Travel

Winter weather getaways

By: Leah Macpherson

©iStockphoto.com/a4ndreas Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/a4ndreas

Travel

Winter weather getaways

By: Leah Macpherson

Cold Canadian winters don't mean that you have to hibernate during the chilly season embrace the frigid temps and get out there and have some fun! Canada is home to some world-class winter venues, but don't be afraid to think outside the border and consider a trip to the US or Europe. If you're dreaming of a winter wonderland, check out these fantastic, family friendly destinations for a snow lover's sojourn.

Northern Ontario
Whether it's cross-country or downhill skiing, dogsledding or snowshoeingAlgonquin Park, Ontario's nearly 8,000 square foot provincial park and wildlife sanctuary, has it all. This year, take the family on a winter adventure that's delightful AND delicioustry Northern Edge Resort's "Making Tracks, Tracking, and the Quest For The Golden Nectar" family getaway. Snowshoe into the maple grove to tap the trees and collect sap, learn more about the ecology of the park, and enjoy skiing, skating and tobogganing. At the end of the day, boil the sap down to make your own maple syrup to take home! Campfire chats weave tales of maple syrup history and production, and everyone will LOVE the maple taffy -- hot syrup poured onto a clean, fresh snow bank. Yum!

Québec City
For fifty years, Québec City has hosted the world's largest winter fairCarnival! Kids will be amazed by the intricacy of the ice sculptures, amazed by the Ice Palace and delighted by the world famous Bonhomme de Carnival, the fair's much loved snowman mascot. In addition to a wide range of winter activities, visitors can enjoy dogsled and canoe races, parades, candlelight dinners, and the brave souls who jump into snow banks wearing bathing suits! Right outside the walls of the old city is the Loews Le Concord Hotel. Their 'Loews Loves Kids' program will make your little ones feel right at home with a welcome gift, special menus, games and supervised activities. Mom and Dad will love the fact that kids under eighteen stay for free.

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Whistler
World renowned for its skiing, Whistler is also host to a myriad of other pastimes for thrill seekers and amblers alike: heli-skiing, bungee jumping, zipline rides, horseback riding and dogsled tours. The Whistler Pan Pacific Hotel offers the best of both worldsamenities recommended by Condé Nast Traveller and a family friendly atmosphere. Children under eighteen stay for free, and kids under ten eat for free in the Pacific Lounge restaurant. Babysitting is also available, so parents can enjoy a little solo R & R.

Banff & Lake Louise
In addition to the fantastic winter sports and activities, the Banff and Lake Louise area is a hive of cultural and arts events. Visitors can catch attractions like ice shows, art and photo exhibitions, and family scavenger hunts. Fans of competitive skiing won't want to miss the Canadian Powder Championships.The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a five star hotel in an unparalleled setting, and was dubbed ‘the diamond in the wilderness' by high profile guests like Marilyn Monroe and Alfred Hitchcock. Enjoy a skating party -- complete with steaming cocoa, delicious edibles and music, take a guided star gazing expedition or hike through the Columbia Ice Fields. They offer RCMP screened babysitters and a playroom with great activities for kids three and over.

Make a run for the border!
If you're looking to travel abroad for your cold weather delights, there's a world of exciting possibilities!

Alaska is a snow lover's paradise, and cruising is a great way to see much of the state. Slip past glaciers and through fjords, spot majestic humpback whales and learn more about native cultures. Crystal Cruise Lines is kid friendly, they offer dance classes, arts and crafts and video games, and special deals let children under twelve sail for free.

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New York State is where you'll find what the New York Post has called 'The Club Med of Ranch Resorts'the Rocking Horse Ranch. The kids will have trouble deciding what to indoors: year round archery and BB shooting gallery, video arcade, widescreen TV lounge, bingo and a comedy club. Outdoors they can ride, ski and tube in the Winter Fun Park, take ski lessons, or go on winter trail rides and sunset sleigh rides. Parents will get a chuckle out of live comedy acts, live and music, nightly dances.

Finand's ‘Lively Season' is between October and April, when most of the country receives little daylight. Big cities like Helsinki are ablaze with lights and cultural activities, festivals and concerts. Ever dreamed of viewing the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of your own igloo? Travel to Lapland in northern Sweden and check into your own igloo, complete with woolen rugs and reindeer hides to stave off the cold. Hang out at the Ice Gallery or Ice Bar, learn about Sami culture, or get active with skiing, dog sledding, ice fishing or a trip to the local reindeer farm.

Sweden is a land of ice and snow, incredible natural beauty and great massage! Adventurous spirits will be drawn to the world famous Icehotel. Visitors from around the globe come to stay at the Icehotel, which is rebuilt each winter from thousands of tons of snow and ice. Take ice sculpting lessons, snowmobile safaris, ice fishing or husky rides, and end the day with a dip in the Torne River and a hot sauna. Relax in your ice suite with an ice glass of iced vodkaskål!

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Winter weather getaways