While Canada also has humid summers, autumns with a rainbow foliage and springs where daffodils pop up under mild drizzle, there’s nothing more iconic than a vision of the country covered with snow. Around the world and even here at home, Canada is associated with crunching snow under boots, strapping on snowshoes and sipping warm cider while sitting in front of a roaring fire.
But while winter is sometimes known as an ideal time to hibernate, it’s also the most wonderful time of the year to explore some of the country’s most picturesque places. Whether you’re in the city or the mountains, you’ll be swept up in the snow globe-like magic of snow-dusted evergreens and huge, fluffy flakes made even more beautiful when illuminated by city streetlamps.
And don’t forget your wish list. Le Westin Montreal, with its vibe of modern tranquility, is close to elegant Old Montreal and the ideal location for exploring the Christmas Market. Think outdoor fireplaces, tasty mulled wine and artisan crafts just steps from the Notre Dame Basilica.
A few blocks away, in the centre of downtown, Le Centre Sheraton Montreal offers easy access to the shops on Sainte-Catherine Street and the superb Quebecois comfort cuisine in the Little Burgundy neighbourhood. And when your fingers get a little frosty, nip into the Sheraton’s spa for a steam, or warm up with a cup of cocoa at the hotel’s Café Bar.
If you prefer to play in the snow or strap on skis, Marriott International has a collection of world-class mountain hotels in Canada. Westin Resort & Spa Tremblant, about a 90-minute drive north from Montreal, is the perfect place to hit the slopes. Of course, no one would judge if you decided instead to spend time wandering the boutiques of Mont Tremblant village and luxuriating in the heated outdoor pool. Then throw on a fluffy bathrobe and sink into a comfy, fireplace-adjacent Westin Heavenly bed.
Think about heading west to British Columbia and the Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler, located at the base of one of the world’s most glorious mountain ranges. Spend your days skiing, snowboarding, or just breathing in the crisp air before heading back inside for a soothing body wrap. When hunger hits, nibble tapas at the FireRock Lounge as the sun sets.
For those who prefer to observe nature in an urban environment, Westin Bayshore offers its version of igloos – heated domes with access to cocktails and canapés on a patio overlooking the yachts of Vancouver’s beautiful Coal Harbour and the snow-capped mountains of the North Shore just beyond.
And speaking of natural wonders, few sights are more amazing than Niagara Falls in the winter when ice forms and reflects the colours of the surrounding festive lights. Sheraton on the Falls is the perfect base from which the whole family can explore – whether that’s finding the best hill for sledding, sipping your way through the Niagara Ice Wine Festival (Jan. 10 to 26), or ordering room service and having a romantic night in a suite overlooking the falls.
A short road trip away, check into Toronto’s waterfront Westin Harbour Castle to stay and play in Canada’s biggest city. With its terrific downtown location, you’re a short hop to world-class theatre, shopping at the Eaton Centre, ice skating at Nathan Phillips Square and some of the most multiculturally diverse dining in North America.
And speaking of urban hotels, the Westin Calgary and Westin Edmonton are the perfect places to sample western hospitality and access great gateways if you’re planning to visit the stunning natural beauty of the Rockies.
In Calgary, take advantage of the Westin Move Well program in a state-of-the-art fitness centre, go cross-country skiing, or ice fishing at a nearby park. When you need a break from winter and want to pretend you’re somewhere tropical – at least briefly – bask in the warmth of Devonian Gardens and its lush greenery and water features.
Further north, Westin Edmonton puts you in the heart of the city’s Arts District where you can enjoy events at the Citadel Theatre, Francis Winspear Centre for Music (home to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra) and browse private art galleries, perfect when the wind is howling. Also check out the breathtaking, LED-lit ice castles, built by professional ice artists, in Hawrelak Park. Don’t forget to drop those snowballs before heading inside for fireside dining at the Westin Edmonton’s innovative SHARE restaurant with globally inspired dishes made from local ingredients.
Each of these hotels and their destinations are enticing in their own ways. You might be thinking about how you can book a little piece of winter wonderland for yourself. That’s a great idea, but with Marriott’s Gift of Travel promotion (available now until Feb. 29), you can also share some magic with your loved ones. Take advantage of a deep discount on advance purchase rates at all of these properties. It’s a perfect chance to spread the joy of another majestic Canadian winter.
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.