There’s no doubt that Canadian winters can be cold. However, that doesn’t mean that any travel plans to the “Great White North” have to be put on hold until spring.
Canada is built for winter tourism. For adventurous vacationists, it’s got scores of activities to offer all year round. Yet during the coldest times of the year, it offers unforgettable experiences that you’ll struggle to find elsewhere.
The country is very easy to visit at any time of the year from the UK. You won’t need a visa to travel, although most visitors from Britain and Europe will need to register for an eTA travel authorization online before setting off. This just takes a few minutes and if you meet all the eTA requirements you’ll be ready to roll in under 24 hours.
Seeing this winter wonderland for yourself is a magical experience. If you want to know how a trip from October to March is worth the hype, read on to find out why Canada’s wildest winter activities are something you won’t want to miss out on.
Canada’s Best Winter Activities
When the ice and snow arrive and Canadian winter begins in earnest, some of the best travel activities open up to tourists. This gives intrepid travellers the chance to experience a truly different experience full of awe-inspiring pastimes. Below you’ll find some of the most interesting examples.
At one point in time, dog sleds were one of the most effective ways to explore the landscape of Canada. Whilst they’re not quite the essential utilities that they once were, travelling the snowy wilderness with a pack of huskies still evokes the same old sense of adventure.
If you want to give this a try yourself, you’ll find plenty of dog sledding tours across the country during the coldest months. If you’re visiting Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, or Yukon keep an eye out for this unique experience.
If you want a slightly more modern way to traverse the wintery landscapes of Canada why not try a skidoo? For adrenaline seekers, this presents one of the most exciting ways to speed through the snow.
A more traditional way to experience Canadian winter is with a spot of ice fishing.
Just like the indigenous people discovered long ago, there’s plenty of good catches to be had on the lakes even if the ice is inches thick. With just a simple line and some bait, you can catch fish such as yellow perch, trout, pike and bass.
Of course, to be safe, it’s sensible to go with a tour group or make sure you come with the right safety equipment. Whilst fishing is a more slow-paced pastime, fishing on open ice can be risky if proper precautions aren’t taken.
Another way to take advantage of Canada’s icy conditions is with a glacier walk. The Athabasca glacier on the Columbia Icefield near Jasper in Alberta offers just this experience, allowing tourists to set foot on the 6 km² frozen river.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Canada is a land of snow and mountains and it would, therefore, be shocking if Canadians didn’t embrace the allure of skis and snowboards. As a result, there are numerous alpine resorts found across the country from East to West.
Fantastic pistes can be experienced in Vancouver, Alberta, and Quebec. Some of the most famous resorts are Mont Tremblant, Lake Louise, Whistler, and Banff.
At the more extreme end of Canada’s winter activities is ice climbing. If you’ve ever felt like experiencing the thrill of scaling a frozen waterfall, then this is your big chance.
The Canadian Rockies in the area around Alberta have plenty of sites around where you can try this out for yourself. There are a number of tour providers to choose from, each will provide you with a trained tour guide, the necessary equipment, and guidance on the best ways to climb the many ice falls and crags.
Watching the Northern Lights
Seeing the Northern Lights in Canada is a magical experience and from October to March, you’ll get your best chance of seeing them. The impressive light show can be seen across the most northerly regions of the country, although they can sometimes be visible further south too.
You won’t have to travel far from the city to witness this wonder of the Aurora Borealis, yet seeing there are plenty of spectacular locations you can go to further afield that provide the perfect natural contrast to the epic and colourful backdrop.
How to Prepare For Canadian Winter
Naturally, you’ll want to come to Canada prepared for the cold. In some regions, the temperature can reach lows of -40ºC.
Yet, in more southerly parts of British Columbia, things are a little more temperate compared to other parts of the country although freezing temperatures are still common.
The most important items to bring along for any trip during Canadian winter include:
- Wool hat
- Winter coat
- Snow Boots (if you’re doing winter sports)
- Thick socks
- Sturdy shoes
Canada is a truly wonderful travel destination at any time of the year. However, trying winter activities in the country is the perfect way to make your time in the “Great White North” truly memorable.