If you read any shortlist of the best places in the world to bring in the New Year, Canada almost invariably features. With 2017 marking Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, this year’s New Year celebrations are set to be even bigger and more exciting than ever. There’s no better place to find that sense of regeneration that the New Year brings than in a country which is ready to welcome a new historic chapter to its story.
Canada is home to a diverse mixture of cultural influences and traditional customs that fuse to create a fantastic New Year’s Eve experience. According to 123 New Year, one such Canadian tradition includes “clapping and roaring at the time of midnight when New Year arrives in Canada. It is done with a belief that it sways away all the past evils and negative energies.” Many Canadians eat black-eyed pea soup and collect coals from the hearth at midnight on the 31st of December.
From skiing to street parties and trips to the wilderness, there are countless ways to see in 2017 on holiday in Canada. So, here are our top ten places to celebrate New Year in Canada!
10. The Forks Family New Year’s Eve, Winnipeg
This year is set to be a big one for Winnipeg, which will see a New Year’s Eve celebration bigger than any it has seen before. Over 30,000 visitors are expected to flock to The Forks on December 31st for its eagerly-awaited New Year’s Eve party. It will feature a fireworks show by none other than three-time fireworks display world champions, Archangel Fireworks.
As The Winnipeg Sun report, Forks CEO Paul Jordan said, “It’s going to be different, it’s going to be one-of-a-kind and I wouldn’t miss it for anything.” Between partying the night away at the event, you can peruse a range of brilliant activities such as outdoor skating, sledging and even snow-sculpting festivals.
9. Dancing Sasquatch, Banff
Banff’s Dancing Sasquatch party is the ultimate party destination in Alberta. Their website boasts of an evening featuring “amazing beats by our resident DJ, a brilliant lightshow, party favours, and champagne for everyone”. 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. If classical orchestras and timeless glamour are more up your street, visit the Fairmont Banff Springs for their New Year’s Gala in the ballroom.
In the Rocky Mountains itself, there are countless activities to make the most of your downtime come January 1st. Why not take a hike around Lake Louise on New Year’s Day, or take the Banff Gondola for panoramic views of the mountain range? Nothing else will inspire you to make 2017 your best year like that view!
8. Calgary Olympic Park
Calgary is renowned for its 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.
The zoo also offers phenomenal fireworks displays earlier in the evening. Expect fire pits, entertainment and lots of delicious, warming hot chocolate. For something a little more grown up, why not attend the suave Mysitque Ball, the Black and White Ball at the Casino or the Beatmatrix Gala?
7. TD Hogmanay Scottish New Year’s Party, Ottawa
If you’re looking for a bustling atmosphere for your New Year’s Eve celebrations, head to Ottawa, the country’s capital. Escape Here suggest that one of the most exciting celebrations is the TD Hogmanay Scottish New Years’ Party. They say, “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.”
In Ottawa, there are brilliant events for all ages. Families can visit Rick Chiarelli’s New Year’s Eve party, complete with magicians and face painters. If your group of friends are music lovers, you will be wowed by the free outdoor concert at Metcalfe Square and Sparks Street, along with one giant flare and dazzling lights in the sky.
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?
6. Vancouver waterfront festival
Vancouver is a hive of activity during the festive season, and New Year’s Eve is no different. Visit the beautiful VanDunsen 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.
Alternatively, join the Waterfront Gala Ball, Vancouver’s flagship New Year’s street party, which runs along the waterfront. With fireworks, food trucks, live music and much more it will delight you way past midnight. You could even spend the evening solving a murder mystery with cocktails, dinner and seven professional actors ready to set the cogs in motion for a strange and exhilarating evening.
5. Skiing in the Northwest Territories
This is one for those people who fancy a little adrenaline rush 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.
One of the best is undoubtedly skiing in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Just imagine the rush of gliding down the lantern-illuminated pistes as you see fireworks explode in the distance! In the capital, Yellowknife, you can visit a spectacular ice castle for the annual Snow King Festival.
In the neighbouring province of Saskatchewan, why not bring in 2017 with laughter? Enjoy a comedy show at the Ramada Saskatoon, finished off with champagne and dinner. For that glamorous feel, take a trip to Gatsby’s Mansion with your friends at the O’Brian’s Even Centre. The evening will feature a red carpet and even a prize for the best dressed! On January 1st, the province kicks off in its famous adventurous manner, with a Resolution Run in Regina to get that health kick going.
4. L’Olympia de Montreal party
Montreal’s party at the L’Olympia de Montreal is world-famous. Each December, 2500 people gather here to dance in the New Year during one vibrant party. But, as Escape Here say, “that’s not the only big party in town.” Some of the city’s largest clubs, such as the Roxbury, Rouge Nightclub and La Boom can see crowds between 800-2000 on New Year’s Eve! So if you’re a party animal you can be sure you’ll find yourself dancing the night – and the end of the year – away in Montreal.
There are also many more low-key options for spending December 31st in Montreal. From the Hyatt Regency Gala New Year’s Eve party to the La Finale New Year’s Eve at Jargo, this city is the perfect location to sample some delicious food and exquisite dining.
3. Quebec’s French-style New Year
Quebec is a truly charming area to visit at any time of year, but especially during the festive season. The Old City, with its gorgeous buildings and traditional shops, looks incredibly picturesque illuminated for the occasion. According to Time and Date the rural areas of Quebec are particularly traditional. Here you could join the locals who spend the night ice fishing with groups of friends.
Whether sightseeing, shopping, exploring the historic walled city or embarking on adventures like snow tubing and skiing, you can make several days of the New Year’s period in this amazing area.
The Huffington Post recommend that after midnight, you should “dance the night away on the Grande Allée strip, which turns into a giant outdoor party complete with live music and fireworks.” Indeed, there is no more electric atmosphere than the one on the Grand Allée in the early hours of January 1st 2017.
2. Watch The Northern Lights in Yukon
If you want to ensure that 2017 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. The Huffington Post say, “Canada is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights,” and, as Discover the World explain, December to February offer the longest hours of darkness in which to view 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 for the Canada 150 New Year’s Eve Countdown, at Shipyards Park. Featuring performances by the Dakha Khwaan Dancers, Soir de Semaine, Speed Control, The Midnight Sons and more performing, there is plenty to keep you entertained in this apparent wilderness!
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. According to Escape Here, it is Canada’s largest free New Year’s Eve concert, and often draws about 40,000 people. At Queen Victoria Park you can enjoy an epic line-up of musical guests, two awesome fireworks displays and, of course, the stunning sight of the falls also lit up in beautiful colours.
As Boots ‘n’ All recommends, if you don’t fancy spending the whole evening outside, you can also visit Casino Niagara and the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort. A few spins of fate will get the New Year started in style! You can also catch the jaw-dropping fireworks displays from Clifton Hill, which features attractions such as The Niagara Skywheel, a Dinosaur Park and glow in the dark mini-golf.
So if you are spending the holiday season in Canada, make sure your New Year begins with a bang with these brilliant events and activities!
Image Credits: Jacek Jasinski (Shutterstock) / Meg Wallace Photography (Shutterstock) / Renata Apanaviciene (Shutterstock) / Asparukh Akanayev (Shutterstock) / Mfcboy (Shutterstock) / Lima Pix (Flickr) / Norikko (Shutterstock) / Jiawangkun (Shutterstock) / Troy Maben (Shutterstock) / Jeff Whyte (Shutterstock) / Nelepl (Shutterstock)