Family Day Long Weekend Activities and Events in & around Edmonton
Friday, February 12 – Monday, February 15, 2021
The long weekend is almost here! This year’s Family Day and Valentine’s Day fall on the same weekend in 2021, creating an abundance of family-friendly or romantic activities in Edmonton. If you are searching for fresh air and exercise, you can try a winter sport like skating or snowshoeing; if you’re more in the mood for thrills and adventure, you can try the more extreme sports of downhill snow tubing or ice-climbing; or, if you’d like some chill time at home for the weekend, try curbside pickup for the Oilers game, Valentine’s Day, or a casual brunch.
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1. Silver Skate ‘Create your Own Experience’
This year’s Silver Skate Festival adjusted the regular events to help us all experience the best of the fest in a safe and healthy manner. February’s freezing temperatures bring the silver lining of the Hawrelak Park Pond freezing over and becoming available for skating. In addition to skating and enjoying the fires around the Pavilion, the Festival features a wide array of outdoor art displays and their annual Snow Sculpture Garden. Silver Skate also adapted so they can still showcase an eclectic mix of local Edmonton musicians. As you skate, open your ears to a soundtrack of local talent- also playing at the Victoria Park Skating Oval. Looking for more information? Check out these 14 Things to do at the 2021 Silver Skate Festival.
2. Boardwalk Ice on Whyte Sculpture Tour
Fill up the thermoses, bundle up, and experience an urban winter walk like no other. Starting February 13, some central Edmonton streets will be dotted and decorated with large ice sculptures from a group of talented carvers: Mark Berge, Steve Buzak, Peter Fogarty, and Cliff Vacheresse. These displays will be well lit and provide the backdrop to walks through neighbourhoods like downtown and Jasper Ave., or Whyte Ave. and Old Strathcona. Watch for the Tour’s four artists hard at work after February 7.
3. Canadian Birkie Ski Festival
But what does Birkie mean!? Birkie, short for Birkebeiner, has quite old historic meaning, but in this case refers to a Nordic Ski Race which you can only find in Canada (Edmonton), the USA, and Norway. This 30+ year-old Birkie Ski Festival encourages activity and exercise in Edmonton’s coldest months and is an exciting way to learn how to cross-country ski from the best.
You can compete with skiers across the country by signing up for the Virtual Canadian Virtual Birkie. The Ski Festival runs February 12-21.
4. Deep Freeze Winter Byzantine Fête
Edmonton knows how to make the most of the cold. One way our city is great at doing so is through the many artistic, cultural, and historical winter festivals planned throughout. From February 5-14, you will find a number of these winter art displays and performances on Alberta Ave. with the Deep Freeze Winter Byzantine Fête. The event sprawls across Borden Park and seven different community leagues and will offer displays to visit in person and activities to enjoy virtually.
5. Try Ice-Fishing for Free Family Fishing Weekend
February 13-15 is the winter weekend for Alberta’s semi-annual Family Fishing Weekend. What better chance to try ice-fishing as a family? The recent deeper-than-frozen temperatures made the ice-fishing opportunities abundant for the weekend.
6. Skating Edmonton’s Iceways
Bring the family out to one of Edmonton’s three Iceways for an afternoon of skating and exercise. At the centre of the city, just down the hill from downtown, you’ll find the Victoria Park Skating Oval and Iceway (adjacent to one another); in the city’s east end, you can take the family to Rundle Park; and in Edmonton’s south Millwoods neighbourhood, you can skate the iceway in the parking lot of the Meadows Recreation Centre. Each iceway offers different scenery, as well as different and creative ways of lighting up the night for evening skates.
- Victoria Park: 12030 River Valley Rd.
- Rundle Park: 2909 113 Ave. NW
- Meadows Recreation Centre: 2704 17 St. NW
7. Ski or Snowboard and get it on Camera
Skiing and snowboarding does not always mean a trip to the mountains. This Family Day take everyone (and make sure to book online in advance) to one of Edmonton’s Ski and Snowboard Hills for an afternoon or evening of adventure and fresh air. If you’re new to the sports, check for your closest hill’s lessons; and if you consider yourself a bit of a pro, take on one of the many terrain parks! For a little extra healthy competition, Snow Valley is encouraging you to catch your best downhill memories on video so you can enter them in the #MySnowValley Video contest. Please note, face coverings are mandatory at all Edmonton ski hills.
- Snow Valley: 13204 Rainbow Valley Road NW
- Rabbit Hill: 20715 57 Ave. SW
- Edmonton Ski Club: 9613 96 Ave NW
- Sunridge: 10980 17 St. NW
8. Decorate at Clay & Cupcakes – ‘A sweet place to paint pottery.’
Family Day fun at Clay and Cupcakes, Looking for something to get your creative juices flowing for the weekend? Clay & Cupcakes hosts a uniquely sweet art experience with pottery painting and freshly baked cupcakes. Join them for an in-house Family Day special (with health restrictions closely followed; bring a mask), or pickup a to-go kit for at-home painting and sweets. Book soon, as space and materials are limited.
Clay & Cupcakes: 429 Parsons Rd SW
9. Watch the Oilers (beat the Jets) with a Gameday Dinner Special
On Family Day, theEdmonton Oilers take on the Winnipeg Jets at 7pm MTS. This makes for perfect timing if you want to watch the game from home or a friend’s couch while enjoying your dinner. Many Edmonton restaurants can help with your gameday meals and can help you save a little coin in the process. Read here for a list of pubs and eateries offering delivery or curbside pickup on some Gameday Specials.
Looking for a unique and exhilarating way to spend your weekend? Hop on a snow tube at one of two Edmonton ski and snowboard clubs: either the Edmonton Ski Club across the River from downtown, or Sunridge on the city’s east side. From the top of both hills, you’re rewarded with beautiful river valley views- day or night. Both hills ask that you book in online in advance, and wear a mask or face covering at all times during your stay.
The landscape of Edmonton makes for some wild tobogganing, a family friendly activity that is always free to enjoy. Bring your crazy carpets, sleds, or discs to any of Edmonton’s designated tobogganing spots and remember to practice social distancing on any of these hills:
- Castle Downs Park
- Emily Murphy Park
- Gallagher Park
- Government House Park
- Rundle Park – ACT Hill
- Rundle Park – Walton’s Mountain
- Whitemud Park North
12. At-Home Activities from RAM
The Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) is closed to in-person visits for the time-being. However, you can still access an amazing number of games, quizzes, activities, virtual visits, and stories from the museum website. Any of these virtual museum opportunities can make for a special Family Day spent in the comfort of your own home.
13. Explore Whyte Ave. and Old Strathcona
Old Strathcona is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking to see some historic Edmonton or support many of the area’s local shops, cafes, and restaurants. Additionally, part of historic Whyte Ave.’s alley was recently converted to pedestrian space with storefronts (behind the Strathcona Hotel). If you continue down this alley, Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park will appear to your north on 104 St.
The Park area is lit all year-round with colourful LEDs along the trees and gazebo.
After your walk, order yourself a cozy take-home meal from one of the area’s many local restaurants: MEAT, The Sugarbowl Cafe, DAAWAT Authentic Indian Restaurant, or Block 1912, for example.
14. Winter Picnic with Local Goodies
Picnics can’t be reserved exclusively for Spring and Summer in Edmonton; we have too many winter months! After a day of something like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or sledding, plan yourself a relaxing winter picnic in your own backyard. Pull out the firepit, fireplace, or propane pit, and make an order to a local café for your goodies. There are plenty of Valentine’s Day take-home specials you can choose from which coincide with Family Day to make ordering for your picnic quick and simple.
15. Romantic Hotel Staycation
With Valentine’s and Family Day within a day of one another this year, there are plenty of romantic opportunities across the city for your long weekend. Included in these opportunities are a few romantic staycation packages from various Edmonton hotels. These packages include in-room treats and wine, a one-night stay, and dinner. Choose from the Fantasy Land Hotel at West Edmonton Mall, Union Bank Inn downtown, or Rosslyn Inn and Suites in Edmonton’s north end.
16. Climb the Ice Wall
The Edmonton Ski Club and Alpine Club of Canada brought Edmonton a little bit of Rocky Mountain adventure this year with their climbable Ice Wall. Learn the basics of scaling the slippery surfaces of a wall of ice, just like you would on a frozen mountain waterfall. This is a great opportunity to try the sport before you head out to bigger slabs of ice and is located at the forefront of the downtown skyline.
- Edmonton Ski Club Ice Wall: 9613 96 Ave. NW
17. Explore Elk Island National Park
Enjoy the peacefulness and serenity of Canada’s National Parks just 20 minutes East of Edmonton on the Trans Canada. Within the park, you and your family can trek around Lake Astotin in your snowshoes, skate on the lake, and enjoy a fire by night. Elk Island is also within the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve which means the stars extend for what seems like forever in a clear sky and a possibility of catching the aurora. On your drive into the Park, keep your eyes open and cameras ready for bison! They freely roam the park at all hours of the day and are often found sleeping in groups beside the road at night.
- Elk Island National Park: 54401 Range Rd. 203, Fort Saskatchewan
18. EPL Virtual Family Event
Join the Edmonton Public Library on Zoom for Family Day and Explore Ocean Life. The new Stanley A. Milner library is home to a large aquarium of ocean fish, and your ocean exploration will be led by the aquarium’s caretakers and experts: Alberta Dao and Harvey Wong. Register here– space is limited.
19. Spread the Love in Capilano
What better way to spread some love on Family Day Long weekend than with Valentine’s Candy Grams? Purchase a $6, $15, or $20 chocolate Candy Gram from the Community League, and have the Capilano Cupid hand-deliver your special gift to a special someone. As this is an effort from the Capilano Community League, Candy Gram recipients do need to live in Capilano, but the sender does not. All Candy Grams orders need to be placed by February 11, and the profits will go to the Edmonton Food Bank.
20. Glass Art at Under the Sun
It might snow outside for Family Day or Valentine’s, but you can escape to Under the Sun: Stained Glass and Art Studio for a little bit of family time. TheValentine’s Kids Create workshops can be set up in person at the studio, or you can request a take home activity kit too. With this workshop, your children can create beautiful hanging glass hearts, decorated in any colourful way they desire.
- Under the Sun: 4915 50 Ave., Leduc
21. Brunch from Home
Wake up to a gourmet meal that you do not have to cook or prepare! Choose from a number of local Edmonton restaurants who don’t want you to miss out on their breakfast or lunch offerings. These family-friendly meals often include kid’s options, or a more adult brunch with some mimosas on the side; no matter how you brunch, there are plenty of options for afternoon snacking all around Edmonton. See a few below for example:
- High Level Diner: 10912 88 Ave. NW
- Tiramisu Bistro: 10754 124 St. NW
- Barb & Ernie’s Old Country Inn: 9906 – 72 Ave. NW
22. Sample Sweets
During the combined Valentine’s and Family Day long weekend, it is easy to take advantage of sweet deals across the city from local shops. These are literally sweet deals from bakeries and donut shops around Edmonton who prepared special Valentine’s menus and treats. Help support local this upcoming long weekend with specialized spread of desserts, donuts, and other baked/sweet goods. Check out this list of 25 Edmonton shops offering Valentine’s Day treats. And it doesn’t matter what area of Edmonton you are in, there are great local businesses across our region.
23. Happy Hour at Home
Many of us are missing not only the cheap drinks of happy hours, but the social aspect of getting together after work for a drink. Or heading to a restaurant after a day out with friends. But with outdoor gathering restrictions being loosened, we can come a little closer to the happy hour vibe once again with at home Cocktail Kits. This is another great opportunity to support local in Edmonton; choose from some of these local pubs and bars who offer unique, creative, or just-plain-tasty DIY cocktails:
- Woodwork: 10132 100 St. NW
- Mercer Tavern: 10363 104 St. NW
- The Bothy Wine and Whisky Bar: 5482 Calgary Tr. NW
- El Beso: 10432 Jasper Ave.
- Dorinku Osaka: 10328 Jasper Ave.
24. Dinner and a Magic Show at the Westin
Experience a night out like one you probably haven’t experienced since Valentine’s Day 2020. The Westin will put you and another up in a King room with a bottle of white or red wine after a 3-course Valentine’s Day dinner, and the magical performance of Sheldon Casavant. The event is structured and controlled with temperature-taking, social distancing, mask requirements around the hotel, and no mingling among guests of the show.
25. Support the Citadel Theatre from Home
A night out at the theatre would be lovely right about now, but how about a night of theatre and music on your couch while in your pyjamas? The Citadel Theatre adapted their regular showings for virtual and have two experiences you can enjoy from home. The first of the two is a musical experience with the Living Room Love Songs concert featuring three songs from each of the following artists: Nuela Charles, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, John Wort Hannam, Tara Jackson, Audrey Ochoa, and Farren Timoteo.
Or if you need some new streaming content, check out Mary’s Wedding by Stephen Massicote, adapted by Tai Amy Grauman, and directed by Jenna Rodgers. Mary’s Wedding runs until November 2021, so you can space out your support for the Citadel and enjoy both performances over the long weekend.
26. Rent Snowshoes and Explore the River Valley
Exploring the abundant Edmonton parklands by snowshoe is an activity which could fill your entire long weekend. On top of the city’s expansive river valley (winding through the centre of Edmonton, west to east), there are numerous parks within the old and new neighbourhoods of Edmonton. These wide parks, fields, and pathways create perfect trails for snowshoers who are in search of winter exercise. No need to worry if you are short a pair of snowshoes; these following sports outfitters have you covered with rentals:
- River Valley Adventure Company: Louise McKinney Park – 9735 Grierson Hill NW
- Totem Outfitters: 7430 99 St. NW