The arrival of the first snow fall in Canada harks the beginning of a white hot festival season across the country. From cultural celebrations to ice sculpture competitions and enchanted kingdoms for the kids, every festival is jam-packed with Canadian spirit and traditions. Read on for five of the best.
Quebec Winter Carnival
Get a furry bear hug from Bonhomme, the jolly mascot of the world’s biggest winter festival. Watch artists compete in creating giant, fantastical snow sculptures, and stare in wonder as a dogsled race winds through the narrow, snowy streets of the Old City. Feel the excitement as canoes race across the ice-choked St. Lawrence River, smell the sugary aroma of warm maple syrup, and skate in the shadow of the ramparts of the only walled city north of Mexico. Stroll streets lit by Victorian lamps before dining in a cosy gourmet restaurant on local Quebec cuisine. Quebec Winter Carnival takes place 7 – 16 February 2020.
Festival du Voyageur
The spirit of the voyageur endures at the Festival du Voyageur in the central Canadian province of Manitoba from 14 – 23 February 2020. Don your red beanie and bundle up in plaid flannel to really look the part, and then head to the Green Screen photo booth to be photographed in a virtual voyageur setting. Watch the legendary Voyageur Games, including wrestling, pillow fights, tug-of-war and log sawing. Try your hand at the arts practiced by the voyageurs of yester-year, learn the stunning art of Métis beading, and how to play the wooden spoons. This dynamic cultural festival, featuring snow sculptures, lively music, and outstanding French- Canadian cuisine, is a kitchen party not to be missed.
Ice Magic Festival
The quintessential alpine town of Lake Louise comes alive during the 12-day Ice Magic Festival, from 15 – 26 February 2020. Step into an enchanted winter wonderland, complete with ice castles, ice sculptures, the turquoise frozen lake and friendly Canadian winter spirit. Witness the excitement of the International Ice Carving competition, as as talented ice artists from around the world combine gruelling physicality with pure artistry, against the spectacular backdrop of snow-drenched forests and mountains.
Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous
The capital city of Whitehorse comes alive during its annual winter carnival, Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, taking place from 7 – 23 February 2020. Visitors to Whitehorse will be treated to some wacky entertainment that reflects the good-humoured nature of the locals, with lip syncing, hair freezing, cross-dressing, and even beard growing competitions. In addition to fantastic musical entertainment, concerts and snow carving, kids have the time of their lives at Kidsfest, complete with Slide and Glide on the toboggan hill, face painting, and traditional fare such as the egg toss and potato sack races. The best part? It’s all free of charge – because that’s the spirit of Yukon.
Winter Festival of Lights
Experience the magical spectrum of lights and colours at Canada’s leading illumination event, the Winter Festival of Lights (WFOL) in Niagara Falls, Ontario, from 16 November 2019 to 12 January 2020. This quintessential Canadian holiday tradition features more than three million lights displayed along eight kilometres, from the Niagara Parkway, past the roaring Falls, and into Dufferin Islands. The festival is set to include Festival of Star concerts, laser light shows and weekly fireworks. Click here for an illuminating taster.