Powdery ski slopes, incredible festivals, delicious food, hot cocoa by the fireplace, and polar bears! What more could you ask for in a winter holiday destination?
Canada is one of the top destinations for travelers around the world, drawing an incredible 22.1 million tourists every year! Winter in Canada starts in December and ends in March and is the perfect place for holiday-goers. Sure the weather may be a bit nippy in certain parts, but Canada in the winter truly is wonderful, with lots of activities for people of all ages to enjoy. In fact, there’ll be so many activities and sights to see that you may not know where to start!
But if you still aren’t sure, here are 5 reasons why you should travel to Canada in the winter this year.
1. It’s a Winter Wonderland
Canada turns into a wonderland in the winter, offering fun outdoor activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, and tobogganing. A great place to visit is Canada’s most popular ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb. You’ll also be able to experience amazing festivals. Winterlude in Ottawa, held in January and February, has a global ice sculpting competition. It also has the world’s largest outdoor skating rink, Rideau Canal, which is truly something spectacular, and then there’s Snowflake Kingdom – the biggest snow playground in the world!
2. It’s a Foodie’s Delight
If you love trying new kinds of food, Canada’s restaurants are a world-class treat. No matter where you’re from, you’ll find that Canada has something delicious to satisfy your palette, especially in winter. Winterlicious is Canada’s annual restaurant week, and if you’re looking for the perfect Canadian destination to experience it, then Toronto is a must-visit towards the end of January or early February. Be sure to visit Mildred’s Temple Kitchen or Senator (Toronto’s oldest restaurant) for some hearty comfort food or the ever-popular La Societe in Yorkville.
3. It’s Cold but Canada Always Accommodates
It’s no secret that certain parts of Canada can reach below-zero temperatures, but in true Canadian fashion, there are always ways to make the trip more accommodating. Most places have indoor heating, and you’ll even find climate control on buses and trains as well as heated bus shelters in certain provinces. If you’re visiting Toronto to do some shopping, you can make use of its underground PATH system. It’s the world’s biggest underground walkway system linking hotels, subways and even has a shopping complex with 1,200 retailers.
4. It’s Cheaper Than a Summer Holiday
Visiting Canada in the summer is usually a traveler’s go-to, as it’s home to countless national parks with plenty of outdoor wonders to explore. But, if you want to experience the same beauty for half the price, you should definitely consider adjusting your travel plans to travel to Canada in winter. You’ll be able to get cheaper flights, accommodation, and even tourist attractions will be cheaper to visit. However, be sure to visit in off-peak months (November or January) to avoid the holiday price increase.
5. See Polar Bears & Other Amazing Sights
And then, of course, who can resist sighting Canada’s majestic polar bears. Churchill, a tiny village in Manitoba, is one of the best places to see polar bears, particularly in October and November. It’s best to book an early trip, though, as polar bears are most active in the first third of the day. Other great sights include Niagara Falls, which freezes as temperatures drop, and if you’re truly lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring Northern Lights.
Ready to start traveling to Canada in winter? You may need a visa, depending on where you’re from and your method of travel.
Canada’s Visitor Visa Application
Most travelers will either need a visitor visa or an eTA to enter Canada. So how do you know which one you need?
What is a Visitor Visa?
A visitor visa will allow you to visit Canada for most purposes for up to 6 months.
What is an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)?
An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will allow you to visit Canada or transit via a Canadian airport for up to 6 months.
Which one you will require depends on the following:
- Your type of travel document, e.g., Do you have a passport, permit to re-enter the U.S., etc.?
- Your nationality (certain countries such as Australia qualify for an eTA)
- The country that issued your travel document, and
- Your method of travel (air, car, bus, train, or boat)
Good to Know!
If you’re a dual citizen, U.S. citizen, or permanent resident with a valid green card, you won’t need a visitor visa or an eTA.
Covid-19 Travel Requirements
Due to the pandemic, Canada has outlined specific travel requirements that need to be met.
- be fully vaccinated as of January 15, 2022;
- have received at least 2 doses of an approved vaccine or at least 1 dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 14 days prior to entry;
- have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19;
- take a pre-entry and on-arrival COVID test;
- follow pre-entry covid testing and requirements such as uploading proof of vaccination in Arrive CAN app; and
- have a quarantine plan in case of positive results.
If these 5 reasons to travel to Canada in the winter don’t have you booking your flights, you may want to visit CanadianVisa.org for more great winter travel tips or help with your Canada visitor visa application.