Whether you’re in denial or have already reached the acceptance stage, winter is knocking at the door in Alberta. But that doesn’t have to mean staying home under a blanket—although that’s a great activity too—so we’ve got some great ideas for indoor and outdoor November fun.
Take in a spectacular frozen waterfall
Alberta is known worldwide for its amazing landscapes. And while there are ways to take in the mountains, lakes, and forests year-round, a breathtaking option that you may not have considered is to take in a frozen waterfall. The Johnston Canyon Hike in Banff National Park is one of the most popular hikes in Canada, but in the winter, the waterfall freezes and becomes a natural ice sculpture that is truly breathtaking. Discover Banff Tours offers twice-daily guided winter hikes to the falls that start running Nov. 12 and continue until mid-April. Before heading to any of Alberta’s national mountain parks, don’t forget your Parks Canada Discovery Passes at your nearby AMA centre. Members save $10 on family passes. You can also save $4 on annual adult passes or $2 on senior yearly passes.
Check out these great Alberta winter hikes
Pretend it’s still the Summer… of ‘69
While we all must accept that winter is upon us once November hits, there’s no reason why you can’t relive the spirit of summer with an epic show from Canadian icon Bryan Adams. The superstar’s So Happy It Hurts Tour will “cut like a knife” at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Nov. 6, and he’ll “run to you” at Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 9. So get ready to belt out—“straight from the heart”—some of his hit ‘80s and ‘90s classics, along with some newer songs from his latest album—which received rave reviews.
Enjoy a brightly-lit botanical walk
Luminaria is back for another year with a spectacular light show at the University of Alberta Botanic Gardens near Edmonton. This year’s Luminaria: A Winter Garden Story promises to take visitors through a beautifully designed light show styled after an alpine holiday market. A Woodland Express winter train and Winter Queen’s garden add to the family fun along with the traditional, peaceful candle-lit pathway in the Kurimoto Japanese Garden. The event runs in the evenings, Wednesday through Sunday, starting on Nov. 23.
Cheer on Canada in the FIFA World Cup
The world’s greatest soccer players will take to the pitch starting on Nov. 20 in Qatar for the 22nd FIFA World Cup, with Canada’s team qualifying for the tournament for only the second time ever. The Canadian team includes Alberta star player Alphonso Davies, who grew up in Edmonton and who has pledged to donate his earnings from the World Cup to charity. While Qatar might be a long way to travel—you can easily cozy up in some Alberta restaurants to cheer on the Canadian team with other fans. Don’t forget to double check the time of the games though—Qatar is nine hours ahead of Mountain Time. Canada’s first game takes place Nov. 23 at 12 p.m. MT.
If you want to save as an AMA member while you watch, head to Hudsons Canada’s Pub or Sherlock Holmes Pub to save 15%, or to State & Main or Original Joes to save 10%. You can also get an additional 5% cash back in reward dollars when you buy applicable restaurant gift cards directly from AMA.
The return of Black Panther
The latest Marvel blockbuster is set to bring the hero Black Panther back to the big screen on Nov. 11. Chadwick Boseman, who played the character in previous installments, passed away in 2020. Boseman’s performances were praised by fans and reviewers, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever promises to honour his life and role in the series.
Another flick that’s already getting Oscar buzz is The Fabelmans,a semi-autobiographical film written and directed by Steven Spielberg that’s out Nov. 23. The movie stars Michelle Williams and Paul Dano as the parents of Sammy Fabelman (Spielberg’s fictional counterpart—played by 19-year-old Gabriel LaBelle).
Don’t forget that you can save by grabbing Cineplex and Landmark movie tickets at AMA centres. You can also earn 5% cash back in rewards dollars if you purchase Cineplex gift cards through AMA.
Come face to face with a Wolfdog
An Alberta sanctuary that draws visitors from all over the world is the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary near Cochrane, just an hour from Calgary. The shelter houses 40 rescued wolfdogs—who live in 16 different packs—and offers daily interactive tours and self-guided walks through the 160-acre property. As their name implies, wolfdogs are part wolf, part dog and are usually bred as exotic pets. According to the sanctuary, their traits vary dramatically depending on the wolf content of the animal and how they were socialized. These beautiful canines are front and centre at the refuge, and they’re friendly with visitors. Seeing these dogs in any season is worth the trip, and the sanctuary is open year-round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Thursday to Monday—book your tour slots ahead of time online.
Head to the mountains for some beers après–ski
The Banff Craft Beer Festival is set to take place Nov. 24-26, and the event features beers, spirits, ciders and mead from all around the province (and beyond!). It’s the perfect excuse to plan a trip to the mountains for a bit of skiing followed by some tasting—especially since most ski hills in the area tend to open in early- to mid-November. If you’re looking for a place to stay while in the area, your AMA card gets you a 20% discount and a $50 dining credit at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and the Fairmont Banff Springs.