Canada’s not just for summer. In fact, winter is one of the most special seasons to visit. As the weather gets colder, winter travel destinations in Canada are just warming up. With snow-capped mountains and a range of winter activities to enjoy, you can see why so many people head on winter holidays to Canada.
So, this year, forget the Alps. Grab your gloves, scarf and coat and explore our top destinations. We’ll let you into the “who, what, when and where” of a fantastic winter break in Canada.
Nestled in the heart of the legendary Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff is most definitely one of the must-visit destinations in winter.
The mountain town of Banff not only gives visitors great access to Canada’s mountains, but is also home to three of Canada’s best ski resorts: Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Ski Resort. As a result, Banff is a popular destination for ski holidays in Canada, and the area’s varied terrain makes for some great skiing conditions.
If you haven’t been skiing before or seen the Rocky Mountains, then you can kill two birds with one stone by visiting Banff.
The spectacular mountain ranges offer unbelievable views and the trails are open and quiet, so skiers and snowboarders can explore the area without having to battle against lots of other people.
You can experience winter in the Rockies with our Rockies Winter Escape Holiday or Rockies Winter Rail Holiday.
If you fancy whizzing down the slopes, try our Banff Ski Holiday.
From January to the end of February, the picturesque Rideau Canal becomes a 7.8km ice rink. Visitors can twirl, slide and whisk their way along what is the world’s largest ice rink.
If you are in Ottawa in February, then you can go and celebrate winter in Canada’s capital by attending Winterlude, an annual winter celebration.
Winterlude, which takes place from 3-20 February, puts on a range of activities, from teaching visitors how to skate to hosting a classic ice hockey tournament. There is also the annual Accora Village Bed Race, which sees competitors dress up in fancy dress and race decorated beds across the frozen ice.
There will also be plenty of stands dotted around the city that will be selling maple taffy and hot chocolate.
Ottawa is certainly one of the best and most beautiful cities to visit during winter and over one million people visit this city to go ice skating.
Experience the famous ice festival for yourself with our Winterlude Weekend in Ottawa Holiday.
This spectacular mountain community has previously been named North America’s best resort by skiers and it has a reputation for being a great destination for downhill skiing.
Whistler is snuggled in the picturesque Coastal Mountain range and is just a two-hour drive from Vancouver.
Its 200-plus runs offer beginner, intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders a whole host of trails to enjoy. It’s the perfect family destination.
Whistler offers so much more than just being a ski resort, so it’s great for non-skiers too. There are plenty of top-quality restaurants visitors can enjoy and spas to relax in during the day. In the evening, the town comes alive with pubs and nightclubs.
Head to the slopes (or the spa!) on our fabulous Whistler Ski Holiday package.
Sitting on the Saint Lawrence River, Québec City is another great place to visit during the winter months.
The city hosts the biggest winter carnival in the world and visitors can see events such as ice carving and igloo building competitions. This year the Carnaval de Québec takes place from 27 January-12 February.
With an average snowfall of more than 400 centimetres each year, the city really does become a winter wonderland. The Carnaval de Québec is the highlight of winter in Québec City, but the Christmas and holiday season – which starts in early December – is also pretty special. The city is covered with Christmas lights and festive decorations, while the city’s diary bursts with Christmas concerts.
See the best of Québec City and Montreal with our Québec Winter Wonderland Holiday.
The fact that Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics back in 1988 and is exploring the idea of hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics proves that the city is a great winter destination. The city is also within driving distance of the Lake Louise ski resort and the rest of the Canadian Rockies.
The WinSport facility in Calgary is the most visible legacy from the 1988 Games and is now a world-class winter sport institute. It proudly boasts Calgary’s newest Ice Complex and is the home of Hockey Canada.
Visitors to WinSport can also take to the slopes this winter season and enjoy a family-friendly skiing experience. Or try out a bobsleigh ride, where you can twist and turn down 14 turns with up to four G-forces.
Spend time in Calgary on our Rockies Winter Rail Holiday.
Image Credit: IM_photo (Shutterstock), aaront, erwan.lher, davebloggs007