The typical Canadian winter is not for the faint of heart, but that doesn’t mean Canadians are the hibernating type. We’re just as likely to get our party on, outdoors, when the temperature plummets rather than soars. There are hundreds of winter festivals and events in the dead of winter across our country, and we’ve picked our favourite winter festivals in Canada!
Carnaval de Quebec, Quebec City, Quebec and Montreal en Lumiere in Montreal, Quebec
Canada’s first province of partying throws three massive winter fetes. One of the world’s largest winter festivals, Carnaval de Quebec became an annual event in 1955, and famous mascot Bonhomme was born. Winter sports, snow sculptures, canoe races, dogsled races and more entertain partygoers in this beautifully historic city. Montreal en Lumiere, or the Montreal High Lights Festival for Anglophones, is an extraordinary celebration of light, food and culture includes with more than 100 performing arts events. Take a horse drawn carriage ride through Old Montreal as it transforms into an all-night outdoor art gallery during Nuit Blanche.
Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, Ontario
With more than 120 spectacular illuminations and displays, the Winter Festival of Lights attracts more than one million people annually to Niagara Falls. Skate in the Rink at the Brink, ooh and ahh over the Fireworks over the Falls, stroll along a candlelit Santa’s Village Candlelight Stroll and more in this popular event.
SnowDays in Banff, Alberta
Banff National Park is home to SnowDays, an event that marries history, culture, live entertainment and high adrenaline winter action. The Ice Magic Festival in nearby Lake Louise is a can’t miss event, and many families make the pilgrimage each year to gaze in awe at the talent of international ice carvers in a 34 hour International Ice Carving Competition.
Winterlude in Ottawa, Ontario
You’re sure to have a capital time at our nation’s capital during Winterlude. Held in Ottawa–Gatineau, the merriment stretches across a variety of venues, including Crystal Garden in Confederation Park, the Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park and the Rideau Canal Skateway. Strap on your skates and enjoy a glide on the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink.
Ice On Whyte Festival in Edmonton, Alberta
The Ice on Whyte Festival in Edmonton is a must visit for ice sculpture aficionados, as ten teams of professional artists from around the world compete in an ice carving competition. Bring the kids to this family-friendly event, which also features interactive children’s games, a giant ice slide, live music, a marketplace and a whole lot more.