Severe winters are nothing new to Canadians. Lots of snow on sidewalks and freezing temperatures might stop you from enjoying the season to the fullest. So, make sure to write your winter bucket list not to miss all the pleasures of this wonderful and magical season.
Here are some winter activities you might want to add to your bucket list.
Not a fan of bucket lists? Still check out these ideas of winter activities to get inspired to make a winter day or weekend special.
#1. Watch a Hockey Game or Play Hockey
While we can play the game throughout the year, ice and skates make us associate it with winter. Go for a pick-up game, a skills session, or play it together with your family members who love hockey as much as you do.
#2. Polar Bear Challenge
Will you brave the cold water and go for a Polar bear swim? Canadians often do this as a part of a charity campaign. A person is supposed to take a plunge into the cold water. The challenge usually takes place on New Year’s Day in Canada. Some variations have already appeared recently. In particular, Toronto holds a Polar Bear Ice Skating every year to achieve charitable goals. The principle is similar: one skates in their Skivvies without normal winter clothes (scarfs and beanies allowed ;).
#3. Make Homemade Mulled Wine
Mulled wine has become an indispensable feature of any Christmas market. You can even buy it at an airport at Christmas time. Such popularity is explained by its flavor. However, you shouldn’t necessarily head to a Christmas market or a cafe to enjoy a glass. Some say (and we agree) that homemade mulled wine is much much better (and also cheaper) than the one you buy. The key moment is rather to buy a good quality mulling spice kit or buy all the ingredients separately.
TIP: Don’t limit it to a mix of ground spices! Add slices of fresh oranges or apples, a cinnamon stick, and a couple of star anises. Savory taste and a sumptuous look are guaranteed.
#4. Watch a Christmas Movie
Whether you’re religious or not, Christmas is about goodness, love and happiness. So are the Christmas movies. Get cozy with some of the most cheerful Christmas movies.
Turn on something on Netflix or another filming service you’re subscribed to or check the ideas of which holiday movies to watch here.
If you love reruns, holiday movies from this list might be just the thing.
#5. Go Ice Skating
Your city is surely brimming with ice skating opportunities during the holiday season. Go for it and experience the delight of fresh air, people swarming around, ice hissing and enjoy yourself speeding around the ice rink.
TIP: It’s better to avoid skate rinks in the city centre if you don’t like crowds.
#6. Indulge in a Winter Sport
Skiing or snowkiting? Would you go the traditional way or would love to try something new this winter? Wintery Canada has never been short of opportunities for various winter sports. Regardless of your location, you can find something winter-specific.
Check some ideas of winter sports that AREN’T skiing and snowboarding:
- Fat biking
- Snow Polo
- Ice Climbing
If you fancy skiing or snowboarding but you're a complete beginner, this first-timer experience might be just for you.
#7. Bake a Christmas Dessert
Christmas pudding, Gingerbread men cookies, sugar cookies, Fruitcake, or maybe you prefer something from abroad like Stollen or Panettone? Baking Christmas pastry is a tradition ingrained in our culture, so do it to fill yourself with this festive and delicious spirit. Choose something in accordance with your baking skills to make it a fun winter activity and avoid any daunting challenges. Also, baking a Christmas dessert with kids might become your new Christmas tradition that they will love, remember and pass on.
#8. Make Snow Angels or a Snowman
What was your fav winter activity in your childhood: snow angels or snowmen? Both are so fun and refreshing and both let us remember carefree schooldays. Making snow angels is very simple while shaping and decorating a Mr.Frosty requires a bit more time and creativity. However, that’s also the delight. Take a picture of your creation after you’re done to keep the moment alive.
In case you forgot how to make snow angels, check this video and go to the place with lots of snow.
You can also check this video with tips on how to make a snowman.
#9. Visit Hot Springs
Just imagine: it’s brisk outside, the snow is falling and covering everything in white, the smell of forest reaches your cells while hot water is bubbling out and building steam off the water. You go for a soak in a hot pool, relax and ultimately go for a plunge in the river or a pool with cold water. Don’t be afraid of getting cold while going out, your body will be warm enough after you take a soak in a 40-degree hot pool for 10-15 minutes. The break in a cold pool will positively affect your body.
Some of the most popular hot spring destinations across Canada in winter:
Liard River Hot Springs (42 - 52 C)
Tofino Hot Springs Cove (up to 50 C)
Takhini Hot Springs (40 C on average)
Where: Yukon Territory
Ainsworth Hot Springs ( 42 C)
Banff Upper Hot Springs (40 С )
100 Fountain Spa at Pillar and Post
Temple Garden Mineral Spa
#10. See a Christmas Play or Show
There’re a few better ways than watching a Christmas performance in order to feel the magic of Christmas. Theatres, ballets and conservatories across Canada always have many shows on offer at Christmas time. Go watch the classic nutcracker or an adaptation of a famous Christmas story and you’re bound to feel the Christmas spirit.
Some Popular Ones that You Can See Across Canada Are:
- The Nutcracker
- A Christmas Carol
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Cirque Dreams: Holidaze
#11. Light a Bonfire
If you suffer from winter blues, a morning bonfire is highly recommended. Fresh air, clear daylight (which is so scarce in winter) and a cozy atmosphere will make you enjoy it to the fullest. For maximum effect, invite your close friends unless you want some time for yourself.
#12. Go Dog Sledding
If you belong to the band which is not against dog sledding, why not enjoy it this winter? The only essential point is, in our opinion, to choose a reputable company that takes as much care of their huskies as early Indigenous people did when they used their dogs for travel. Then, your dog sledding adventure will be one of the most memorable winter experiences. You’ll get to know the puppies, bundle up with special clothes (on top of your clothes), get instructions on how to drive the sled and then safely get down the picturesque trail.
If you fancy dog sledding in Ontario, click here for more info.
#13. Do a Good Deed
Winter is fierce, especially for those in need. Think of someone you could help. It shouldn’t necessarily be a huge gesture but sometimes buying a cup of hot tea and a bagel is a big deal for a homeless person. Check the websites of local charities, volunteer for one day in a local NGO or just help your old neighbour shovel the sidewalk. Opportunities are numerous, just be attentive and you’ll notice many.
#14. Send A Holiday Card
Is sending cards still a thing in your family or would you rather send a digital picture via WhatsApp or another messenger? Many people love receiving postcards, especially if you sign them and leave a lovely message. Some say that holding a postcard is like hugging the person who’s sent it. Besides, holiday cards are so rare these days that a person will never expect you to be doing this and will be twice as surprised and delighted.
#15. Dance to Christmas Music (even if you are a NON-DANCER)
It might be a great activity for New Year’s Eve or a random night when it's frightful outside. Christmas tree lights on, music on, put on a Santa’s hat if you want and go! Dancing is an art that helps you feel better and be grounded. Besides, it’s a lot of fun.
If you say that you are a bad dancer, we’ve got something for you. Type in “Just Dance Christmas” on Youtube and try to copy the moves on the screen. You’ll have a lot of fun. By the way, you can find Just dance videos for two (where both of you will interact) or just for one person where you’ll repeat the same moves.
#16. Snowball Fight with your Kids/Nephews/SO
Remember those school days in winter when snowballing near schools was allowed and you waited for the classes to end and rushed to throw snowballs at each other? Do the same in your backyard. No extra strength to avoid injuries, of course. Just have some fun. Kids always love snowballing and parents will transfer into childhood for a while thanks to this activity.
#17. Go to Sauna
While we can go to the sauna all year round, we normally associate saunas with winter when the weather makes your muscles shiver from cold. Come and get warm, relax, let your body sweat and flush the toxins out, boost your immune system and cardiovascular system. Don’t overdo it, though. Stay up to 15 minutes and take a break. Most importantly, enjoy it.
18. Go Holiday Caroling or Throw a Carolling Party
Don’t say that you cannot sing because it’s not an excuse when it comes to caroling. Grab your friends and spread the joy of Christmas. You’re bound to have fun and make other people smile. Choose some famous carols and maybe a few less-known ones to surprise your audience. If you and your friends are too ashamed to go caroling to strangers, then just hit the households you know. Besides, if some people are eager to join you but still afraid because of their singing skills, they might ring jingle bells or do some other job.
A caroling party might be a good option if you want to gather with friends at someone’s place, sing carols, chit-chat and have some fun together without going outside.
TIPS: practice several times in advance
Print out or download the music sheets
Dress for the event (but weather appropriate)
#19. Capture the Moments of the Frightful Season
We all know what winter weather is like. It’s nippy, blowy, frosty and there’s little daylight which sometimes gets us down. However, winter is so fabulous at the same time. It’s festive, it offers so many winter sports opps, life pace slows down, flavours of mulled wine are in the air and you get a natural blush. So, capture every moment with your camera and make a winter album to cherish your winter adventures and reminisce sometime later. Then, you’ll notice how wonderful this season is and never call it frightful again (maybe just for fun).
TAKE PICS WHEN:
- Family gathers at the table
- You drink mulled wine and Christmas treats at the Christmas market
- You’ve made a snowman
- You decorate your house
- You go ice skating
- You see a wonderful Christmas tree
- You cook something special like mulled wine or a Christmas pudding
- You see winter in its beauty (lakes, trees, markets, etc)
- AND any moment that makes you SMILE :)
#20. Create your Winter Playlist
Tired of skipping the songs you dislike on winter playlists from other users? Create yours and it’ll serve you for a long time. Next year, you can slightly change it by adding new songs you enjoy. The best thing, you’ll already have a “template” ready.
#21. Winter Horse Riding
Set off for a winter equestrian adventure. Local farms offer winter rides in picturesque places. Whether you prefer a tranquil ride to enjoy the winter day and the trail or an adrenaline-filled adventure, winter horseback riding is a great option in both situations.
Hopefully, this blog post helped you find some fun winter activities that you can now add to your winter bucket list. For more inspiration, you can additionally check the collection of our experiences (winter-related experiences are there as well).