As Canada’s typically chilly winter draws ever closer, you may be starting to consider travelling for a change of scenery. When planning a trip for the snowy season, we often tend to look outside of our country for inspiration. However, with travel restrictions looking uncertain with the new omicron variant, many Canadians will be searching for places to go within Canada’s borders for a winter staycation over the holiday season.
Fortunately, there are plenty of places we can go to for a cozy winter getaway in our country. Canada is a remarkable place full of populous, cosmopolitan cities, small, quaint towns, and boundless natural beauty to experience and explore. With all the options available to us, it can be hard to know which places are worth seeing, so we’ve compiled a list of winter destinations to visit in Canada to narrow it down and give you inspiration of where to go for the perfect staycation.
1. Banff National Park, Alberta
It would be hard to start this list with anything other than Canada’s oldest and most famous national park. Banff National Park in Alberta is truly the epitome of a winter wonderland. The park attracts millions of tourists from around the world for its scenic landscapes, diverse wildlife, and overall charming atmosphere. With iconic Rocky Mountain destinations such as Banff and Lake Louise and popular ski resorts such as Mount Norquay and Sunshine Village, there’ll be no shortage of things to do during your stay.
2. Churchill, Manitoba
When it comes to winter travel destinations, it doesn’t get much more quintessentially Canadian than the polar bear capital of the world: Churchill, Manitoba. In this northern city, you’ll be able to get a good taste of the arctic and have a high chance of spotting polar bears, beluga whales, and the breathtaking aurora borealis. Churchill is considered to be one of the best places on Earth to see these animals and the northern lights. If you want to fully experience Canada’s wild winter nature, this destination is for you.
3. Ottawa, Ontario
If you love to skate, you have to check out Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. Every winter, the 7.8 km long canal freezes over and becomes the world’s largest skating rink where you can skate with hundreds of others. There are also numerous museums and art galleries for visitors to explore in Canada’s capital city, and you could also time your trip for the Winterlude festival in February where you can see beautiful ice sculptures and play in a giant snow playground.
4. Quebec City, Quebec
If you want the sensation of going to Europe without having to leave the country, Quebec City is the go-to destination for that. The capital of Canada’s primarily French-speaking province is one of the oldest cities built by Europeans in North America, and its historic district is filled to the brim with picturesque cobblestone streets, fortified city walls, and European-style architecture. Quebec City also plays home to the world’s largest winter festival, the Carnaval du Québec, and the Hôtel de Glace, a hotel made of ice and snow (the only one of its kind in North America!).
5. Whistler, British Columbia
Winter sports fanatics around the world know of Whistler as one of the best destinations for alpine skiing and snowboarding. The popular BC resort town, close to home, brings in millions of visitors per year for its magnificent mountain views and unique, laid back atmosphere. In addition, Whistler has the largest ski area in North America, making it the ultimate winter playground for lovers of adventure and the great outdoors. The village located at the base of the mountains features a pedestrian-only stroll for tourists to unwind and recharge from their daily activities.
6. Montreal, Quebec
Don’t let the cold temperatures get you down! Montreal is one of the coolest cities in the country. With tons of bars, fantastic restaurants, and a young vibe – this city has it all. You can check out some of the city’s many beautiful art galleries and exhibits to avoid the wintery chill, before heading through the Christmas decorated Old Port streets. There is nothing more beautiful that a white Christmas in Montreal’s festive atmosphere.