The gentle sunsets, bright stars and the pitter patter of snowflakes lazily raining down from the sky – for me that’s the perfect image of winter right there! You just can’t help but feel cosy when you see all the fairy lights draped on all the houses and trees when you’re all wrapped up warm in your scarf and hat. Unfortunately Ireland isn’t exactly guaranteed to have a perfect white winter every year, but there is one place where this season really does come into its own. Join me on a little adventure on the other side of the Atlantic and see what makes winter in Canada so unbelievably magical!
Winter in Canada: Mother Nature at her finest!
Abraham Lake | Haffner Creek | Niagara Falls | Rideau Canal | Montréal
As you’d probably expect, winters are somewhat colder in Canada than they are are home. In fact, it’s not surprising to see the thermometer drop to a nippy -30°C! But to make up for such bitter weather, you’ll be rewarded with some of the finest natural phenomena around. Take the various lakes and waterways, for example. More often than not, they’ll be totally frozen over during this time of year, but there’s one lake in particular that certainly sticks out. If you take a look at Abraham Lake, located in the western province of Alberta, you’ll notice countless bubbles of all shapes and sizes trapped in the ice. But as surreal as this looks, there’s actually a very simple explanation behind it. Plants that grow on the lake bed produce methane gas that would normally bubble up to the surface. But since the lake is frozen over, the bubbles have nowhere to go! They simply get caught beneath the ice before the bubbles themselves start to freeze too. It’s definitely one feat of nature that’s a little different – all sorts of curious visitors and budding photographers come to the lake at winter to get a glimpse of it themselves.
Haffner Creek, a beautiful stream that cuts its way through Kootenay National Park, is already one breathtaking and magical place as it is. But come winter, this entire area transforms into something even more magical! Temperatures drop so much that huge icicles and stalactites start to form on the steep and rugged cliff faces. In fact there can be so many of them that they can even turn into sheer walls of ice! Intrepid climbers and photographers often come here to explore the nooks and crannies hidden away between the rock and ice.
If you’re travelling to Canada, then this is just one thing you cannot miss. To see these mighty waterfalls in action really is such an amazing feeling – it just goes to show just how powerful nature can be, meaning you’ll come away from it with a deep feeling of respect. But even these incredible amounts of water and spectacular currents can’t stave off the cold forever. In fact if the conditions are right and the mercury drops low enough, the Niagara Falls will turn into a spectacular landscape of pure ice! As the water still tries to flow and snow covers the ice already forming, it leads to some pretty crazy formations.
Winter isn’t complete without going ice skating at least once! In fact if you consider yourself quite the skater then Canada will be the perfect destination for you. In the city of Ottawa, Ontario, temperatures can fall so low that the Rideau Canal freezes over, meaning that you’ve got a 8km-long ice rink at your disposal! It’s the perfect place for a bit of fun between all the sightseeing, but some locals have come up with an ingenious use for it. After all – why put up with rush hour traffic when you can skate your way over? ;)
Winter in Canada isn’t always about nature though. If you really want to experience an urban winter wonderland, then Montréal is the perfect city to visit during the festive season. Considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of North America, Montréal has got it all – there are fantastic Christmas decorations everywhere you look, and there are even firework shows every Saturday. Several events and concerts draw both locals and tourists alike, and the cosy stone architecture of Old Montréal is the cherry on top of the festive cake. :)
Winter in Canada really is something special. But don’t let those minus temperatures put you off – just be sure to pack plenty of extra jumpers and pack on a few extra layers and you’ll be laughing! Similarly you can always play a round of ice hockey to warm yourselves up too. :)