Six festive Canadian destinations off the beaten path

Kiss the big cities goodbye and indulge in some local flavour this holiday season

TORONTO, Dec. 16, 2013 /CNW/ - This year, unless you're a snowbird, you're likely planning to spend the holiday season embracing the cold weather like a true Canuck. But if you'd like to get out of your hometown and experience the festivities elsewhere, consider taking a break from what's tried and true. The travel experts at Hotels.com® want you to explore Canada this winter and have put together a list of under the radar cities perfect for travellers looking to celebrate the season.

"Yes, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are popular high-profile destinations, but there are fun holiday celebrations all across the country," says Taylor L. Cole, APR, travel expert at Hotels.com. "You'd be surprised at how much is going on and what you can discover if you're open to exploring some of the smaller cities."

  • Charlottetown, PEI: The Island is known for its beautiful scenery, and the holiday season is no exception. Imagine Anne of Green Gables with Christmas lights! Take a limousine tour around Charlottetown to see all of the lights in comfort before voting on the best-decorated house. Want a little more adventure? There are forested snowmobile trails covering the island providing hours of high-octane fun!
  • Charlevoix, QC: About an hour north of Quebec City, Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu in Charlevoix offers fun holiday activities from December 20 to January 2 including cupcake baking, movie nights, guided tours and holiday art and crafts. Nearby Le Massif de Charlevoix is true to its name as one of Quebec's largest and most popular ski hills and there's a spa - perfect after a long day on the slopes.
  • Morrisburg, ON: Ever wonder how Canadians celebrated the holidays in the 1800s? Visit Upper Canada Village, which is one of the largest living-history sites in Canada. Throughout December, the annual Alight at Night Festival allows you to enjoy romantic horse-drawn carriage rides through the streets of 1860 Canada, albeit covered with thousands of "modern" Christmas lights.
  • Winnipeg, MB: Winnipeg's Festival du Voyageurs is a winter wonderland with French-Canadian delicacies (including Caribou wine), historical re-enactments, and a beard-growing competition. Need we say more? You can also head over to The Forks to skate on 1.2 kilometres of icy trails.
  • Airdrie, AB: Located 30 minutes north of Calgary, the city of Airdrie boasts one of Canada's top holiday light shows. The Airdrie Festival of Lights runs every night through December. With a wide range of activities from bonfires to outdoor skating, you would need a miniature train to go around and try everything. Good thing they have one. You can also get your Christmas shopping done at nearby CrossIron Mills Mall.
  • Whistler, BC: Tired of the traditional holiday ski scene? Whistler Blackcomb heats things up with a Fire & Ice Show every Sunday night. Watch Whistler`s best skiers and snowboarders jump and flip through a blazing ring of fire accompanied by fire spinners, a DJ, and firework displays.

The end of the year is as great a time as any to try something new. Just grab your mobile, download the Hotels.com app, and you can start searching for the perfect place and hotel deal, regardless of where you are. Plus you can also pay it forward this season by sharing your favourite festive winter spots with other travellers by tweeting to @hotelsdotcomca using the hashtag #festiveCA.

About Hotels.com®
Hotels.com (also known in Canada as Hotels.ca) is a leading online accommodation booking brand. Through the Expedia, Inc. global network of websites, Hotels.com, LP connects travellers with more than 240,000 properties around the world, ranging from international chains and all-inclusive resorts to local favourites and bed & breakfasts, together with all the information needed to book the perfect stay. Hotels.com, LP benefits from one of the largest hotel contracting teams in the industry, obtaining the best rates for its customers, and offers frequent sales, special deals and promotions. There are more than 7 million Guest Reviews on the websites from users who have actually stayed in the hotels to ensure customers can make an informed choice when booking. Through Hotels.com, LP's industry-leading loyalty program Welcome Rewards™, customers can earn a free* night for every 10 nights stayed at more than 90,000 hotels. Under its Best Price Guarantee†, if a customer can find the same deal for less on a prepaid hotel, Hotels.com, LP will refund the difference. Travellers can book online or by contacting one of the multilingual call centers. Special apps for mobile phones and tablets can also be downloaded at www.hotels.com/deals/mobile_app/ enabling customers to book on the go with access to 20,000 last minute deals. Hotels.com publishes an award-winning twice-yearly review of international hotel room price trends called the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index™, which is now produced in 31 individual country editions, with North American data available at www.hotel-price-index.com. Follow Hotels.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Hotels.comCA, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/hotelsdotcomca and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/hotelsdotcom. More Hotels.com news is available at: http://press.hotels.com/en-ca/. Hotels.com, LP is part of Expedia, Inc., the largest online travel company in the world with an extensive portfolio that includes some of the world's best-known brands.

Hotels.com, Finding You the Perfect Place and the Hotels.com logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Hotels.com, LP. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. © 2013 Hotels.com, LP. All rights reserved. CST # 2083949-50

*Your free night is good at any Welcome Rewards eligible property. The maximum value of your free night is the average daily rate of your ten (10) nights. Your free night does not include taxes and fees.

† Best Price Guarantee on hotel bookings. If you find a lower price on exactly the same stay elsewhere, we'll match it or let you cancel your booking without a penalty.  Terms and conditions apply.

SOURCE Hotels.com

Image with caption: "Christmas away from the crowds? Make it happen this holiday season. (CNW Group/Hotels.com)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131216_C4872_PHOTO_EN_35021.jpg



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