U of A Winter Closure Information and Resources

It’s holiday time in Canada, and the end of December is when many people take a break from work. This includes the University of Alberta community.

Canadian Year-End Holidays

  • December 24: most businesses and services in Edmonton will close early.
  • December 25 (Christmas Day): most businesses, including grocery stores and restaurants, will be closed, except for some convenience stores and essential services.
  • December 26 (Boxing Day): this is a great day to go shopping for good sales, but keep in mind that stores will be very crowded. Most everything will be open except banks, government offices, universities, and post offices.
  • December 31: most businesses and services in Edmonton will close early.
  • January 1 (New Year’s Day): most businesses and services in Edmonton will be closed.

University Winter Closure 

Annually the U of A Winter Closure typically occurs during the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. All University buildings will be closed during this time, and most staff will be away from the office. 

The 2023 Winter Closure is from Saturday, December 23, to Monday, January 1. U of A offices will reopen on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, at 8:30 AM.


If you plan to travel outside of Canada during the break, be sure to take a look at our UAlberta Travel to Canada for current information. Until December 22, you can connect with an International Student Specialist via i-Advise to confirm what you need to do when re-entering Canada.
Wellness Resources

While University of Alberta offices are closed, students can still access the following campus wellness services:

  • Welltrack - online mental health self-assessment and resilience-building tool
  • SAC/AASAS Sexual Violence Text Messaging and Phone Support Services

University Health Centre Physician On Call (780-492-2612) - although the clinic will be closed, existing patients requiring support from the UHC team can call the Physician on call to access outstanding labs and medical records. Messages can also be sent to clinicians via the UHC's Medeo healthcare portal.

Students are also encouraged to access any of the following community support services:

211 Alberta 2-1-1
Connect to the community and social services that are right for you.

ACCESS 24/7 780-424-2424

Alberta Mental Health Help Line 1-877-303-2642
Access confidential, anonymous crisis intervention, information about mental health programs and services, and referrals.

Child Intervention Service 1-800-638-0715
Call with concerns that a child or youth is being neglected or abused by a parent or guardian.

Distress Line for Edmonton & Area 780-482-4357 (Edmonton)
Call the Distress Line to talk through a crisis that you or someone you know is experiencing.

Edmonton Police Services Non-Emergency Line 780-423-4567 or 377 (mobile)

Empower Me: 1-833-628-5589
Mental Health services for Undergraduate students

Hope for Wellness Help Line 1-855-242-3310
The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada.

Health Link Alberta 8-1-1
Access quick and easy advice from a registered nurse. They will ask questions, assess symptoms, and determine the best care for you.

Homewood Health:  1-877-303-2642
Mental Health supports for Grad students

Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
Bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, web counselling, and referral service for youth under the age of 22.

Trans Lifeline 1-877-330-6366
A non-profit hotline dedicated to the well-being of transgender people.

For Crisis Support:

  • Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741
  • Distress Line: Call 780-482-4357 or click here to access chat services
  • More comprehensive resources are listed here
Emergency Contact Information

If you experience an emergency during this time period, please contact:

Just Arrived in Canada or Edmonton?

If you need a place to stay for a short time check out our information about temporary housing.

If you have not already done so, try our International Student Online Orientation. It has useful information to help you as you get settled in Edmonton.

Come into the International Service Centre for a drop-in orientation starting January 2 to get a welcome gift and helpful information to start life in Edmonton. No registration is required. 

Our International Student Specialists will be available to welcome you starting at 9:00 AM on Thursday, January 4 at the International Services Centre in this building. Stop in to meet with them!

Winter Edmonton Fun and Events during the Break

Staying in Edmonton? Take the opportunity to spend time doing something fun and relaxing with friends.

Suggestions for Winter Fun
  • Renting equipment for winter fun
  • Ice Skating
    • Many communities around the city have free outdoor rinks for the public to use. Here is a list of outdoor rinks. You may need to rent/borrow/buy your own skates before you get there.
  • Sledding
    • There are a lot of hills in parks and schoolyards where you can find people sliding. A slide can cost as little as $5 and afford a day of fun. You may want to consider wearing a helmet. Here are some of the best Edmonton Hills.
  • Watch movies
    • Maybe try one of the theatres with more character, or one of the smaller venues like The Metro Cinema, or the Varscona.
  • Boxing day shopping!
    • This is like the Canadian version of Black Friday. Bargains and sales can be found in many retail shops.

Making new friends at the U of A?

Registered Psychologist Maddalena Genovese (Dear Maddi) shares advice and insight into developing deeper connections with friends and addressing the barriers that might be getting in the way. Read more.

Edmonton events during the winter break

Here are more events during the holiday period. Check out their websites to learn more.