When travelling to a new destination, I always look at the best time to visit a country. Especially as some places run on seasonal activity, where shops and attractions go into a period of hibernation until the peak season return, after making that mistake once, I’m always over cautious now. Canada is one of those countries that don’t work on such schemes, but welcome tourists all year round, with open arms. Most people visiting Canada think the peak summer months is the best time of year to visit, while the glorious balmy temperatures rise, and hiking across mountains, forestry, and basking out of the many beautiful Canadian beaches always generates great interest. But, as I am often quick to correct people, Canada is an all-year round, true to season climate destination, and that’s just the beginning of what makes it an exciting and adventurous country to visit, especially during the off season period. Here are a few reasons to visit Canada during the off season period.
1. You can try Canadian winter delicacies
Every time I visit Canada, I always bring back a bottle of their famous Canadian maple syrup. It’s by far the best in the world, and what Canada is known for. Maple syrup season spans between the months of February and April, so I often suggest to those visiting to explore the maple farms, and book in a tour. You get to experience the delectable sweet syrup made using methods passed down over generations, and most of the cafes on site will serve hot, fluffy pancakes for you to enjoy with their signature maple syrup. I always save the best until last when doing these experiences, but make sure you try the Canadian delicacy, maple taffy. The sugar-fuelled delight can be poured out onto fresh, cold ice and it instantly turns into a divine sweet treat. You can thank me later.
2. Ski on the Olympic approved slopes
One of my favourite parts of Canada resides just north of Vancouver, the quaint town of Whistler. While it is a great place to explore during the summer months, lapping up an ice-cream from the famous COWS parlour or taking a gondola ride over the mountains, the true fun comes out during the winter months. Especially as it is home to the Whistler-Blackcomb, one of North American’s biggest ski resorts and the very same spot the 2010 Winter Olympics were held. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your skis and set out on a snowy adventure. After all, if the slopes are good enough for professional athletes, they are good enough for us. I know skiing isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but you can still get involved with an array of other fun snow-filled activities such as snowshoeing, tobogganing, or various hikes in and around the town before heading back to your hotel to defrost.
3. The Canadian springs are more enjoyable
Another of my best kept Canadian secrets are the natural springs. Not many people know about them, and I always make a point of suggesting a visit to them especially during the winter months. Imagine setting out of your hotel on crisp cold winters day, and then dipping straight into a natural hot springs, surrounding yourself with lashings of mineral-rich hot water, as you gaze over the gorgeous natural surroundings? Yeah, that’s exactly what you’re missing out on. The temperature difference is what makes the whole experience enjoyable and you can often find yourself spending hours on end there, or at least I have. The best part about visiting during the off-season months, apart from the truly surreal experience, you can guarantee to avoid big crowds of people for an luxurious, private experience.
4. You get to enjoy the spectacular Canadian sunsets
For those of you that are regular readers of my blog, you all know I’m a sunset chaser. But what if I told you some of my most memorable sunsets were found across Canada? No lie. The sun is always ready to put on a candied colour performances whenever I visit. While the sun sets a little earlier during the winter months, meaning they are a lot more elusive, it’s worth planning a few sunset spotting locations into your itinerary, because when the sunsets come out in full force and truly put on a show. My favourite spot to see a spectacular sunset, where water meets city is at Polson Pier in Toronto. If you stay a little longer, you can also see the city lit up at night from a different perspective, and still make it in time for your dinner reservation.
5. You can discover some of Canada’s coolest coffee hotspots
As Canada embraces the colder temperatures, you will often find yourself looking for a hide out to warm up, and enjoy a hot chocolate or coffee. Another of my favourite things about Canada is their love for coffee and the well-established coffee culture throughout the country. They have some of most innovative and funky coffee shops, you will want to stop and try them all. Think rainbow lattes, date baked cookies and salted caramel hot chocolates — enough to get your mouth watering and get some cool shots to share with your friends back home.
6. The Canadian warmth comes out in the cold
The Canadians are known for their welcoming nature and true hospitality towards tourists, but even more so in the off season periods. It’s the main reason I find myself going back to Canada time and time again. With fewer travellers gracing the lands of the country during the off season period, Canadians go the extra mile to ensure all those visiting during off season periods get the true Canadian experience especially as they have more time on their hands. Perch a seat at the bar, and discover a wealth of knowledge from a local. If you’re feeling adventurous, order a Caribou too – it’s a famous drink from Quebec.
Until next time…