Come the holiday season, the McNally clan love nothing more than to pack up our bags and jet off to Canada to experience the fun and festivities. Our countdown to departure day starts ticking down earlier in the year. We book early so we can look forward to our family trip all year.
Travelling through Western Canada allows you to experience the beauty of the Canadian outdoors and all the winter wonders on offer at this special time of the year. There’s just nothing quite like the crisp mountain air on your face and the crunch underfoot as you walk on snow, or that feeling when you see the excitement in your kid’s eyes as they see snow fall and try catching snowflakes on their tongue.
No matter how many times they’ve played in it, kids just love snow! Days can be easily filled with snowball fights, snow angels and tobogganing. Ski school is a great way to get the kids involved in the outdoors, learn some skills and burn off some energy.
We loved our time at Sun Peaks in the BC Interior. It is the second biggest ski area in Canada – second only to Whistler. It’s a super family-friendly ski resort and being much quieter and relaxed than the bigger resorts like Banff and Whistler, we found it was a great place to find our ski legs and practice turns and snowplough stops without getting in anyone’s way.
With champagne powder in abundance you’ll find this place perfect to get out and strap on a snowboard or pair of skis, or surrender yourself to a team of strong and determined huskies pulling you on a sled adventure.
Canada’s winter wonderland is full of things to do and explore for the whole family. The options are endless with snow shoeing walks, ice skating rinks, cross country skiing and downhill skiing. For the less adventurous, or those seeking a day off from the slopes, the winter magic continues with ice fishing, fat biking, wildlife and wilderness tours, icewalks exploring frozen canyons and waterfalls, or taking a horse drawn sleigh ride on the snowy trails.
I recommend finding accommodation with a fireplace, as nothing is better than getting back to your room after a wonderful day out and getting cosy in front of a crackling open fire watching the snow fall silently on the ground outside. Not only does the warmth help dry out your gloves and boots, sitting around the fire is a great way to reflect on the day’s activities and plan tomorrow.
A Christmas spent in Canada is certainly very different to one here at home. I always pinch myself at how beautiful a white Christmas really is. Wafting aromas of cinnamon and warm spices, Christmas tree pines and hot chocolate after a day out in the snow is a truly heart-warming and homely feeling, all the way across the other side of the world from the hot summer sunshine of Australia.
After our four-week calorie splurge in the BC interior and the Rocky Mountains, tasting varieties of egg nog, mulled wine, poutine, lake-to-plate rainbow trout that we were chuffed to catch ourselves, hot wings, craft beer, wood-fire pizza, Tim Horton donuts, pumpkin pie and many other wonderful Canadian treats, we made our way back to our holiday starting point in Vancouver to thaw out before the long-haul home. We enjoyed the final few days souvenir shopping and taking a float plane ride for my son’s birthday.
Now home, suitcases have been emptied, the new magnet has it's place on the fridge, I’ve washed and packed away the thermals and ski jacket while thinking of the great times we have had on our holiday, and best of all I have an expanding note-to-self of all the things I look forward to doing when next we travel to Canada.
Our best tip for planning your dream Canadian Christmas holiday is to start early. Booking well ahead helps you ensure availability, capture the early-bird rates to save some money, and allows you to get excited in the build-up for your holiday. Arriving in Canada mid-December gives you a great countdown to Christmas and plenty of time to make the most of the many fun pre-Christmas activities on offer throughout the festive month. With your holiday booked, you’ll be counting down the days till you’re fireside, warming up with family members young and old, creating memories to share for years to come.
To find out more about how you can book a tailored family holiday