How to spend a unique winter in Canada with Wexas

Bask in winter’s beauty with these unforgettable experiences in Canada

Team Wanderlust
24 October 2023
Promoted by
Wex As Travel

The delicate flutter of falling snowflakes. Deep breaths of clean alpine air. Merry laughter round a roaring fire after a day of fun in the snow. Winter is a magical time to visit Canada, and there’s far more to it than just skiing in Whistler. Wexas crafts tailor-made journeys featuring enchanting experiences that connect you to the country’s festive spirit. From viewing the mesmeric Aurora Borealis and dogsledding in the Yukon, to staying at a hotel made of ice and immersing in over 400 years of history in French-speaking Québec City, let a Wexas expert create your dream winter escape.

Marvel at the Northern Lights in the Yukon

Admire the Aurora Borealis in the Yukon (Gov’t of Yukon / Robert Postma)

The Northern Lights are a wonder of the natural world and the Yukon is arguably the most iconic place to see them. From November to March, the Canadian territory’s vast night skies ignite in a breathtaking display of dancing waves of light and colours. Incredibly, this is just one of many highlights in a Wexas Yukon adventure of a lifetime.

In between nightly sky-gazing, tour the capital city Whitehorse, which is steeped in fascinating Klondike Gold Rush history; from 1896 to 1899, over 100,000 prospectors descended upon Whitehorse in a feverish attempt to reach Dawson City and find their fortune.

More than 80% of the Yukon’s landmass is wilderness, and a Wexas trip can include epic outdoor experiences: Whiz along undulating trails and across frozen lakes on a traditional dog sled; take the reins and try driving the team of eager huskies or sit back and leave it to the experts for a thrilling ride. Traverse peaceful evergreen forests by snowshoe. Tuck into cosy fireside dinners featuring local Arctic ingredients. Soak in an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking a snowy landscape.

Vancouver is the perfect bookend to the journey. The cosmopolitan coastal city boasts eclectic neighbourhoods, a world-class food scene and numerous art galleries. Indulge in some shopping, visit trendy Gastown district or vibrant Chinatown, hike or bike through famed Stanley Park, or stroll Seawall, the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path.

Stay in an ice hotel in Québec

L’Hôtel de Glace in Québec City is a sight to behold (Shutterstock)

Step back in time in Canada’s most unique city. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Québec City boasts a European charm incomparable to anywhere else in the country. As North America’s only fortified city north of Mexico, this architectural treasure is a remarkably well-preserved example of a walled settlement.

The first snowfall transforms the old town into an enchanting yuletide fairytale. Soak up the atmosphere by strolling through the maze of cobblestone streets full of glowing shop windows, cheerful bistros and holiday sparkle. Early February is a fantastic time to visit for Carnaval de Québec, one of the largest winter carnivals in the world. For 10 days, young and old delight in food, tobogganing, musical performances, ice sculptures, traditional maple sugar treats, night parades and sporting events, including ice canoe racing on the frigid St. Lawrence River.

Québec City is also home to North America’s only ice hotel. Rebuilt every winter entirely of snow and ice, Hôtel de Glace is a frozen fantasy come to life that you need to see to believe. Chill out at the hotel’s ice bar, sipping cocktails from a glass made of — you guessed it — ice. Soak in the outdoor hot tub under the stars before settling in for an unforgettable night in a premium ice suite, complete with plush furs and a fireplace.

Glide through the Rockies by rail

Winter accentuates the grandeur of the Rockies (Destination BC/Andrew Strain)

There is no better way to experience the grandeur of the Rockies than from the comfort of a train – and undertaking the journey in winter only enhances the beauty. A two-day, overnight rail trip from Vancouver to Jasper brings you into the heart of the Canadian Rockies. As the train slowly winds its way across valleys, up canyons and along rivers, your window is an ever-changing panorama of majestic peaks, alpine meadows blanketed in pristine powdery drifts and pine forests drooping under the weight of ice and snow.

Spanning over 11,000 square kilometres, Jasper is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, and home to nearly 70 mammals including the grizzly bear, moose and wolf. Incredible excursions await, and Wexas personalises the trip just for you: Strap on cleats for an adventurous ice walk at the bottom of Jasper’s deepest canyon and marvel at towering frozen falls, ice caves and other frosty formations. Spot wildlife such as elk, moose and bighorn sheep with the help of expert guides in Athabasca Valley, reputed to have some of the park’s most beautiful vistas and scenery. Race through the wondrous winterscape by dog sled; at the end, a bonfire and a mug of hot apple cider awaits.

Experience Alberta’s winter wonderland landscapes

Hike among ice and snow in Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park (Travel Alberta/Sean Thonson)

A vivid glacial lake ringed by forest and jagged mountains that dramatically plunge to meet the waters’ edge — this postcard-perfect image of Lake Louise in Banff National Park is iconic. The lake really is that stunning (no photoshopping required), but the winter months are arguably the best time to visit, when Banff is a Christmas card come to life. Lake Louise transforms into one of the world’s most memorable ice rinks so you can skate with Victoria Glacier and the Rockies as your backdrop, or twirl under the stars as the rink is lit nightly.

When it comes to winter in Alberta’s Rockies, bring your childlike sense of wonder and adventure. Canadians have mastered the art of having fun in the snow and with a Wexas-planned trip, there are a slew of activities to choose from.

Glide along the shores of Lake Louise on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Snowshoe trek to Paint Pots, an iron-rich mineral spring sacred to the Ktunaxa people; your guide will recount the history of Banff’s Indigenous people, early explorers and fur traders, with a stop for hot maple taffy poured into the snow, a sweet Canadian speciality. Jasper is the second largest dark sky preserve in the world, so spend an evening stargazing at the planetarium. Or retreat and rejuvenate at the spa of the historic Fairmont Chateau.

Book your tailored winter holiday to Canada. Call a Wexas specialist on 020 7838 5950 or visit: wexas.com/Canada

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