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Canada in Winter - Learn about Visiting Canada in Winter

There's a lot going on in Canada in winter.


Average Canada Temperatures by Month & City | Converting between °F and °C | Seasons in Canada

Winter in Canada may be chilly, but it has plenty to offer both the adventure seeker and city slicker.

What's the weather like in Canada in winter?

Photograph by Daryl Benson / Getty Images
The height of winter is freezing cold in most places in Canada except for the BC coast, where winters are moderate. Whistler, two hours inland from Vancouver, on the other hand, gets loads of snow and is a major ski destination through May.

The Rockies winter is long. Calgary, however, does not get much snow, but it stays around in the higher altitudes; Banff and Canmore may get two feet in April. Southern Alberta gets winter relief from warm Chinook winds.

Eastern Canada, including Toronto and Montreal, has a shorter, fierce winter: mostly sub-zero temps and -20°C (-4°F) not uncommon. At least one or two snowfalls of eight inches or more will likely hit in Jan and Feb.

If you're visiting Canada in winter, learn how to dress for cold weather.

What are the most popular winter activities?

Photo: Darryl Leniuk / Getty Images

Cold winters are a reality in most parts of Canada, so Canadians embrace them and make them fun. Some of the more popular winter activities include downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating. Hotels and resorts will often offer packages that include these activities.

Of course, holing up in a cozy resort or spa provides a nice respite from the Canadian winter. Many of Canada's best spas offer winter getaway packages.

As long as you're dressed properly, visit one of Canada's most popular cities for fine dining, culture or shopping. During the winter months, most hotels will offer discounted rates that include activities in the city.

Canada Winter Vacation Ideas

Some winter vacation ideas in Canada include a visit to the Quebec Ice Hotel, located just outside of Quebec City - also home to the world's biggest winter carnival, the Quebec Winter Carnival.

The country's capital, Ottawa puts on Winterlude, a winter festival that takes place over three weekends every February. A major highlight is skating the Rideau Canal, a 7.8 km (just under 5 miles) waterway that becomes the world's largest skating rink in freezing conditions.

Skiing in Canada

Photograph: Kevin Arnold / Getty Images
Canada is famous as a ski destination. The country's ski resorts are picturesque, not to mention state-of-the-art, well maintained, and easy to get to. Whistler and Banff/Lake Louise in the west and Mont-Tremblant in Quebec lead the pack as the best Canadian ski resorts, but there are hundreds of other ski resorts to suit a variety of levels, types of skier and budgets.

Winter Festivals

Photo © Scott McLean
Canada stages many winter festivals between the months of November and March. Winterlude in Ottawa and the Quebec Winter Carnival in Quebec City are two of the most popular, but there are plenty more winter festivals in Canada.

Canada in Winter, Month by Month

Consult the following weather and event guides:

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