Your guide to enjoying a classic Canadian winter, virtually

TORONTO -- Winter is coming, and every Canadian knows what that means.

Your guide to enjoying a classic Canadian winter, virtually

TORONTO -- Winter is coming, and every Canadian knows what that means.

For some, it's time to lace up the skates with friends. For others, it's a chance to hit the slopes and enjoy some quality apres-ski time.

Maybe neither of those options are your speed. That's fine. You might prefer to go curling, or bring the whole neighbourhood together for an epic snowball fight, or just get warm and toasty enjoying food and drinks with friends.

Whatever the specifics may be, we all have our preferred methods of sailing through the season of shivering.

This year, though, it's going to be a little bit different.

Restrictions brought on due to the COVID-19 pandemic mean that most of us won't be able to participate in our usual winter activities – at least, not the way we're used to. And even if we're allowed to gather at some places in some regions, we may not want to.

For those Canadians who aren't comfortable celebrating a traditional winter but still want to do so as best they can, we present this guide to wintertime activities that can be done without having to leave your house.


You can't get to some of the most exciting places in the world right now, but Google Maps Treks brings those destinations to you.

The site offers virtual tours of stunning sights from around the globe, from the Great Barrier Reef to the canals of Venice to Everest Base Camp.

There's Canadian content, too, with treks showcasing two northern winter wonderlands – Churchill, Man. and Iqaluit.


In the early days of the pandemic, some popular tourist attractions launched virtual versions of their in-person experiences.

Many of these virtual exhibits are still running, allowing you to see collections from the Canadian Museum of History, National Gallery of Canada and Vancouver Art Gallery, among others.

And if you're looking to escape the confines of the Earth without leaving your living room, NASA has you covered with a variety of family-friendly virtual activities, including a tour of the International Space Station.


One of the most breathtaking locales in the country is accessible from your phone, tablet or computer.

Countless videos show off the picture-perfect Banff National Park. Some of our favourites include this real-time virtual hike of Moraine Lake, this three-hour drive around the park, and this hike of the Johnston Canyon.

Most of the videos were likely shot during warmer weather – but when there's this much snow, ice and natural beauty, does that really matter?


Located near the northern tip of Nunavut, Fort Conger is a difficult destination to reach even during normal times.

Now nothing more than a series of uninhabited buildings, it was once an important site for scientific research – including early attempts to reach the North Pole.

The history of the Arctic outpost is one of many legacies living on through the Virtual Museum of Canada.

A dedicated website offers a virtual reconstruction of the settlement as it would have been in 1881, as well as interactive games related to polar science.


There's nothing quite like finishing a long winter day by curling up in front of the fireplace.

Under normal circumstances, apartment-dwellers and others who don't have fireplaces of their own have little problem finding a way to make this happen.

This year, though, visiting others is discouraged in some parts of the country. Ski lodges may not be an option, either.

That's where YouTube comes in, offering the sparks and crackles of a real fireplace – although you'll have to supply your own heat, and roasting marshmallows won't be effective.

There are lots and lots of recorded options – this 10-hour loop, for example – and a few live offerings, including one that adds a dash of instrumental Christmas music.


If you're one of the many Canadians who can't make it south this winter, then you might want to consider getting creative.

Many popular tropical communities offer live video feeds of their beaches. You can see what's happening right now at Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, or at Albany in the Bahamas, to name a few.

Pick your stream, set it to full-screen, put on your beach clothes, grab your favourite refreshments and try to forget the biting Canadian winter just outside your walls.