Photo: Skating on the Rideau Canal / Ottawa Tourism
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Worried about the winter blues? Here’s the perfect cure: venture out and experience some of the many winter activities that Ontario, Canada, has to offer!
From participating in thrilling winter sports like skiing and snowboarding to simply enjoying spectacular snow-laden landscapes, Ontario offers a range of winter activities that cater to adventure seekers and luxury travellers alike.
Whether you’re racing down a snowy slope or sipping cocoa by a frozen lake, Ontario ensures your winter is filled with memories that will last a lifetime. Check out our guide to some of the best winter activities in Ontario to learn more.
The Best Things To Do in Ontario in Winter
Get Your Skates On in Toronto
The Bentway in Toronto is an innovative attraction that makes use of normally overlooked patches of land, much like New York‘s Highline. It serves as a contemporary hub for both locals and tourists who enjoy skating and is a must-visit during Toronto’s winters.
Currently stretching 1.75 kilometres from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street, The Bentway connects to the historic Fort York Visitors Center. On a cold day or evening, relish some hot chocolate and enjoy a skating session at this fun outdoor rink. As summer approaches, expect outdoor concerts and rotating art exhibits, all under the massive Gardiner Expressway.
Situated in the heart of downtown Toronto, Nathan Phillips Square is another great place to lace up your skates. Illuminated by the bright lights of the huge ‘TORONTO’ sign overlooking this public space, skating here, especially during the evening, is a magical experience. Don’t miss the weekly DJ nights for a skating party under the stars.
Here for the weekend? Check out these articles about great places to stay in Toronto for ideas about where to lay your head for the night:
Snowboarding and Skiing in The Blue Mountains
Blue Mountain Resort, located near Collingwood, is Ontario’s largest ski resort. With numerous ski and snowboard runs catering to all levels, it’s long been a favourite for winter sports enthusiasts. If you’re new to the sport, lessons are available. And when you’re done hitting the slopes, the cozy cafés and restaurants in this faux Alpine village beckon with a warm beverage.
Prefer to do your skiing at a ski club of your own? Check out our feature article on The Top Private Blue Mountains Ski Clubs to find out more about some of the best private slopes in Ontario.
Planning on making a mid-week or weekend break of it? Check out this content from our LuxuryCollingwood site for more ideas about where to stay in The Blue Mountains:
Celebrate Niagara’s Winter Wine Festivals
For icewine enthusiasts, January is the month to be in the Niagara Region. The Niagara Icewine Festival promises everything from luxurious gala nights to shimmering ice bars, winery tours, and tasting sessions. Indulge in over 30 local wineries with the Discovery Pass Winery Experience.
For a grand night out, the Niagara Icewine Festival Gala at Fallsview Casino Resort is an affair not to be missed. Celebrate Canadian flavours and savour over 100 VQA icewines and table wines, all while soaking in a mesmerizing view of the Falls.
Benchlands Winter WineFest is another great excuse to let your hair done a little during the winter months. This post-festive gathering in the beautiful Jordan Village unites Niagara’s foremost winemakers and wineries in an unforgettable winter street party where you can indulge in sumptuous food and the finest sparkling ice wines. And as the day gives way to night, the Ultimate Twenty Valley Showcase Dinner awaits, with the region’s top chefs and winemakers offering a feast at the Inn on the Twenty.
And how better to enjoy this must-attend event than by staying over after the party? Check out this content about the best places to stay in the Niagara Region for ideas and inspiration:
Ottawa’s Winter Wonderland: Winterlude
Every February, Canada’s capital celebrates winter in style with its wonderful month-long Winterlude festival. The Rideau Canal, the world’s largest skating rink, is the festival’s crown jewel. This engineering marvel is turned into the Rideau Canal Skateway, at nearly eight kilometres in length the world’s longest skating rink.
Other festivities include an array of snow and ice art at the Crystal Garden in Confederation Park, outdoor musical performances, and plenty of family fun at the Snowflake Kingdom, the world’s grandest snow playground. For more on this incredible event, as well as other memorable winter escapades near Ottawa, explore the official Winterlude Website.
For ideas and inspiration about great places to stay in Ottawa over the winter months, check out these great stories:
Magical Muskoka’s Skating Trails
Few places in Ontario can claim to be quite as magical as Muskoka when the snow flies. Those in the know will head to the attractive town of Huntsville, home to the superb Ice Skating Trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park. This must-visit attraction in Muskoka has in the decade or so it’s been open risen to the top of many lists of the best things to do in Ontario in winter.
This 1.3 km trail through the woods is enchantingly illuminated with torches by night, creating a sublime blend of frost and flame for skaters to discover. Snowshoe trails are also available and are easy for newbies to navigate. Trails are open usually starting in early January and extending to around mid-March (weather-depending), you can find out more on the park’s official website here.
Make the most of your visit by making a long Ontario weekend getaway of it with a stay at one of Muskoka’s best resorts included in these great articles:
Bryan Dearsley is a luxury lifestyle and travel writer. He’s also a Co-Founder of Riley International Media.