Things to do this winter in Ontario

things to do in Ontario this winter

As we say goodbye to double-digit temperatures, long warm nights, and beach days, winter is lurking around the corner. The minus degree Celsius type of weather won’t really stop us from having fun outside. So bundle up, Ontarians, and get these activities added to your bucket list! 

  1. Canada’s largest festival of lights

Niagara Falls’ Winter Festival of Lights returns this week through February. The annual winter tradition stretches over 8 kilometers in Niagara. The Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights began back in 1983 and is Canada’s largest illumination festival and the premiere illumination festival in North America, attracting over 1 million visitors and hundreds of motor coaches annually. Experience the spectacular displays with 3 million lights along the Niagara Parkway, from Queen Victoria Park through Dufferin Islands, and across Niagara Falls. There will also be the annual light shows, fireworks, family entertainment, and festival of stars. If you’re a big fan of lights, there are many more festivals of lights worth a checkout this winter such as The Lights on Stratford and Festival of Lights Sudbury.

2. The Distillery Winter Village

The current successor of the Toronto Christmas Market, The Distillery Winter Village will light up Toronto with a more intimate, elevated event starting this week. Expect festive decorations while getting indulged in 75+ local vendors offering curated seasonal items to gift your loved ones. Don’t forget to dine at both permanent restaurants and 12 new and exciting food cabins.

3. Skating at Canada’s largest skating rink

Rideau Canal in Ottawa turns into a skating rink come wintertime. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is approximately 202 kilometers in length securing Rideau Skateway considered as Canada’s largest skating rink and is believed to be equivalent to 90 Olympic ice hockey rinks. 

4. Blue Mountains winter playground

The Blue Mountains in Ontario are a real winter playground for skiing, sledding, snow-shoeing enthusiasts! With expansive snowy landscapes, miles of ski runs, luxurious accommodation, sumptuous spas including the must-visit Scandinavian Spa, and endless outdoor activities you can enjoy for an epic vacation just a few hours drives from The Big TO.

5. Cross country skiing

Muskoka has some of the best cross country ski trails in Ontario such as Arrowhead Provincial Park that is widely considered to be one of the top cross country skiing destinations in Canada. Stretched over 30km of meticulously groomed tracks waiting to be explored, Arrowhead Provincial Park should definitely be on the bucket list for the avid skier. Algonquin Park is another great cross-country skiing destination, with over 100km of trails carved out of a beautiful wilderness setting. Ontario’s most famous provincial park features three groomed, track-set trails and one wilderness trail. 

6. Dog-sledding in Huntsville

While dog-sledding used to be one of the main forms of transportation across long, snowy distances, Huntsville, Ontario now offers dog-sledding adventures that are a great family activity. Learn to mush and ride with your husky team as you travel through the winter wonderland of Muskoka before heading back to your hotel to warm up around a roaring fire.

7. Snowmobiling

With over 30,000 kilometers of marked, interconnected, uncongested, and maintained trails, Ontario is the snowmobile capital of the world. Find trails that are perfect for you, discover tour loops, plan an epic ride, or find a great club event to join. Both novice and seasoned sledders will love the thrill of riding Ontario’s scenic trail systems. 

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