Snow days: Get out and enjoy winter

Jan 26th, 2018 | By | Category: Adventure, Featured

By Katharine Fletcher

During winter’s days of snowdrifts and sunshine, many outdoorsy events and activities beckon. Sure it may be cold outside, as anyone who’s survived our December and early January deep freeze can attest. But winter also brings with it some glorious days where if we bundle up, we will thoroughly enjoy being outside.

Check out these ideas, and get going… outdoors.

Ontario

125th celebrations in Ontario Provincial Parks

Throughout the province there’ll be many celebrations at provincial parks, so watch for them. Also, check parks’ websites for interesting wintery workshops and activities.

Info: ontarioparks.com/op125/events

Frontenac: Winter Camping Trip Planning, Feb. 10

Learn all about planning for winter camping, from assessing your route (and your fitness level) through to planning your menu. Or, just check out the trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Info: frontenacpark.ca/pages/WildernessSkills.html

Murphy’s Point: Tay Valley Ski Club Loppet, Feb. 11

Loppets are cross-country ski races and here there are 5, 10 and 20 kilometre races coursing along groomed trails.

Register/more information: tayvalleyskiclub.wordpress.com

Algonquin: Winter in the Wild, Feb. 17

The Friends of Algonquin Park help us celebrate the 125th along the Highway 60 Corridor with such events as guided bird walks, skating, snowshoe excursions, chilli lunch and barbecue supper. Fees applicable.

Info: ontarioparks.com/park/algonquin

Silent Lake: Cabin Rental

Create your very own celebrations of parks in winter by taking all your bedding, pots and pans and food, towels and other personal items to one of their cabins (or yurts). Enjoy a cozy night’s stay and cooking on the barbeque after a day of skiing or snowshoeing.

Info: ontarioparks.com/park/silentlake/camping

Dion Frontenac snowshoe races

I’d never heard of snowshoe races before but they sound like fun for keeners. Some of these races require pre-race-day registration, others (such as at Summerstown Forest 10 minutes from Cornwall) allow us to register on the actual day itself. Check out the website and consider joining these heart-healthy events. Jan. 27 (Northumberland County); Feb. 3 (Frontenac Provincial Park); Feb. 10 (Summerstown Forest); Feb. 24 (Frontenac Provincial Park)

Info: healthandadventure.com

40th Annual Winterlude Winter Festival Feb. 2-19

Dress up uber-warmly for the skating along the Rideau Canal Skateway. Cheer on the Ice Dragon Boat Festival participants. View ice sculptors carving their masterpieces during the International Ice-Carving Competition. Play with the kids at the Snowflake Kingdom. View Mosaïvernales Gatineau 2018, a set of snow and ice sculptures based on last summer’s popular horticultural sculptures in Jacques Cartier Park. All this plus, of course, the annual  Bed Race and more, right here at home during Winterlude’s three “first weekends in February” annual festival.

Info: ottawatourism.ca/ottawa-insider/winterlude

Lumina Borealis: Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada
Kingston, (until Feb. 19)

Family-oriented magical sound and light show revealing the beauty and spirit of winter “where only a warm heart can know it.” Watch the old fort spring to life, where you’ll be wandering outside on a 1 km trail through the grounds.

Info: luminaborealis.com

Quebec

Brewery Creek Skating
69 Montcalm Street

Tucked away on Montcalm Street is a small skating rink on “Brewery Creek,” that watercourse which creates the island of Old Hull. Come for a skate then why not head to Soif (88 Rue Montcalm), sommelière Veronique Rivest’s Wine Bar? Go for the locally sourced delicious small plates of “tapas like” foods, well-paired with a fine wine.

Info: bit.ly/2DjPAaR

Annual Duhamel Snowshoeing
festival, Feb. 24

From novice to expert, bring your snowshoes and join the festivities in Duhamel, just north of Lac Simon. Explore several forested snowshoeing trails, then in the village watch a hockey game at 3:30 pm, and enjoy a hot supper at 5. A great day in a lesser-known, beautiful region of the Outaouais.

Info: bit.ly/2mFTPCE

Carnaval de Quebec: Quebec City
Jan. 26 to Feb. 11

From the St-Hubert Snow Bath (really… take your bathing suit?) to watching the canoe race across the St. Lawrence River, to attending the Charlesburg night parade – and many more spectacles, Carnaval teaches us all how to celebrate winter with Quebecoise joie de vivre!

If you’ve never been – or have been several times, just go and catch the vibe in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Useful websites

Discover many, many more events to capture your interest at Ottawa Tourism (ottawatourism.ca) and Tourisme Outaouais (tourismeoutaouais.com).

Katharine Fletcher is a freelance writer, author and visual artist. Visit her at katharinefletcher.com

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