13 things to do in Edmonton in winter 2016/17

A scenic view of downtown Edmonton, taken from a lookout on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River near Scona Road. February 29, 2016. Wes Rosa, Global News

With winter right around the corner, it can often be tempting to stay inside, out of the cold. But in a city like Edmonton, which was recently named one of Canada’s best winter cities by Canadian Geographic, there’s no shortage of ways to embrace the season.

Here are a few ways to get out and enjoy winter in Edmonton.

Candy Cane Lane

Candy Cane Lane lit up for another colourful season on Friday, Dec. 9. It will be open until midnight Jan. 1.

The annual winter tradition started in the Crestwood Community more than 40 years ago. Now, it consumes more than 10 city blocks.

Those who visit Candy Cane Lane are encouraged to bring a donation for Edmonton’s Food Bank.

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Ice Castle

After an overwhelmingly successful first year in Edmonton, the massive “Narnia-like” Ice Castle will be back in Hawrelak Park later this year. The attraction will open on Dec. 30.

Tickets went on sale in mid-December and range in price – depending on the day and time you visit – from $9.95 – $12.95 for children and $12.95 – $16.95 for adults.

Watch below: Raw video of the 2015/2016 Edmonton ice castle

READ MORE: Massive Hawrelak Park ice castle returning for a second year 

Victoria Park IceWay

Formerly known as the Freezeway, the skating path in Victoria Park will be back this year, but it will be called the IceWay. The city said the new name better reflects the recreational nature of the ice surface.

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The IceWay will also be expanded this year. It’s set to open in December and is free to access.

READ MORE: Skating path in Edmonton’s Victoria Park to expand this December

Hit the outdoor rink

If you enjoying skating, why not get out and enjoy one of Edmonton’s outdoor rinks? There are several city-run rinks throughout Edmonton, which can be found on the city’s website.

Go tobogganing

The city also runs and maintains several toboggan hills in Edmonton. You can check out the current status of each hill on the city’s website.

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Explore Edmonton on showshoes

Go off the beaten path this winter by exploring the Edmonton area by showshoe. Several Edmonton parks allow snowshoeing, but it’s usually best to snowshoe in areas where the snow hasn’t been packed down.

The city’s website has a list of great snowshoeing locations in and around Edmonton.

Of course, Edmonton wouldn’t be “festival city” without a few great winter festivals to check out.

Hit the slopes

Edmonton has several ski hills in and around the city, including Snow Valley Ski Club, Sunridge Ski Area and Rabbit Hill Snow Resort.

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Snow Valley opens on Sunday, Dec.11, and both Sunridge and Rabbit Hill are already open.

Check out the lights at the Alberta legislature

The Christmas lights at the Alberta legislative grounds were turned on for the season on Thursday, Dec.1. The highlight, of course, is the massive 61-foot spruce tree adorned with 7,000 LED lights. The lights will be on from 4:30 p.m. to midnight every evening and from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. every morning.

Watch below: Alberta legislature grounds light up for the holiday season

Click to play video: 'Alberta legislature grounds light up for the holiday season'
Alberta legislature grounds light up for the holiday season

Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival

The 10th annual Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival will be held on Jan. 14 and 15, 2017 along Alberta Avenue. The yearly festival is a free family event that embraces Edmonton’s northern climate.

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Ice on Whyte

The 14th annual Ice on Whyte Festival will be held over two weekends this winter, from Jan. 26 to Jan. 29 and Feb. 2 to Feb. 5, 2017. From ice carving contests to ice slides, there’s a little something for everyone.

Tickets are $4 for kids aged 2 to 12 and adult tickets cost $7. They are available at the gate or online starting Dec. 1.

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Flying Canoe Volant Festival

This winter’s Flying Canoe Volant Festival will be held in Mill Creek Ravine on Feb. 3 and 4, 2017. The event is meant to celebrate everything great about a long winter’s night.

Silver Skate Festival

Held between Feb. 10 and Feb. 20, 2017, the Silver Skate Festival is a family event in the city’s scenic river valley. Each year, the festival transforms Hawrelak Park into a winter wonderland with everything from winter sports and snow sculptures to horse-drawn sleigh rides and a Cree winter camp.

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READ MORE: ‘There are so many favourites’: Silver Skate photographer shares festival memories

Last year, more than 105,000 people came out to take part in the free festival, which will celebrate its 27th year in 2017.

Watch below: Silver Skate Festival aims to get Edmontonians enjoying the outdoors

Click to play video: 'Silver Skate Festival aims to get Edmontonians enjoying the outdoors'
Silver Skate Festival aims to get Edmontonians enjoying the outdoors

Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival

After unseasonably warm winter weather forced the cancellation of the 2016 Canadian Birkebeiner, the festival hopes to be back in action this season, with events scheduled on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11 in Strathcona County.

Registration for the birkebeiner is already open.

READ MORE: Warm winter weather forces the cancellation of the Canadian Birkebeiner

What’s your favourite thing to do in Edmonton during the winter? Leave it in the comments section below.

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