Canada in February

Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are hopping despite the cold

People skating on ice rink in Old port of Montreal
••• The ice rink at Montreal's Old Port. Linda Raymond / Getty Images

The temperatures are cold but if you're prepared, you can enjoy the many activities and festivals that take place during February in Canada. There are numerous travel bargains this time of year for visitors to the north, with lower than average airfares and hotel prices. 

Here are some of the highlights of things to do and see across Canada during the month of February.

Vancouver in February

This westernmost province sees average temperatures in the mid-30s to mid-40s (Fahrenheit) in the second month of the year.

 

The Hot Chocolate Festival is a month-long annual charity fundraiser, with dozens of bakeries, ice cream and coffee shops and chocolatiers participating. A great way to keep warm with a tasty treat during one of Canada's coldest month, the Hot Chocolate Festival begins in late January and concludes on Valentine's Day (February 14).

Vancouver also hosts free ice skating at Robson Square throughout the winter months. It continues through February. And don't miss the Dine Out Vancouver Festival, featuring prix fixe menus from Vancouver's finest restaurants over a nearly three-week celebration. Originally envisioned as a way to drum up business during the slower tourist season of January and February, Dine Out Vancouver has become a must-visit for foodies in western Canada. 

Toronto in February

The Toronto Light Festival is a relatively new art festival featuring light-themed art installations.

It runs from late January through mid-March. February is also the month when the winter culinary festival Winterlicious, featuring hundreds of Toronto restaurants, kicks off. 

And to mark the Chinese Lunar New Year, Toronto hosts the Qinhuai Lantern Festival in early February. The lantern festival is reminiscent of the new year events held all across China.

 

Montreal in February

The temperatures don't get much higher than the mid-20s (Fahrenheit) during February in Montreal, but there is plenty to do and see if you don't mind a little cold. 

Igloofest is an outdoor music festival started in 2007 that highlights local music. It's held at the Old Port of Montreal, and regularly draws thousands of visitors over its three-week run.

One of the highlights of Igloofest is the "One Piece Suit" competition, and no, it's not a swimsuit competition. Even Quebecois aren't baring it all in these temperatures. It's a snowsuit competition, which can draw nice prices for participants (and is a much more climate-appropriate option).

There's also the Montreal Snow Festival, or Fete des Neiges, which runs every weekend from mid-January to mid-February. It's held in Parc Jean Drapeau, with activities for the whole family, including a playground with ice sculptures, a hockey tournament, inner tubing, skating, sledding, and snow-shoeing. There are live shows and food as well.

And don't forget to check out Montreal's Festival of Lights or Montreal en Lumiere, which begins in February and runs through mid-March. The three-week festival features games, music, art displays and entertainment for families, and a vast array of culinary events, including the Festival of Quebec Cheeses.

 

Nova Scotia in February

If the Maritimes are more your cup of tea, February is a great time to visit Nova Scotia. In addition to a wide variety of winter sports, you can check out the Nova Scotia Heritage Day on the third Monday in February. The day celebrating the rich heritage of Nova Scotia, including the Mikmaq First Nations population, was created and named by local schoolchildren.