Canada in Winter: Best Places to Visit and Things to Do [Local Guide]

Canada is probably best known for our politeness and our winter. In fact, we’re so known for our winters that people think Canada is winter all year round.

Well, that’s not true. But we do have some excellent winter activities that are perfect for travellers to explore!

The white snow is a wonderland for kids of all ages, while adults are ready to hit the slopes in their favorite ski resort. From coast to coast there are many things you can do in Canada during this time of year which makes it one of the most popular seasons to visit.

Some people even prefer winter vacations in Canada because they offer something different from what is typically offered by summer destinations.

Even though I’m not a fan of snow or cold (I moved to 7 other countries to get away from our winter weather!), I have to admit Canada does winter very well. Between our winter sports, winter festivals, and winter treats, it’s pretty amazing to experience a Canadian winter holiday.

I’m going to share a Canadian’s guide to winter in the great white north, so you can have an epic cold weather trip. Read on to learn my local secrets to staying warm in the freezing cold!

I recommend this winter tour in Canada

Golden retriever puppy sitting on a winter hiking trail in Canada

Winter Months in Canada

December

Winter in Canada begins officially in December.

Although snow begins to fall around mid-November in most of Canada, you won’t see consistently cold weather until December.

In December, the temperature drops to 5°C in the day. Night is colder, with temperatures averaging -5°C.

This is a great time of year to visit, with winter festivals in full swing for Christmas. The country isn’t covered in snow yet, but you’ll likely get a few flurries during December.

December is the most overcast month of Canadian winter. Expect more dark or gloomy days as the country tries to figure out whether it’s cold enough to snow or not.

January

January is the worst month in Canada in winter, in my opinion.

Not only is Christmas over, but we get very cold weather. This is when you’ll find skies black as night as the snow falls heavily for days at a time.

It’s not uncommon to see winter blizzards for a few days in a row.

To be honest, most Canadians hunker inside and try to stay warm during January. We’re still in denial that it’s cold again.

Early January is the most depressing time in Canada. It’s when you’ll find “blue Monday” or the most depressing day of the year.

January temperatures are almost always below zero. In Toronto and Ottawa, we regularly have dips into the -20°C range.

Those are days when you’ll really need to layer up if you’re going outside. My eyelashes and hair would freeze while walking my dog!

February

February is a much better winter month. We’ve all accepted that it’s cold and start to find the average temperature of -10°C quite balmy.

Don't Forget to Pack the Essentials!

.

This is the best time for winter activities in Canada, when it’s cold enough that all of the frozen lakes can bear weight and the hiking trails are a real winter wonderland of snow.

This is a great month to witness the frozen beauty of national parks on cross-country skis or snowshoes.

Mid-March

There is a debate in Canada if March is a spring month or a winter month.

Technically, spring begins on March 21st with the spring equinox.

I personally always view March as winter, since there’s still snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures until the very end of the month.

Weather conditions improve in March. In the beginning, you can still expect temperatures in the negatives and some small flurries. By late March, temperatures return to up to 5°C.

Some of the crazier Canadians will even start to rock shorts!

Personally, I hold off on even ditching my parka until early April, but that’s just me.

Canada Weather in Winter by Region

Canada is a vast country with varying weather from coast to coast. Let’s break down the differences in temperatures across Canada so you can plan your winter trip accordingly.

Atlantic Canada

I lived in Nova Scotia for a few years and spent a lot of time exploring Eastern Canada.

Their winters are crazy.

From day to day, the temperature will be drastically different.

When I lived in Halifax, we would have a blizzard one day a week, following by a very warm and sunny day, then a freezing day.

It turned the city into an iced-over winter wonderland that they couldn’t even plow through!

We often had snow days as a city, with every business closing down either due to snowfall or due to intense winds that made it unsafe for commuters to come across the bridge from Dartmouth.

However, temperatures don’t get as cold in the Atlantic Provinces because of the ocean’s proximity. It keeps temperatures around -5°C to -10°C for the majority of winter.

With the wind chill, it will feel much colder some days.

Bundle up and you can enjoy a lot of winter fun in the Maritimes!

Eastern/Central Canada

Quebec and Ontario have some very intense winters.

In the major cities of Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, you can expect a lot of snow in winter. We tend to get a few feet each month, which piles up to the point that there are snowbanks higher than a minivan on the sides of the road.

In the winter months, expect cold temperatures that dip down to -20°C. In Ottawa and Montreal, we’ve seen -30°C a few times each winter since 2018. And it’s colder with the windchill.

There’s a reason universities across Canada have underground tunnels to avoid going out into these temperatures.

Toronto took it a step further by creating an underground mall system that connects all of downtown, so you never have to face Canadian winters in your fancy work clothes.

These areas have amazing winter festivals though, so they are worth seeing. Even if you do need to bundle up to go outside!

The Prairies

Winter in the Prairies is genuinely frightening to me.

They have the most extreme weather in Canada, with incredibly hot and dry summers, and snowy nightmares for winter.

Temperatures are often extreme, dipping into -15°C in December. They even get snow in August most years!

However, the Prairies are incredibly beautiful in winter. With unique ice bubbles on Lake Abraham and the frozen lake for skating at Lake Louise, you’ll be hard-pressed to avoid this area on your winter travels.

If you venture into Jasper National Park, you also stand a good chance of seeing the northern lights!

Vancouver Island aerial view of a lake in winter in Canada

Western Canada

British Columbia is my ideal winter weather in Canada. They are much more temperate than the rest of the country, with rarely any days below 0°C.

In Vancouver, temperatures stay around 0-5°C all winter.

And on Vancouver Island, it can be even warmer!

However, if you head to higher elevations in the Rocky Mountains, you’ll be able to enjoy ski resorts that are world-famous.

Northern Canada

A truly Canadian winter experience is going to the Northern Territories.

Here, you’ll face the arctic temperatures that the world falsely knows Canada for.

Snow begins falling early, around October. By December, temperatures are already at -20°C.

In January and February, the temperatures can fall below -40°C (although -40°C is more typical).

With their northern position, this area also sees far shorter days. In some areas, you won’t see the sun at all from December to the end of January.

If you celebrate Christmas here, you may be in an eerie darkness for the entire day.

It’s creepy, but also incredibly cool (probably for a day or two before it gets really weird).

people skating on the rideau canal at winterlude

Canada Winter Holidays and Festivals

Canadian winters are famous for the cold. But they should be better known for the fun seasonal events we have to make the most of the cold months!

Winterlude

Every February, Ottawa becomes home to Canada’s best-known winter festival.

There are numerous events over the course of a month that will have you ice skating along the Rideau Canal or enjoying ice sculptures throughout the city.

I loved visiting Ottawa as a kid for Winterlude, but as an adult it’s even more fun! Now I can stay up later to enjoy the concerts around the city and skate the Rideau Canal at any time of day.

Plus, no one is monitoring my Beaver Tail and maple syrup lollipop consumption! (To be honest, that’s probably a negative considering how much sugar I end up eating.)

Quebec Winter Carnival

Every February, Quebec City becomes home to a winter festival unlike anywhere else in the country.

The Québec Winter Carnival is an incredible array of ice castles and sculptures, ice canoe races, dog sledding, and even night parades with colourful floats!

The event is represented by Bonhomme, a snowman mascot that to be honest gave me nightmares as a kid.

Ignore him though and enjoy the outdoor winter activities with a hot chocolate to stay warm!

Santa Claus Parade

Canada has some truly spectacular Christmas celebrations.

But the best one is in Toronto: The Santa Claus Parade.

Every year, on a Saturday before Santa arrives at the North Pole, he and his elves come to life for this parade!

Families can meet up with characters like Frosty and Rudolph along the route, and even get candy canes from the Christmas mascots in the parade!

The parade features marching bands, floats, and even special guests like The Grinch.

The event takes place in the last week of November or first week of December every year, depending on when the calendar works out.

People line up for hours to watch the parade outdoors and experience the magic.

You’ll find similar parades in cities across Canada.

Nina in winter clothes smiling in front of a giant lit up Christmas tree

Christmas

Canada follows national Christian holidays. So Christmas is a federal holiday that all employees get off work, or else they get paid extra.

Most of the country closes down on December 25th so people can be with their families and enjoy the holiday season.

People decorate their homes with lights and other festive items. There are also lots of parties!

Be prepared for crowded malls throughout December due to Christmas shopping.

With Christmas comes some Christmas festivities around Canada. For example, Toronto has a great Christmas Market in the Distillery District. You’ll also find massive tree lightings across the country in city centres. Visit to admire the lights and Christmas ornaments.

Places like Ottawa have beautiful Christmas light displays as well, where you can get into the festive spirit before the big day.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is December 26th.

We’ve followed in America’s tradition of sales post-Christmas. So this is a massive shopping day with deals across the country.

Now, the deals tend to last a week so you don’t have to crowd the stores on a single day.

It’s often a day off work for most jobs, especially if you work in an office.

Other Winter Festivals:

Best Places to Visit in Canada in the Winter

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is beautiful in the winter.

Although the ski hills aren’t as large as in Central Canada or the Rockies, there are some great starter hills for intermediates and beginners to enjoy.

If you stay in the city of Halifax, you can enjoy the frozen boardwalk that’s covered in snow.

Visit the Bicycle Thief to dine at an ice bar with real fire heaters that will keep you warm.

You can go ice skating on the Oval for free.

I loved a winter hike through Point Pleasant Park on a snow day. You’ll feel like you’re miles away from a city and get to enjoy the frozen Atlantic Ocean in the harbour.

I love this tour of Halifax in winter

Toronto skyline and frozen lake Ontario in Canada in winter

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto is one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter.

Not only is it a very central place to be, but you’ll also find so many unique winter activities.

There is a mix of outdoor activities, like skating at Nathan Phillips Square, and indoor tourist attractions, like climbing the CN Tower.

To me, winter in Toronto is best experienced in three days. You can explore the underground PATH system, walk beneath sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium, and end your day with hot chocolate at the Distillery District’s Christmas Market.

Plus, you can eat some of the best food in the country!

This is the best tour of Toronto in winter!

Ottawa in winter downtown

Ottawa, Ontario

After moving to Ottawa, I’ve gained a new appreciation for winter in the city.

This is one of the best places for outdoor adventures in the snow. The Rideau Canal offers skating on the longest outdoor skating rink in the world (and it’s free!).

Plus you’ll find amazing Christmas lights across the city.

Nearby Gatineau Park and Ottawa hiking trails offer places for cross country skiing, snowshoe tours, and skiing!

Even just walking on the Rideau Canal Trail will allow you to feel like you’re on a winter hike in the forest.

The entire city is covered in snow by January, making it a great place to experience the winter wonderland effect of Canada.

I love this Ottawa landmark tour for winter

niagara falls winter

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Many people visit Niagara Falls in the summer for the rushing waters.

I actually prefer it in the winter.

The falls are lit up in festive lights and you get to experience the frozen spray of the water. There are incredible ice formations that form and the frozen mist is so unique!

Plus, the area is near some of the best ice wine vineyards in Canada. This dessert wine is made with grapes that have frozen on the vine so they become much sweeter. Be sure to try some ice wine in Ontario, or take it home as a souvenir!

Around New Years, the area also hosts a huge fireworks festival that makes the Falls look even more brilliant.

This is the best way to see the falls in Winter

Blue Mountain, Ontario

Winter months in Canada are made for skiing and snowboarding.

I am terrible at both, but I still spent a lot of my childhood at ski resorts.

If you’re looking for places to visit to ski, Blue Mountain should be at the top of your list. This resort in Ontario is home to many ski runs open all winter long.

It’s also got other attractions for people like me who prefer not to race down a mountain on plastic sticks.

You can sit by the fire in the ski resort with a cup of tea and a nice book, go dog sledding, check out some local hiking trails, and even play ice hockey on nearby rinks.

mont tremblant winter

Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Another prime location for downhill skiing in Canada is Mont Tremblant.

I don’t ski, and I still love visiting this adorable winter village. There’s even a mini gondola for people like me who have no interest in going up the full hill!

Winter sports abound here, with snowmobile and snowshoeing trails throughout the mountains.

I love this dog sled tour in Tremblant

fairmont quebec city winter

Quebec City, Quebec

The best place to visit in Canada in winter is also the first European settlement on North American soil.

Quebec City has a unique European feel you won’t find anywhere else in the country.

It’s surrounded by snow-covered mountains, with many regions of the city covered with roofs that are decorated for Christmas!

The views here are great year-round, but I love them best in winter!

I recommend taking the city’s gondola between the old and new town. And taking a winter horse-drawn carriage ride around the cobblestone streets.

This walking tour is perfect for Quebec City in the winter

winter hiking canada woman

Gatineau Park, Quebec

Looking for amazing winter hiking? Gatineau Park is the place for you!

I love hiking solo or with my pup in the winter. Most places reduce their trails so significantly that I only have one option.

Gatineau has many trails for cross country skiing, snowshoe tours, and hikers! They even have plenty of dog-friendly options so my energetic puppy can get his crazies out at the same time.

I love finishing my time in Gatineau Park with a stop in a nearby town for sausage rolls and a hot drink on my way home.

Lake Louise, Alberta

If you head west in Canada, you’ll find the beautiful mountain town of Lake Louise.

This is where I go to get away from city life and enjoy nature at its finest!

There are so many winter activities in Lake Louise for snow enthusiasts, including ice skating, sledding, snowmobiling--there’s even ice fishing on nearby lakes if that interests you.

This half day winter tour is the best!

banff winter road

Banff, Alberta

Banff, Alberta is one of the most beautiful areas of Canada during the cold months.

Skiing and snowboarding are big here, but I spend all my time hiking. You can spend hours hunkered down in a nice warm cabin by the fire, then go out into Banff National Park for a quick winter hike.

I recommend heading over to the Columbia Icefield if you want a real adventure! You can ice climb, cross country ski, and snowboard all in one spot here.

I recommend this winter tour

calgary winter skyscape

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary is a great place to take the family during the winter. They’ve got tons of winter activities like skating and skiing at Olympic Park!

I recommend strolling through downtown Calgary to see all the cool holiday lights. Don’t forget to climb the Calgary Observation tower to look out over the snow-covered city centre!

This city tour is the best

whistler blackcomb winter

The Canadian Rockies

The Rockies are gorgeous in winter, so I recommend spending at least two nights there.

Don’t forget to play some ice hockey on the lake! You’ll find lots of locals playing pickup games or just hanging out to watch.

The Canadian Rockies offer tons of trails for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. They’re also famous for their skiing.

One of the most well-known hills is Whistler in British Columbia. Here you’ll find incredible ski runs that people come from around the world to witness.

It’s also a popular place for expats to work when they first come to Canada and want to spend their days snowboarding.

This tour offers epic Rocky Mountain views in winter

15 Best Things to Do in Canada in the Winter

frozen bubbles lake abraham winter

1. Spot the Frozen Ice Bubbles on Lake Abraham

One of the most famous images of Canada in winter of the frozen lake with ice bubbles beneath the surface.

This is Lake Abraham in Alberta.

It looks like you’re on another planet when you walk on this frozen landscape.

I recommend visiting in January or February. Don’t forget your camera!

I recommend this tour over the lake

hockey net on outdoor rink

2. Go Ice Skating on Frozen Lakes and Play Hockey

Skating is a Canadian pastime. It’s one of the reasons we’re so well known as the ice hockey capital of the world.

Most cities in Canada have a lake or river that freezes well enough that people can skate on it. In Ottawa, it’s the Rideau Canal. In Alberta, there’s Lake Louise.

There are even ponds in peoples’ backyards that they skate on!

We used to play quick hockey games on the frozen river near our house with the neighbours when I was growing up.

You’ll need your own gear if you’re skating on a smaller rink. Bigger canals, like the one in Ottawa, will have spots where you can rent skates and helmets.

Otherwise, you can usually get these items used at Playitagain Sports for cheap. Canadian Tire also sells them new.

dog sledding in winter

3. Go Dog Sledding

Dog sledding was a traditional way that the Indigenous people of Canada got around during the winter. It is still used in the Northern Territories by the Inuit peoples.

It’s become a popular sport in Canada too, with winter races like the Iditarod running in the north with Alaskans.

You can try your hand at dog sledding on a local tour. Basically every ski resort has an affiliation with a dog sledding company.

To ensure it’s ethical, ask questions about how to dogs are treated and whether whips are used for the mushing.

Dogs love running and sled dogs are bred to want to race. But poor owners can be unethical about how they train their dogs or set them up for tours.

You don’t want to support these people.

A great way to find ethical tours is through local tourism boards.

I love this dog sled tour in Tremblant

man ice fishing

4. Try Out Ice Fishing

I can’t fish in the summer, so I’ve never even tried in the winter.

But ice fishing is common in Canada.

People go out to a small hut and cut a hole in the lake. Then they fish, while enjoying the winter solace.

My best friend went out with his friends this year and basically had a guys weekend bonding on the ice, with fishing being more of a secondary adventure.

It’s important to ice fish safely, as many people drive their trucks onto the lakes to get to their huts. If you drive too quickly, you can create a wake under the ice that will break the ice.

Be sure the ice is thick enough before you set foot on it, otherwise your casual fishing expedition can become deadly.

northern lights elk island

5. Spot the Aurora Borealis

One of my favourite things to do is to try to spot the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis.

They are visible across Canada, but are best spotted in Jasper National Park at the Dark Sky Reserve or in the Northern Territories.

Sometimes, you can see them in southern Ontario and other cities, but it’s usually quite overcast.

Spotting the northern lights is more fun outside of the city though. I think the best way is while you’re camping in the wilderness or at a cute cabin.

To be honest, the only time I’ve managed to see the northern lights in full force was when I was flying to Iceland in the middle of the night. But my goal is to one day see them as brilliantly in Canada!

This tour in northern Canada has amazing Aurora Borealis views!

woman snowboarding canada

6. Downhill Skiing and Snow Boarding

Visit Canada in the winter to enjoy downhill winter sports.

We’ve got ski hills literally everywhere across the country. Some are even manmade just so people have more places to ski and snowboard!

The best places to visit for skiing are Whistler in British Columbia, Mont Tremblant in Quebec, and Blue Mountain in Ontario.

We also went to Horseshoe Mountain a lot as kids in Ontario, and as a beginner I found it just as fun.

7. Visit a Christmas Market

After living in Germany for Christmas, I’ve become obsessed with Christmas markets – and maybe a bit of a snob about them.

I love a good market with Christmas displays, homemade ornaments, and yummy food. But I always want German delights, like bratwurst and gluwein.

Imagine my surprise when years later they started popping up in Canada!

My favourite markets are at Lansdowne in Ottawa and at the Distillery District in Toronto.

The one in Toronto is a bigger market that’s more authentic, while the one in Ottawa is smaller. But both have gluwein and gingerbread cookies, so I’m always happy to visit either!

They even have spiked hot chocolate (and normal hot chocolate, too), so you can stay warm in the evenings as you watch the carollers.

sparks street christmas lights theo

8. Enjoy Some Christmas Lights

Christmas in North America is a crazy event. We go all out with the decorating.

If you’ve seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, you have an idea of the kind of light displays that exist here.

In Canada, we do the same as the US. There are streets in every town known for their Christmas lights. We’ve even commodified it for charities by hosting paid light shows.

They’re worth it though, with many being unique drive-through experiences with light up tunnels and Christmas music. Plus the money goes to a good cause!

winter cabin canada

9. Cozy Up in a Warm Cabin

My favourite way to spend the dreary month of January is cozied up with a book inside.

But it’s not as fun to do that at home, especially if like me you live in a boiling hot apartment with noisy neighbours.

When you visit Canada in winter, be sure to book some time outside of the city in an adorable cabin. A wood fire is a must have!

Get a homestay with Vrbo!

quebec ice hotel

10. Stay at the Quebec Ice Hotel

Quebec is famous for its winter ice hotel. It closed down for a few years and popular demand brought it back.

This hotel is completely built of ice. It’s only open from January to March each year, when the weather is cold enough for it to last.

There’s an ice bar, an indoor ice slide, a chapel, a ballroom, and bed frames made of ice!

(Don’t worry – the mattress isn’t made of ice!)

Every vistor should have the ice hotel on their Canadian bucket list.

11. Warm Up in Hot Springs

As you can probably tell already, I don’t love how cold it is in the winter. It’s why I wear three pairs of pants to walk my dog.

I much prefer warmth.

That’s why I love spending winters in a hot spring. These natural features are geothermic with mineral waters from beneath the earth.

You can find them in Banff National Park and at the Nordik Spa in Gatineau Park.

Slip into your bikini and relax in a hot pool while you marvel at the snowy landscape.

nina and theo sledding winter

12. Go Sledding

Sledding is one of those fun tourist attractions that I forget people don’t do every year.

Growing up, we have a whole section of our garage dedicated to our sleds. In winter, we’d grab a bunch and head to a local toboggan hill to tear down the snowy hillside.

This year, my sister and I got some for Christmas and spent literal days going down our driveway and down larger hills nearby.

It’s one of the most fun things you can do in the winter!

And all you need is $20 for a couple of sleds from Walmart to make it happen.

At ski resorts, they also have giant sledding hills that you can go down in an inner tube. If you have the opportunity, do it! It’s so much fun, even if it’s slightly terrifying how fast you’re going.

13. Hop on a Snowmobile

Snowmobiles are crazy fun.

You wear a motorcycle helmet, a lot of winter gear to fend off the cold, and then you’re set! You can speed through the forest on dedicated trails throughout the winter.

If you don’t know the trails well, take a guided snowmobile tour offered in every city.

It’s a thrill that you’ll never forget!

This snowmobile tour is epic

sea to sky highway winter

14. Drive the Sea to Sky Highway

One of the best places to visit in winter is also home to a unique winter activity. In British Columbia, you can drive this scenic highway from Vancouver to Whistler.

The drive is worth it for the views (especially if you do it in winter, when things are slightly quieter). Plus, there are plenty of hot springs that you can stop at on the side of the road.

It’s all so beautiful!

Halfway through the drive, you can stop in Squamish to ride the Sea to Sky gondola for even more panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean!

I love this tour of the Sea to Sky

15. Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

I don’t like downhill skiing but I’m a big fan of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

These activities make winter hiking so much easier, as you don’t have to tramp through the snow. You can glide on top of it.

I’ve done snowshoe tours throughout Ontario and always have so much fun. They’re so easy to travel with and pop on to your regular shoes.

Cross country skis require special shoes, so they’re a bit more advanced. I tend to use them at resorts since I don’t have my own.

I love this snowshoe tour in Whistler

nina in canada winter clothes perth

What to Pack for Winter in Canada

For winter in Canada, always pack thermal base layers.

This is so important for enjoying winter activities. When you’re outside, your body heats up and you get sweaty.

It’s then that having a layer between your skin and your clothes is key to staying warm!

I also like to bring at least two pairs of thick socks, winter boots, and mittens.

If you’re at ski resorts or snowboarding, I recommend buying a proper jacket with Omni-Heat to keep the cold out.

Don’t forget to pack a warm hat or earmuffs to protect your ears. You’ll also want to layer up your gloves.

Bring a scarf that is not knit. Many people think a knit scarf is cute, but the holes will let in the cold. Instead, opt for a fleece scarf.

I always add reusable heaters for my gloves and boots since I have poor circulation and lose feeling in my extremities easily.

If you’re planning to ski, skate, snowshoe, or do any other winter activities, you’ll want to pack your gear. If you’re flying, it may be cheaper to buy a used set or rent them when you’re in Canada.

Click here for my guide on how to pack for winter in Canada.

Tips for Canada Winter Tourism

Polar Bears Can’t Be Spotted in Canda in Winter

A lot of things to do in winter guides for Canada talk about spotting polar bears.

Polar bear season actually ends before November, when the polar bears migrate back to the Northern Territories from Churchill, Manitoba. The ice floes are back so they can hunt seals in the north.

If you want to see polar bears, you can visit the zoo in Churchill, but you won’t be able to spot them in the wild until the warmer seasons when they come down to hunt.

canada winter roads

Driving in Canada in Winter

Driving in winter is a challenge.

In British Columbia, you’ll have fewer issues, but most of the best places to visit in Canada in winter are located in snowy areas. Here you’ll need to be prepared for winter driving.

  • It’s illegal to drive with snow on your car in Canada. A light dusting is fine, but big hunks of snow need to be brushed off.
  • If your tires get stuck, use kitty litter to melt the ice. All Canadians keep a bag of it in their car on winter road trips.
  • Canadian cars have a windshield scraper in them. The brush will remove snow. The scraper side will help you remove ice without damaging the windshield.
  • You need to scrape the snow off the windshield, back windshield, your mirrors, and all side windows for visibility.
  • Cars have a button to heat the windshield and back windshield to melt the ice and prevent them from fogging up due to the heat in the car.
  • It’s not good for the environment to run your car to heat it up, but you have to do it in Canada. Otherwise, you’ll be driving blind and that’s very dangerous. Crank the heat when you get in the car as high as it can go while you’re doing your scraping of the car.
  • Skidding happens. It’s when your car looses traction. It’s something every Canadian driver has experienced, but it’s scary if you don’t know what’s happening. Steer into the skid to regain control.
  • Your automatic braking system will stutter if you hit the brakes hard on ice. It feels weird, but it’s a safety system that’s helping prevent you from skidding into traffic.
  • Snow tires are legally required in Quebec in the winter. They are, oddly, not required in other Canadian cities, so car rental places will use all weather tires. These aren’t as good as winter tires, so if you’re planning to go outside of cities, request winter tires on your vehicle. (Yes, they are different than normal tires!)
  • Ensure there is windshield wiper fluid in your vehicle. This melts the ice.
  • In winter, you often can’t see the dividers on the road. The common practice in Canada is to just follow the path made by the car in front of you in the snow. We don’t really know where the lines are so we just have this social contract to follow the indents already there.
  • Leave more room between you and other vehicles in winter.
  • Always check the wheels of your car in winter before driving. Cats and other animals sleep here sometimes when it’s snowing. You want to ensure there are no animals before you drive.

Follow these rules for a safe winter road trip!

10 Things You Must Have Before Driving In Canadian Snow Storm 😲 | Winter Driving Tips| Canada Couple

Frostbite and Hypothermia

Prepare for winter by dressing properly so you avoid frostbite and hypothermia.

Dress in layers, avoid being outside when winter weather warnings are in effect, and drink warm beverages to raise your body temperature.

To prevent frostbite, put vaseline on exposed skin like your nose and cheeks. This prevents “windburn” or “frostnip” as well – minor forms of frostbite common for skiers.

Knowing the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia can help keep you safe when hiking in winter or on a snowy adventure. Frostbite is characterized by pale, waxy skin that may be blistering or swelling. Hypothermia involves shivering, mumbling, undressing, pale skin, and hallucinations.

Stay warm out there!

Wrap Up: Canada in Winter

Canada in winter is a magical experience, with its steep mountains and deep snow. Travellers visiting Canada during this cold season should ensure they have plenty of warm clothing packed for their trip to keep them safe and comfortable while they explore.

Whether you’re planning to downhill ski, go ice fishing, visit the frozen Niagara Falls, or stop by indoor tourist attractions, you’ll find amazing things to do in Canada in winter.

After a few days, you won’t even remember the cold!

Share your favourite thing about Canada in winter in the comments!

👉 Book with Booking.com today to get epic deals on hotels, flights, rental cars & attractions!

FAQs About Winter Season in Canada

How cold is Canada in Winter?

Canada can get really cold in some regions, with temperatures hovering around -40° C. However, most areas of Canada see an average temperature of about -20° or lower during the winter months.

Is Canada worth visiting in winter?

Canada is a must-visit in winter! There are so many famous sites to see, like Quebec City and Niagara Falls. But Canada is also where some of the best skiing on Earth takes place, with slopes making their way up our famous mountain peaks.

What do people do in winter in Canada?

Canada in winter can be a quiet experience, with fewer tourists filling up the landscape. Ice fishing is popular during the cold months, as are snowshoeing and skiing.

What is Canada’s winter like?

Canada’s winter is a great time to visit with lots of activities to do. You can go camping, ice fishing, ski, or even read by the fire!

Is December a good time to visit Canada?

December is a good time to visit Canada. The temperatures are cold, but at least there isn’t much snow on the ground yet!
You’ll also find amazing Christmas festivals across the country.

How cold is it in Canada in December?

Canada in December can get cold, with average temperatures dropping to -5° C. However, you’re more likely to find the temperature hovering around 0° C or above during this month.

How many months are cold in Canada?

Canada is properly cold, as in below 0C, for a few months each year. December to early March are usually the coldest periods.

What is the coldest month in Canada?

January is the coldest month in Canada.


Pin this for later!

canada in winter pin

Save this post for later!