There are some amazing places to spend Christmas across Canada, many of which are steeped in local tradition. Whether staying close to home or looking for a new adventure this holiday, here are a few of the must-see spots for the season.
In Vancouver, the PNE is the city’s largest entertainment area, and during Christmas, it takes on a festive feel with lights, decorations, and adventure. Explore the area on the PNE Winter Express, stroll through the winter light displays, and take a ride on the ice bumper cars for a one-of-a-kind Christmas experience. Families can take in shows and entertainment including the Nutcracker on Ice and the Magic of Santa Holiday Musical.
At the uniquely Canadian SnowDays Festival, visitors can see ice and snow sculptures, which light up at night for an enchanting experience. For those who love the outdoors, SnowDays offers skating, sleigh rides, skijoring, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Families can also enjoy the SnowDays Play Zone and participate in sledding, curling, and fat tire bike riding.
In Saskatoon, the Western Development Museum offers visitors a glimpse into life in 1910 with the Boomtown exhibit, which is a life-size replica of a prairie town from that era. During Christmas, the street is decorated for the festive season. Visitors can also enjoy the Eaton’s Once Upon A Christmas Exhibit, which includes pieces from the old department store window displays from Winnipeg and Toronto.
In Manitoba, visitors can enjoy a drive-thru winter light display show with over a million lights, as well as skating, hay rides, outdoor photo opportunities, and a mailbox for kids to send their letters to Santa.
The unique Christmas market experience in Quebec City offers a nostalgic holiday shopping environment with cobblestone streets, canopy lights, and a variety of vendors in outdoor shopping cabins. Visitors can also enjoy live music, carolers, and a candy cane lane, as well as meet Santa, take a photo, and enjoy fireworks displays.
In Montreal, visitors can tour a 19th-century home at Sir George-Étienne Cartier’s Victorian home, which is adorned with vintage ornaments for a real old-fashioned feel. Guides introduce visitors to traditions and historic Christmas culture, including etiquette and old-fashioned baking.
Canada’s largest free outdoor festival of lights brightens Niagara Falls for 51 nights, featuring millions of lights and illuminated displays around the tourism district. Visitors can sample Christmas favourites along the Hot Chocolate Trail and enjoy fireworks displays.
One of the most well-known Christmas traditions in Canada is the German Christmas Market in Quebec City, designed like a European market with colourful lights, wood kiosks, and choirs. The event offers family activities like puppet shows, Santa Claus, magic shows, and creative craft projects for little hands.
In Halifax, the Evergreen Festival celebrates local food, culture, and artisans with a market of 22 wood chalets offering food, drink, and gifts, as well as a walkable trail of outdoor holiday light displays. The event also features live musical performances, a winter sports zone, and holiday craft-making.
The CPCK Holiday Train, now in its 25th year, travels through Canada and the United States, brightening cities and collecting donations for food banks. It has raised $22.5 million and 5 million pounds of food for North American food banks to date.