Things to do & Places to stay in Ontario

JANUARY 17, 2019

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Strap on your skates at these Ontario Skating Trails

When you live in a place like Ontario, you either have to hibernate or you have to embrace winter. We think the latter makes the season go by MUCH faster. One way to enjoy the cold and snow is to visit one of Ontario’s skating trails. While we used to have to visit a rink to use our blades, now there are several beautiful trails that allow you to glide through nature.  By the way, Ontario’s city rinks are still a great place to skate; they also offer lessons for as little as $50 a term (8+ classes) and offer FREE Public Skating and free Shinny Hockey at many outdoor rinks. (see Toronto details here).

Central Ontario Region Trails

article1_jan172019.jpgWoodview Mountaintop Skating Loop is at the top of Blue Mountain & can be accessed via Scenic Caves Rd. This 1.1 km long trail runs through a wooded area and has outstanding views of Georgian Bay. Lighted night skating available on select nights. Huntsville’s Arrowhead Provincial Park Ice Trail is a 1.3 km ice trail through the park & is the longest outdoor man-made skating rink in Ontario. It fills up though, so if you can’t get in, try Port Carling’s Hanna Park Ice Skating Trail, a free of charge, 200m trail with a packed walking trail right beside it so parents or grandparents can keep a close eye on little ones. Or Cranberry Ice Trail, a 1.2 km loop around 12 acres of cranberries that offers hot mulled cider & wine –a great date place! Discovery Harbour has a 1.5 km Skate Trail with live outdoor entertainment, and this year, has snowshoes and tubing too.

SW Ontario Region Trails

article2_jan172019.jpgMcGregor Point Ice Trail, just south of Port Elgin,  has a spectacular 400-metre outdoor skating Oval with trail lights for skating under the stars until 10:00 pm every day of the week.  In Peterborough, you can skate on the Trent Canal under the lift lock. This section of the Trent River system is regularly flooded so not only is it well maintained, it has really wonderful skating conditions. Watch for the green/red flag to know whether the ice is safe for skating.

GTA Trails

article3_jan172019.jpgThe GTA is an urban area but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great place to find skating trails. Some of them are just in unusual places. Like the Bentway, for example, which runs between the concrete trestles of the Gardiner Expressway. This 1 km trail has DJ nights, hot cider and warming centres located in converted shipping containers. A bit out of downtown, in Brampton,  you can visit 2 trails. Chinguacousy Park​ is designed in a ‘canal’ shape with natural bends. It is so nice to enjoy the seating along the trail and watch the colourful skaters go by. Gage Park’s free skating trail has a DJ spinning tunes, fire pit and food too! Evergreen Brick Works Skating Rink isn’t a trail per se; it is an outdoor rink that weaves through garden areas under the roof of the old brick factory. The sides are closed but the roof is open to the stars.

Eastern and Northern Ontario Skating Trails

article4_jan172019.jpgThe Alice & Fraser Recreation Centre’s LV Skating Trail in the Laurentian Valley has a lovely natural ice trail through a scenic wooded area which is 1.5km long.  Running from the Sudbury Rowing and Canoe Club to Science North, the Ramsey Lake Skate Path is about 1.5 km long. Given its location in snowy Sudbury, the heated change rooms at both ends of the path offer a welcome place to rest and warm up.


Featured Events

Niagara Icewine Festival

January 11–27, 2019
Niagara and Niagara-on-the-Lake

featureevent1_jan172019.jpgTreat yourself to culinary and icewine delights as you travel along the Niagara wine route, sipping and savouring the best in local icewine, table wines and cuisine. For 3 weekends in January, the Niagara region is transformed into a wintry wonderland, with ice sculptures & outdoor street festivals. The Discovery Pass program allows you to indulge in 8 unique food & wine pairings at your choice of over 40 wineries across the Niagara Region. Find a DD and have some fun!

Fire and Ice Festival

Saturday January 26, 2019
Downtown Bracebridge

featureevent2_jan172019.jpgThis festival is a unique, family friendly winter carnival. “Fire” refers to the entertaining fire artist and several fire pits throughout downtown Bracebridge. "Ice" signifies a host of interactive ice displays, a huge downtown tube run and a skating trail in Memorial Park. Winter activities, birds of prey demonstrations, a road hockey tournament and carnival activities complete the fun for all ages. Affordable too! $5 per adult/children. Free for kids 5 and under.

Bloor-Yorkville Icefest

Saturday, Feb 24, 2019. noon – 8 pm
Sunday, Feb 25, 2019 noon – 5 pm
at Yorkville Park on Yorkville, Toronto

featureevent3_jan172019.jpgYou’ll be awed by the spectacular ice sculptures along Yorkville during the annual Icefest. Yorkville is transformed into a showcase of incredible sculptures and live ice carving demonstrations. It’s a perfect outing for the entire family. There will be plenty of food & drink to enjoy, of course, and activates for all ages. It’s a family friendly and FREE event. Enjoy!

Featured kids' adventure: Wave Pool in Richmond Hill

featured_jan172019.jpgIt doesn’t matter if there’s snow outside, you can still enjoy water fun! Grab the kids’ bathing suits and let them laugh and scream in delight at the Wave Pool in Richmond Hill.  Watch as they speed down a 100ft waterslide, splash against waves or lounge on water mats. Everyone can enjoy the warm, shallow swirl pool & sauna. Shallow area for small children & excitement for bigger kids. Open year round.



onlyinont_jan172019.jpgOttawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival
Did you know that the world’s largest Ice Dragon Boat Festival is right here in Ontario? The Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival takes place on the beautiful Rideau Canal Skateway. The dragon boats are equipped with skate-like blades and the competitors propel themselves along the course using spiked ice-picks. The festival also features free concerts, family activities, traditional Aboriginal dancers and Chinese lion dancers. It’s a perfect winter festival for everyone. February 8-9, 2019.

Print Edition

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