Magical Winter Attractions in Canada

Stay in an ice hotel, attend a winter festival and wander through an ice castle.
 

Edmonton Ice Castle at night, photograph by Chris Tobias.

With Disney’s Frozen II arriving in movie theatres this month, we discover four winter-themed places where you can have your own adventure like Queen Elsa and her sister, Anna.

Hôtel de Glace, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, Quebec

Opens January 2

Entrance to Hôtel de Glace, photograph by Onfokus/iStock.

Be sure to pack lots of layers when staying at North America’s only ice hotel, where accommodations and most furnishings are made completely from ice and room temperatures average between -3°C and -5°C. Still, there are plenty of ways to keep warm during your stay, including soaking in a hot tub while gazing up at the stars at the on-site Nordic spa (guests get full access).

valcartier.com

Snowking Winter Festival, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

February 29 to March 29

Fireworks above the Snowcastle, photograph by Ryerson Clark/iStock.

The legendary Snowcastle takes two months to build once the weather hits -30°C. It’s the highlight of the month-long Snowking Winter Festival. The castle is open Tuesday through Sunday, and is home to a number of winter-themed activities such as ice ping-pong, ice carving with local experts and a hockey tournament. There is also live music, comedy shows and a craft sale.

snowking.ca

Festival du Voyageur, Winnipeg, Manitoba

February 14 to 23

Ice sculptures, photograph courtesy of the Festival du Voyageur.

A celebration of French-Canadian heritage, Festival du Voyageur is where you can indulge in decadent Tourtiere Poutine, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride and marvel at the incredible ice creations sculpted by artists from around the world. You can also participate in one of the festival’s many quirky competitions—don’t miss the beard-growing and jigging contests.

heho.ca

Edmonton Ice Castles, Edmonton, Alberta

January to March

Entrance to the Ice Castle, photograph by AJ Mellor.

Each winter, ice artisans spend nearly six weeks growing and hand-placing icicles to create a winter wonderland in Hawrelak Park. The Ice Castle contains 25 million pounds of ice, can get up to 12 metres high and features carved slides, tunnels and fountains. For the best viewing experience, visit the castle at night to watch the LEDs embedded in the ice change colour.

icecastles.com/edmonton

[This story appears in the November 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]

Email: