Dine, dance and shop with these early winter events

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When you’re travelling through Alberta or BC, one of the best ways to get connected to local community is through food and events.

Wine tastings, food festivals and culinary workshops top our list of things to do in November and December around Western Canada.

Here are a few ways to cultivate your tastes as you travel, with thanks to our sister site, FestivalSeekers.com, for the listings.

Shuck away your cares in Tofino 

Head to Tofino to enjoy a luxurious weekend of bubbles and oysters at Tofino Oyster Fest, Nov 25 - 27, and a stay at Tin Wis Resort. The third week of November is the beginning of the oyster harvest in this area, and it is said that's when the oysters are the plumpest. 

Tofino's best chefs show off their oyster recipes for sampling during Tofino Oyster Festival.

Fill your weekend with samplings, soirees and shucking competitions, and return to the comforts of Tin Wis Resort in between outings. Pro tip: unlock savings with a Tin Wis bonus card (free with your stay), which includes discounts at Chocolate Tofino for dessert.

Dine and dance in Vermilion

In that order: check out Savor Vermilion on Nov 18 to sample the small town, prairie goodness of the local culinary scene, while Nov 19 you can catch a concert with The McDades. 

Vermilion Provincial Park offers a relaxing nature escape on a winter weekend away.

Take a winter walk or ski in Vermilion Provincial Park, just at the edge of town, and stroll through the downtown commercial district for some winter shopping as well. You can steal some tips from this itinerary.

Island hop and cultivate new skills

Hike through old growth forest and learn about conservation as you travel through BC’s rural islands. Book yourself in for a breadmaking workshop, a guided hike or visit local artisans to see the nature-inspired artistry of rural island living. 

As an example, on Nov 26, the community on Hornby Island has its annual Hornby Arts Winter Studio Tour, where you can find unique gift ideas for the holidays (or any time!).

For the rest of your island travels, check out these workshops and events to fill out your adventure.

Hornby Island celebrates the local arts community at its annual Hornby Arts Winter Studio Tour, Nov 26.

Upgrade your apres in Banff

From Nov 24 - 26, Banff brings Alberta’s craft beer scene to the mountains. Get out for some winter hikes, skiing or snowshoeing, then enjoy this hopping apres experience with over 50 craft brewers sharing out samples. For skiers and snowboarders, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay will all be open as of Nov 11, 2022, so bring your boards and sticks! 

The Jasper event, if you’re planning ahead, is February 10 - 12. Same great festival, different location, with tons of amazing winter activities to enjoy.

Score a winter doubleheader in Vernon  

Your Vernon double-header includes a nordic ski visit to SilverStar (or downhill!) with the resort opening Nov 12 for cross-country skiing and Dec 2 for downhill. 

Then, hit the Vernon Winter Carnival for all your apres needs. Read up on the Vernon winter experience here, and get planning.

With SilverStar Resort’s nordic ski trails opening Nov 12 & Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre (shown here), already open, click in for over 100 kms of groomed sliding.

Shop and drop in Port Alberni

We held off Christmas plugs to the end, but with Black Friday around the corner and Christmas on the way, you may want to start planning your festive season.

A shopping trip to Port Alberni will get you out of the malls, connecting to local makers and perhaps, putting a bigger smile on your face as you seek out those special things for those special someones. Here’s your guide

Some think of winter as the season to hibernate, hunkering down like bears in a cozy den. (Sidenote: curious about bear behaviour and their amazing hibernation abilities? We have a story on that.)

But there are so many great experiences in winter, including that always satisfying feeling of coming in from a brisk outdoor activity to the comforts of hot food and cozy, colourful indoor hospitality. It's the best possible way to warm up to winter!

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