Believe it or not, there are some non-skiers in the world. Maybe you have two left feet and can’t even fathom the idea of hitting the slopes, or maybe you would much prefer staying in a cabin and sipping on hot chocolate instead. You may think traveling to Canada during winter may not be the most viable option, but we’re here to tell you it is.
As you know, Canada welcomes everyone – even non-skiers. Just come prepared with a cozy winter jacket (a Canada Goose perhaps?) and get ready to fill your tummy with delicious eats (Hello Poutine!) If you’re not into skiing or snowboarding, you can still spend your winter travels in Canada and have a good time. Here’s the perfect guide for making the most out of Canadian winters.
While the winter season tends to bring the skiers and snowboarders out to the mountains, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy right in the city. One must-attend event is the Vancouver Christmas Market in Coal Harbour, where you can sip on mulled wine, shop at local markets, eat traditional German spaetzle and take photos with Santa.
If you love Christmas lights and can’t get enough of them, consider heading out to one of the light festivals, such as the Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, the VanDusen Festival of Lights, or the Bright Nights at Stanley Park. Each offers stunning light displays, perfect for your Insta feed.
For a festive good time, consider spending a few hours at Reflection’s Winter pop up at the Georgia Hotel. This rooftop bar, which transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland, is the perfect spot to wine and dine with friends before the holidays get too crazy busy.
Believe or not, you can actually enjoy the mountains of Whistler if you’re not a fan of winter sports. Whistler is a small city that offers plenty of other well-suited options for non-skiers. To see the gorgeous views of Whistler from the top of the mountains, we encourage riding the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. You’ll get up close to snow-covered peaks and zoom from one mountain to the other in just under 11 minutes.
If you would rather spend your winter relaxing and de-stressing from the holiday madness, we highly recommend spending an afternoon at the Scandinave hot spa, where you can dip into hot and cold baths, snooze in hammocks or get a relaxing spa treatment.
For something more casual, non-skiers like yourself can try your hand at ice-skating at Olympic Plaza or spend your day shopping and dining at the various restaurants and boutiques at Olympic Village.
Don’t let the cooler temperatures of Banff scare you away, as this time of year is the most magical. Non-skiers can visit the Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival, where you will witness stunning sculptures created by local artists via an ice carving competition.
If you still want to try some form of winter activity that’s not skiing, you can try dog sledding or ice fishing, two very unique hobbies you may not experience anywhere else. Or you can go the complete opposite direction and enjoy the Upper Banff hot springs, where you’ll soak in a hot bath surrounded by giant snow-covered mountains.
For something more laid-back, we recommend riding the Ski Hill Gondola for some majestic views or take a stroll-via horse carriage in downtown Banff.
Non-skiers are in luck in Toronto, as this big city has so much more to offer than just the slopes. If you love to feast on delicious eats, you must try Toronto’s most anticipated culinary experience called Winterlicious. During this time of year, restaurants all over the city offer special Prix-fix menus that will surely delight any foodie.
Another must-attend event for non-skiers is the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery Historic District, where you can shop, ride the carousel, visit Santa, and sip on beer at the Beer Garden.
For more of a relaxing good time, we recommend renting a winter chalet near the city of Toronto. Instead of worrying about freezing on the mountain peaks, stay warm by a roasting fire sipping on hot cocoa instead.
Other Winter Activities
If you happen to be in Ottawa, we recommend checking out the winter festival Winterlude. At this event, you can check out the ice carving competition, skate on the Rideau Canal, or visit the Snow Kingdom where you can enjoy snow slides, mazes, and art displays.
If you’re visiting Montreal, you can attend the En Lumiere festival, which celebrates winter through various unique activities. You can watch winter inspired performing art, dine on seasonal dishes at participating restaurants, or enjoy free outdoor activities such as ice-skating and zip lining.
For an event that is on every Canadian’s bucket list, visit Quebec City for the well-renowned Winter Carnival, featuring the infamous mascot Bonhomme. Running for two weeks, this carnival features every imaginable winter activity you can think of. You can be super active and participate in ice hockey, ice-skating, canoe racing, and axe throwing or take it easy and watch the night parade and eat Canadian delicacies. Whichever activity you go with, we guarantee you’ll never get bored.