Cocoa and Culture: Explore Edmonton’s Most Anticipated Winter Festivals

Your guide to the warmest winter experiences in town

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Edmonton’s winter festivals are prepared to keep you warm, entertained and inspired during the winter months. Make the most of the season before it melts!

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Showcasing the best of Edmonton’s local arts, culture and activities, this year’s diverse lineup of festivals and events promises something for everyone.

“There’s something truly magical about Edmonton about finding an event every weekend and almost every night of the week that gets you out of the house and dancing, laughing, being inspired or just finding happiness in the presence of other people,” says Annette Loiselle, artistic director of the SkirtsAfire festival.

Edmonton’s winter festivities will take place from November to March. Here’s your ultimate guide to the city’s most anticipated festivals and events.

All is Bright Festival

November 19 at Helen Nolan Park

With sleigh rides, a dazzling lighting ceremony and the chance to meet Santa Claus, the All is Bright Festival is the place to be this holiday season. With entertainment for children and a vegetable garden for adults, this festival has something for the whole family.

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An illuminated walkway illuminates the night sky of Luminaria.  PROVIDED
An illuminated walkway illuminates the night sky of Luminaria. PROVIDED


November 23 to December 31 at the University of Alberta Botanical Garden

Luminaria is the perfect opportunity to relax and take a break during the winter holidays. Grab an apple cider at the Alpine-style chalet, then stroll through the candlelit Japanese Gardens of Kurimoto, explore the Winter Market, or ride the Woodland Express through the beautiful snow-covered forest.

Winter Whyte lights up

November 26 at Dr Wilbert McIntyre Park

On November 26, McIntyre Park transforms into a winter wonderland for the whole family. With a fireside storytime, scavenger hunts, live music and more, the Winter Whyte Light Up Festival is committed to bringing the classic Canadian winter experience to people of all ages.

The stylistic experience

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December 10 at Commonwealth Stadium

This season, Edmonton is the first North American stop on the 2022/2023 FIS World Tour.

The Style Experience will feature some of the best snowboarders in the world, including several Canadian athletes, and not forgetting – the biggest Big Air scaffold jump in the world. In addition to the Big Air event, the Style Experience is a celebration of snowboarding culture and style and will host live music, art and food vendors and free snowmobile demonstrations.

Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival

January 21-22 on Alberta Avenue (90-95 Street and 118 Avenue)

Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival celebrates all things winter and culture in our great city.

Winter panache, food, art, culture and winter fun – including races in real freezers! Stroll, stroll or gallop through the Alberta Avenue neighborhood and be enchanted by magnificent ice sculptures, songs, dances and tasty delicacies that share the stories and cultures of Ukrainian, Canadian communities -French and Aboriginal women of Canada. Unique this year, an expanded interactive heritage winter village that transports visitors back in time to experience traditions and craft heritage.

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Ice on Whyte

January 24-29 at the ICE District

The Edmonton International Ice Carving Competition – formerly Ice on Whyte – is moving to the ICE District!

Discover the work of some of the best sculptors in the world. Starting January 24, artists will have 34 hours to complete their work, with the full reveal of their sculptures taking place on January 27.

Ice on Whyte – now called Activate Arts Alberta – will also return to McIntyre Park January 27-29 with ice carving demonstrations, lessons and more. The festival will feature sculptures by some of the best ice sculptors in the world who are on a mission to encourage appreciation of art and creativity in the outdoors.

Flying Canoe Flying

From February 1 to 4 at Mill Creek Ravine and La Cité francophone

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The Flying Canoë Volant is a celebration of French-Canadian, First Nations and Métis heritage where festival-goers can learn about local history and participate in classic winter activities. Travel through Edmonton’s French Quarter along illuminated pathways to learn about First Nations and Métis teachings. See the world-class illuminated works of Dylan Toymaker and friends, plus outdoor and indoor stages such as the Flying Canoe Volant Cabaret and Café Bicyclette’s Winter Patio featuring local DJs and local and national musical talent.

Climb aboard the canoe and take part in a unique winter adventure in Edmonton.

Birkebeiner Canadian Ski Festival

February 10-12 at Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area

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The Birkebeiner Canadian Ski Festival is home to some of Canada’s most impressive cross-country ski trails. Along the trail, cross-country skiers pass through the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, a Provincial Historic Site on Highway 16, Elk Island National Park, and Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area.

An eye-catching snow sculpture at the Silver Skate Festival.  PROVIDED
An eye-catching snow sculpture at the Silver Skate Festival. PROVIDED

Silver Skate Festival

February 10-20 at Hawrelak Park

The Silver Skate Festival is a celebration of culture, entertainment and art.

“Our International Snow Sculpting Symposium and Fire Sculpture Burns are very popular,” says Erin DiLoreto, Executive Producer of the Silver Skate Festival. “Our speed skating races are seeing entries from all over the world.”

Guests are invited to stroll through the Waiward Snow Sculpture Garden, explore the heritage village and listen to the oral histories of Aboriginal elders through the Night Sky ᐋᒋᒧᐃᐧᐣ âcimowin tales.

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March 2-12 at various locations in Old Strathcona

Alongside International Women’s Day, SkirtsAfire will kick off the month of March with an explosion of multi-disciplinary performances and exhibits featuring extraordinary women in theatre, music, dance, comedy and more.

“[Edmonton] is a city full of people who want and know how to have fun,” explains artistic director Annette Loiselle. “A city with talented visionaries, artists and doers; people who will pursue their passions and dreams and share them on a large scale with communities that love living them and whose lives and families are enriched by them.

This story was created by content worksthe commercial content division of Postmedia, on behalf of Explore Edmonton.


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