Explore Ontario: Top Activities and Cuisine for Winter Fun

Exploring the Best Things to Do in Winter in Ontario

Now that you’ve got an overview of the white wonderland Ontario morphs into during winter, let’s investigate deeper into specific activities. We split them into two categories for easy navigation: outdoor adventures and cultural experiences. It’s all about embracing those frosty days, layering up, and taking the chill head-on. Ontario’s winter might be cold, but it’s packed full of heart-warming surprises.

Outdoor Adventures

First up, let’s talk adrenaline. Sure, winter might make you think of cosy fires and hot chocolates, but Ontario turns up the heat in its own way. Let’s see what outdoor adventures you’d be missing, if you’d choose to stay indoors.

  1. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing: Ontario’s forests, dusted with fresh snow, offer trails that are perfect for snowshoe treks. For example, the Scenic Caves Nature Adventures in Blue Mountains presents a unique snowshoe experience across suspension bridges! If you’re more into gliding than stepping, cross-country skiing might be your game. The Kawartha Nordic Ski Club offers over 46 km of skiing trails.
  2. Ice Fishing: Like a seasoned Ontario local, try your hand at ice fishing. Towns like Lake Simcoe, known for its winter perch and pike, offer rental “ice bungalows” with everything you’ll require for a phenomenal ice fishing trip.
  3. Snowmobiling: Experiencing Ontario’s winter lake district from the back of a snowmobile, now that’s excitement. Over 30,000km of interconnected, groomed trails are at your disposal. The Haliburton Forest, for one, is a fantastic launch pad for your snowmobile odyssey.

Cultural Experiences

After those pulse-raising activities, if you prefer basking in the local culture, Ontario’s got you covered there too. Ferocious winters aren’t a hindrance in the cultural sphere, they’re a catalyst.

  1. Igloo Dine-Ins: The Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse in Niagara Falls offers a unique dining experience. Here, you can have a meal inside heated igloos, watching the winter wonderland outside while savouring succulent dishes.
  2. Winter Festivals: From Niagara’s Winter Festival of Lights to Ottawa’s Winterlude, winter festivals in Ontario are a riot of colour, music, ice sculptures, and endless fun.
  3. Art Galleries and Museums: Beat the chill by hopping into one of Ontario’s many museums or art galleries. The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, housing over 6 million artifacts, can keep you engaged and warm for days.

Remember, the beauty of Ontario in winter lies in its diversity. Whether it’s outdoor adventure or cultural experiences, there’s always something to explore during the snowy season.

Top Winter Sports Activities in Ontario

Ontario’s winter atmosphere isn’t just for quiet contemplation; it’s also a stage for thrilling sports activities. Strap on your snow boots, it’s time to investigate deeper into Ontario’s most engaging winter sports spectacles.

Skiing and Snowboarding Destinations

Ontario’s snow-clad hills aren’t just beautiful, they’re also perfect for some adrenaline-pumping downhill action. Skiing enthusiasts find joy in stunning resorts like Blue Mountain, boasting of 42 different trails for all skill levels. Don’t worry if you’re a newbie; many resorts such as this offer ski lessons for beginners.

Similar to skiing, snowboarding is another popular winter sport in Ontario. Horseshoe Resort and Mount St. Louis Moonstone, for example, offer diverse snowboarding terrains for different skill levels. So, whether you’re an expert shredder or just starting to slide, Ontario has got you covered.

Ice Skating Venues

Ice-skating in Ontario isn’t just a sport; it’s a tradition. You can twirl around at Toronto’s iconic outdoor rink, Nathan Phillips Square, with a city hall backdrop that’s magically lit at night. If you want to skate surrounded by nature, head to Arrowhead Provincial Park. Here, the 1.3 km ice trail meanders through lush forests, offering an almost fairy-tale skating experience, if the weather’s right.

Several arenas and community centres, including Mississauga’s Iceland Mississauga, also host indoor ice-skating sessions. So, whether you prefer your winter adventure under a starlit sky or inside a cosy rink, Ontario ensures your ice-skating dreams glide into reality.

Festive Events and Markets

Ontario’s winter magic isn’t limited to dynamic outdoor pursuits or enriching cultural experiences. It extends to the vibrant festive events and markets that pop up across the province.

Holiday Markets

Ontario is home to numerous holiday markets during the winter months, providing shoppers with numerous local, handmade items. An example of this is Toronto’s Distillery District Christmas Market, a notable market where you can find everything from unique gifts, delectable food, and, of course, holiday spirits. Contrary to outdoor adventures like snowshoeing or ice skating, these markets offer you a warm, fragrant, twinkling atmosphere that breathes life into the chilly winter days. And don’t forget, it’s also an opportunity to support local businesses!

Winter Festivals

Ontario proudly hosts a variety of winter festivals. The Ottawa Winterlude, for instance, pulls in visitors from across the globe, with its iconic ice sculptures, music concerts, and gastronomic delights. Meanwhile, the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights transforms the night with illuminating displays you won’t want to miss. Niagara Falls creates a breathtaking spectacle as it bathes in colourful light. Materializing from the province’s frosty climate, these festivals transform Ontario into a land of frozen wonder, taking the edge off the icy chill and infusing an unforgettable, festive spirit. From dazzling lights to delightful cuisine, rest assured every festival you attend promises memorable experiences.

Family-Friendly Winter Activities

Museums and Indoor Attractions

Don’t let the cold weather dampen your spirits. Ontario boasts an array of museums and indoor attractions that’ll keep you entertained even though the winter blues. Royal Ontario Museum, a must-stop with its international collection spanning 6 million artefacts, offers more than ancient history. It hosts engaging exhibitions, galleries and interactive installations, allowing both adults and kids to learn in an amusing way.

Similarly, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto leaves you spellbound with its extensive marine biodiversity. With over 16,000 aquatic animals, interactive displays and live exhibits, it’s a plunge into a fascinating underwater world, for sure.

Also, if art appreciates your taste, Art Gallery of Ontario puts on display a vast collection, showcasing over 95,000 artworks including masterpieces from renowned artists. I bet, the kids can’t help but absorb the creativity and inspiration that these places serve on a plate.

Wildlife Viewing in Winter

Bundle up and gather your crew to venture into the wilderness for some wildlife viewing. Experience the thrill of spotting majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Known for its variety, Ontario’s fauna doesn’t hibernate.

Algonquin Provincial Park, for instance, opens up chances for you to witness deer, moose, and if lucky, even wolves in their winter glory. Similarly, the Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls is a lush rainforest offering a chance to rejoice in the sight of exotic birds and reptiles, regardless of the freezing outside temperatures.

Consider also visiting Safari Niagara. Sure, it’s closed for winter yet the Zooniversity Education Centre remains welcoming, with educational exhibits of various creatures. It’ll stir up inquisitiveness in your little ones to comprehend nature’s marvels.

Culinary Delights for Winter

After your ventures into the snowy landscapes and the diverse area of indoor activities in Ontario, it’s time for a tour into the province’s delightful winter cuisine. This culinary journey introduces you to traditional winter dishes and cosiest spots for a warm drink in town.

Traditional Winter Dishes

Ontario’s winter cuisine offers an array of hearty meals. You’ll find classic dishes in almost every corner, serving up the robust flavours that are a staple of this season.

  • Peameal Bacon Sandwich, considered an Ontario original, finds its fans amongst locals and visitors alike. The creamy mustard sauce enhances the flavour, adding a much-needed warmth during the chilly winters.
  • Tourtière, a mouthwatering French-Canadian meat pie, often served during festive winters. Think of a blend of meat often pork, onions, and traditional Canadian spices, enveloped in a golden-brown pastry.
  • Beavertails, akin to a flattened donut, makes your taste buds dance. A delightful deep-fried dough pastry, typically topped with sweet garnishes like cinnamon, chocolate, or maple syrup, no winter trip to Ontario’s complete without this.

Best Spots for Warm Beverages

Ontario’s chilly winter climate makes a soul-warming drink more than just an indulgence. Aim for these best spots to quench your thirst with a hot beverage.

  • Balzac’s Coffee Roasters a local chain with locations throughout Ontario, renowned for their selection of artisanal coffees. If you’re in the mood for a traditional, strong cup of Joe, this is your place.
  • DAVIDsTEA, a pioneer in curating unique tea blends. Opt for their cozy winter blends, like the Caramel Shortbread, Santa’s Secret, or the ever-popular Apple Cider.
  • Soma Chocolatemaker elevates hot chocolate. It’s not your usual powdered drink mix. Instead, they meticulously craft it from raw cacao beans, a perfect sweet end to a winter day in Ontario.


So, you’ve got a wealth of options to make your winter in Ontario unforgettable. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast eager to embrace the snow or someone who prefers cosy indoor activities, Ontario’s got you covered. Don’t forget to indulge in the delectable winter cuisine and warm yourself at the province’s top-rated beverage spots. There’s no denying that Ontario in winter is a magical experience that’s worth every frosty moment. So go ahead, plan your winter adventure and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of Ontario. You won’t regret it.

Author: Ryan

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