Taking Advantage of the Cold: Planning the Perfect Winter Vacation in Canada

Winter sports enthusiasts and vacationers looking to warm up by the fire amidst a snow-covered backdrop, listen up. For the ultimate in frosty vacations, Canada is calling!

By total area, Canada is the second largest country in the world and it has a population of roughly nine people per square mile. This means that much of the vast landscape is sparsely populated, so the snow-covered wilderness provides many possibilities for the perfect winter vacation. Whether you’re planning a family vacation or a weekend getaway with the gang, a winter vacation in Canada can be very rewarding.

The Perfect Winter Vacation -- More Than Just Skiing

Canada is home to some of the most well known ski resorts in the world. Quebec’s Mon-Tremblant, Alberta’s Banff / Lake Louise and British Columbia’s Whistler / Blackcomb ski resorts are recognized among enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders as being among the very best ski resorts on the planet. If hitting the slopes is what you’re after, do some online investigating to find the resort that fits your needs (and your level of expertise). There are a number of travel sites on the Web that offer discount Canada hotel reservations and package deals.

But just because you don’t ski or snowboard doesn’t mean that a winter vacation in Canada isn’t for you. Snowmobiling, dog sledding, sleigh riding, snow shoeing, sightseeing, wildlife viewing, ice fishing, aurora borealis viewing, ice walks and ice skating are just a few of the other winter activities that can be experienced in Canada.

A Winter World of Festivals

Why not plan your vacation around one of Canada’s world-famous winter festivals? Take in the dogsled races and ice sculpting competitions by day, and dance away the chill factor by night. Quebec City’s Carnival de Québec and Ottawa’s Winterlude / Bal de Neige run for the first two weeks of February, and both festivals offer loads of fun for the whole family. Or you can treat yourself to one of the winter festivals that pay tribute to Canada’s colorful history, such as the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Festival in Whitehorse or the Festival de Voyageur in Winnipeg. All of these rank high among the best of Canada's attractions.

Need a little theatrical fix to get you through the winter? Plan to be in Calgary during the month of January for the High Performance Rodeo, a month-long festival that showcases cutting edge and experimental music, dance and theatre.

A Sporting Chance

While other parts of the world slow down athletically when the winter rolls around, Canada is just getting started. Canadians lay down their lacrosse sticks and pick up their hockey sticks as soon as the ponds and lakes freeze over. Considering the fact that six NHL teams are based in Canada (Edmonton, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto), it might be a fun idea to purchase tickets for a home game while you’re in the neighborhood.

Don’t really get the curling thing? Now’s your chance to get it. Have a go at the sport yourself or sit sheet-side at one of the many tournaments that are held throughout the land. You can find listings of the various curling clubs and tournaments online.

Canada Winter; Bring a Jacket!

Keep in mind that the winter temperatures during your Canada vacation, on the whole, are on average lower than those in Western Europe and the United States. Along the Arctic Circle, it is freezing or below freezing for more than half the year. Take care to research your destination well and plan accordingly. Keep an eye on the weather reports up until the day you leave, so that you are prepared for any snowstorms that may come your way.

Canada Travel: Getting There and Around

There are many international airlines that fly to and from Canada. Buy your airline ticket early and secure the lowest possible airfare price for a cheap flight to Canada. Once in Canada, you may find that getting from one place to the next is easier by plane, due to the long distances between some destinations. Air Canada is the national carrier, but there are other discount airlines available as well, such as WestJet and Air Canada Tango.

You’ve heard it before and now you’ll hear it again: For all details of your winter vacation in Canada, shop around well in advance to make sure that you are getting the best deal for your Canadian dollar!

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