While some Canadians are happy to hibernate during the winter, many of us embrace it. One reason is the wonderful selection of winter festivals held this time of year across Canada. Here is a brief look at just a few of the festivals you can attend!
Carnaval de Quebec
Canada’s best-known winter festival is not only the biggest in the country, it also holds that distinction worldwide!
This Quebec City institution is celebrating its 124th anniversary in style. Running from January 26th through February 11th, highlights this time include snow sculptures, canoe racing, the annual ice palace, the Upper Town and Charlesbourg Night Parades, the crowning of the festival queen, and so much more!
Festival du Voyageur (Manitoba)
Now in its 47th year, Festival du Voyageur is the largest event of its kind in Western Canada. It’s also the biggest and best celebration of French Canadian culture you will find outside of Quebec.
The festival runs from February 16th to 25th and the 2018 schedule is still in the works as of this writing. It will almost certainly include fiddling, jigging, musical entertainment, and outdoor activities for the whole family, not to mention the ever-popular beard growing contest.
This Ottawa perennial celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2018, running from February 2nd through the 19th. Get ready for concerts, Giant Games, the Extreme Aerial Acrobatic and Trampo-Wall Show, Blizzard Snow Art, the Crystal Garden International Ice-Carving Competition, and much more fun and wintry spectacle than you could ever cram into a single visit.
Jasper in January (Alberta)
Jasper National Park plays host to this spectacular two-week celebration, running this year from January 11th to 28th. Amidst one of the most gorgeous natural backdrops in North America you can learn the basics of ice climbing, try your hand at fat bike racing, snowshoe under moonlit skies, and go for a sleigh ride or dogsled. When you feel like kicking back, there is also amazing food, wine, and live entertainment.
World Ski & Snowboard Festival (British Columbia)
Ever been to Whistler? The World Ski & Snowboard Festival is a great introduction to one of the greatest skiing areas in Canada. The festival takes annually at the beginning of April. Previous years have offered such attractions as the Canadian Junior Freestyle National Championships, roller derby, live comedy shows, filmmaker and photographer showdowns, and daily free outdoor concerts. Of course, there is also skiing!
Saskatoon’s Wintershines is an annual beacon of fun and excitement that never fails to brighten up the prairie winter season.
Taking place from January 27th to February 4th, the final schedule is still in progress but includes the Winter Wonderland Carnival, interactive ice games, ice and wood carvings, and a scavenger hunt. Check here for more details as they become available.
Fredericton Frostival (Atlantic Canada)
Our friends in the Atlantic provinces also know how to have a fantastic time during the winter. The Fredericton Frostival in New Brunswick offers all manner of enjoyment from January 18th to February 4th. Book now to experience Shivering Songs’ live entertainment, sleigh rides, ice sculptures, the Tour de Beer, skiing, the Cultural Market, comedy shows, curling, and all manner of culinary treats.
Plus: a special bonus festival for those of you who like to have fun without getting cold:
In the Dead of Winter Festival (Atlantic Canada)
Want a change from festivals that concentrate on outdoor activities? Here is one that brings the dead of winter to life with some of the most vibrant and entertaining musicians on the scene today. The In the Dead of Winter Festival is relatively young at only 13 years but has nonetheless become a favourite attraction in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Running this year from January 18th-20th, the fest is one of Canada’s premiere musical events, hosting acts from all over North America.