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Old-Fashioned Mountain Activities: Part 1

By Afton Aikens & Lisa Stephens

Marvel at snow-capped peaks from the cozy comfort of a horse-drawn carriage, hot chocolate in hand. Or strap on snowshoes and venture deep into a valley glistening in winter glory. However you prefer to play, ’tis the season to explore Canada’s Rockies in all their snowy splendour.

This four-week post series will introduce you to dog sledding, snowshoeing, sleigh riding and cross-country skiing. Once essential modes of winter travel, these activities now entice people looking for good old-fashioned mountain fun in the great outdoors.

Photo: Cold Fire Creek Dog Sledding

Photo: Cold Fire Creek Dog Sledding


Luminaria: A Winter Wonderland Attraction

This whimsical event truly embodies the notion of “walking in a winter wonderland”! WHERE Edmonton Magazine named Luminaria as one of our Top 20 Things to Do Before 2013, so it’s a definite must-see attraction! (What other 19 things must you do in Edmonton before 2013? Find out in the digital edition of our November/December issue!)

Thousands of candles light up the night at Luminaria.
Photo courtesy of Devonian Botanic Gardens

On Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9, 5 pm – 9 pm nightly, the Devonian Botanic Gardens will transform with thousands of glowing candles lighting its outdoor pathways. Walk along and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the snow-covered gardens by candlelight, accompanied by the sounds of festive carollers. Be on the look out for some impressive ice sculpture carvings and, if your eyes are really sharp, you might just see some magical “snow sprites” frolicking about.


Canada’s 10 Coldest, Snowiest Cities in Spring


Iqaluit, Nunavut: still thawing in August (Photo: Matthew MacLeod)

March 20 may have been the first day of spring, but in much of Canada, winter weather continues and will through April—or even into May. For skiiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers, long winters are one of the joys of living in the Great White North. We found some surprises among Canada’s cities with the snowiest springs. (more…)

Hot Dining: Where to See Skaters on the Rideau Canal

We round up the best spots to grab a bite with the added enjoyment of watching skaters on the Rideau Canal.

Skaters take a snack break at the BeaverTails counter.

BeaverTail Shacks
Located on the Rideau Canal Skateway, you can skate up to the window, order one of these delicious Canadian treats, and grab a spot on a picnic bench without ever leaving the ice. Be honest: isn’t one of the main reasons you go skating here to have a BeaverTail and a hot chocolate after?
Several locations along the Rideau Canal. www.beavertailsinc.com

Canal Ritz
This Italian restaurant boasts one of the most scenic views of the canal and is located right near one of the entrances to the skateway, so after you’re done your meal it’s easy to lace up your skates and join in on the fun. Rather watch? Snag a seat by the big windows and curl up with a specialty coffee.
375 Queen Elizabeth Dr. (at Fifth Avenue), 613-238-8998. www.canalritz.com

Canal Oak
Part of the Royal Oak Pubs chain, this unique two-storey location is situated near the Pretoria Bridge, which crosses over the canal. Order a pint, relax by the fire, and enjoy some colourful people watching. It’s also a top spot to head after you’ve traversed the ice and need to refuel.
221 Echo Dr., 613- 234-3700. www.royaloakpubs.com

5 Insider Tips to Quebec’s Winter Carnival

Bonhomme, the Winter Carnival mascot (Photo courtesy of Carnaval de Québec)

The local dish on what to see and do at Québec City’s famed Winter Carnival.

By Amanda Halm

The Québec Winter Carnival, opening this weekend for its 58th year, brings a flurry of wintry activities to Quebec City. It is the city’s version of Mardi Gras, sans debauchery simply because it’s just too darn cold to bare it all. Ice-canoe races, snow baths, zip lining, night parades and more make it one of the most unique festivals in the world. Locals love it, even though swarms of shutter-snapping visitors descend on the city each year. (more…)

Hot Attraction: Skiing in Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park makes for a serene skiing destination. Photo credit: National Capital Commission.

Want to get outdoors, but don’t want to go far? Look no further than Gatineau Park. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, this conservation park has more than 50 cross-country ski trails ranging in both length (7.9 km- 40 km) and level (beginner to advanced). There’s nothing like gliding over fresh snow on a winter morning. Marvel at the forests and open fields as you fly by, then warm up by a wood burning stove at one of the 10 shelters, which are outfitted with picnic tables so you can enjoy a snack from home.

12 Fabulous Winter Festivals Across Canada

Photo courtesy of Travel Manitoba

Canadians don’t hibernate in winter. Far from it!

We use the season to our advantage with fun-loving festivals from Atlantic Canada to the Yukon packed with wintry pursuits like ice sculpting, skating, and the age-old traditions of chainsaw chucking and beard growing. (more…)

Hot Attractions: 3 Tobogganing Hills Around Town

Tobogganing is the perfect family outing.

Now that there’s finally snow on the ground, grab a sled and hit one of these three popular tobogganing hills.

1. Mooney’s Bay Park
2960 Riverside Dr.
Gradual slopes and a high peak make this a favourite for families. Be mindful of trees and lampposts.

2. Arboretum/Central Experimental Farm
Prince of Wales Drive
Great views and a long, fast hill make this a go-to, but be careful of the trees and other potential obstacles.

3. Conroy Pit
Conroy Road, south of Hunt Club Road
This large, steep hill is lit from 4pm to 11pm, making it fun for late night outings. It’s an official toboggan hill, but be forewarned, it’s also popular as a dog park.

Hot Shopping: Cool Coat for Cold Days

ATYRA Bomber from Napapijri.

Don’t let chilly weather get you down — instead, use it as an occasion to dress to the nines with the ATYRA Bomber for men by Napapijri. This down-filled jacket comes with removable sleeves, which means it can be worn as a vest when things start to heat up (though, we admit, that might be a while!). Plus, fashionable features like knit shoulders, Arctic rib-knit cuffs, and badge decals mean you can stay stylish as well as warm. $598. Available at Harry Rosen in the Rideau Centre, 50 Rideau St., 613-230-7232.

5 Fun Cold-Weather Activities With Kids in Niagara Falls

Photo by Kevin Millican

By William Travis

Sure, you may have to bundle the kids up for a glimpse of the falls themselves in late fall or winter, but watching the 100,000 cubic feet of rushing water plunge downward is still a thrill no matter what season it is. Away from the falls, indoor and outdoor activities make Niagara Falls a fun winter getaway.

View as a slideshow… (more…)

Perks & Quirks: Hôtel de Glace, Quebec


By Kat Tancock

There are hotels with quirks, and then there are hotels that are quirks, like the seasonal Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) in Quebec City, originally inspired by a similar structure in Sweden. (more…)

Hot Date: One Night Only Extreme Sports Film

Chris Davenport shredding Portillo in Chile. Photo credit: Mike Arzt.

Oct. 27. Fresh powder, crystal blue skies, and not a soul in sight. This is the magical, adrenalin-fuelled world of Warren Miller‘s 62nd annual winter sports film Like There’s No Tomorrow (see trailer here). Follow world-class athletes Chris Davenport, Julia Mancuso, Daron Rahlves, Colby West, and Seth Wescott as they hit the slopes in five continents, from Squaw Valley in the U.S. to the Himalayas in Gulmarg, India. This is high-def sports cinema at its finest, narrated by Olympic Gold Medalist skier Jonny Moseley. The film is making its way across the country as part of the 2011 Canadian tour, which offers a jaw-dropping look at some of the world’s most legendary winter landscapes, and the people who dream of conquering this beautiful terrain. The film will be screened on Thursday night only at Centrepointe Theatre.