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Where to travel for spring break in Canada

Where to travel for spring break in Canada

Spring Break: School’s out and it’s the time to travel. Where to? Canada, of course. It’s close and welcoming, but exotic and something completely different — all while being familiar enough to be easy and fun for everyone. Spend a week or two vacationing with your friendly neighbors to the north. From urban to wilderness, sun to snow, here are the very best spots for a memorable trip.


Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Two people cycling past vineyards on the Kettle Valley Railway between Penticton and Naramata.
Cycling past vineyards on the Kettle Valley Railway between Penticton and Naramata. Credit: Destination BC / Kari Medig

Spring is lovely in BC's arid Okanagan Valley, a top Canadian wine-growing region, thanks to ample sunshine and dry, sandy soil. Taste External Link Titleand tourExternal Link Title the area's nearly 200 wineries, many internationally acclaimed. Don't miss Summerland's sleek and modern, all-concrete Okanagan Crush PadExternal Link Title, pioneering Tantalus VineyardsExternal Link Title, and food-wine pairing master Ex NihiloExternal Link Title.


Hike, mountain bike along lake, farms and vineyards on the abandoned Kettle Valley RailwayExternal Link Title, and horseback ride the hillsExternal Link Title -- or tack on a weekend at Sundance Guest RanchExternal Link Title in Ashcroft, an idyllic dude ranch flanked by 1,000 open acres ready to roam. Consider a night or two at God's Mountain EstateExternal Link Title, an eclectic inn on a vineyard perched atop the cliffs in Penticton. A highlight is sipping a glass of Okanagan red from the Jacuzzi overlooking the valley far below.


Laurentian Mountains, Quebec

The Tremblant pedestrian village
The Tremblant pedestrian village. Credit: Tourisme Québec / Gaëlle Leroyer

"Sugaring off" in March means spring is coming to Quebec, where three-quarters of North America's maple syrup is made. This is when locals tap the trees and hundreds of sugar shacksExternal Link Title pop up. It happens all over, including in the big cities, but is especially charming in the rural LaurentiansExternal Link Title.


Folks in a festive mood gather to eat hearty treats doused in thick, delicious maple syrup, plus staples such as homemade pea soup and salty ham, not to mention deep-fried dough and maple taffy: Hot syrup poured onto the snow and rolled onto a stick. There's usually traditional music, pony and tractor rides and strolls through the woods. Don't miss it! And while you're in Quebec, practice your French shopping and eating your way through chic Montreal or hit the countryside for dog sleddingExternal Link Title, ice fishingExternal Link Title, Nordic skiingExternal Link Title, and a spa retreatExternal Link Title.


Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort, Alberta

people on a patio outside in sunshine village
Sunshine Village in the spring. Credit: Travel Alberta / John Price

The Canadian Rockies of Alberta get a lot of spring snow, but is no stranger to sunny, crisp days. Hello, blue bird skiing! Head to the aptly named Sunshine VillageExternal Link Title, a short hop from Calgary. This big resort has it all and is just 20 minutes from the picture-perfect mountain town of BanffExternal Link Title.


Ski and ride all day or test out one of dozens of activities -- a sleigh rideExternal Link Title, ice skatingExternal Link Title, snow shoeingExternal Link Title. Then go out shopping, spa-ing, diningExternal Link Title, drinking, dancing, or loungingExternal Link Title. Or just soak in the famed hot springsExternal Link Title.


Whitehorse, Yukon

people spending the evening by the fire outside in Whitehorse
An evening by the fire in Whitehorse. Credit: Destination Canada

The Yukon Territory is spectacular in late winter under the sweeping sky when the light takes on an ethereal glow. Go wildlife viewingExternal Link Title, dog sledding, snowmobiling, or cross-country skiiing. Yukon is famed for its superb mountain bikingExternal Link Title and rustic-luxe outfitter Bor?ale ExplorersExternal Link Title is a favorite for snow bikingExternal Link Title and guided fat tire rides. Roast marshmallows at the campfire, relax in the hot tub and look for the northern lights.  


If you want to get way out there, you can also winter camp, fishExternal Link Title or sightsee over Kluane National Park and ReserveExternal Link Title by plane. Or, try an array of half-day guided adventuresExternal Link Title based out of quirky, small-town-vibe WhitehorseExternal Link Title or historic boom town Dawson CityExternal Link Title. It's interesting to delve into the First Nations culture in the area and the Gold Rush past, too.



Toronto, Ontario

a large crowd watching the toronto raptors play basketball
A Toronto Raptors game at the Scotiabank Arena. Credit: Destination Toronto

Toronto, Canada's downtown, is where you want to go for urban sophistication and big-city culture. This metropolis is the place to shop, especially trendy Bloor-Yorkville neighborhoodExternal Link Title and The Distillery District -- see art, showsExternal Link Title and museumsExternal Link Title, and eatExternal Link Title and drink exceptionally well.


Catch an arena sporting eventExternal Link Title, take a ferry rideExternal Link Title to nearby islands, or listen to live musicExternal Link Title. You can easily add a side trip to Niagara FallsExternal Link Title, too. The only challenge will be deciding what you can fit in to your week or two.


Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

A night at Aurora Village in the Northwest Territories
A night at Aurora Village in the Northwest Territories. Credit: ITAC

If it's spectacular you're looking for, adventure to the Northwest Territories -- one of the world's best places to see the dancing aurora borealis. Just outside Yellowknife is a gathering of cozy, fur-lined, fire-warmed teepees called Aurora VillageExternal Link Title, designed specially for northern lights viewing. And clear skies and low humidity mean visible aurora shows some 200 nights out of the yearExternal Link Title.


While you're there, don't miss Yellowknife's giant Snow CastleExternal Link Title, Great Slave Lake's funky houseboat town, herds of caribou, and the chance to see a bona fide igloo up close. Pack your parka.