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Embrace the snow at Canada’s 10 best winter destinations

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For all the Canadians that spend winter complaining about cold temperatures, snow, ice, bad driving conditions, short days and shoveling the driveway, there’s just one thing to say: suck it up! It’s Canada! Our winters are long and cold, there’s no way around it. But it’s one of the many perks of living in this country, too. If you stop complaining, bundle up, and get out there, you’ll see there is so much to do, you may wish it was winter year round.

Nelson, British Columbia

Nelson is a paradise for outdoor types. World-class skiers, snowboarders, photographers, and writers call this place home for a reason; bottomless powder and incredible terrain. Wanna go sledding? You can do that. Ice-fishing? Yep. Cross-country skiing? You can do that, too. And if you want to go skiing or snowboarding, then you’re in for an unbelievable treat. The small town also offers great services deep in the secluded region of the West Kootenays.

Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler is the ultimate in winter playground. If there’s a wintery activity you yearn for, Whistler’s surely got a world-class version of it. People come from around the world to experience. Ice-fishing, sledding, dog-sledding, skating, snowboarding, skiing, and ice climbing. And not many places in the world offer such a variety of activities in such close proximity which helps adventurers experience as much as possible.

Collingwood, Ontario

Ontario’s outdoor capitol is one destination that truly celebrates winter. With eight ski resorts on the escarpment, endless snowmobile trails, ice fishing in the harbour, cross-country ski trails, outdoor spas, and tons more, there’s a lot to love about this little town. Smack dab in the middle of Ontario’s snow belt, it also gets some big dumps compared to the nearby metropolis of Toronto. And big dumps equal tons of fun for the winter months.

Saint Saveur, Quebec

A stroll down Saint Saveur’s main strip in the winter will make you want to move to this lovely little town. The restaurants, coffee shops, and art galleries are just some of the many things to enjoy in the winter. Combine them with nearby Tremblant, the Saint Saveur ski hill, incredible spas in the area, and endless outdoor adventure throughout the region, and this is one great place to get outside, despite the cold.

Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Quebec

If you already love winter and want to get off the beaten track, then this is the destination for you. Situated between the Chic Choc mountains and the mighty St Lawrence, if you’re looking to go snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, or snowshoeing, then you’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere more beautiful and secluded. Add in a side trip to the Parc Nationale de la Gaspesie, and you’ve got yourself a trip not soon forgotten.

Churchill, Manitoba

There isn’t actually that much to do in Churchill. But if you want to embrace winter, well, this is a place where you have no other choice. It’s cold. It’s barren. But hey, if you want an extreme winter experience, this is it. And what says winter more than polar bears?

Whitehorse, Yukon

There’s no denying that Whitehorse’s joie de vivre is infectious. Many people visit in the summer and never return. It’s that kind of place. And while the winter doesn’t get its fair share of sun, the surrounding wilderness has everything for the keen adventurer. Local trails offer great snowshoeing and skiing, plus snowmobiling and dog-sledding options are endless. Don’t forget: the winter months are the best time to experience the Northern Lights.

Cornerbrook

Newfoundland’s west coast is a wild to begin with, but it gets even wilder in the winter. The appropriately named Blow Me Down Provincial Park is an incredibly beautiful area, surrounded by mountains that plunge down into the Ocean. And from Cornerbrook you can see it all. Marble Mountain is nearby, offering incredible skiing and snowboarding and from Cornerbrook, everything from snowmobiling and cross country skiing to ice fishing and dog-sledding are accessible.

Jasper, Alberta

Jasper is one of Canada’s true gems. 300 kilometres north of Banff, it’s got all the beauty with half the tourists. And of course, its got all the winter activities you could ever dream up. Marmot Basin is a popular ski hill in Jasper National Park, and boasts a vertical drop of 2600 metres. But Jasper also offers dog-sledding, cross-coutry skiing, snowshoeing and more.

Thunder Bay, Ontario

There’s a reason why Lakehead University runs one of the most popular outdoor recreation programs in the country. The outdoor adventure potential in this destination is phenomenal. Situated right on the shores of Lake Superior, this part of Northern Ontario is known for serious winters, so bundle up. If you’re feeling particularly brave, it’s also possible to surf all winter in Thunder Bay.