Photo: mpiottawa on Instagram
Contrary to popular belief, winter is not a time to shy away from the outdoors (especially for us Canadians!). Rather, it’s a time to embrace our snowy roots. So, before you book your next vacation down south to warmer climes, think about the picturesque mountains and frozen lakes that await you on your home turf. Putting a twist on your classic skating parks and skiing and tubing trails, Canadian cities offer majestic, fairytale-like landscapes that will without a doubt capture your heart. Whether you are travelling to Ottawa or to Vancouver this winter, look no further than these must visit True North destinations for some frosty wintertime fun.
The Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa
As determined by the Guinness World Records, Ottawa is home to the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world, the Rideau Canal. Each winter season from January to end of February or early March, over one million skaters make their journey down the famous 7.8 kilometres skateway, which is equivalent to more than 90 Olympic sized hockey rinks! Don’t worry amateurs, you’re not expected to skate for the entire, nearly eight kilometres. All along the way, the rink is sprinkled with heated rest stops as well as food and drink stands offering soup, hot chocolate and Beaver Tails. After all, there is nothing more Canadian than snacking on deep-fried, cinnamon and sugar dough while skating.
Hôtel de Glace, Quebec City
As the only ice hotel in North America, Hôtel de Glace definitely understands the meaning of the word chill. With rooms available from January 4th to March 25th, guests are invited to check out the architecture that is built entirely out of snow and ice. Re-built and re-designed each season to create a fresh winter look, visitors are guaranteed a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable experience. Whether you choose to spend a night in one of the 45 themed rooms and suites or to grab an ice cocktail while relaxing in the outdoor hot tubs and saunas, it is a must-see attraction. Situated just 4 kilometres from Quebec City, there is always a warm escape to one of the many nearby bistros for dinner.
Grouse Mountain, Vancouver
Open for visitors as both a resort and an attraction 365 days a year, Grouse Mountain is a four-season mountain playground. Rising 1,250 metres (4,100 feet) above Vancouver, there is no better view of the city and its North Shore. Come first snowfall, Grouse Mountain transforms into a winter wonderland. From skating, skiing, and snowboarding to snowshoeing, zip lining and glowing, light walks, there is something for every snowbird to enjoy from dusk until dawn.