Ontario’s winter can be harsh. It doesn’t spoil you; sometimes temperatures drop below -20 degrees Celsius. If this happens, you had better have a hot tea with lemon at home and watch through the window to see those unfortunate people who have to be outside. Do it this lazy way, unless you vote for plan B, which is the option of enjoying winter outdoor activities instead of sitting at home. Take your cross-country skis and move your body in the fresh cold air in scenic Algonquin Park, Awenda Park, or Bruce Peninsula; go skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, or just opt for the slow speed of snowshoeing at Crawford Lake or Eugenia Falls, or even a one-day trip to Niagara Falls.
The Ontario countryside in winter will reward you by offering interesting journeys through a flat landscape dotted with small hills and frozen lakes. The farther you drive from big cities like Toronto or Ottawa, the more land will be available just for you. On cold days, not too many people exchange the comfort of their homes for the winter Ontario wilderness.
In Toronto, winter is delivered to your front door, while in Vancouver you have to pick it up yourself, outside the city. Sometimes too much winter is delivered and often with delay, so you wish it would end soon. The roads are covered with snow, the visibility outside has a milky tone, sound is muted and the acoustic experience reaches the high quality of a recording studio with no echo at all. You hear only snow crunching under your shoes or your tires. These are excellent conditions for starting meditation or soul healing techniques.
Algonquin Provincial Park is an unimaginably beautiful wilderness located between Toronto and Ottawa. The park is very popular, especially in summer. However, in winter it shows its calm nature. Cross-country ski trails are up to 15 km long each and go deep into the forest, around frozen lakes. Small cabins are available on the trails, where you can rest after a long day skiing, and even use a fire place with the wood provided.
Awenda Provincial Park sits on the east shore of Georgian Bay. It takes only 1.5 hours to get there from Toronto, so it would be an excellent choice for a one-day trip. In January, when the days are longer and sunnier than in December, the cross-country skiing in the park is an incredibly relaxing activity.
Bruce Peninsula National Park in winter is in a special category. The west shore of Georgian Bay, with its frozen surface and snow-covered rocks, offers not only cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, but also great opportunities for winter photography.
The Rideau Canal in Ottawa is a must-see or must-try activity at least once in a lifetime. You will remember 8-km of skateways.
After experiencing all the above options in Ontario, there are still plenty of other things to do. You can enjoy snowshoeing at Crawford Lake or at Eugenia Falls. The central building at Crawford Lake is open in winter season too, and your day pass also covers a visit to Iroquois Village.
While in Ontario in winter, intuition may encourage you to visit Niagara Falls. Good thinking. It’s like seeing them in pyjamas. The giant icicles are formed on the rocky walls on the other side of the river, which is at the same time the US-Canadian border. The ice and snow create an interesting artistic piece beside the water coming down the falls with enormous speed. All made by nature.
Ontario winter has many names—Algonquin, Awenda, Bruce, Rideau, Crawford, Eugenia, Niagara—and the list is still not complete. Come and visit, to see that this is all true.
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