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Canada’s Winter Festivals

A fabulous line-up of festivals lights up Canada’s darkest months. Charlotte Flach cherry-picks four of the best

Canada’s Winter Festivals

A fabulous line-up of festivals lights up Canada’s darkest months. Charlotte Flach cherry-picks four of the best

Québec Winter Carnival

There’s no party quite like a Québec City party, with 17 days of non-stop festivities at its annual Winter Carnival in February.

What claims to be the world’s biggest celebration of winter features ice carving, dog sled races and Canada’s most famous export: maple syrup drizzled over sweet treats.

Watch as 360 tonnes of ice are transformed into giant sculptures and canoes race across the frozen St. Lawrence River.

Or feel the adrenaline rush as dog teams speed through the Old City. Carriage rides, live fiddle music and ice skating are played out against the backdrop of the ramparts of the only walled city north of Mexico.

Winnipeg’s Festival du Voyageur

Festive winnipeg

Winter is a time for celebration, not hibernation, say the locals in Winnipeg. Feel the good vibes over 10 spectacular days at its Festival du Voyageur in February.

Taking place in the French Quarter, French Canadian tradition meets First Nations Métis culture for a celebration of heritage.

The largest winter festival in Western Canada offers a modern twist on its cultural celebrations, with music, food, snow sculptures and immersive shows against a picture-perfect winter background. A vast array of historical, recreational and educational activities make it an ideal activity for all ages and tastes.

Montréal en Lumière

Festive montreal

It’s lights, camera, action every winter at Montréal’s city-wide festival. Famed for its gigantic illuminated ferris wheel, which can be spotted from many miles away, there are also magnificent light installations and giant cinematographic projections to brighten up the dark winter evenings. Held outdoors between late February and early March, it combines art, food, culture, theatre, music, curling and ziplining, with over 300 activities and 600 artists showing off their creative talents.

Snow Magic Toronto

Festive toronto

For those who feel the chill of Canada’s winterscape, Snow Magic offers all the magic of the season but from the warmth and comfort of a car. Ontario Place is a 1.7-kilometre drive-thru art exhibit offering an immersive adventure with 17 art installations inspired by fire, light and ice.

Tune into a specially-curated soundtrack on your car radio; it includes an interactive game with prizes. Snow Magic usually runs from mid-November to mid-January and is open from dusk until late.

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