Winter Wonderland: A Canadian New Year Adventure

A blend of thrilling adventures, cultural discoveries, and serene moments in nature
winter in canada

As a stay-at-home mom, the idea of spending the New Year in Canada was an exciting prospect.

The promise of snow-covered landscapes and unique Canadian traditions beckoned, and so began our 8-day winter adventure in Quebec City. Our itinerary promised a mix of outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and relaxation, ensuring a memorable start to the year.

Chapter Trail

Day 1 to Day 2: Quebec - Sainte Brigitte de Laval

Winter Wonderland: A Canadian New Year Adventure
Photo by Nunzio Guerrera on Unsplash

Our Canadian New Year adventure kicked off with an arrival in Quebec City. Excitement bubbled within us as we picked up our luggage and rental car, ready to delve into the winter wonderland that awaited. The crisp air and the promise of snow-laden landscapes set the perfect stage for the days to come.

After collecting our belongings, we embarked on a short 30-minute drive to our intimate accommodation in Sainte Brigitte de Laval, nestled in the heart of the forest. The anticipation of escaping into the serene embrace of nature heightened with each passing kilometer. The enchanting log cottage, surrounded by snow-covered trees, instantly felt like a home away from home.

As Day 2 dawned, we were greeted by a breathtaking panorama of snow-covered forests, a view that stretched as far as the eye could see. The charm of winter in Quebec unfolded before us, and we eagerly embraced the day of discovery that lay ahead.

A hearty breakfast fueled our energy for the day’s adventures. Stepping outside, we strapped on snowshoes and embarked on a short walk around the cottage. The crunch of snow beneath our feet and the pristine beauty of the Montmorency River, possibly frozen in this season, captivated our senses. Free time for lunch allowed us to savor the quiet moments, surrounded by the tranquility of the winter landscape.

In the afternoon, the time had come to experience one of Quebec’s quintessential winter activities – snowmobiling. After a thorough safety briefing and driving instructions, we followed our guide through the surrounding forests, each twist and turn offering a unique perspective of the winter wonderland. The exhilaration of the snowmobile ride was complemented by a moment of relaxation in the outdoor whirlpool bath, where we soaked in warmth while enjoying the snowy scenery.

As evening descended, the day concluded with a free-spirited dinner, allowing us to savor the local flavors and culinary delights. The night’s stay at Gite Aventure Québec provided a cozy retreat, with the crackling fireplace and the winter ambiance creating a snug atmosphere for a peaceful night’s rest. The melding of nature’s beauty and thrilling adventures set the stage for the days ahead, leaving us eager for the next chapter of our Canadian winter escapade.

Day 3: Wendake - Embracing Indigenous Culture on New Year's Eve

The Place de la nation huronne-wendat in Wendake
Photo by Pierre-Olivier Fortin on Wikimedia

As the clock ticked away on December 31, our third day in Quebec unfolded against the backdrop of New Year’s Eve. The anticipation of celebrating the arrival of the new year in the heart of Canada heightened the excitement, and our itinerary led us to the enchanting world of Wendake, a Native American reserve in the Huron-Wendat Nation.

The morning began with a hearty breakfast, setting the stage for a day that promised a deep dive into indigenous culture and the breathtaking winter landscapes of Jacques Cartier National Park. Nature, in its pristine winter form, greeted us as we set out on the snowshoe trails, a fitting start to a day of exploration.

As we ventured deeper into the park, the allure of the snow-covered trails captivated our senses. The Jacques Cartier National Park, blanketed in white, became a canvas for our winter escapade. The crisp air, the scent of pine, and the soft crunch of snow beneath our snowshoes created a symphony of winter bliss.

The journey then led us to the Hôtel de Glace in Saint Gabriel de Valcartier, a place of wonder that is rebuilt annually from ice and snow. The uniqueness of this frozen masterpiece unfolded as we embarked on an unusual tour of the ice hotel. Each room and corridor showcased the incredible artistry that transforms frozen water into a temporary dwelling, creating a surreal experience that resonated with the magic of the season.

The spirit of Canadian traditions came alive as we headed to Valcartier Village, where the Valcartier Winter Playground awaited. Seated comfortably on our buoys, we descended the snowy slopes, laughter echoing in the winter air. The joyous atmosphere, filled with the exhilaration of winter slides, exemplified the lightheartedness that marks Canadian New Year celebrations.

As the day progressed, our journey took us to Wendake, where the Traditional Huron Site awaited. Immersed in guided tours, we delved into the history and culture of the Huron-Wendat Nation. The connection to indigenous traditions deepened, setting the stage for a New Year’s Eve unlike any other.

Our accommodation for the night was the 1st Nations Hotel-Museum, a place that seamlessly integrated modern comforts with cultural richness. The hotel’s permanent exhibition offered profound insights into the indigenous way of life, creating a space that celebrated the heritage of the First Nations.

The evening unfolded with a dinner at the renowned restaurant La Traite, where indigenous flavors tantalized our taste buds, providing a delicious prelude to the upcoming festivities. As the night deepened, we found ourselves at the Maison Longue, a traditional Huron house. Gathered around a crackling fire, a member of the community regaled us with myths and legends, creating an immersive experience that bridged the past and present.

As the clock struck midnight, we embraced the transition to the new year in the heart of Wendake, surrounded by the warmth of the indigenous community and the enchantment of winter. The echoes of traditional stories, the crackling of the fire, and the camaraderie of fellow celebrants made this Canadian New Year’s Eve a celebration deeply rooted in culture and shared history. Our experience in Wendake became a treasured chapter in our Canadian adventure, a unique way to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new, surrounded by the rich tapestry of indigenous traditions.

Day 4: Embracing the New Year's Day Tranquility

new year in canada
Photo by capnsnap on Unsplash

As the calendar turned to January 1st, we found ourselves in Sainte Catherine de la Jacques Cartier, ready to start the new year with a harmonious blend of winter activities and lakeside tranquility. The atmosphere was filled with a fresh, crisp energy, marking the beginning of a promising chapter in our Canadian New Year adventure.

The morning of New Year’s Day greeted us with a serene landscape as we woke up in our accommodation on the shores of Lake St Joseph. The pristine beauty of the surroundings took on a special glow, reflecting the promise of a year filled with new experiences and unforgettable moments.

Breakfast became a celebration of the first morning of the year, with locally inspired cuisine adding a touch of Quebecois flavor to our meal. The sense of calm and quietude that enveloped the lakeside retreat set the tone for a day that would unfold at a leisurely pace, inviting us to embrace the serenity of the moment.

The Duchesnay Station, nestled in the heart of nature, became our playground for the day. Access to unguided activities on the site, including skating, slides, snowshoes, and cross-country skiing, allowed us to craft our New Year’s Day experience at our own pace. The echoes of laughter and the soft sounds of winter activities harmonized with the stillness of the natural surroundings, creating a symphony of winter joy.

The day’s activities were punctuated with moments of reflection and gratitude for the experiences of the past year and the anticipation of what lay ahead. The untouched snow around Lake St Joseph provided the perfect canvas for a leisurely walk, offering a chance to connect with nature and set intentions for the new year.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the frozen lake, we reveled in the lakeside bliss of Sainte Catherine de la Jacques Cartier. The evening was a tranquil affair, with a comforting dinner and the crackling fireplace providing a cozy backdrop for reflections on the adventures of the past days.

The transition from the celebratory spirit of New Year’s Eve to the serene ambiance of New Year’s Day in Sainte Catherine de la Jacques Cartier encapsulated the essence of Canadian winter traditions – a perfect balance of festive excitement and the tranquility that nature provides on the first day of a new year.

Day 5: Sainte Catherine de la Jacques Cartier - A Symphony of Sleds and Serenity

Sainte Catherine De La Jacques Cartier
Photo by vanou on Wikimedia

As we bid farewell to the serene lakeside retreat in Sainte Catherine de la Jacques Cartier, Day 5 promised to be a crescendo of winter experiences. Our morning began with the thrill of an introduction to dog sledding, a quintessential Quebecois adventure.

The excitement was palpable as we made our first contact with the spirited pack of dogs. Attentively listening to driving and safety tips, we embarked on an unforgettable journey through the snow-covered landscapes. The crisp winter air echoed with the sound of sled runners against the snow, and the eager barks of the dogs created a symphony of winter delight. Gliding through the wilderness, the sled ride was a moment of grace and calm, allowing us to soak in the pristine beauty of the surroundings with only the rhythmic sounds of the sled and the panting of our furry companions.

Lunchtime presented an opportunity to refuel and share stories of our dog sledding adventure. The afternoon unfolded with free time, offering a chance to engage in outdoor activities or indulge in the comforting amenities of our lakeside accommodation. The indoor pool and outdoor whirlpool beckoned, and the Nordic spa promised relaxation with the possibility of a soothing massage, a welcomed respite after the exhilarating dog sledding experience.

As the day transitioned into the evening, we found ourselves immersed in the quietude of the winter night. The starlit sky mirrored in the frozen lake created a magical ambiance, setting the stage for a tranquil night’s rest. The interplay of adventure and serenity marked Day 5, leaving us eagerly anticipating the discoveries that lay ahead.

Day 6: Sainte Catherine de la Jacques Cartier - Return to Urban Charms

Sainte Catherine De La Jacques Cartier snowy house
Photo by Veillg1 on Wikimedia

With a sense of fulfillment from our days in the wilderness, Day 6 marked our return to Quebec City. Before bidding adieu to the rustic charm of Sainte Catherine de la Jacques Cartier, we took a detour to witness the frozen splendor of Montmorency Falls. The cascading water, frozen in winter, presented a captivating tableau, offering a unique perspective of nature’s artistry.

As we handed over our rental vehicle, we set foot in the heart of Quebec City once again. A stroll through the historic Old Quebec and the Petit Champlain transported us into a winter fairy tale. The snow-covered alleys and the architecture adorned in winter garb created a picturesque setting reminiscent of a Christmas storybook.

Our night unfolded in the heart of Old Quebec, where the juxtaposition of historic charm and winter magic added an enchanting layer to our journey. The city’s vibrant energy and the glow of festive lights heightened the sense of celebration. The comfort of our accommodation embraced us, providing a perfect vantage point to relish the city’s winter allure.

Day 6 allowed us to seamlessly transition from the tranquility of nature to the urban charms of Quebec City. The frozen falls, historic streets, and the warmth of city lights crafted a beautiful finale to our stay, leaving us eager to explore the city’s cultural gems on the upcoming day.

Day 7: Quebec - A Day of Cultural Exploration and Relaxation

two people crossing bridge in quebec canada
Photo by Matthieu Comoy on Unsplash

As the sun rose over Quebec City on Day 7, we found ourselves in the heart of a city steeped in history and culture. The Plains of Abraham welcomed us with open arms, providing a canvas for a full day of exploration and winter activities. The open expanse became a playground for ice skates, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, where we reveled in the invigorating winter air.

A visit to the Museum of Civilization enriched our understanding of Quebec’s vibrant past, showcasing the province’s unique blend of indigenous heritage and European influences. The Museum of Fine Arts captivated us with its diverse collection, offering a glimpse into the rich artistic tapestry of Quebec.

The afternoon unfolded with a visit to the Strom Spa, a unique retreat nestled on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. The spa’s magical setting invited us to unwind and indulge in relaxation, a soothing contrast to the day’s cultural explorations. We surrendered to the therapeutic embrace of warm pools and rejuvenating treatments, savoring moments of tranquility against the winter backdrop.

As evening fell, we couldn’t resist the temptation to glide in front of the iconic Château Frontenac. The snow-draped surroundings enhanced the enchanting allure of this historic landmark. Our night in Quebec City was an immersive experience in the city’s winter charm, with the blend of cultural discoveries, outdoor activities, and serene relaxation creating a perfect harmony.

Day 8: Quebec Departure - A Fond Farewell

snowy forest overhead quebec canada
Photo by Sébastien Marchand on Unsplash

Our final day in Quebec City unfolded with a mixture of nostalgia and appreciation for the experiences gathered. Before bidding adieu, we savored the last moments in the city, capturing the essence of its winter magic. A free transfer to Quebec City airport allowed us to relish the iconic sights one last time before boarding our departure.

The farewell was bittersweet, as we left behind the snow-covered landscapes and the cultural richness of Quebec City. The memories of dog sledding, indigenous encounters, and urban explorations lingered as a testament to the diversity and beauty of our Canadian New Year adventure.

As we departed, our hearts were filled with gratitude for the warmth of Quebec’s winter hospitality and the myriad experiences that shaped our journey. The 8-day itinerary had been a tapestry of winter wonders, seamlessly weaving together outdoor adventures, cultural immersion, and moments of sheer relaxation. Our Canadian New Year escapade had become a cherished chapter in our family’s book of memories, a tale of winter enchantment that we would carry with us as we ventured back home.


thawing snow quebec canada
Photo by charliewarl on Unsplash

Our 8-day journey through Quebec City was a blend of thrilling adventures, cultural discoveries, and serene moments in nature. From the excitement of snowmobiling to the tranquility of Indigenous experiences and the thrill of dog sledding, each day unfolded as a chapter in our Canadian winter escapade. As a stay-at-home mom, this New Year’s adventure was a unique and cherished experience, offering a perfect balance of family-friendly activities and moments of personal reflection in the enchanting winter landscapes of Quebec City.

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