Winter in Ontario is filled with charm, surprises, festivities and activities.  There are sights, sounds, tastes and treats that absolutely demand that the temperature drop and winter be embraced.

Almost every town in every region fights the long nights with festivals involving light...

Light

Winter is an enchanted season in Ontario that involves more than snow and ice.  Beginning with Saint Marie Among the Huron’s First Light, Toronto’s Kensington Market Winter Solstice, through Upper Canada Village’s Alight at Night and on to Ottawa’s dazzling Winterlude Festival, the darkness of winter brings out the best of the lighting festivals.  Almost every town in every region fights the long nights with festivals involving light, from tree lighting ceremonies, to candle-lit Victorian Christmas celebrations, to Niagara Falls’ luminary extravaganza.     

Snow

From the time you fluff out your first snow angel to the days when you watch it lazily from within the comfort of a cosy log cabin in the woods, or thrill with the adrenalin rush of zooming over it on skis, dog-sleds or snowmobiles, the substance known as snow holds a spell over us.  There is a “Zen of snow” yoga experience at Northern Edge Adventures, a snowman character named Bon Soo presides over Snowmadness’ events at Sault Sainte Marie’s Bon Soo Winter Carnival and the Snow Train glides through the Agawa Canyon, as white, timeless and crystalline as Narnia.  The texture and tone of snow is essential for cross country skiing and snowshoeing enthusiasts, it can be ploughed through by horses pulling a hay wagon or an elegant sleigh, moulded by sculptors during winterfest competitions and carved into a night’s shelter by winter campers.  And just when snow looks like it is going to melt away and the sap starts to rise in the maple trees, it can become a confectioner’s board for maple sugar candy during Sugar Bush festivals throughout Ontario from Bronte Creek to Paisley.

Skate nights outside of Toronto’s City Hall or daytime skates along the Harourfront are a winter must-do.

Ice

Among the extreme winter sports, ice rock climbing tests will and skill against the icy surface. Another thrill is skating.  The Ottawa-end of the Rideau Canal is annually turned into the world’s longest skating rink. Skate nights outside of Toronto’s City Hall or daytime skates along Harbourfront are a winter must-do. Wolfe Island outside of Kingston, Ontario hosts a legendary pond hockey tournament that won Canada’s “Hockeyville” accolade. Elaborate ice carvings decorate Barrie and Ottawa’s Winterludes and stand outside Toronto’s Winterlicious venues.  Ice produces the miracle of Icewine and  Niagara’s  Icewine Festival celebrates Canada’s most celebrated vintage every January.


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