Winter in Canada is truly magical. Its chilly temperatures are perfect for molding ice and snow into anything we desire. When winter takes over our country, we celebrate and enjoy all its icy gifts; we skate, play hockey, curl, and race across it. We carve ice sculptures, playgrounds, and slides from it. Then to relax we go to ice bars with drinks served in ice glasses. Canadians can even sleep on ice beds at the Hôtel de Glace in Quebec. In the winter, we cannot seem to get enough of these frozen gems. Visit these five Canadian winter ice festivals and celebrate this icy weather.
Silver Skate Festival, Edmonton, Alberta
For the last 28 years, this festival has taken over Hawrelak Park every mid-February. Skating is only one of the winter sports to enjoy, there is also snowshoeing, Fat biking, and the Winter Triathlon. Go during the day to see the races, visit the heritage village, and watch professionals carve ice & snow sculptures. Once the sun goes down, this festival fires up a different kind of sculpture, one made from hay and wood. The highlight of the night is this artistic tower of flames.
Carnival, Quebec City
With over 200 activities to watch and participate in, this festival really has something for everyone! Bonhomme, the official mascot, is a lively snowman who wears a traditional French arrow sash. Colorful sashes and loud trumpets have kept this outdoor party going since 1955. It runs from the end of January to mid-February. The huge list of things to do includes; winter sport races, Bonhomme’s Ice Palace, ice drink served at the Ice Bar, outdoor hot tubs (touques are required), Snow sculptures, and Human- sized bowling.
Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous
This wacky winter festival has been entertaining locals and visitors in Mid-February since 1964. It offers many traditional winter activities including snow sculpting, dogsledding, and canoe races across the ice. However, they really embrace the sillier side of winter with Frozen Turkey Bowling, Flour packing contest, Rendezvous Can Can dancers, and chainsaw chucking. All your laughs and smiles from the fun will keep you warm.
Festival du Voyageur, Winnipeg
Welcome to Western Canada’s largest winter festival where the Kitchen Party goes on for 10 days. This French Canadian festival takes you back in time to the early 1800’s. Tour Fort Gibraltar, meet some Voyageurs, and learn about Canada’s fur trade history. After, make sure to take in some fiddling, snow sculptures, maple taffy, wood carving challenge, and drink Caribou (a classic French cocktail) from an glass made of ice. This energetic festival will keep your warm with your toes taping.
Celebrate three weekends of winter fun in the country’s capital each February! Visit and explore the ice sculptures in Crystal Garden, embrace your inner kid at Snowflake Kingdom’s snow playground, and lace up to skate down the Rideau Canal. For fun that is more adventurous, join a team to race a hospital bed across the lake or a dragon boat on the frozen Rideau Canal.
With so many different ways to enjoy the magic of ice, what are you still doing inside? Get bundled up, pull on your touque, tie up a scarf, and find that other mitten. Then get outside to enjoy these Jack Frost approved five Canadian winter ice festivals.