12 outdoor experiences to try in Ontario this winter

Dec 13 2019, 9:39 pm

When the frigid temperatures arrive in Toronto this winter, the most obvious reaction is to lock yourself indoors and binge-watch your favourite show.

But there are so many winter activities to enjoy during the chillier months that you’ll definitely feel good for braving the cold.

And it turns out, our beautiful province is home to a number of traditional winter activities, some of which are already open for the season.

Niagara Helicopter Tour

To truly appreciate the beauty of the falls, visitors must see the falls from above — especially in wintertime, when the mist from the falls covers the trees and freezes. Making everything look like a frozen winter wonderland.

Address: Niagara Falls, ON
Status: Open

Ice Climbing


Experience the thrill of climbing 70-100 vertical feet of beautiful chandelier ice clinging to the granite cliffs nestled in the hardwood forests of Muskoka.

Address: LIV Outside — 271 Ecclestone Drive, Bracebridge
Status: Opening in January and runs through to March

Upper Canada Village Alight at Night

The historic village will be adorned with over one million lights this winter, becoming Ontario’s largest outdoor light festival, Alight at Night. From the enchantment of horse-drawn wagons to a life-size toy train, this holiday road trip will take you to a magical place.

Address: Upper Canada Village
Status: Open now

Arrowhead Skating Trail

If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle of the city to enjoy our beautiful province during the height of winter, you may want to consider loading up the car and heading to Arrowhead Provincial Park. Here you’ll find an incredible winter oasis, complete with cross-country skiing, snowshoeing trails, snow tubing, and most importantly, a skating trail that winds through the picturesque evergreen forest in an idyllic winter wonderland setting.

Address: 451 Arrowhead Park Road, Huntsville
Status: Opening late December/early January

Snowshoeing at Christie Lake Conservation Area

Head an hour west of the city and you’ll discover one of the best-kept snowshoe trails for beginners. Here you’ll find easy trails that weave in and out of forests, and with no shortage of signs and directions means you can spend an entire day exploring this beautiful conservation area. 

Address: 1000 Highway 5 West
Status: Open

Skating on the Rideau Canal

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Under four hours from Toronto, you’ll find the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink that runs 7.8 kilometres long. Spend an afternoon skating down the canal as you take in the views of our nation’s capital. However, an afternoon of skating isn’t complete without enjoying a Beavertail, the iconic Canadian indulgence.

Address: Ottawa, ON
Status: Opens mid-winter

Scandinavian Spa

The Scandinavian baths in Blue Mountain are known for their relaxing power, not to mention they are located in a surreal setting and are open throughout the fall and winter. So if the idea of getting out of the city for a day, slipping into a comfortable robe, enjoying a massage, and then jumping into a few rejuvenating baths sounds like a good idea to you, a trip to the Scandinavian spa is essential this winter.

Address: 152 Grey County Road 21, The Blue Mountains
Status: Open

Snow Tubing at Ski Snow Valley

Snow Valley in Barrie offers the best snow tubing terrain in Ontario. With a snow tube rope tow and lots of chutes with large lanes, so you can go down with a group, Snow Valley is the place for snow tubing.

Address: 2632 Vespra Valley Road, Minesing
Status: Opens in winter

Canada’s Largest Festival of Lights

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The annual winter tradition stretches over 8 km in Niagara, and will run through to the end of January. 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.

Address: Niagara Falls, and Niagara Parks Queen Victoria Park

Toronto Christmas Market

christmas market

Courtesy Toronto Christmas Market

You can definitely get into the holiday spirit at the Toronto Christmas Market. The Market will feature entertainment, beer gardens, vendors, and a whole lot of Christmas cheer. Get cozied up, and head down to the Distillery District to experience its magic. This holiday tradition will also feature one of the city’s largest real Christmas trees this year, which will be over 50 feet high and have over 18,000 ornaments and lights.

Address: The Distillery District, Toronto
Status: Open

Skiing at Blue Mountain

While it’s not Whistler, Blue Mountain is located along the shores of Georgian Bay. Blue Mountain is the area’s largest ski and snowboard resort. For those not interested in hitting the slopes, there’s tubing, skating, snowshoeing, mountain coasting, and spas galore.

Address: Blue Mountain Resort, 108 Jozo Weider Blvd
Status: Open now

Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

Scenic Caves in Collingwood has an incredible snowshoe and cross-country skiing trail that goes across a massive, 420-foot suspension bridge giving you views of the most picturesque winter landscapes.

Address: 260 Scenic Caves Road, Blue Mountains
Status: Open

DH Toronto StaffDH Toronto Staff

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