Christmas is upon us and the magic of the holidays is well and truly in the air.
You've probably filled the last couple of weeks with Christmas cookie baking, gift shopping and festive music. But if sitting on your couch watching Love Actually for the third time this month isn't doing it for you anymore, you may want to start looking past your front step for things to do this winter.
Luckily, our big, beautiful country has plenty of wintertime activities to keep us entertained all season long. Here are nine of the most magical places you won't want to miss out on:
Banff - Alberta
Alright, Banff might seem like a bit of an obvious choice here... but let's be honest with each other, this breathtaking spot absolutely deserves a place on the list. Not only is Banff (town AND park) BEAUTIFUL, but it's also rated as one of the best places in the world to ski!
To keep warm while you speed down the slopes and explore one of Canada's most extraordinary winter wonderlands, check out Helly Hansen's line of winter gear at Sport Chek. Fun fact: Helly Hansen is actually the #1 ski brand in Canada. They're trusted by professionals and make professional-grade gear available to the public at Sport Chek - so whether you're grabbing a winter jacket or a pair of gloves, you know you can trust them to keep you warm and dry!
Lake Louise - Alberta
This gorgeous lake in Banff National Park is known for its turquoise, glacier-fed lake ringed by high peaks. In the winter, it turns into a white, icy wonderland perfect for Instagram shots.
The lake usually starts to freeze in late-November, so by the time winter really rolls around, you have a beautiful sheet of clear ice to skate on!
Ice Castles - Edmonton, Alberta
If you live in Alberta, odds are you've heard about the ice castles in Edmonton. And if you've ever seen Frozen, odds are you've dreamt about living in one of those ice castles.
These gorgeous, towering sculptures take over Hawrelak Park every year, typically around late December or early January, and remain open as long as weather allows. Bundle up, keep warm and explore this natural Albertan wonder!
Niagara Falls - Niagara, Ontario
Everyone already knows that Niagara Falls is one of Canada's most magical destinations, but the waterfall takes its status to the next level once the winter weather hits. Parts of the falls freeze over from December to March, leaving Canadians with an awe-inducing view and pictures to die for!
Niagara Falls is also home to a beautiful Winter Festival of Lights; skating rinks; cross country ski trails; and other awesome wintertime activities! And if you want to get real up close and personal with the Falls, you can even embark on a Journey Behind The Falls winter tour, where you get to see the frozen falls from a breathtakingly unique vantage point. Just make sure you dress super warmly!
Blue Mountain - Collingwood, Ontario
Who visits Blue Mountain Village in the summer? No one really, because winter is the best time to be here! Walking down the narrow walkways lined with treats and Christmas lights, you'd be forgiven for mistaking Blue Mountain's village for Santa's.
Of course, one of the main reasons anyone comes here is to ski, so make sure you stay warm on your visit with one of Helly Hansen's coats from their winter collection at Sport Chek!
Arrowhead Provincial Park - Huntsville, Ontario
There's something so breathtaking about a big, beautiful Provincial Park bathed in fresh blankets of snow. And trust, Ontario's Arrowhead Provincial Park does not disappoint.
Not only does this spot look like an actual wonderland, but there are enough cold weather activities to keep you busy and loving winter for ages! Cross-country skiing, skating and snowshoeing are a portion of the fun activities awaiting you at Arrowhead!
Pemberton - British Columbia
If you want to experience winter the right way, you're going to want to head out to Pemberton. This British Columbian village is situated right up in the mountains and FULL of opportunities for fun wintertime activities, like skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling and more!
This picturesque town is also home to the Pemberton Winterfest, which strives to celebrate the beauty of the outdoors. So not only does Pemberton look like it comes straight out of some Christmas postcard, but there's a whole celebration about it, too!
Yoho National Park - Golden, British Columbia
Alright, let's be real for a minute. Alberta's got Banff and it's GORGEOUS... but BC's got Yoho National Park, and if you don't think it's just as beautiful as Banff, then you're lying. This National Park was actually named a UNESCO World Heritage in 1984, and it's not hard to figure out why.
From deep blue lakes that retain their sapphire shimmer in the wintertime, to tall, snow-encrusted trees, epic glacier-like waterfalls, and even skiing and snowshoeing trails, Yoho is one seriously magical spot. It does get pretty cold though, so make sure to don your warmest winter gear (helpful hint: Sport Chek carries Helly Hansen's professional-grade apparel to keep you your warmest!) and discover this Canadian gem!
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park - North Vancouver, British Columbia
The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a pretty magical place year-round, but it shines its brightest in the winter. One of Vancouver's most popular tourist attractions, it features the epic suspension bridge and seven suspended footbridges amidst towering evergreens and views of the incredible forest floor.
From November until January, the park is turned into a truly mesmerizing wonderland and filled with thousands of Christmas lights!
Sure, the general feeling about winter in Canada might not be all that great. But honestly, why? Canada itself turns into a huge wonderland of beauty and fun from December until March (or November until May, depending who you ask)!
Equipping yourself with the proper winter jacket, accessories and other cold-weather gear is a HUGE part of allowing yourself to feel that winter love. As long as you're nice and warm, dealing with the cold weather's a breeze; you can stop focusing on the chill and start focusing on finding what moves you during the winter!
Helly Hansen is a professionally-trusted Norwegian brand of winter jackets and gear, available in most Canadian provinces through Sport Chek. Their winterwear is high quality, stylish and innovative (they were the first to provide waterproof fabrics almost 140 years ago!), and the perfect gear to warm you up as you discover all the wonder Canada's winter holds!