I’m finally going to Canada next week and fulfilling the promises made to my Canadian friends over the years about visiting. These said friends have enjoyed nothing more than taunting me about the minus temperatures I’m about to encounter in the eastern province of Quebec and Toronto in neighbouring Ontario, and so I am taking on a challenge. As a true Brit who likes nothing more than to talk about the weather, low temperatures and a lack of that shining ball in the sky that others call ‘sun’, it’s only fitting that I’m going to check some incredible winter attractions and learn to love the crisp winter chill and all the fun that comes with it.
So here’s what I will be getting up to whilst swathed in multitude of clothing layers and spouting weather themed anecdotes. An adventurous and celebratory line up of activities, my preconceptions of the winter season are already changing…
As soon as our small group touches down on Canadian soil, we will be making our way straight to Tremblant where I will be learning how to ski. I confess that I have never been skiing before, the closest being learning some moves on a dry ski slope in my local town in my early teens. An avid hiker and adventure enthusiast, I am ready to hit the slopes for three days and I’m determined to get good at it.
Should my ski skills not amount to anything except sliding down on my backside, there’s plenty of other things to experience including spa time, mountainside tubing and wildlife spotting.
I used to fish with a net at a local pond as a kid, which, totally arms me with all the skills needed to try ice fishing in Pêche Vieux-Montréal – Montréal’s first urban Ice Fishing Village. Located on the Quays of the Old Port, it is a unique destination where 300,000 feet of ice awaits us.
One of the main things I am looking forward to most is the trip to the Mont-Royal Park for a fun-filled day of winter Olympic activities! There’s cross country skiing, snow shoeing, inner tubing and tobogganing, all of which I have never tried before, so I am getting my inner-athletic on and will be ready for the challenge! Snowman building is where my creativity will come to the fore. Watch this space.
Of course, no visit for me is complete without meandering a great city and Montreal has to be given some time. As a fan of old architecture, I am looking forward to checking out all the historical buildings and arty neighbourhoods. I suspect its UNESCO City of Design status is for very good reason.
My time in Montreal ends with the outdoor party of Igloofest, where thousands of electronic music fans dance the night away under the starts at the city’s Old Port. It may be a bit chilly, but its one of the hottest events in the city.
I’m heading to the capital of Ontario simply because I adore big cities and getting lost in them. I have yet to map out any kind of plan, as I normally like to be sporadic, but my few days will include the top sights, shopping, admiring the city skyline, sampling the diverse food options (a big chunk of Toronto’s population being born outside of Canada) and relaxing with my friends out in the suburbs.
Of course, no trip here in complete without a trip out to Niagara Falls – my friends had that locked down as soon as I mentioned my arrival. Canadians are incredibly proud of their country and I am not going to turn down any offers to see things their way.
I’m embarking on a road trip with my friends from Toronto and heading to Quebec City for the annual Winter Carnival. The largest winter festival in the world and third on the list of Top Carnivals after the famous Rio and New Orleans, the first took place in 1894, to create revelry in a city that faced many hardships during the cold season.
Activities are based on Québec lifestyle traditions and include winter sports, snow sculptures, canoe and dogsled races alongside night parades and a fully functioning ice palace. I’m so glad I’m getting to experience this with friends who make their way here every year for the festivities.
I’ll be travelling in Tremblant and Montreal with fellow travel bloggers, Keith from Velvet Escape, Melvin from Traveldudes, Caspar from Story Travelers and Nienke from The Travel Tester. All the fun starts on February 4th where you can follow our crazy adventures on social media via the #LoveWinter hashtag. Who will be the biggest winter convert?
The first half of my trip, in Tremblant and Montreal, is a part of the #LoveWinter blog trip created and managed by iambassador in partnership with the Canadian Tourism Commission, Tourism Montreal and Tourism Quebec. My itinerary and planned adventures in Toronto and Quebec City are all my own, as are all my opinions throughout the entire trip.