Canada is no place for a boring winter, pals. With some of the most incredible winter activities in the world right here in Canada, you’ve got no excuse to spend the whole season in a blanket burrito! Maybe like, a third of it. Max. The other two-thirds of your time is going to be spent doing things like dog sledding, ice climbing, and eagle spotting. Sure, we might not be able to venture out to too many of these right now, but save them for the future, folks!
Here are 15 of the most unique winter activities in Canada!
DOG SLEDDING THROUGH THE ROCKIES
Imagine getting pulled through the mountains by a team of gorgeous sled dogs. We’ve been dreaming of it since Eight Below. If you’re in the same boat (or sled, haha), you can try dog sledding in Banff National Park for a seriously once in a lifetime day. Think we can cuddle all 8 dogs at once?
Where: Banff National Park, Alberta
If you’re either super adventurous or have a minor death wish, ice climbing could be perfect for you! The University of Calgary Outdoor Centre offers a class for beginners, all equipment included. They’ll teach you the ropes, pun intended, and give you an unbeatable new skill.
Where: Banff National Park, Alberta
TRY THE WORLD’S LARGEST SNOW MAZE
Out in Manitoba sits a very Canadian landmark, the World’s Largest Snow Maze! It’s been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records and has become a local favourite with ice bars, fire shows, snow dome movie theaters, indoor Jenga, and tasty snacks to keep folks busy post-maze.
Where: 1351 Provincial Road 200, St. Adolphe, Manitoba
ATHABASCA GLACIER EXPLORATION
Take a look at the most incredible glacier in the Rockies! It’s shrinking every year, so there’s no better time than this winter to take in the incredible scenery. Do it via discovery vehicle, skywalk, or helicopter if you’re feeling fancy.
Where: Columbia Icefield, Alberta
GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH POLAR BEARS
Curiocity Winnipeg might not be a thing yet, but we’re going to toss some appreciation Manitoba’s way. One of the most incredible things you can do in a Canadian winter is get acquainted with some of the most incredible animals in the country. Northern Lights, polar bears, the shores of the Hudson Bay… we’d freeze our toes off for that.
Where: Churchill, Manitoba
So, obviously, the mountains get some wicked snow. This is not “average winter activities,” though, so we’re heading away from the ski resort. Grab a helicopter and ski the most favourable heli-ski/snowboard conditions in the entire world. There’s no powder like the powder you need to hop out of a helicopter to get to!
Where: Rocky Mountains, Alberta/British Columbia
STAY IN AN ICE HOTEL
There truly is no cooler place to stay in Canada than the incredible Hôtel de Glace in Quebec. There is an ice slide, outdoor spa and sauna, and over 30,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice making up the building. It’s as impressive structurally as it is visually, and it’s definitely a bucket-list stay for any Canadian craving a cool getaway.
Where: Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, Quebec
SKATING THE RIDEAU CANAL
Every winter, Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site freezes over into the largest natural skating rink in the world. It spans a massive 7.8 km in length and sees tens of thousands of skaters year after year. Talk about a natural fit for the nation’s capital.
Where: Ottawa, Ontario
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ZIPLINE ABOVE THE FROSTY TREES
One of those strange people who actually like heights? Whiz through the forest on this incredible all-season zipline! It’s a view of Whistler you’ve certainly never had before. Have fun being upside down, we’re going to be firmly clutching the rope.
Where: Whistler, British Columbia
STORM WATCH ON THE COAST
Not much of a blizzard person? Experience Canadian winter, unlike anything you’ve seen before. In Tofino, you can watch pouring rain, massive swells, breaks of sunshine, and everything in between. It’s a bit terrifying and majorly epic!
Where: Tofino, British Columbia
KICK BACK IN A HOT SPRING
The best way to forget it’s -4o° out is to melt your actual skin off in a hot spring! Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but maybe we’re just wimps. There are tons of natural hot springs throughout the Rockies, and they’re perfect on their own or aprés ski.
Where: Alberta/British Columbia
GO BALD EAGLE SPOTTING
Airbnb experiences can help you discover some of the coolest winter activities in Canada. Take this one for example! Float through the Brackendale area of Squamish to spot the most incredible bald eagles around. The guide is armed with all you need to know about the wintering flock, and you’ll end the day with a hearty meal.
Where: Squamish, British Columbia
What’s the most Canadian thing you can do? Probably pour maple syrup in the snow, and then eat it. Wow, we’re a crazy bunch. Quebec has tons of Sugar Shacks that take advantage of the flowing maple sap year-round, and the winter snow is the perfect way to serve the iconic northern treat!
WATCH THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
If you’re keen to take on the long nights of a northern Canada winter, there could be a stunning reward waiting for you! We have some seriously incredible northern lights up there. Native Cree people call it “the dance of the spirits,” and it’s an unmissable sight.
Where: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
WATCH POND HOCKEY TO THE EXTREME
Who needs a manicured arena to play some puck? Not us! Catch the World Pond Hockey Championships to see over 100 teams from across the globe take to the ice. Then, get inspired to lace up your own skates and take in that fresh winter air.
Where: Plaster Rock, New Brunswick
See? There’s more to winter than scraping off your car and cursing the skies. Make the most of it with some of the coolest winter activities in Canada!
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