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There’s a reason Canada has been given the nickname “The Great White North,” and it’s not just because of its geography. Known for its long and bitter snow-capped winters, Canada has gained a reputation over the years. Some assume its climate is unbearable, while others intelligently understand its wondrous offerings, ESPECIALLY in the winter. Here are what we believe are the five best Canadian cities to visit in the winter.

Top 5 Canadian Cities to Visit in Winter

  • Banff, Alberta 
  • Ottawa, Ontario 
  • Victoria, BC
  • Montreal, Quebec 
  • Niagara Falls, Ontario

If you’re a winter enthusiast who craves winter sports and magical Christmases, consider yourself an honorary Canadian!

While there may be some crossover between popular cities during the winter, summer, and spring months, that shows the diversity in what Canada has to offer, no matter the time of year you visit! Though it’s impossible to honestly choose the top Canadian cities to stay in the winter, we’ve narrowed it down to five (5) for your perusing! 

Banff, Alberta

Banff best canadian cities to visit in winter
Banff Town, Alberta

What’s a Canadian winter without a trip to the slopes? Well, for the best of the best that Canada has to offer, you’re going to want to pay a visit to Banff, Alberta, to hit the Canadian side of the Rockies at Banff National Park and ride some world-class powdered hills. 

Top Rated Banff Winter Experiences For You

Offering five-star luxury ski resorts and hot springs to accompany it, it’s genuinely the best way to spend at least a portion of the winter season, especially if you’re an outdoor winter sports enthusiast.

Banff one the best winter destinations in Canada
Banff Avenue Shopping, Banff, Alberta

Not so much? No worries! These Albertan ski resorts aren’t only there for those who want to shred the powder. Instead, you can enjoy romantic light-filled pedestrian streets, snowshoeing trails, outdoor ice rinks (sit and watch with a hot chocolate if you’d prefer), or relax and unwind at a hot spring and spa resort; Talk about a Canadian vacation! 

Ottawa, Ontario

Best Canadian Cities to Visit in the Winter
Ottawa After Snow Fall in Winter

Not just known as the capital of Canada but also the winter capital, Ottawa has a way of painting itself white and decorating it with lights across the city for the most magical winter season you can imagine. Not only because of nature’s beauty, however, but also because of its abundance in winter activities, Ottawa sits atop the list of best Canadian cities to visit in the winter. 

Selected Winter Experiences In Ottawa For You

Ottawa one of the best canadian cities to visit in winter
Rideau Canal skating rink in winter, Ottawa, Canada

From its Rideau Canal outdoor skating rink, which happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site and doubling as the largest outdoor skating rink in the world, to its Winterlude Festival and its 2200 acre city park for romantic winter walks, it’s truly a winter wonderland if you’ve ever seen one. 

Victoria, British Columbia 

Festive Christmas Illumination at Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia

Suggested Winter Experiences in Victoria BC

Suppose you’re eager to experience a Canadian winter but would prefer to do so without the extreme temperatures, bitter air, and abundance of snow. In that case, Victoria, BC, is where you want to be. While it still comes with some cold temperatures and may surprise you with some snow here and there (after all, it is a Canadian winter), comparatively speaking, it’s a relatively mild winter season. 

Victoria one of the Best Canadian Cities to Visit in the Winter
Victoria BC at night

Even if you do want to venture into the mountains, you’re just a few hours away from hitting BC’s world-renowned ski hills in that of Whistler…

In any case, Victoria offers a more elegant experience, with winter walks through its National Historic park to afternoon teas to warm the soul, and of course, a glass of red wine to cap the evening off right. For an authentic yet tuned-down Canadian winter experience, be sure to put Victoria atop the list, a beautiful city in an even more beautiful province. 

Montreal, Quebec 

Whether you’re visiting for the charm or the party-hard festivities, Montreal is a must-visit for any winter-lover eager to experience a Canadian winter. Montreal is known as the party capital of Canada for a reason. And the celebrations don’t stop just because the weather gets cold! 

Led Light Decorations on Antique Car, Montreal, Quebec

From Montreal en Lumière to IglooFest, the coldest music festival in the world, you’re going to want to pack warm if Montreal is the city of choice this winter! 

If partying isn’t your scene, don’t worry; Montreal has something for everybody. For a trip filled with culture, pay a visit to Old Montreal. Here, you’ll enjoy Europe-inspired old architecture and cobblestone streets, decorated for the occasion with magical lights throughout. 

Beautiful houses of old historical Montreal neighborhood Plateau Mont Royal in winter

No matter if you’re visiting to party or to relax, traveling solo or with a family, Montreal is a must-visit during the winter.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Kids viewing the Frozen Landscape of Niagara Falls

Just as magical in the winter as in the spring and summer, Niagara Falls is one of the best Canadian cities to visit, no matter the time of year. With that said, they do winter right! 

For starters, they’re infamous falls…While it’s an incredible sight to see the falls of Niagara free-flowing, it’s just as jaw-dropping to see it frozen, otherworldly, even…

Birds Eye View of Niagara Falls in Winter

Besides the falls, Niagara Falls also offers visitors and locals alike several winter attractions, from the Ice-Wine Festival to its Christmas Lighting Tour across its city parks. Whatever you choose to do, there’s one thing that’s a must! Book accommodations at one of its premier hotels and request a falls-facing room; the views themselves will dazzle you. 

A Winter in the Great White North

If you’ve always wanted to visit Canada but were never sure when, why not get the most authentic Canadian experience and visit during the winter? By doing so you will likely avoid the crowds often experienced during summer’s peak season. And you’ll also get to enjoy some experiences not otherwise available to those who live in year-round warmer climates. 

While the above cities are some of the best to visit in the winter, it only scratches the surface of what’s genuinely offered throughout this beautiful country.

Check Out Flight and Hotel Deals on Expedia

Check out these other Canada Winter Experiences

Snowshoe Through Vancouver’s Winter Wonderland

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk

Winter Lake Louise/ Ski Lake Louise resort Day Tour

Gear to Stay Warm this Winter

COVID-19 Information for travellers



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