Enrolled in a Winter ESL Program? 5 Surprising Facts About Winter in Canada

Experience the famous Canadian winter when you study English in Canada
Experience the famous Canadian winter when you study English in Canada

Is this your first winter in Canada? You’re in for a unique experience! From snowy blizzards to cold-weather carnivals, winter in Canada is a one-of-a-kind season.

Here are five surprising (and fun) things to discover and do while you’re studying English in Canada this winter.

1. Canada Has the Only Ice Hotel in North America

Students who take a trip to Quebec City this winter won’t be disappointed. We suggest planning your getaway sometime between January 29 and February 14, so you can participate in Carnival – one of Canada’s biggest winter festivals.

And while you’re in Quebec City, why not stop by and tour the world-famous Hotel de Glace. This magical hotel is made entirely from giant blocks of ice!

Here’s a closer look at the “ice hotel”:

2. Students at ESL School in Ottawa Can Skate on the World’s Biggest Ice Rink

If you enroll in an ESL program in Ottawa, then you’ll get to see the city’s famous Rideau Canal. During the summer, students can bike and walk along many paths beside the water. But, during the winter months, they can skate right on it!

CultureWorks students prepare to go skating along the Rideau Canal
CultureWorks students prepare to go skating along the Rideau Canal

Every winter, the Rideau Canal freezes over and turns into a giant skating rink. In fact, it’s the biggest in the world, measuring over 7 kilometres!

3. “Chinook” Winds Can Change Canadian Winter Temperatures Quickly

One new vocabulary word you might learn at ESL school this winter is “chinook”. A chinook is a warm wind that can quickly heat up temperatures. In fact, in Pincher Creek, Alberta, temperatures once went from −19°C all the way up to 22°C in just one hour!

Chinook winds usually happen in Canada’s prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba), although they’ve been known to warm up other parts of the world too.

Alberta is known for getting chinook winds in the winter
Alberta is known for getting chinook winds in the winter

4. Canada Has One of the Coldest Places on the Planet

The research base, Eureka, in Canada’s territory of Nunavut is considered to be the coldest inhabited place on the planet. Average temperatures in Eureka usually hover at −18.8 °C, and can descend to a chilly -40°C in the winter.

Don’t worry though. If you’re studying in Ontario, it’s unlikely you’ll ever experience temperatures as cold as that!

5. It’s Getting Warmer in Canada

As the planet heats up, Canada’s winters are getting warmer all the time. Since 1972, the amount of snow that falls each winter has dropped by about 5.1%. Temperatures are climbing too. In 1998, Canada’s average temperatures were 2.5°C warmer than normal, and the winter of 2009-2010 broke even more records when temperatures climbed 4.1°C above average.

So far, this year’s winter has already broken a few records for warmth. But hopefully, by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, we can help keep Canadian winters cold, our longest canal frozen, and our ice hotel open for business!

Do you want to enroll in an English as a second language program in Canada?

Visit CultureWorks to find out more about our ESL programs and the benefits of studying English in Canada!