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Ontario winter wonderlands.

Miriam Porter February 02, 2018
Four friends enjoying barbecue on a snowy day.

Despite the chilly and often downright freezing weather throughout Ontario this time of year, there is something to be said for a beautiful winter wonderland after a fresh snowfall. There are dozens of ways to celebrate the season, including participating in Georgian Bay’s frosty activities, night skiing, strolling through small town Ontario with a steaming hot drink, sleeping outside in a yurt if you dare or simply check out what your own city has to offer outdoors, such as the new Ontario Place in Toronto.

Have a nordic adventure in Collingwood.

A road trip to Collingwood in winter definitely qualifies as a winter wonderland experience, especially when your destination features panoramic views of Georgian Bay’s frosty landscapes. The Nordic Centre at Scenic Caves is open from now until the end of March seven days a week and is packed full of wintery activities. If you want to cross the breathtaking suspension bridge for a view of the entire countryside, strap on your snowshoes and start hiking. It stretches 420 feet and is Southern Ontario’s longest suspension bridge. Other activities here include cross-country skiing, exploring trails that wind through diverse forests and searching for wildlife, such as winter owls, deer and winter hares. After a few hours outside you will be ready to warm up with a cup of hot apple cider in a cozy chalet next to a wood stove right on site.

Woman snowshoeing.

Go night skiing at Blue Mountain.

If you’re already in the Collingwood area, a picturesque road trip to Blue Mountain is sure to fulfill your need for speed –­­ on the ski slopes that is. The epitome of a frosty winter wonderland is skiing down fresh snow at night with twinkling lights down below. You can purchase a night pass that will give you access to 30 freshly groomed night trails so you can ski starting at 3:30 p.m. and long after the sun goes down, but be sure to dress warmly. Night skiing can be a magical experience and introduce you to a new love of winter. No need to drive home that evening when you can stay overnight and relax indoors near the slopes. There are plenty of accommodations to choose from, including the Blue Mountain Inn, Chateau Ridge, Mosaic and Weider Lodge, which has year-round outdoor hot tubs open until 11:00 p.m. for another winter night-time experience.
Blue Mountain outdoor spa.

Walk around Paris with a hot drink.

Strolling through a small town in Ontario with snow all around you and a hot drink in your hand is the perfect way to enjoy the season. A road trip to Paris in the County of Brant definitely fits the bill. Paris is one of Canada’s prettiest little towns and upon arrival stunning architecture that dates back to Edwardian, Gothic and Victorian styles surrounds you. Start out by filling your thermos at Blue Dog Coffee Roasters located in the Wincey Mills development and open Monday to Saturday. Aside from serving hot coffee with freshly roasted beans, they have a variety of unique hot wellness teas to choose from. Sip on organic rooibos with coconut and fruit, go with pear and ginger or choose their mint medley either in the cafe or take your tea to on a stroll around the cute boutiques looking for treasures from Paris.
Young couple drinking hot tea outdoors in the city.

Bundle up, sit by the campfire or sleep outside.

Okay, so the whole sleeping outside in winter might not be for everyone, but should you want to spend the night surrounded by frosty nature you are in the right province. Take a winter road trip to Algonquin Provincial Park and stay in a yurt at Mew Lake for a peaceful experience. Yurts are mounted on a wooden deck floor with eight sides and a roof and are a cross between a tent and a rustic cabin. There are seven yurts for rent here and each one sleeps six people on futon bunk beds (but bring your own bedding, cookware and dishes). Don’t worry, these yurts come equipped with electrical heat, fluorescent lighting and one electrical outlet so you won’t freeze in the dark. There is even an outdoor fire pit to cook on and warm up next to. And of course once you are in Algonquin the world becomes a winter wonderland with endless outdoor activities all around you.
Group of people sitting around an open fire.

Experience winter at Ontario Place.

If you live in Toronto or surrounding areas you won’t need to drive too far to get to the newly rebranded Ontario Place. Admission is free to this fun winter activity on the waterfront, but be sure to dress for the weather, as it can get windy. Ontario Place is lit up with over 180,000 fairy lights shimmering on 150 trees for their exhilarating light exhibit. Artwork by local artists also weaves through the landscape for guests to check out. You can skate on the synthetic skating rink with the shores of Lake Ontario close by for a picture-perfect experience. Winter at Ontario Place is happening until March 18 and includes a toasty bonfire with concessions selling hot beverages during open hours.
Happy children ice skating.

Although it’s easy to complain about the cold, winter is an amazing time of year in Canada with tons of things to see and do so get out there and enjoy the season while you can!


Photo credit: Outdoor spa photo, courtesy of BlueMountain.ca