The Most Af­ford­able Win­ter Va­ca­tion

The Miracle - - Front Page - Source: thecul­ture­

Some peo­ple might shy away from vis­it­ing Canada when tem­per­a­tures start to drop. But it’s a fan­tas­tic win­ter va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion. There are world-class ski re­sorts, beau­ti­ful snowy cities, and fun fes­ti­vals to en­joy across the coun­try. Here are the most af­ford­able places to visit in Canada this win­ter.

Québec City

Québec City al­ways has a ro­man­tic qual­ity, thanks to Euro­pean-style ar­chi­tec­ture and cob­ble­stoned streets. When it’s blan­keted in snow, this feel­ing is only in­ten­si­fied. For­tu­nately, a win­ter week­end in Québec City can be af­ford­able. Wan­der through Old Québec, which is a UN­ESCO World Her­itage Site, and the only for­ti­fied city north of Mex­ico. It sparkles at night dur­ing the hol­i­days, and is home to Christ­mas mar­kets and ac­tiv­i­ties. There are also four dif­fer­ent ski re­sorts near Québec City, and it hosts the world’s largest win­ter fes­ti­val (aptly named Québec Win­ter Car­ni­val). Get­ting there: Most ma­jor North Amer­i­can air­lines fly di­rect to Québec City. Where to stay: Royal Wil­liam Ho­tel is a good bud­get ho­tel op­tion, within walk­ing dis­tance to the city’s main at­trac­tions. For back­pack­ers, Au­berge In­ter­na­tionale de Québec is a hos­tel lo­cated within Old Québec.


The na­tion’s cap­i­tal is a great place to visit in win­ter. Ot­tawa is known for its Rideau Canal Skate­way, which is a UN­ESCO World Her­itage Site, and one of the world’s long­est nat­u­ral ice skat­ing trails. The city is also home to some of the coun­try’s best mu­se­ums, which are the per­fect places to ex­plore in win­ter. Time your trip to co­in­cide with Win­ter­lude, which the Depart­ment of Cana­dian Her­itage es­tab­lished in 1979. Ex­pect snow sculp­tures, fam­ily events, and ice carv­ing com­pe­ti­tions. Get­ting there: All ma­jor air­lines fly to Ot­tawa. It’s also lo­cated two hours west of Mon­treal, and four hours north­east of Toronto. There are daily buses from these des­ti­na­tions. Where to stay: Have an unique ex­pe­ri­ence and stay in one of Canada’s most haunted places, the HI Jail Hos­tel. Here you will sleep in an ac­tual for­mer prison cell.


Skip over Toronto and in­stead head to the Ni­a­gara re­gion in On­tario. Ni­a­gara Falls hosts the Win­ter Fes­ti­val of Lights an­nu­ally, which is one of North Amer­ica’s most breath­tak­ing light dis­plays. There’s also a skat­ing rink in front of Ni­a­gara Falls City Hall. In Ni­a­garaon-the-Lake, go on a win­ery tour and sam­ple the re­gion’s fa­mous icewine. Al­ter­na­tively, bun­dle up and en­joy a car­riage ride around one of Canada’s pret­ti­est towns. Get­ting there: Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake is con­ve­niently lo­cated an hour and a half from Toronto, and 45 min­utes from Buf­falo in New York. Where to stay: South Land­ing Inn is a small bed and break­fast with rea­son­able prices and ex­cel­lent re­views.


Banff is one of those places that’s beau­ti­ful, no mat­ter the sea­son. For­tu­nately, a visit in win­ter doesn’t have to blow the bud­get. There are plenty of ho­tels and cheap ac­tiv­i­ties to en­joy within Banff Na­tional Park. These ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude vis­it­ing frozen Lake Louise, warm­ing up in Banff Up­per Hot Springs, or ski­ing/snow­board­ing at one of the re­gion’s Sk­iBig3 ski re­sorts. Canmore Nordic Cen­tre is also a must-visit for cross coun­try ski­ing en­thu­si­asts. Get­ting there: Banff is less than an hour and a half from Cal­gary. There are daily buses and shut­tles con­nect­ing the two ar­eas. Where to stay: Same­sun Banff is the best back­packer hos­tel in town, while Home­stead Inn is a small, bud­get ho­tel al­ter­na­tive.

Van­cou­ver Is­land

Van­cou­ver Is­land isn’t an ob­vi­ous win­ter des­ti­na­tion idea, but it does have a lot to of­fer. For ex­am­ple, Tofino is a storm watcher’s par­adise from Oc­to­ber un­til April. Ski­ing is avail­able at Mount Wash­ing­ton Alpine Re­sort. Vic­to­ria’s his­toric build­ings also look good in ev­ery sea­son. Plus, the award-win­ning Butchart Gar­dens trans­form dur­ing the hol­i­days. The gar­dens are cov­ered in lights to cel­e­brate Christ­mas, which is a great place to visit with the whole fam­ily. Get­ting there: Fer­ries are avail­able from Van­cou­ver to Vic­to­ria and Nanaimo, and are the cheapest op­tion. Where to stay: Tofino Har­bour view Mo­tel is a great bud­get ho­tel op­tion. In Vic­to­ria, there’s one hos­tel named Ocean Is­land Inn, which has a per­fect down­town lo­ca­tio


Van­cou­ver on the west coast ex­pe­ri­ences some of Canada’s mildest win­ter weather, which makes it a per­fect win­ter des­ti­na­tion. The city looks breath­tak­ing sur­rounded by the snowy North Shore moun­tains. Pop­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude vis­it­ing the Ger­man-in­spired Van­cou­ver Christ­mas Mar­ket, ski­ing at one of the three nearby moun­tains, see­ing the Christ­mas lights take over Stan­ley Park and Van­Dusen Gar­dens, and go­ing on a day trip to pic­turesque Whistler. Get­ting there: Van­cou­ver is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble from many ma­jor US cities. Where to stay: Like its Banff coun­ter­part, back­pack­ers will love the Van­cou­ver ver­sion of Same­sun. The hos­tel is lo­cated on Granville Street, the city’s down­town en­ter­tain­ment and shop­ping dis­trict.

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