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Vancouver 

Vancouver, British Columbia’s largest city, and gateway from the Pacific, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and cosmopolitan adventurers alike. A city set between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains, where residents and visitors can play outside, year round.

This harbourside city is worth a visit, with its stunning backdrop of the snow covered Coast Mountains, and home to Whistler, just a couple of hours from downtown.

The city is renowned for its natural beauty and cultural diversity. Our top picks to explore  include downtown’s Stanley Park, with its old-growth cedar forests surrounded by water views and sandy beaches, the Vancouver Aquarium to see the Beluga whales; and the Granville Island Public Market.

If food is your thing, dive into Vancouver’s fabulous dining scene, Vancouverites know their city’s culinary scene. They know where to find the best tower of fresh seafood, the finest house-made charcuterie, craft distilleries and breweries. Book a tour, or discover for yourself. 

If you only have a few hours layover, foodies can rejoice and explore the Richmond  Asian inspired dining scene, very close to the airport.  Eating here is like travelling the world.

Whilst you’re there drop in to the Richmond Oval. Once the long-track speed skating venue for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, the Richmond Olympic Oval has been transformed into a multipurpose international centre for sports competitions, recreation, health, wellness, and entertainment. It’s also home to Canada’s only official Olympic Museum.

There’s no shortage of options and ideas to fill your time in Vancouver. 

Hold your breath as you walk across the 450 ft (137m) long, 230 ft (70m) high Capilano Suspension Bridge. This wobbly, but totally secure and safe, bridge and stunning location is a Vancouver landmark.

On a wet and cold day, this is a must-do in downtown Vancouver. Experience a 3D journey across Canada.

The appeal of FlyOver Canada makes the imagined real. During the Ultimate Flying Ride you will see numerous cities and vistas across the country. The production team for FlyOver Canada were able to select 18 scenes from over 100 hours of footage to represent Canada in the ride film.

FlyOver Canada is located at Canada Place in the Heart of downtown Vancouver.

Get rink side seats at Canada Place ice arena, and experience the action-packed Canucks on the ice at a hockey game. Take a scenic float plane adventure, or fly over to Vancouver Island for lunch!  Shop till you drop along Robson Street, Vancouver’s very own High Street, and head to Broadway if you’re looking for ski gear.

The Vancouver Christmas Market hums with 80 huts housing Eastern European-inspired treasures and treats – browse handcrafted glass and wooden ornaments while putting back a Transylvanian chimney cake and steaming mug of Glühwein. 

For our skiing clients arriving from Australia, New Zealand and Asia, our team recommends a couple of nights stopover in Vancouver. We give you smart advice on the best locations and deals in Vancouver. As the locals say, Vancouver is awesome!

Toronto is a major international airline hub from Eastern Canada, the UK and Europe for our clients coming to ski Big White. Layer up and let Toronto show you what winter in the city has to offer. The city is alive (despite the winter temperatures) with things to see and places to go, all of which embrace the winter wonderland vibe, indoors or out.

Wander the quaint cobblestone streets of The Distillery Historic District during the Toronto Christmas Market. From mid-January, for six weeks, the Toronto’s Distillery district flips the switch to ON and lights up its cobblestone streets for the annual  Toronto Light Festival. Be a major-league fan at a Raptors basketball or Leafs hockey game at the Scotiabank Arena.

Book a Beach day in February (yes, actually), from mid-February until the end of March, the Beaches Winter Stations set up at Woodbine Beach in the east end of Toronto. Quite a different beach experience, covered in snow, not sand!

Our top beach experiences

  • Pet a stingray or gaze at colourful jellies at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
  • Snowshoe or walk along snowy trails along the Humber River or within High Park.
  • Embrace the icy arts at the Bloor-Yorkville Icefest.
  • Get your ice skates and glide under the Gardiner Expressway along the Bentway Trail with views of Toronto’s impressive skyline in the background. The kilometre-long skating path is popular with locals thanks to its adorable winter village (yes, they have hot chocolate) and free skating lessons. The path stays open until February 17. If you get hooked on the ice, skate up a storm at Nathan Phillips Square – Toronto’s famous “insta on ice’ location.
  • In February, feast on a budget at top restaurants during Winterlicious,  Dive into some of the all-time best eats in Toronto, at a reasonable price. It’s an opportunity for visitors to eat incredible food at upscale, trendy and hip restaurants around the city made by some of the top notch chefs Toronto has on hand.
  • Get your dose of high culture with the Canadian Opera Company.
  • The series of free concerts runs from September all the way through to May inside their beautiful glass amphitheater with views of downtown Toronto.

Turn back in time at the Aga a Khan Museum, a spectacular, must-see spot in Toronto. The Aga Khan’s permanent collection includes millennium-old Middle Eastern art.

Jump back several centuries to 1790’s Scarborough to see how early settlers of the area lived. The Scarborough museum is made up of four sites — the farmhouse, a traditional 1850’s log house, a gallery, and an old carriage works stocked with artisan’s tools. 

Edmonton

If you are planning a ski vacation to the Rocky Mountains, and particularly to Jasper-Marmot Basin, you might like to consider taking in Edmonton as part of your vacation plans. By road, in winter its about a 4 hour journey 365.7 km (227 miles). 

Keep your warm layers handy, and don’t forget your mittens. Yes, winter in Edmonton is chilly, but it most certainly isn’t boring! Edmonton makes Old Man Winter proud with outdoor patios, city-wide snowball fights, deep freezer races, and the spectacular view of the Northern Lights.

Step into a winter wonderland. Edmonton’s Ice Castles are an incredible feat of ingenuity, crafted by hand using only icicles and water.

Venture through the stunning, Narnia-like display and snap a selfie in front of the waterfall or throughout the winding ice maze. This is the only place in Canada you’ll find the Ice Castles, so don’t miss the opportunity to see this acre-sized masterpiece!

Just because the temperatures drop, doesn’t mean the festival fun has to stop. Winter brings legendary festivals like Silver Skate where you can experience epic folk trails, long-table dinners, a snow-sculpture garden, winter sport and much more.

Flying Canoe Volant is an interactive cultural experience where you can channel your inner voyageur with music, legends and a dance party in the middle of the forest!

Ice on Whyte showcases some of the best ice artists in the world in a competition of creativity and skill alongside an incredible festival that’s fun for the whole family.

Deep Freeze celebrates the “Olde New Year” and embraces our northern climate by melding artistic panache with authentic cultural and heritage winter games and fun.

Here’s a list of epic winter festivals that you can look forward to each season!

Epic winter festivals

  • Edmontonians. Love. Hockey. But we didn’t need to tell you that. Join the crowd in orange and blue at an Oilers game, or cheer on the future stars of the NHL at an Edmonton Oil Kings game. Rogers Place is unlike any other arena you’ve been to before.
  • Lose yourself in the immersive experiences at the Royal Alberta Museum or the Art Gallery of Alberta, breathe in the glory of the Northern Lights from our dark sky preserves, or embrace the fun (and shopping) at West Edmonton Mall.
  • Just thirty-five minutes east of Edmonton lies a wild oasis. The perfect place to day-hike, ice skate, cross country ski, snowshoe, and spot some bison.
  • Elk Island National Park is also a designated dark sky preserve and the cornerstone of Canada’s bison conservation.

Our team at Stonebridge at Big White, and Ski Holidays and Tours can give you all the local tips and insights for a stopover at any of these cities. We’ve been to them all. It’s the local knowledge that counts.  

 

Calgary

When you think Calgary, many immediately think of the Calgary Stampede, the world-famous rodeo. That’s always held in July, so let’s fast forward to winter in Calgary, and see what’s on offer, pre or post your ski trip to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper-Marmot Basin.

Winter definitely does not put a damper on the fun in Calgary. Come prepared for the snow and possible cold and enjoy all the best that winter has to offer!.  Remember too, Alberta is tax free, so a great place for shopping! Here are a couple of ideas for an overnight stopover.

TELUS Spark Science Centre is a great place to visit for the entire family. For younger children, there is a fully interactive Creative Kids Museum

Stroll through the Calgary Zoo and experience over two million Christmas lights, crackling fire pits and over 200 displays. Calgary’s favourite winter spectacle runs night from 6:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m. from the last week of November through the first week of January.

Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics. Take a trip out to Canada Olympic Park. A truly world class winter destination right in the middle of the city, it is the place to be for all kinds of winter activities including skiing, snowboarding, bobsleigh and the tube park.