7 Fun Family Activities to do During the Canadian Winter
Winter is a great time to visit Canada, especially for families. Along with making snow angels, building snowmen and cramming as many marshmallows as one can into their hot chocolate, there are plenty of entertainments to delight travelers of all ages.
From snowmobiling in the Rockies to ice skating on an outdoor rink in the city of Toronto to enjoying delicious pastries at high tea the famous Fairmont Empress in Victoria, there's something to suit your preferences. The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations — by Fresh Tracks Canada — have compliled this list of seven fun family activities to do in the Canadian winter.
Snowmobile Tour in Banff
In many parts of Canada, snowmobiling is considered the ultimate Winter activity, and is one of the most fun family activities. It’s a great way to see stunning places only accessible in Winter—and it’s enjoyable for all ages. Scenic trails, wildlife and a spectacular icefall within an old-growth forest are just some of the memorable highlights you can experience during a snowmobile tour in the mountain playground of Banff, in the Canadian Rockies.
Discover a winter trip to the Rockies: Rockies Winter Rail Classic
Skating at Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto
The city of Toronto offers plenty of Winter wonders, but its best-kept secret is the Evergreen Brick Works’ skating rink (1). This public space focuses on sustainability, recreation, education and green design initiatives. Housed within the walls of the former brick factory, its open-air skating rink uses a sustainable refrigeration system called ECO CHILL, which cools the ice and reuses any excess heat to warm the adjacent Marketplace building—a great spot for picking up some locally made souvenirs. Glide under the building’s rustic, exposed beams as you weave around the snow-covered garden lined with beautiful evergreen trees.
Niagara Fall's Winter Festival of Lights
The short days of Winter make it perfect for beautiful displays of light. Step into an enchanted world of light and color at the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights (2) which runs from mid-November, 2022, until February 23, 2023. Canada’s largest illumination festival, this month's long festival attracts more than 1 million visitors annually. Illuminations include hundreds of trees wrapped in lights along the Niagara Parkway, Canadian wildlife displays, the two-storey tall Zimmerman Fountain, a Gingerbread house, a 60 foot light tunnel, a stunning castle and more.
Discovery Centre in Halifax
You can zip down the snowy slopes of the back country and never need to strap on skis or don a toque — Canadian slang for a woolen Winter hat. Using virtual reality and interactive displays, the new Beyond Human Limits exhibit at the Discovery Centre in Halifax (3)immerses visitors in a variety of engaging and exciting sports. Imagine balancing on a highline, parkouring up the side of a building, or soaring through the air in a wingsuit without leaving the safety of the ground. Visitors are challenged to jump, fly, dive, and climb while exploring some of the riskiest activities in the world.
Learn more Canadian expressions: 10 Slang Terms in Canada
Dog sledding near Quebec City
A unique and iconic Canadian experience perfect for the whole family is dog sledding. It’s a great way to get out into the woods, where the snow on the trees makes everything seem magical. Along with the Rockies, the area around Québec City is another wonderful place to dash through the snow. Children can’t drive the sleds, but can enjoy the wonder of the ride as a passenger.
Tea at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria
Who doesn’t love a tea party? Afternoon tea in the historic Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Empress (4) in Victoria tops many visitors' wish lists when they visit this beautiful seaside City. The iconic property has been pouring traditional English Afternoon Tea for 113 years and counting. Enjoy flaky scones with housemade strawberry jam, fluffy pastries, honey from the hotel’s hives and finger sandwiches presented with flourish on the specialty tiered tea service. The hotel is known to enhance the experience with seasonal touches, such as the carolers and holiday treats with their Festive Tea, offered in late November through December .
Add a visit to Victoria to your Cross-Canada train trip: Luxury Journey Across Canada by Train
Tubing at Whistler Blackcomb
Skiers and snowboarders aren’t the only adventurers zipping down the snowy slopes at Whistler Blackcomb. No skills or experience are needed to ride the Whistler Blackcomb Coca-Cola Tube Park (5), meaning your whole family can enjoy the fun together. There are multiple lanes to appeal to different thrill seekers. And the convenient conveyor belt carries you right back up to the top of the tubing lanes.