I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.
Thankfully, living in Ottawa, Canada, I’m almost always guaranteed having at least a little layer of powdery white snow during the holiday season, and I definitely take it for granted. But, the more I travel, even across Canada, and hear about how many people have never experienced a snowy, white Christmas, the more I realize that I’m actually very lucky to be in a colder part of the country that allows for this experience.
Having a white Christmas in Ottawa is, well, pretty magical. The glittering snow reflecting the Christmas lights and hot chocolate or cider by the warm fires. Not to mention that the blanket of crisp, white snow is a foolproof way to turn even the most modern cities into a fairytale landscape.
However, while all of Canada has a reputation for being a cold, icy, snow-globe in the winter, that stereotype doesn’t really apply to the whole county. Especially now with global warming wreaking havoc on our usual seasons. But, there are still a few places in Canada where a white and magical Christmas is pretty much guaranteed.
So cash in your rewards from your favourite Canadian travel credit cards, pack your bags with your warmest winter clothing, and book your flight to experience the holidays in one of these top three place to experience a white Christmas in Canada.
In 28 years I only ever remember having two green truly Christmases here in Ottawa (and they sucked). Thankfully, being the coldest capital city in the world, we normally have at least a little blanket of snow for the holiday season. Part of what makes Christmas in Ottawa so special is that there is so much going in this time of year. Santa Claus parades (Santa does live in Canada, just so you know), sleigh rides, Christmas craft fairs and more start in late November and run up until Christmas. Ottawa also takes part in Christmas Lights Across Canada, where the downtown core gets absolutely covered in twinkling fairy lights. And, not too far away, Upper Canada Village runs their Alight at Night program which involves half a million lights, a life size gingerbread house, sleigh rides, and more.
My favourite Ottawa holiday traditions include having holiday tea at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, visiting Taffy lane; a residential street that goes crazy with lights and decorations, and of course wandering downtown to see it all lit up in the evening. As someone who absolutely adores the Christmas season, I couldn’t ask for a better city to spend it in.
Looking for a magical hotel to spend Christmas in Ottawa? Try the Fairmont Chateau Laurier.
Quebec City, Quebec
One of the most beautiful places to experience a white Christmas in Canada is in the beautiful and historic Quebec City. Quebec City is nicknamed little Europe and it looks especially fairytale-like during the holiday season with fresh white snow, colourful lights, and decorated trees. There are a couple of Christmas markets including a German inspired one as well as on in the Old Port, a spot to meet Santa, and several streets that get done up like miniature Christmas villages which are perfect for photos. When I visited for Christmas in 2014, my favourite area was Rue Petit Champlain, which has been named as one of the most beautiful streets in the world. During the holidays, snowflake lights, twinkling trees, and other festive décor line the street, allowing me to feel like I was in Santa’s Village rather than a popular Canadian city.
Looking for a magical hotel to spend Christmas in Quebec City? Try the Auberge Sainte-Antoine
If your white Christmas fantasies involve being close to Canada’s wilderness, there is no better place to spend it than Banff, Alberta. Majestic mountains, snow-crusted trees, and frozen lakes and rivers turn this town into a true winter wonderland. Add the magic of the holiday season and plenty of Christmas decorations and it’s a dream come true. Santa Claus parades, Christmas markets, and several shows take place in the month leading up to Christmas. And, of course, there’s plenty of opportunity for winter activities like snowshoeing, dogsledding, skiing, and more. Part of the charm of celebrating in Banff is the small town atmosphere rather than big city vibes. Plus, with all the surrounding nature it’s easy to convince any little ones that Santa’s reindeer are hiding just around the corner.
Looking for a magical hotel to spend Christmas in Banff? Try the Fairmont Banff Springs.
Christmas is celebrated across Canada, with many major cities and even smaller towns putting on special events and turning into a Christmas wonderland for the holiday season. However, if you are really craving a snowy white Christmas in Canada, Ottawa, Quebec City, and Banff are your best bets.