9 best cities to spend Christmas in Canada
Canada is good at Christmas. In a country where winter is intense, residents go beyond a light display or two to make the season bright.
As if the charm wasn’t enough, you can sip mulled wine and nosh on sausage at the timber stalls of the annual German Christmas Market, or browse for locally-made trinkets at the Old Port Christmas Market. After you’ve explored, find spot of peace and Christmas music at one of the city’s heritage churches. Or burn off the indulgences with winter sports at the nearby Sentier des Caps de Charlevoix.
Other must-attends include the National Gallery of Canada’s Christmas tree lighting with a 12-metre tree, cocoa, and free gallery entry. When the temperature drops low enough (normally around January), residents put on their ice skates and glide down the scenic Rideau Canal – Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site and the naturally frozen skating rink in the world.
Other must-attends include Toronto Christmas Market, set in the Victorian, cobblestoned Distillery Historic District, which has been ranked one of the top 10 Christmas markets in the world by Fodor’s. For culture and beauty, check out The Nutcracker by The National Ballet of Canada, and candlelit holiday flower shows at Allan Gardens Conservatory and Centennial Park Conservatory, with thousands of flowering plants including more than 30 kinds of poinsettia.
Instead of Christmas light displays, try stargazing under winter skies at the Banff Gondola. Why settle for a sleigh ride when you can mush your way through the forest whilst being pulled by a team of huskies? Instead of a Christmas cocktail party, try a dance set or two at Brewster Dance Barn. When the physical exertion and cold temps threaten to overwhelm, sink into the world famous Banff Hot Springs to recover.
Other classic Vancouver Christmas events include meeting Santa and his reindeer at the Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain, free ice skating at Robson Square, the Vancouver Christmas Market, Carol Ships in English Bay, the Christmas train at Bright Nights in Stanley Park, and Rogers Santa Claus Parade.
More fun: skating with Santa at Whistler Olympic Plaza, horse-drawn sleigh rides, family après events with live entertainment, caroling, spas, fine dining, and more.
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