Winter Celebrations and Activities to Ease Your Transition into Canada

Frail winters in Canada are known for frigid temperatures, snowstorms, slush, and ice, which can be daunting for prospective newcomers to Canada.

While there’s no escaping that the weather is harsh for several months of the year in much of the country (Vancouver and the surrounding area are somewhat more temperate, although rainy), ways have been found by some Canadians and newcomers to embrace the chill and genuinely enjoy the season.

Get outside

It may seem counterintuitive, but unless Environment Canada issues a special cold weather advisory, there’s no reason not to go out and participate in outdoor activities. The only really necessary precaution is to ensure that you are wearing enough layers to stay warm. A toque, coat, thermal leggings (sometimes called long johns), thick socks, and a warm pair of snow boots go a long way.

If you have never tried skating, this could be a good time to learn. Many communities have outdoor skating areas, or you can sign up for lessons at local arenas. Skate Canada offers lessons for children and adults throughout Canada at local indoor arenas as well. You will need to wear a helmet.


There are also many festivals to enjoy throughout Canada in the winter months to make the most of the season.

Carnaval de Québec

The Carnival de Quebec, happening in Quebec City from January 25 to February 11, 2024, is a snow festival known for its impressive snow and ice sculptures, vibrant parade, and lively musical performances. Attendees also have the chance to meet Bonhomme, the festival’s beloved mascot and an iconic symbol of Canada.

Mount Pearl Frosty Festival

The Mount Pearl Frosty Festival, held in St. John’s, is celebrated as the largest winter festival in Atlantic Canada. Running from February 9 to 17, 2024, it offers an array of over 40 indoor and outdoor activities, including parades, dart tournaments, skating, theatre performances, and live music shows.

Festival du Voyageur

Festival du Voyageur, an annual event in Winnipeg, Manitoba, celebrates the city’s French-Canadian heritage. Running from February 16 to February 25, this year’s festival boasts over 150 performances catering to audiences of all ages, including children. Daytime entertainment highlights French-Canadian fiddle music and local singer-songwriters, while evening shows feature a mix of local and national rock, indie pop, and rap artists.


Winterlude, an annual festival in Ottawa, spans the first three weeks of February. This vibrant event features captivating light displays, intricate sculptures, and lively music, providing an opportunity for attendees to embrace the winter season and immerse themselves in Canada’s Indigenous culture. Additionally, visitors can enjoy skating on the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site boasting 7.8km of frozen skating paths during the festival

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