It’s been a gruelling winter and early signs indicate we’re not going to be let off the hook any time soon.
But that doesn’t mean we have to wait until spring to have fun. If you’re done hibernating (in your own condo, at least) and ready to go exploring outside the GTA, we’ve rounded up some fun places to spend your Family Day weekend.
Best of all, they’re all within 2 hours of Toronto.
It might seem like more of a summer-time trip, but as the stunning pictures of a frozen Niagara Falls showed us earlier in the year, the area has plenty to offer in winter time.
How far: 1h30 by car
What to do: Try something a little different by descending 125 feet and exploring 130-year-old tunnels through the bedrock on a Journey Behind the Falls tour or sample some ice wine – ’tis the season after all.
Long touted as a Brooklyn-esque alternative to Toronto living, Hamilton has plenty more to offer than just cheap(er) housing prices. Sophisticated architecture, pretty neighbourhoods, a cool music scene, and more waterfalls than you can see in a day make ‘The Hammer’ a perfect winter getaway.
How far: 1h10 by car, 1h20 by GO train.
What to do: Chow down at one of the many great eateries on trendy James St. North (Mezcal or Saltlick Smokehouse to name but two), check out one of the world’s flying Lancaster bombers at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and satiate your inner-city obsession with organic carrots at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market. Oh, and definitely hit up a frozen waterfall or two.
Thinking of making a trip to this village on the banks of the Grand and Irvine River? With original stone buildings from the 1800s and 80 foot limestone cliffs awaiting you in beautiful Elora, it’s not worth waiting until temperatures rise to plan a trip.
How far: 1h 30 + by car
What to do: Enjoy a day of hiking along the gorge or winter ziplining if you’re feeling brave. Then reward yourself with a pint in one of the many great drinking holes in Elora and nearby Fergus, like The Cellar Pub & Grill or the Fergusson Room Pub.
Feeling inspired by all the Olympians busting a move on the slopes right now? Good news: you’re only two hours away from shredding some powder this weekend (just promise us you’ll rent a helmet.)
How far: 2h by car
What to do: Ski, snowboard or fly through the trees on the Ridge Runner mountain coaster. For those who prefer their adrenaline rushes served in a wine glass, Georgian Hills offer self-guided snowshoe tours in the vineyards where you can learn about cool-climate wine making whilst tasting 5 of their best.
Theatre lovers may flock to Stratford for its festival in the summer, but there’s way more going on in this city on the Avon River all year round.
How far: 1h 55 by car
What to do: Enjoy fine dining from a future famous chef at the Stratford Chef’s School, then raise a glass (or four) at the Black Swan Brewing Co. or the Stratford Brewing Company. If you prefer something stronger, sample gin, vodka and whisky at Junction 56 distillery.
Slip on the world’s snuggliest white robe and kiss goodbye to all the stresses and strains of the 6ix for the day (or overnight) for the ultimate pampering.
How far: 1h 35 by car
What to do: Whether you opt for a Shiatsu Massage, a Contouring Mud Stone Wrap or simply spend your trip in the Fieldstone Grotto, you’re guaranteed to leave feeling like a million dollars. And don’t leave without trying the award-winning butter tarts from their on-site bakery. De-licious.