A followsummer post in collaboration with Expedia.ca
Suffering a bit of post-holiday winter cabin fever?
You may want to get out and enjoy what we ordinary winter-loving folks in Ontario love to do other than shoveling the white stuff: Get out and play in the white stuff!
Expedia.ca has called on followsummer’s winter expertise to track down some unique and unusual snow-laden activities available in Ontario this winter. So pack some winter woolies, check your snow tires and head further afield to one of these cold-weather outings and discover how Ontarians embrace their inner chilly winter selves with unique and one-of-a-kind winter activities.
Ontario Winter Fun at Twenty Valley’s Winter WineFest
The crackling fire pits and toasty warming stations that dot the streets of lovely Jordan Village will welcome you to their annual Winter WineFest, bringing together Niagara’s top winemakers and wineries to share great food, premium sparkling Ice, and other wines served outdoors during their annual winter festival. Join in the opening night concert on the main stage or go ‘underground’ and #shakethecave at Twenty Valley’s Cellar Speakeasy, the Cave Spring Barrel Cellar. Saturday dawns with the Winemakers’ Barrel Rolling Challenge or savour celebrity Chef David Rocco’s perfectly paired, four-course ‘Sparkling’ dinner with Niagara wines at the beautiful Inn on the Twenty. January 13th to 15th, Main Street, Jordan Village
Niagara Icewine Festival
If you are a fan of the frozen vine as I am, then the weekends of Jan 13-29th are the time to visit Niagara’s wine country. From fabulous gala evenings, glittering cool ice bars, and winery tours to sampling wonderful winter icewine inspired cooking and food, the 22nd edition of the Niagara Icewine Festival offers almost everything for all winter-loving tastes. Nibble and sip your way through some 30+ local wineries with your Discovery Pass Winery Experience. Ignore the poor imitations in provinces and countries elsewhere with pretensions to icewine mastery and enjoy the original product! 11:00 am – 5:00 pm January 13 – 29 In and around the Niagara Region
Connect with the cool winter locals and hit the ice (and in our case, perhaps literally!) as our notoriously chilly National Capital Region warms up with skating along the world’s largest skating rink, the Rideau Canal Skateway. Enjoy this month-long celebration of the 38th edition of Winterlude with its weird and wonderful snow and ice sculptures in the Crystal Garden, outdoor concerts, and frolicking in the world’s biggest snow playground, the Snowflake Kingdom or munch on Ottawa’s most famous pastry, a Beavertail from the Byward Market. Then head indoors and get your art on at the National Gallery. Added bonus: Ottawa is THE hip and happening center for Canada’s Happy 150th birthday! February 3 – February 20th Ottawa and Gatineau
Enjoy Muskoka’s Winter Season
In just three years, the Ice Skating Trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park has become one of Muskoka Tourism ‘s most popular winter attractions, as thousands of winter-loving Ontarians flock north to glide along this breathtaking skate through the forest. Recently named one of 19 Stunning Natural Ice Skating Rinks Around the World by Travel + Leisure, the deep-woods ice path is nightly lit with torches as skaters slide through the dark winter woods to an icy, fiery glow. The Trail’s season-opening is always subject to weather but typically the trail opens the beginning of January until roughly the second week in March. The best ice conditions tend to be during the week, so if you can arrive in Muskoka midweek, you will be rewarded with no crazy line-ups as you visit one of the province’s most popular winter ‘bucket list’ items. January-March Huntsville, Muskoka
Ontario Winter Night Sky Viewing
Monday, February 20th is Family Day in Ontario, and you can use the long weekend to take the kids to Muskoka and look up at the night sky to experience the vastness of space, view the universe and marvel at the icy air viewing at the Torrance Barren’s Dark-Sky Preserve. During the day, enjoy snowmobiling, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on one of the many Muskoka Lakes Recreational Trails.
BonSoo Winter Carnival
The popular and well-loved BonSoo Winter Festival in Sault Ste. Marie has been providing ten days of entertainment, rides, and the sometimes in poor taste, Bad Joke Tuesday with Mr. BonSoo since 1964. Newer, night-time events have been added to Ontario’s oldest winter fest. Enjoy the Valentine’s Day Food and Wine event and the popular Black History Month Dinner, an evening of food, art and performance, celebrating Black History in the local community. February 3 Opening Night: Sault Ste. Marie
Six More Weeks of Ontario Winter?
The kids will also enjoy Wiarton Willie’s Official Prediction Day, where more certain than a groundhog’s shadowy predictions are the hijinks and celebrations of the Wiarton Willie Festival, celebrating 60 years this year. Live entertainment, The Ground Hog Jog, a giant snowball fight, the Wake Up Willie PJ Party and fireworks intended to be loud enough to “wake up Willie” make this predictive weekend a must for the kids. January 27th to February 5, Wiarton
Start planning your Ontario Winter Play Weekend away and find a lovely Muskoka hideaway or intimate and romantic Ontario Inn of your dreams, road trip up to the Sault to meet Mr. BonSoo or spend some time in cool Ottawa and enjoy Canada’s Happy 150th. Embrace your wintery self and enjoy some snowy activities by building your Best of Ontario adventure with the Ontario Travel and Tourism Board’s Trip Planning Tool, where you can get attractions coupons or choose one of their popular travel itineraries.
Travel well to the snow in Ontario, my friends!
World Traveler, Writer, and Blogger, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the followsummer.com travel blog. A former Actor, current shower-singer, and non-hipster foodie. Loves his week-end house in St Marys, Ontario. Dad to Sophia, Ariel, and Hastings three of the best cats in the world.