Check Out These Winter Festivals Before the Snow Melts


From winter sporting events and outdoor art galleries to drive– or walk–through light shows and outdoor concerts, winter festivals offer the perfect opportunity to get outside – here are 7 of our favourite festivals across Canada.

annual festival has become a tradition in the Whitehorse community
Yukon Rendezvous.   Photo: Government of Yukon

Yukon Rendezvous, Whitehorse

February 10–26, 2023 

This annual festival has become a tradition in the Whitehorse community – the Yukon Rendezvous offers family fun combined with iconic sporting events (try your hand at axe throwing, dogsledding, flour packing and chainsaw chucking!). Following the day activities are performances from acts like the Rendezvous Can Can Dancers and, on the final day, the festival ends with the Wrap Up Parade.

Related: A Wild Ride Down the Firth River in Ivvavik, Canada’s Primeval Park

January 12, 2023
Banff and Lake Louise
SnowDays.   Photo: Paul Zizka

SnowDays, Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta

January 18–29, 2023

Discover the winter wonderland that is Banff and Lake Louise during the annual SnowDays celebration. Take in winter galleries featuring giant snow sculptures and watch teams of Skijoring athletes showing off their skills in downtown Banff before heading over to the SnowDays Play Zone for all kinds of family fun (hello human curling and an obstacle course!). At Lake Louise, skate by the sparkling ice sculptures in the Ice Magic Ice Carving Competition and end your day of frozen fun with some specialty cocktails at the various restaurants in Banff participating in the Tribute Craft Spirits Festival.

Related: What to Do in Banff and Lake Louise if You Only Have a Day

Deep Freeze Festival
Deep Freeze Festival.   Photo: Marc J. Chalifoux

Deep Freeze Festival, Edmonton

January 21–22, 2023

Celebrate the Russian and Ukrainian “Olde New Year” at this event hosted by Arts on the Ave, a non–profit organization dedicated to developing a community arts district in Edmonton. Visitors can play winter minigolf or street hockey, slide down a giant ice slide and take part in the famous Deep Freezer Race, where teams ride in a deep freezer on skis and race toward a finish line. If playing in the snow isn’t for you, take a stroll through Borden Park to marvel at the gallery of ice sculptures, including polar bears, buffalo and even a Megalonyx! Learn about Indigenous, francophone and other cultures through the featured installations by world–renowned Edmonton artists.

Related: 6 Institutions Leading the Cultural Renaissance on the Prairies

ice scultpure at Festival du Voyageur
Festival du Voyageur.   Photo: Festival du Voyageur

Festival du Voyageur, Winnipeg

February 17–26, 2023

Join revellers at this 10–day bilingual fete that takes place in the city’s French quarter, filled with music, snow sculptures and piping hot pea soup. Join the fun by entering one of the many competitions, like the jigging contest (where you can show off your dancing skills). Bring the festival home by shopping at the boutique (in person or online) for merch, such as branded sashes, souvenirs and original pottery by Michael Lemer.

Winter Festival of Lights, Niagara Falls
Winter Festival of Lights.   Photo: Niagara Falls Tourism

Winter Festival of Lights, Niagara Falls, Ontario

February 12–20, 2023

Founded in 1982, the Winter Festival of Lights is Canada’s largest free outdoor light festival, with 3 million lights displayed throughout the city, including an eight–kilometre stretch of the Niagara Parkway. This event is a 101–night–long light show with 75 twinkling displays and live entertainment on the weekends. Drive through in the comfort of your car or bundle up and walk along the 8–kilometre–long route to enjoy views of the lights and the Falls.

Related: A Perfect Day in Niagara

Winter Festival - Montréal en Lumière
Montréal en Lumière.   Photo: Benoit Rousseau

Montréal en Lumière, Montreal

February 16–March 4, 2023

Montréal en Lumière, Montreal’s annual light festival, is one of the world’s biggest winter festivals. Hosted in the Quartier des Spectacles, the city’s major cultural district and home to the performing arts centre Place des Arts, this festival offers magnificent outdoor installations, gourmet feasts, including a menu by chef Sean Sherman at Maison Boulud, and a trip down a giant urban slide for kids and kids at heart. Check out the festival program to find specific dates for live concerts, too!

winter sledding at Carnaval de Québec
Carnaval de Québec.   Photo : Tourism Quebec

Carnaval de Québec, Quebec City

February 3–12, 2023

Carnaval de Québec debuted in 1894 and has grown to become the world’s biggest winter carnival. There’s something for everyone throughout the 10–day event, including snow slides, Sculpture Snow Routes (featuring fantastical ice sculptures throughout the city) and sporting events like the Marto Shovel–Sled Race. Don’t forget to say “Hi” to Bonhomme at his Ice Palace in the Loto–Québec Zone, sip caribou (a boozy hot beverage) and end the night at Hôtel de Glace, an unforgettable ice hotel experience.

Related: Québec’s Winter Wonderland  

This story was originally published in January 2022 and was updated in January 2023.