Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Canada: Put the wild in winter

From surfing the snow to ice skating, storm watching to zip-lining, ice canoeing to cool festivals, viewing the Northern Lights or experiencing an Arctic safari, Canada is the best place to be this winter.

Surf the snow: snowkiting and iceboating

Snowkiting lets you harness a power kite on skis or snowboards, to sail frozen lakes and fields at hot spots like Baie des Chaleurs & Grand Lake, New Brunswick and Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. Not to be outdone, iceboating is a below freezing blast in Nova Scotia where folks navigate “yachts” that look like windsurfers with sleek hulls and blades.

Outdoor Skating

Many Canadian cities are perfect for ice skating au natural. In the cool climes of Edmonton, skate William Hawrelak Park’s five-hectare lake while mellow music flows from rink-side speakers; then make a side-trip to Calgary and glide along Olympic Plaza’s urban ice.

Skate away on Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink in Saskatoon; or head to Winnipeg’s Forks National Historic Site. Ottawa’s Rideau Canal offers nearly 8 km of scenic skating but don’t pass over Mount Royal Park in Montreal for a freebie skate on Beaver Lake.

Storm Watching

British Columbia’s West Coast near Tofino on Vancouver Island gets six-metre-high waves that crash the shoreline of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve during winter with such ferocity, folks travel from around the world just to witness it.

Be awed by the elements as you enjoy a beachside vista of this artful symphony of destruction.

Be a snowbird for a day: winter zip-lining

Zip-lining above treetops is good family fun. Feel like a snowbird in Newfoundland as you zip from platform to platform on a cable strung 85 metres over a plunging gorge, wind whipping as you soar above forest branches muscled with snow. Winter zip-lining is also popular in Whistler, British Columbia.

Ice canoeing on the St. Lawrence River

Join the elite canoe racers facing strong currents, ice chunks and hand-numbing waters as they paddle the icy St. Lawrence during the Québec Winter Carnival (January 29 – February 14, 2016)!

Competitors race across the river from Québec City to Levis, and back. Also enjoy raucous dogsled races, vibrant parades, luminous nightlife and the famous Ice Palace at the festival.

Cool Festivals

Join in the snowy celebrations at Edmonton’s Ice on Whyte (January 21-31, 2016) showcasing ice carvings, Winnipeg’s musical Festival du Voyageur (February 12-21, 2016) or Ottawa’s Winterlude (January 29 – February 15, 2016) which features ice skating, ice sculptures.

Nordic Skiing Gems

Edmonton exemplifies urban Nordic skiing - explore 60 km of River Valley trails, right in and around downtown. In northern Saskatchewan, Prince Albert National Park has 16 secluded ski tracks. Québec is also renowned for its cross-country skiing at Gatineau Park with 200 km of capital-region routes. Else, discover Nordic trails half-a-billion years in the making at Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Aurora Borealis Viewing

Head to Yellowknife where the halo of Northern Lights encircles our planet. Whitehorse is another prime-viewing locale.

Nestle up in nearby Takhini Hot Springs to watch the shimmering Aurora Borealis while you enjoy a steaming soak.

Experience the north on an Arctic safari

Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions offers magical adventures like visiting with polar bears; seeing legendary tusked narwhal whales, spotting seals and even the occasional walrus. Trips are rooted in local culture so you’ll meet the Inuit people of Nunavut and learn their traditions. Though it may feel like winter, safari trips run from March to October.

Say mush and make tracks

Set off on a three-day package with Call of the Wild in Ontario’s Algonquin Park. It’s one day of dog sledding, one day of snowshoeing across a frozen lake and one day of cross-country skiing on groomed forest trails.

Rest up in the comfort of a cozy wilderness eco-lodge enjoying delicious meals like white fish with cucumber dill sauce, or lemon seared chicken breasts. Me? I’ll see you in the outdoor hot tub and sauna.

Written by Lori McNulty and David Webb. Courtesy of Destination Canada. The text has been modified from the original.

No comments:

Post a Comment