Winter is such a magical season and here in the Great White North we get plenty of it! There are unlimited ways to enjoy the winter weather – skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating but one of our favorite ways to celebrate the season is attending winter festivals. Festivals are family-friendly and get you outdoors to appreciate the splendors of the season. This winter, you’ll find winter festivals taking place all over Ontario, both leading up to and following the holiday season. Here are our picks:
The Festival of Lights at Niagara Falls is a perennial family favorite. Natural wonders and twinkly lights collide at this long-running event on the Canadian side of the Falls. From the beginning of November through the end of January, visitors from all over the world enjoy over two million lights, plus a sound and light show that highlights Niagara’s culture and arts. If you opt for tickets to the Deck the Falls weekend events, you’ll be treated to gourmet food and drink, pop-up carolers, crafts and more!
“If you opt for tickets to the Deck the Falls weekend events, you’ll be treated to gourmet food and drink, pop-up carolers, crafts and more!”
Families with young children will want to check out the Aurora Winter Festival at Ontario Place in Toronto. This year’s festival kicks off for the holiday season at the end of November and will feature a Santa’s Village, a frozen pond, a tube park and other child-centric activities. This one will definitely get the kids pumped up for a visit from Old Saint Nick!
Perhaps one of the most classic winter festivals takes place in our nation’s capital: the Winterlude Festival. Embrace the cold and head to Ottawa during the first couple of weeks in February to enjoy all the festivities. From fabulous ice sculptures, to winter playgrounds, to ice skating and other winter sports, you’ll find something for all ages!
Outdoorsy types will enjoy attending the annual Winter in the Wild Festival at Algonquin Park on February 16th. Spend the daytime participating in snowshoe excursions, winter camping demos and nature and bird-watching walks. The day wraps up with a campfire and barbeque to warm everyone up and ends with a nighttime hike.
The Cochrane Winter Carnival is actually the oldest winter festival in the province and, as such, takes its role of providing winter fun very seriously! It takes place from February 8th through the 18th and offers a full line-up of activities. A torchlight parade, snow sculptures, a demolition derby and the famous Polar Bear Dip are just a few of the attractions at this year’s festival.
“Dress warmly as the Cochrane Winter Carnival is likely to be one of the coldest festivals on the list!”
Finally, if you’re looking for one more reason to escape to the slopes, you won’t want to miss the Collingwood Frozen in Time Festival which takes place in the days following the Christmas holiday. Ski at nearby Blue Mountain, watch masters at work in the ice carving competition and slide down ice slides. When you’re ready for a rest, grab some hot cocoa and enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride around town.
Don’t hibernate this winter! Instead, embrace the cold and get out there to appreciate all of Mother Nature’s winter gifts!