
Canada is home to a diverse mixture of cultural influences and traditional customs that fuse to create a fantastic New Year’s Eve experience. From incredible fireworks over Quebec City, Banff and the Niagara Falls to parties in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, Canada knows how to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
There are so many ways to see in the New Year that you’ll want to get booking straight away! Whether you book flights to Calgary, Toronto or any other top city there will be so many events to enjoy. So, here are our top ten places to celebrate New Year in Canada!
This year is set to be another big one for Winnipeg as there will be a host of New Year’s Eve celebrations taking place. You can follow the locals and flock to The Forks, a meeting place for over 6,000 years and where indigenous peoples traded fur and other products, on December 31st for its eagerly-awaited New Year’s Eve party. In the past, the event has attracted over 30,000 visitors and this year’s event will feature a mini fireworks display at 8pm and another fireworks spectacle at midnight.
There are lots of other New Year events taking place in Winnipeg this year:
•Top Hats & Tiaras (31 December at 11am-1pm) – Enjoy music from The Solutions, hands-on science activities, festive balloons created by Balloons by Mike, a festive 1,000-balloon drop and a photographer to take photos of you in your top hats and tiaras!
•Resolution NYE Gala (31 December at 9.30pm to late) – Regarded as one of the biggest and best New Year’s Eve events in Winnipeg, the party will welcome DJs Electric Kitten and Synthy Lox as they play their favourite old and new hits from R&B, Hip Hop and their top 40 songs.
Downtown Banff turns into a mini Times Square as crowds gather to watch fireworks light up the sky and attend a variety of events.
Banff’s Dancing Sasquatch party is the ultimate party destination in Alberta. It all takes place in a mountain-themed club – the perfect party destination for small and large groups looking to make this New Year’s Eve unforgettable. DJs will be playing the latest music and you can even enjoy a champagne cocktail too!
The Fairmont Banff Springs will be hosting its New Year’s Eve Gala in the Van Horne Ballroom. You can dine on a mouth-watering meal, dance and see the New Year in while enjoying the ultimate back-drop: Banff National Park.
You can also enjoy the Rocky Mountains themselves on New Year’s Day as there are countless activities to make the most of your downtime come January 1st. Why not hike around Lake Louise or take the Banff Gondola for panoramic views of the mountain range? Nothing else will inspire you to make 2019 your best year like that view!
The city of Calgary will once again play host to a variety of celebrations, making the city one of the best places to celebrate New Year in Canada.
We’d recommend heading to the Olympic Park, but you don’t have to be a medal-winner to enjoy its fantastic facilities. For New Year’s Eve, head here to while away the hours skating, listening to brilliant music and spending some quality time with friends and family before the midnight fireworks finale. If you are heading to the Olympic Plaza, then you need to make the most of the Tim Hortons free hot drink giveaway and go and see the incredible ice sculpture on display.
“New Year celebrations in Calgary are very family friendly – fireworks on the roof of Calgary Tower and ice skating at the Olympic Plaza will be two of the highlights this year. But don’t forget also the family dance party and kids’ countdown at the Central Library… something for everyone!”
If you’re looking for a really family-friendly New Year’s Eve event then you should head to TELUS Spark as they countdown to noon! You’ll see exploding hydrogen balloons and when the clock strikes 12, you’ll need to get ready for the crackles and pops as you dance on the bubble wrap dance floor!
If you’re looking for a bustling atmosphere for your New Year’s Eve celebrations, head to Ottawa, the country’s capital. Ottawa is a beautiful city boasting year-round events and with the city pouring in money over the last five years to make it even more welcoming and accommodating, it has become one of the most popular cities to visit in Canada.
“Visitors here will have the chance to skate to Celtic music, ice sculpt, scotch taste, listen to live music and more. And when midnight strikes, prepare for an amazing display of fireworks off the roof of city hall.”
The Covert Ottawa Guy, a site that highlights the different events taking place in the city, tells us about some of the other incredible events you can enjoy over New Year’s in Ottawa.
“Hogmanay is only one of many events to choose from. While visiting Ottawa for New Years, visitors can take in the final week of the Parliament Hill’s Northern Lights exhibit each night, which is a must-see around the Christmas time in Ottawa, plus there is a huge variety of other events going on around the city.”
There are brilliant events for all ages and one of the most elegant New Year’s Eve events in Ottawa will be held at the recently renovated National Arts Centre, which is hosting a party with dinner and music from the Big Band Ottawa. A great way to laugh your way into 2019 will be to attend the 8th Annual New Year’s Eve Comedy Night at the Shenkman Arts Centre as you’ll be able to listen to some side-splitting material from top Canadian comedians such as Gilson Lubin, Andrew Chapman and Nour Hadidi.
As New Year’s Eve Blog explains, Ottawa is famous for its sporting events such as football, hockey, baseball and horse-racing. So, if you’re looking for something a little different this year, why not check out the line-up for your favourite sports matches?
Another great place to visit is the CRAFT Beer Market, which started in Calgary in June 2011 with the idea to bring people together over great food and great beer. Now the market is a hugely popular destination for New Year’s Eve in Ottawa.
Andrew Gordon, the general manager at CRAFT Beer Market Restaurant + Bar, tells us about the popular attraction and why it is a great place to head to this New Year’s.
“We make almost everything in-house from scratch and are just as proud of our food menu as we are of our menu of over 100 beers on tap.
“We would recommend people come celebrate NYE with us if they are looking for a unique and approachable experience. We offer a four-course beer and food pairing, followed by a huge dance party to bring in the new year, DJ, party favours and all. All at a price that can’t be beat.”
— Vancouver Is Awesome (@VIAwesome) December 11, 2018
Vancouver is a hive of activity during the festive season, and New Year’s Eve is no different. Visit the beautiful VanDusen Botanical Garden for its stunning Festival of Lights. Journey through themed areas full of everything from Scandinavian gnomes to a Dancing Lights show at Livingstone Lake.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Vancouver New Year’s Celebration Society will be staging the Concord New Year’s Eve Vancouver event. The downtown waterfront will be transformed with food trucks, live music, street performers and spectacular midnight fireworks. Alternatively, join the Fairmont Waterfront Gala Ball for a magnificent view of the Midnight countdown fireworks at Canada Place.
Macca Sherifi, who runs the travel blog An Adventurous World told us why Vancouver is such a special place to visit over the New Year and recommended some other events you could attend.
“There’s a reason why Vancouver always gets voted in the top 10 most liveable cities in the world – it is such an incredible place to live and visit during the holidays, and the city really comes to life for New Year’s Eve!
“The biggest event is near Canada Place in Downtown Vancouver where they have an amazing fireworks display, live music, food, a fair few bars and nothing but good times to be had. This is easily the best fireworks display in Vancouver and it is such a good way to see in the New Year.
“A couple of other fantastic spots for New Year’s Eve are at the Telus World of Science where they turn the museum into a massive nightclub for 1,000 people – it’s such a different and unique venue – and a boat cruise down by the waterfront with cocktails and canapes. No matter where you see in the New Year though, Vancouver is the perfect place to do it!”
This is one for those people who fancy something a little different to start off the New Year. Canada’s Arctic north is a haven for adventure seekers, and if you’re one of these explorers, you’ll love spending the festive season here. From skating across frozen lakes to fantastic snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, there are a huge number of activities for you to try.
The Northwest Territories has idyllic towns and vibrant cities where you can see in the New Year, but Yellowknife, the capital of the province, should be at the top of your bucket list.
Kyle Thomas from Yellowknife Online tells us about some of the things you enjoy during New Year’s Eve.
“Yellowknife is a thriving “little big” city in the middle of the vast and untouched boreal forest. While our city’s sponsored fireworks might start off the night at 8pm on December 31, the show doesn’t end there. You could take in one of the many New Year’s Eve parties across the city but we do also have our own naturally occurring lights in the Aurora Borealis. As the best place to view the Aurora Borealis in North America what better way to ring in the New Year than marvelling at the swirling Northern Lights overhead. Make it even more special by enjoying them from the warmth of a cosy cabin or prospector tent.”
No one does New Year’s Eve quite like Montreal does, a city that wrote the book on celebrations. Whether it’s live music and entertainment, a fireworks display or enjoying a nice meal, Montreal offers something for everyone. Montreal’s party at the L’Olympia de Montreal is world-famous. Each December, 2,500 people gather here to dance in the New Year during one vibrant party. This year you can enjoy a live performance from Ryan Stevenson and listen to DJs Domeno, Kleancut, Vito V and Spin.
Some of the city’s largest clubs, such as the Roxbury, Rouge Nightclub and La Boom can see crowds between 800-2,000 on New Year’s Eve! So you could find yourself dancing the night – and the end of the year – away in Montreal.
Merry Montreal’s free New Year’s Party on the Old Port’s Quai Jacques-Cartier is regarded as the best outdoor concert in the city. The sixth edition of the party pulls out all the stops this year with Quebec’s best musicians performing such as Afrikana Soul Sister, Andréanne A. Malette, Roxane Bruneau, Hubert Lenoir and more. There will be fireworks at midnight and a dance party featuring DJ Magic Stan until 2am.
3. Quebec City
Quebec is a truly charming city to visit at any time of year, but especially during the festive season. The Old City, chock full of historic buildings, cobblestone streets and fabulous restaurants, looks incredibly picturesque when illuminated for the occasion.
Whether sightseeing, shopping, exploring the historic walled city or embarking on adventures like snow tubing and skiing, you can spend several days of the New Year period in this amazing area. During your visit, you can explore the Quartier Petit Champlain, North America’s oldest neighbourhood and the site of Quebec’s first port in the day before getting tucked into the city’s world-famous food scene to celebrate the New Year.
Carole Funger, the blogger behind the Here By Design site, tells us why Quebec City is also one of her top choices for New Year’s.
“The city celebrates New Year’s in a big way with a large outdoor New Year’s Eve party on the Grande Allée, featuring live music, dancing and even a Ferris wheel. The many restaurants on the periphery of the square feature special menus and their heated outdoor patios provide great vantage points from which to observe the festivities.
“In the afternoon we headed up the steep staircase known as ‘L’Escalier Casse-Cou’ to the Dufferin Terrace that runs along the top of the old Citadel. From this high vantage point, you can take in sweeping views of the city. Just behind is the hotel known as Chateau Frontenac which is decked out in holiday splendour. It also has an outstanding afternoon Wine and Cheese Tasting at a beautiful circular bar with views out onto the St. Lawrence River.”
If you want to ensure that 2019 will be an unforgettable year, you have to begin it with something truly special. There is no better way to do so than seeing the Aurora Borealis. Canada is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights and with December to February offering the longest hours of darkness, it is the best time to see the lights in action.
The territory of Yukon and its capital, Whitehorse, are known for having some of the best spots on the planet to see the mind-boggling displays of the Northern Lights. If you’re looking for an alternative New Year’s Eve that will create memories to cherish for a lifetime, why not retreat to a cabin in the Yukon? Take in the dazzling lights with a hot chocolate in hand.
Alternatively, if you decide you fancy a party while you’re there, head to Whitehorse. At Shipyards Park you will be able to go skating, swimming, sledding, try snow painting, enjoy fresh hot apple cider and watch the fireworks finale at 8pm.
1. Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls New Year’s Eve events may be the most well-known in the whole of Canada, and for a good reason. You really don’t get a better venue than the world’s most famous waterfall. Over this period Niagara Falls often draws about 50,000 people and the all-Canadian New Year’s Eve Concert will again be a great way to kick off 2019. This year there will be performances from Niagara Falls-based band Avenue Inn, the award-winning band The Sheepdogs, multi-platinum selling group Walk Off The Earth and Burton Cummings- one of the most celebrated Canadian musicians.
The Skylon Tower is a great place to visit whilst in Niagara Falls on New Year’s Eve and here Anita Pang Hrepic from the attraction told us what you can expect to see this year.
“Ring in the New Year in Niagara Falls at Skylon Tower! Countdown to midnight and the spectacular grand finale fireworks display launched from the top of Skylon Tower. Marvel at the magnificent fireworks display up close from our Indoor/Outdoor Observatory or celebrate the arrival of the New Year from our 2 restaurants; the Revolving Dining Room and Summit Suite Buffet.”
Other events you can enjoy include the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights, which continues to the end of January with light displays, as well as the Fallsview Sound and Light Show, Holiday Lights Tours and over 3 million lights displayed along the Niagara Parkway, Dufferin Islands and Niagara Falls.
So if you are going on holiday in Canada, make sure your New Year begins with a bang with these brilliant events and activities!
Image credit: Kyle Thomas (Yellowknife Online)