Santa Claus is coming to town and so is winter break! Christmas vacation is already fast approaching and that means it’s time to start planning and dreaming about what you can do with your family, significant other, or even on your own. This year has certainly been a long one and we could all use some Christmas cheer, and maybe a fun and snowy getaway to lift our spirits.
Discover where to travel this holiday season without going too far. After all, there’s nothing much better than a white Christmas in Canada. From big cities to small towns, we’ve rounded up our favourite Canadian destinations for those Christmas-y vibes.
Best Christmas trips in Canada
- Quebec City, Quebec
- Almonte, Ontario
- Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- Port Renfrew, British Columbia
- Bay Roberts, Newfoundland
- Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
- Dawson City, Yukon
Quebec City, Quebec
Quebec City is the perfect place to celebrate Christmas in Canada, not just because it’s one of the oldest cities in North America, but because it’s a truly magical destination during the Christmas season. The city comes alive, donned with decorations, fluffy white snow, gorgeous architecture, and lights for days: it’s truly a winter wonderland!
Top things to do in Quebec City at Christmas:
Quebec City’s German Christmas Market
In the heart of Old Quebec is an authentic European Christmas market like no other. Set up with 90 wooden kiosks, the German outdoor Christmas Market offers a warm atmosphere, food, crafts. You can browse around for some special holiday gifts while sipping mulled wine. And you might even spot Father Christmas himself.
Fairmont Château Frontenac
The most recognizable landmark in Quebec City, the iconic Chateau Frontenac, is especially worth a visit during the holiday season when it’s all decorated and lit up, and a perfect spot for some pictures! If you fancy a special Christmas brunch or dinner, then this is the place to do it. Be sure to book and reserve ahead of time, especially because it might be tighter and stricter during COVID-19.
You can easily get your ice skating fix in Quebec City. There are tons of ice rinks around, and the most notable might be at Place D’Youville.
If Christmas Hallmark movies are your cup of tea, than this small and friendly Canadian town certainly will be, too! Just southwest of Ottawa is Almonte — what could seemingly be a movie set for its chic cafés, scenic surroundings, and unique buildings in this under the radar tourist spot in Ontario. It’s even been the filming locations for TV films like The Rooftop Christmas Tree and Christmas Festival of Ice. And that makes it the perfect domestic getaway for some small town, cozy, yuletide energy.
Top things to do in Almonte at Christmas:
Window shop on the main street
Pop onto the main street, walk around and see what catches your eye. There’s sweets, treats, antiques, and collectibles to satisfy any heart’s desire.
Enjoy a good cup of coffee
It’s the simple pleasure that make Almonte so special, and that goes for a good cup of coffee. There’s plenty of options to get your caffeine fix. Try Equator Coffee Roasters or Gaslight Electric.
Go for a scenic walk along the Mississippi River
If you want to go for a nice leisurely stroll, there’s nothing more romantic than walking on the boardwalk along the river and catching stunning views of historic mills and the Grand Falls.
Saskatoon is potentially the best place for a Christmas vacation with the kids. Why? Because a study done by the University of Toronto’s Rotman School Management discovered that Saskatoon has the highest number of candy and toy stores per capita in the country! Talk about being a kid (or grown-up kid) in a candy store. Beyond that, Saskatoon is an underrated gem of a city, perfect for a low-key but still festive Canadian Christmas vacation if you live in the prairie region.
Top things to do in Saskatoon at Christmas:
Go for a skate
With more than 50 outdoor skating rinks around the city, you can take advantage of that winter chill in a fun way with the whole family!
Explore Saskatchewan’s provincial parks
If you’re looking to get up close with some winter sports, then make a visit to one of the many provincial parks outside of the city. You can go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and more at Blackstrap Provincial Park, a mere 40 minutes away.
Indulge in the food
Saskatoon has recently become endowed with being one of Canada’s newest and hottest new foodie cities. Places like the Odd Couple Restaurant and Ayden Kitchen & Bar are worth checking out.
Port Renfrew, British Columbia
Port Renfrew is an up and coming destination on Vancouver Island. And if you’re looking for that peace and tranquility while being surrounded by beauty, this is the perfect place to do it. It’s like Tofino without the crowds. Not to mention, it boasts some of the warmest temperatures during this time of year in the country. Just keep in mind that planning ahead is necessary as there’s no cell service or grocery stores in town.
Top things to do in Port Renfrew
Cozy up in a cabin
This is the perfect place to crawl into a cozy oasis where you can just take in the scenery from the heated indoors, nestled with a sweater, hot beverage and good book. Not to mention, this is the perfect backdrop for Christmas morning.
Due to the exposed nature of this most western coast of Canada, storm watching is an ideal activity to experience in Port Renfrew. Watch powerful storm barrels across the Pacific Ocean and prepare to be amazed.
If surfing is your jam and you want to catch some waves over the holiday season, there’s no better place to do it in Port Renfrew, especially considering the milder temperatures – just be sure to wear a wet suit!
Bay Roberts, Newfoundland
Of course, we need to represent the East Coast on this list, and there’s no better place to get into the holiday spirit than Bay Roberts on the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland. This lesser-known travel destination is great any time of year, but it’s easy to fall in love with Bay Roberts at Christmastime.
Top things to do in Bay Roberts at Christmas:
Attend two Christmas parades
That’s right, you read it correctly. Bay Roberts hosts not one, but two Santa Claus parades during their annual Festival of Lights.
Experience the Festival of Lights
Speaking of the Festival of Lights, there’s even more fun to be had during one of the most festive Christmas celebrations in the province. Get ready to experience a magical Christmas like no other with an intelligent light park, a beautiful Nativity scene and fireworks.
*Disclaimer: As of October 6, unless you’re travelling from Nova Scotia, PEI or New Brunswick, you are required to self-isolate upon arrival for 14 days in Newfoundland.
Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Just a short drive from Ottawa and Montreal is Mont Tremblant – the perfect Christmas getaway if you’re looking to hit the slopes, catch some magical fireworks, and go on a romantic sleigh ride with your partner. This city has plenty to offer visitors and is certainly one of Canada’s most festive cities. From singing Christmas carols to ice skating to decorations adorned everywhere, it’s an easy destination to get into the holiday spirit.
Top things to do in Mont Tremblant
There’s 96 runs and 14 lifts to take advantage of if you’re a ski enthusiast. In fact, most people go to Mont Tremblant for the fantastic skiing opportunities found here.
Check out the Christmas Eve parade
If you’re here with young children, then there’s no better Christmas activity than bundling up to watch a parade in the afternoon of Christmas Eve. They’ll be delighted to wave to Santa Claus at the end!
Shop ’til you drop in the pedestrian village
This charming mountain village has an abundance of boutique shops, offering everything from sport apparel, to unique souvenirs, and fantastic restaurants. You can find it all and get lost in the wonder of the sparkling lights and Christmas trees.
Read more: Test your skiing skills at these underrated ski resorts in Canada
Dawson City, Yukon
If you want an extra special Christmas vacation this year (especially after COVID has made it hard to experience much), then consider going to Dawson City, Yukon and you might be lucky enough to catch the Northern Lights. This is one of the darkest and coldest parts of Canada in the winter, but what it lacks in moderate temperature, it makes up for in friendly locals and holiday festivities, including a boat parade! This is a Canadian destination well worth visiting any time of year, but especially in December.
Top things to do in Dawson City at Christmas:
Go for a dog sled ride
Participate in one of the most popular activities – a good old fashioned dog sled! Enjoy the great Canadian wilderness and experience the thrill of a lifetime with an ethical dog sledding excursion.
Attend the boat parade
It’s hard not to get swept up in the local festivities once you’re in Dawson City and the boat parade, lined with festive, decorated vessels, canoes, snowmobiles and more, is no exception.
*Disclaimer: As of October 6, unless you’re travelling from British Columbia, Northwest Territories or Nunavut, you are required to self-isolate upon arrival for 14 days in Yukon.
Discover where you can go
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Frequently asked questions
When can I travel again?
Some countries have opened up their borders, while others plan too soon. To see if the country you want to visit is open, check out our interactive global map. For more information on the future prospect of travel, check out this article.
Can I leave Canada?
While Canadians are being cautioned to avoid all non-essential travel (tourism) at the moment, you are still welcome to come and go as you please. Just remember that the two-week mandatory quarantine still applies to anyone entering Canada.
How can I stay safe while travelling?
Any type of travel in 2020/21 requires a lot of planning and preparation, no matter how far you are going. Researching the destination beforehand and following the local health and safety guidelines are just some of the requirements needed for safe travel during COVID-19. Check out this this article for more detailed information.
Can visitors fly into Canada?
Only Canadian citizens, permanent residents, protected persons, persons registered under Canada’s Indian Act, and eligible foreign nationals are allowed to travel to Canada at the moment. Read more about Canada’s travel restrictions including quarantine rules upon entering Canada here.