BEAU­TI­FUL BE­LOW ZERO

The best hol­i­days aren’t al­ways in sum­mer. Win­ter in Al­berta is like step­ping into a snow­globe

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - DESTINATION | CANADA - KRISTIE KELLAHAN

Ar­riv­ing at Ed­mon­ton In­ter­na­tional Air­port, a chauf­feur bear­ing my name on a sign greets me with the re­as­sur­ing news that the temperature isn’t too cold out­side to­day, just mi­nus 10C. I’m to brace my­self for mi­nus 16 later in the week. Al­righty, then.

I’ve joined a seven-day fully es­corted Col­lette bus tour of Canada’s Win­ter Won­der­land to dis­cover the nat­u­ral beauty of Al­berta prov­ince as we visit Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. One of the long­est es­tab­lished travel com­pa­nies in the world, this year Col­lette will cel­e­brate 100 years of small group tour­ing. Back in 1918, the first Col­lette guided tour left Bos­ton, headed for sunny Florida. The three-week bus ad­ven­ture cost $68.50. Still a fam­ily-run and fam­i­ly­owned op­er­a­tion, to­day Col­lette of­fers 176 es­corted tours in 58 coun­tries across all seven con­ti­nents, and its spe­cialty is North Amer­ica.

There’s some­thing spe­cial about ex­plor­ing Canada in the win­ter months, when thick snow­falls white­wash the scenery and hot choco­late hits the spot. For Aussies fly­ing north to a Cana­dian win­ter, the weather is un­de­ni­ably cold. Out­fit­ted in the right gear, it’s not a prob­lem. The beauty of the sea­son, and the ro­mance of snug­gling up by the fire in gor­geous grand ho­tels, makes the oc­ca­sional frosty nose easy to ig­nore.

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