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Best Winter Festivals and Events in Canada

Some of Canada's Most Exciting Festivals are in the Cold of Winter


When to Go to Canada | Weather in Canada | Weather & Event Calendar

Winter in Canada sees some of the country's biggest and most popular festivals and events.

Winters in Canada are an inescapable reality and a major contributor to the country's national identity and character. Canada may be cold between November and March but that doesn't mean we Canadians stay indoors.

Quebec City Winter Carnival, Quebec City, QUE

Ice sculpture, common during annual Winter Carnival.
Glenn Van Der Knijff/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images
Every year, beginning on the last weekend of January and continuing for the the next two weeks (17 days in total), Quebec City is alive with sub-zero merri-making. The world's largest winter carnival, the Québec Winter Carnival, has been a highlight on the Quebec event calendar since 1894 and been giving Quebeckers and thousands of visitors a reason to celebrate during the cold, snowy winters.

Winterlude, Ottawa, ON

Photo of the Rideau Canal, Ottawa, courtesy City of Ottawa
Winterlude is an annual winter celebration in Canada's capital city of Ottawa, held over the first three weekends of February. Most Winterlude activities are free and outdoors and include skating on the world's largest skating rink - the Rideau Canal - snow sculpture contests, concerts and more.

Winter Festival of Lights, Niagara Falls, ON

From the beginning of November until the first week of January, the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights is a spectacular lightshow that includes an illuminated 5-km route of lighted displays, fireworks over the falls and more, including concerts and children's performances.

Cavalcade of Lights, Toronto, ON

For more than 40 years, Toronto has kicked off the holiday season by launching a month-long series of free events, including concerts, ice-skating and the illumination of Nathan Phillips Square and giant Christmas tree with 100,000 festive lights.

Montreal High Lights Festival, Montreal, QUE

Montreal Highlights Festival

The Montreal High Lights Festival is on its way to becoming one of the most popular winter festivals in Canada. The festival that goes 10 days from the end of February to the beginning of March has three focuses: Arts & Culture, Celebration of Light, and Culinary.

The food and drink aspect of the festival is a huge draw and is in fact the largest culinary celebration in Canada. More than 750,000 people attended the event last year.

Winterlicious, Toronto, ON

Photo © Lisbon by Night
Toronto restaurants strut their culinary stuff each January/February during Winterlicious. Almost 200 restaurants, of wide ranging styles and cuisines, will open their doors and drop their prices on prix fixe menus for two weeks. Get a reservation early.

Festival du Voyageur, Saint-Boniface (Winnipeg French Quarter), MAN

Photo courtesy Festival du Voyageur
Festival du Voyageur celebrates this Manitoba area's fur-trade era and French-Canadian heritage. Snow sculptures, dog-sledding, skating and plenty of delicious food and drink highlight the week-long February festival.

Calgary Winterfest, Calgary, ALB

Since Calgary hosted 1988 Winter Olympics, the city has taken advantage of the renovated and new venues by holding a winter festival for two weeks every February. Plenty of family-friendly activities, music and food to fight the winter blues.

Ice on Whyte, Edmonton, AB

Photo © Ice on Whyte
This international ice carving competition highlights the sculptural creations of artists who arrive in Edmonton from all over the world.  The ice carving is complemented by a giant ice slide,  interactive kids zone, live music, food, fashion and much more. 


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