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WHAT’S ON? Canada winter events and festivals January – February 2017

September 14, 2016 Destination North America No Comments Print Print Email Email

There’s no time for hibernation during winter in Canada. Skate the frozen Rideau Canal at the Winterlude festival in the capital city of Ottawa, or party at the world’s biggest winter carnival in Quebec City and you’ll quickly realise that Canada’s not cold – it’s cool.

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Read on to learn more about six of Canada’s hottest winter events. 

  1. Quebec Winter Carnival

Get a furry bear hug from Bonhomme, the jolly mascot of the world’s biggest winter festival. Feel the excitement as canoes race across the ice-choked St. Lawrence River and back. 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. 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 cozy gourmet restaurant on local Quebec cuisine. Quebec Winter Carnival takes place 27 January – 12 February 2017.

  1. Winterlude, Ottawa

Join 600,000 fun-seekers as they celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday at Winterlude festival in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, Ontario, from 3 – 20 February 2017. Skate the Rideau Canal, the world’s largest skating rink at 7.8 kilometres, and gaze in wonder upon amazing ice sculptures glittering against a night sky of breathtaking fireworks. Little ones love Snowflake Kingdom in Gatineau, the largest snow playground on the continent. We’re talking horse-drawn sleigh rides, a snow maze, igloos and tobogganing, while foodies can’t get enough of Winter Brewfest, with its line-up of local craft beers and a rich palette of flavoursome cuisine.

  1. Montreal en Lumiere

Montréal en Lumiere is one of the largest winter festivals in the world, an annual celebration drawing 900,000 fans to the Quartier des Spectacles for music, circus arts, theatre, and world-renowned gastronomy. Every facet of culture glitters during the 11-day festival, as the free outdoor site bursts with open-air activities, braziers, shows, and activities for children. Montréal’s party spirit and flair for entertainment is irresistible. Montreal en Lumiere takes place from 23 February – 12 March 2017.

  1. Yukon Quest

On 4 February 2017, the famed Yukon Quest trail will awaken to the howls of hundreds of sled dogs as they begin their momentous two-week journey across the glistening, icy wilderness of northwest Canada. Groups of 14 canines led by one human ‘musher’ will race over 1600 kilometres between Whitehorse in Yukon Territory and Fairbanks, Alaska.  One thing is certain: not every team will make it to the end as they battle 40 below zero temperatures in their pursuit of the Yukon Quest champion title and a share in the prize purse of more than $127,000. The spirit of the Yukon Quest tests the strength of the ancient bond that exists between humans and canines.  

  1. Winterlicious, Toronto

For two scrumptious weeks, Winterlicious in Toronto, Ontario, showcases a series of mouth-watering culinary events and gives you a chance to indulge in creative cuisine from around the world at great prix fixe value. Try something new, try something exotic, try something traditional or try it all during this luscious series hosted by more than 200 of Toronto’s top restaurants. The culinary event series features cooking classes and demonstrations, dinner theatre, tastings and pairings and intimate chef dinners. Winterlicious takes place from 27 January – 10 February 2017.

  1. Winter Pride, Whistler

Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, taking place from 22 -29 January 2017, is one of the biggest gay ski weeks in the world. The LGBT event features a full slate of events including snowmobiling adventures, wine tastings, a pool party, and snowball dance. Enjoy Whistler Blackcomb’s incredible terrain for skiing and riding each day and a new social event every night. Join Whistler’s 7th annual Pride skiOUT + March as skiers bring the Pride flag down the mountain and march to the Whistler Conference Centre – just in time for après-ski! The final night of celebration is the party to end all parties, with international DJs, incredible visuals, stunning go-gos in a massive space, tricked out and wired to impress!

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