A country that is sought after by travellers in all seasons, the Great White North looks just as glorious, whether it is basking under the sun’s rays or under a fresh blanket of snow. Canada experts, our team has selected five of the best winter wonderlands to explore.
Snowshoe The Famous Cabot Trail
The world-renowned 186-mile long Cabot Trail, which lies in the Cape Breton region of Nova Scotia, is one of the most scenic drives in Canada. The rural routing through one of the country’s Atlantic Provinces takes you past spectacular vantage points and quaint fishing villages. In the summer, stop to discover the Skyline Trail, the roughly five mile loop, including a bird’s eye view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Cabot Trail as it makes its way along the coast.
Snowshoes are believed to have arrived in Canada during ancient migrations from Siberia, these journeys said to have occurred more than 10,000 years ago. Come winter, on today’s Cape Breton Island, they are very much in vogue. Officials at Park Canada always try to plow the Cabot Trail, and sitting directly on this famous path is the Keltic Lodge. 2021 was the hotel’s first winter season since 1940, the province’s first ever gondola lift opening at Cape Smokey in the same year. Get ready to enjoy an adventure your way as the 28-car system can whisk skiers, boarders, and sightseers to the top of the 305-metre hill in just minutes.
Enjoy A Magical Winterlude
Taking place in the Ottawa region of Ontario, the Winterlude Festival is a unique celebration, the event home to the Rideau Canal – which at five miles long, doubles as the world’s largest skating rink. Held annually, during the first three weekends of February, you can expect to experience the best of Canada, from art and music to its multi-cultural culinary flair. Opening in 1979, and clearly still popular, an average of roughly 600,000 people attend each year, the North’s fabulous frosty climate, bright blue skies, frozen rivers and sparkling snow a real draw; kilt, bed and dragon ice skating races also pulling in the crowds.
The event opens with a stage show and nightly outdoor dance party at the Crystal Garden, the same venue for the dramatic ice-carving competition, each carver given only two hours to produce their masterpiece. A great time to celebrate with family, there is always plenty to see and do, with adventure on offer at Snowflake Kingdom and the American Express Snowball – an outdoor concert venue – hosting live music and entertainment.
Frozen Fairytales At Lake Louise
Lake Louise is an iconic Canadian destination for many reasons. In summer, its turquoise waters are simply surreal, the colour conjured up by rock flour which is carried into the lake by melt-water from the glaciers that overlook its shores. Add in a soaring mountain backdrop and a fairytale castle with picture perfect lake views and you have the recipe for a world class wilderness holiday: the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise located in Alberta’s Banff National Park.
In Winter, the lake turns into one of the most beautiful ice skating rinks in the world, the activity offering up fabulous views of the Victoria Glacier and the fairytale ice castle which is rebuilt every year. Horse drawn sleigh rides, skiing and snowboarding (at Lake Louise Resort) and dog sledding open up even more ways to enjoy snow covered Canada.
Ice Art: Hotel de Glace
Rich in wildlife, summer in Quebec brings the fin whales (the world’s second largest animals) to the St. Lawrence estuary, and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Quebec city’s historic district adds another interesting layer to this bustling metropolis. Full of museums, galleries and restaurants, you can see the city from a cycle or zipline at the Montmorency Falls, the park just a few minutes from downtown.
When winter arrives Quebec’s Ice Hotel is a major highlight. Open from early January to the end of March, it is the only ice hotel in North America, ecotourism entrepreneur, Jacques Desbois (also known as Mr. Igloo), the impetus behind its creation. The hotel is rebuilt from scratch every year using a new design and theme. Its walls are covered in whimsical scenes, with ice sculptors carving their individual masterpieces throughout the building – even its furniture is made out of ice. The rooms range from the simple to the more luxurious, some with fireplaces and even hot tubs. Housing a chapel, a reception room and ice bar, expect a magical experience, complete with outdoor spas and saunas, and opportunities to go dogsledding or snowshoeing.
Winter Adventures In Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park features over 2,000 kilometres of canoe routes, with everyone from beginner to expert enjoying the waters in the summer months. In winter it’s a very different affair. Somewhat of a bonus, it is still a hidden treasure when colder climes come to visit. Frozen lakes, heaps of snow and crisp clean air is just part of its allure, Ontario’s first provincial park home to wolves, moose, deer and foxes. The Canada Jay, Boreal chickadee and colourful winter finches are frequent winged visitors, the park also attracting birders.
Sample the best of Canada’s winter pursuits including dogsledding (nothing beats the excitement of mushing your own team of huskies), backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, then cosy up in your log cabin with your loved ones, and discuss the day’s adventures as your guides prepare some hearty Canadian fare. Guest size limit 12.
For more information on the holidays we offer at Frontier Canada, and to book, call us on 020 8776 8709 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. ATOL PROTECTED No 5405 ABTA W3207.