From the islands of the Atlantic coast to the towering peaks of the Rockies, Canada is a wintry wonderland that offers a wide range of magical white Christmas experiences. Whether you’re seeking a traditional Christmas celebration in a charming atmosphere, or a winter wonderland surrounded by majestic natural landscapes, each region brings its unique touches to the holiday season. These are nine of our favourite places to enjoy the warmth of Canadian hospitality in a magical Christmas setting:
Bringing more than a touch of European flair to the Christmas holiday season, the snowy, cobblestone streets and seventeenth-century buildings of Old Quebec are adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations. The centrepiece is the German-inspired Christmas Market at Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville, where the scent of freshly baked gingerbread cookies fills the air and carollers serenade the streets. Sip on mulled wine and indulge in festive treats as you shop for seasonal crafts such as handmade woolly socks and beautiful decorations.
This enchanting resort town, located within Banff National Park in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, offers a picture-perfect Christmas backdrop of snow-covered mountains and frozen lakes. The streets are adorned with twinkling lights, and the majestic mountains provide a stunning backdrop for the festivities. Go skiing or snowboarding at Lake Louise Ski Resort on Christmas Eve and there’s a high chance that you’ll see Santa carving a few turns on the slopes. The grand Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise offers a luxurious but cosy haven from the cold: the hotel is famous for its elaborately decorated Christmas trees and roaring fireplaces: an idyllic setting for sipping marshmallow-laden cups of hot chocolate. From ice skating on the frozen lake to a cosy sleigh-rides through pristine, snowy forests, we can’t think of a more magical way to celebrate Christmas Day.
The immense natural beauty of Vancouver, with its backdrop of snow-capped mountains and Pacific Ocean, makes Christmas in this city a unique experience. In downtown Vancouver, Robson Square is transformed into an ice-skating wonderland each Christmas, while VanDusen Botanical Garden in the nearby Shaughnessy neighbourhood puts on a dazzling Festival of Lights. In Stanley Park, Bright Nights is a month-long festival of twinkling lights, where you can enjoy live entertainment and feast on churros and popcorn. Take a stroll through Vancouver’s largest free outdoor winter lights display at the dazzling Lights at Lafarge, visit the Vancouver Christmas Market, and soak up the vibrant and inclusive atmosphere for which the city is renowned.
In the heart of Ontario’s Mennonite Country, the picturesque village of St Jacobs offers a unique take on Christmas in Canada. Explore its charming streets, which are lined with quaint boutiques and shops adorned with twinkling lights and intricate decorations. The scent of freshly baked goods and warm, spiced cider is sure to put you in a suitably festive mood for browsing the town’s annual Christkindl Market, which is inspired by German Christmas traditions. Shop for artisanal crafts, listen to festive music, or take a horse-drawn trolley through the snowy streets. It’s also well worth making the 90-minute drive to witness the spectacular Festival of Lights at Niagara Falls. Featuring fireworks, outdoor concerts and incredible lights display, the festival is Canada’s largest free outdoor light carnival and runs from mid-November right through until late February.
The charming ski village of Mont-Tremblant is located in the Laurentian Mountains northwest of Montréal. During the Christmas season it transforms into a festive paradise where twinkling lights adorn the cobblestone streets, and the crisp winter air is filled with the warm aroma of freshly baked treats. The resort is a popular winter playground that offers everything from skiing and ice skating to dog-sledding and ice fishing. You can attend a Christmas service at the picturesque Saint-Bernard Chapel, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through snowy fields and forests, and enjoy the best of French and Canadian cuisine, from freshly made crepes to five-star Christmas dining.
Experience a traditional Maritime province Christmas in Prince Edward Island, where the picturesque landscapes are covered in a blanket of snow and the charming coastal villages are decorated with twinkling lights. The island’s cosy inns and cottages offer a magical base from which to indulge in local culinary delights like seafood chowder and freshly made gingerbread. Don’t miss the Charlottetown Christmas Festival, which features a Victorian-influenced Christmas market and a variety of festive events and activities, from Breakfast with Santa to horse-drawn wagon rides.
Winnipeg, also known as the “Christmas Capital of Canada”, boasts an array of holiday events, with the annual Festival of Lights at The Forks a popular highlight. Show off your best pirouettes at the outdoor skating rink, sample unusual and festive food like tourtière and bison stew and soak up the Christmas atmosphere created by the magical lights display. The grand lighting ceremony of Manitoba Legislative Building is another key moment in the holiday season – part of the ‘Christmas Lights Across Canada’ nationwide illumination of key sites. With average daily high temperature in Winnipeg sitting around -3C during December, you can enjoy the million lights and 26 different themes that make up Manitoba’s largest drive-thru light show: The Canad Inns Winter Wonderland, without leaving the warmth of your car.
Often referred to as “The Loveliest Town in Canada”, this picturesque town is set on the shores of Lake Ontario. During the holiday season, the charming Victorian-era buildings that line its streets are adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, creating a scene straight out of a Christmas storybook. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snow-covered streets and explore boutique shops filled with unique holiday gift ideas. Join the revelry of the Candlelight Stroll, which will take place this year on 1st December: featuring carollers and beautifully lit heritage homes, it’s an annual highlight of the Christmas season.
Mother Nature is in charge of the Christmas decorations in this remote corner of Canada, where you may be lucky enough to witness the spectacle of the Aurora Borealis dancing across the winter sky. The festive season in Churchill is a celebration not just of Christmas but of the breathtaking beauty of the winter wilderness that surrounds it. Given that Churchill is the polar bear capital of the world, Santa and his reindeer will probably be keeping a low profile, but there are plenty of other amazing wildlife encounters on offer, including artic foxes and caribou.
Canada offers a diverse range of Christmas experiences, from the European charm of Quebec City to the stunning natural beauty of Lake Louise. Whether you prefer the festive city lights or the peaceful serenity of a small town, your personal travel manager can help you to plan a memorable Canadian Christmas.