Whether it’s the blanket of snow, the twinkling lights or the coastal storms that signal winter’s arrival, we know one thing: Canadians do not shy away from the season—we embrace it! No matter where you are in Canada some of the best winter adventuring, hearty fodder and cozy retreats are on your doorstep. Even as we stay close to home, there is so much to enjoy across Canada.
Here are a few of our top tips to safely embrace winter this year.
Chill in the city
Embrace a city-based adventure this season. Grab a map (or download a GPS-based app) and marvel at the sights and sounds of our vibrant cities. A self-guided walking tour allows you to learn about history, cultures and landmarks across Canada while maintaining safe social distancing. Work up an appetite in your chosen city then grab a treat to go as you continue your adventure or stop at a local eatery to enjoy the atmosphere.
Take advantage of the reduced capacity and feel like a VIP at our country's best galleries and museums. Many of the most popular attractions in our cities have timed-entry ticketing and enhanced cleaning protocols in place. Consider a visit mid-week to enjoy our national landmarks and iconic attractions during their quieter hours.
Immerse yourself in the works of Van Gogh in Toronto (by foot or by car!), appreciate one of the finest displays of First Nations art in the world at The Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver or see one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta. Again, remember to bring a mask with you (or pick up a locally-designed one), carry hand sanitizer and observe any other guidelines to ensure everyone can enjoy themselves.
Choose your own outdoor adventure
Whether you’re looking for snowshoeing, ice skating, dog sledding, snowmobiling or winter surfing, adventure abounds in Canada. Skate atop lakes frozen with ice bubbles in Alberta, tour more than 1000 kilometres of snowmobiling trails in New Brunswick or drive your own sled dog team through a Yukon landscape of deep valleys, canyons and mountains.
Planning is an exciting and essential part of any adventure—no matter how big or small—and making sure you have the right gear, knowledge and skills, knowing your route and researching weather and terrain will help you to be a more responsible adventurer. Stay within your limits to maximize fun this winter.
Take to the mountains
With jaw-dropping scenery, deep powder and warm mountain culture, strapping in to explore Canada’s ski resorts and backcountry gems is sure to satisfy. Resorts big and small dot the landscape serving up runs from easy to epic, often with dining, après-ski and accommodations on the side.
Set yourself up for success by visiting your local ski and board store for a gear tune up, book a private refresher lesson with and then check the conditions before you set out.
This 2020/21 ski season brings with it new health and safety protocols to ensure continued safety across Canada’s slopes. Visit resort websites to familiarize yourself with any new or revised requirements or processes, including advanced ticketing, upload procedures, on-mountain dining experiences, social distancing and mask usage.
Driving in a winter wonderland
Rugged, unspoiled and vast, Canada offers countless dream road trips in any season. In winter, journey along snowy tree-lined roads leading to icy lakes, snow-capped mountain peaks and popular Canadian sites without the crowds of the warmer months.
Consult local travel guidelines, plan your route, check road conditions, weather forecasts and winter tire requirements. Travel with intention, spending more time at each spot on your trip to really immerse yourself in the local community and culture. Keep essentials on hand like hand sanitizer, a reusable face mask and extra snacks and water to minimize your impact on smaller communities.
Plan to be kind
Safely travel to see your loved ones this winter season by observing local guidelines, travel restrictions and any mandatory quarantine periods. Whether you’re going an hour down the road or one province away, keep your travel group small and have Plan B in place in case someone becomes ill. Keep safety protocols top of mind during your visit, including reusable masks, frequent handwashing, minimizing shared surfaces and enjoying outdoors spaces as much as possible.
From cozy cabin stays to winery getaways, most hotels and other accommodations are reopened and ready to welcome you back. Many now offer contactless check-in and check-out, enhanced cleaning procedures, and social distancing measures set up in common spaces.
Restaurants across the country have implemented local health and safety regulations to ensure you and your travelling group can enjoy dining again. Call ahead and make a reservation at your favourite spot or order online to enjoy their hearty dishes at your accommodation of choice.
And of course, in choosing your perfect destination, be sure to research where you can go based on current travel restrictions and traveller self-isolation requirements.
In many ways, there’s never been a better time for Canadians to check out our own backyards.