These five quirky winter adventures will definitely make you an honourary Canadian for life
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Surf the snow: snowkiting and iceboating
First came kiteboarding, a freedom-loving sport involving wind, speed and open waters. Now snowkiting lets pilots harness a power kite on skis or snowboards, to sail frozen lakes and fields. A few Canadian hot spots are Baie des Chaleurs & Grand Lake, New Brunswick and Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. Not to be outdone, iceboating is a below freezing blast in Nova Scotia where folks navigate “yachts” that look like windsurfers with sleek hulls and blades.
Experience the north on an Arctic safari
You won’t be the first explorer to stand at the North Pole but Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions offers adventures that are just as magical. Visit with polar bears; see legendary tusked narwhal whales, spot seals and even the occasional walrus. Trips are rooted in local culture so you’ll meet the Inuit people of Nunavut and learn their traditions. Though it may feel like winter, safari trips run from March to October.
Ice canoeing on the St. Lawrence River
Bonhomme was like a buddy growing up in French school so attending the world-famous Quebec Winter Carnival is epic. One of the most extreme experiences is joining the elite canoe racers facing strong currents, ice chunks and hand-numbing waters as they paddle the icy St. Lawrence in February! Competitors race across the river from Québec City (Basin Louise) to Levis, and back. Your heart will race, too, from the shore.
Be a snowbird for a day: winter zip-lining
Zip-lining above treetops is good family fun, rain or shine. But why limit yourself? Feel like a snowbird in Newfoundland as you zip from platform to platform on a cable strung 85 metres (almost 300 feet) over a plunging gorge, wind whipping as you soar above forest branches muscled with snow. Winter zip-lining is also popular in Whistler, British Columbia.
Say mush and make tracks
An adventurous spirit is all it takes to enjoy a rustic, three-day package with Call of the Wild in Ontario’s Algonquin Park that should come with an honourary Canadian pioneer badge. It’s one day of dog sledding, one day of snowshoeing across a frozen lake and one day of cross-country skiing on groomed forest trails. Rest up in the comfort of a cozy wilderness eco-lodge enjoying delicious meals like white fish with cucumber dill sauce, or lemon seared chicken breasts. Hearty folks can try a polar bear dip or build a “quinzee” (snow hut). Me? I’ll see you in the outdoor hot tub and sauna.
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