Tempted to hibernate until spring? But then you would miss the many surprising activities winter has to offer! Why not add one to your next road trip to try something new? Here are a few activities that caught our eye.
1. Granby Zoo—Granby, Quebec
There’s something magical about visiting a zoo in the winter. Something only the frosty season can offer. Granby Zoo’s winter village invites you to admire exotic animals frolicking in the snow: Amur tigers, snow leopards, camels, Japanese macaques and many others. It’s also a great opportunity to explore the zoo’s many pavilions and enjoy its slides, maze and giant games sure to delight visitors of all ages.
Every winter, the Hôtel de glace (ice hotel), the only one of its kind in North America, chooses a captivating new theme to delight visitors who have come to explore this unique world. Admire the Great Hall, the rooms decorated with magnificent ice sculptures and to top it all off, enjoy a cocktail served in a glass made of … ice! Choose from among a number of day and evening tour packages or go all out and book a room in this amazing hotel for a night. Just be sure to reserve well in advance!
This tradition, adopted from Indigenous people, continues to be enjoyed by fishing enthusiasts from here and abroad once the cold weather settles in. Ontario has many lakes that are ideal for this sport: Windy Lake Provincial Park, where you can enjoy ice fishing without the hassle of bringing your own equipment, Silent Lake Provincial Park, about two and a half hours’ drive from Toronto, which offers a comfortable yurt to warm up in, Sibbald Point Provincial Park with its abundant fish, and Frontenac Provincial Park, for the spirit of adventure, with its three lakes and all-season campsites.
4. Winter Stations: Beach Art—Toronto, Ontario
If the beach is the last place you would think of going in the winter, The Beaches (a Toronto neighbourhood with four connected beaches) will surprise you with its annual temporary beachside art exhibit, open from February 17 to March 31st. This sixth edition will feature an augmented reality piece and another that reacts to the rotation of the sun and the people moving around it. For those who love beautiful winter spaces, architecture and art, Winter Stations is a great reason to come out of hibernation. And best of all, it’s free!
Skiers and snowboarders, there’s plenty to love about this mountain, which boasts the steepest vertical drop in Atlantic Canada! A total of 32 trails and glades offer plenty of variety for all skill levels. Snowshoe enthusiasts will appreciate the 30 km of trails, which offer something for everyone. After a fun day in the fresh air, enjoy a well-deserved cup of coffee or drink in the lounge bar.
6. World Pond Hockey Championship—Plaster Rock, New Brunswick
Each year, curious people, the media and visitors from all over the world flock to the tiny village of Plaster Rock, New Brunswick for its highly anticipated World Pond Hockey Championship. Attracting hockey players ages 19 and up from Europe, Canada and the United States, the tournament takes place outdoors, on Lake Roulston, in four-on-four games without a goalie. Twenty outdoor rinks are set up, making it possible for the 40 teams to play simultaneously. See you in the bleachers from February 13 to 16, 2020!
7. Jack Frost Festival—Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Considered the largest winterfest in Atlantic Canada, the Jack Frost Festival in downtown Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island is an absolute must for winter lovers. Its many outdoor activities include fat biking, obstacle courses, snow yoga, axe throwing and sledding on snow and ice. Its indoor playland is also great fun for the whole family: slacklining, magic shows, skate ramps, and more. The festival’s 15th edition will be taking place from February 14 to 17, 2020.
Love the beach, even in winter? Soak up the tranquil beauty at the water’s edge in Nova Scotia. Even in arctic temperatures, it will help you unwind and recharge. Take a short walk to fill your lungs with fresh air. If you’re more adventurous, put winter surfing on your list! In Halifax, the waves are surfable all year and the equipment you’ll need is available to rent even when temperatures drop (reserve the day before just to be sure). Note that winter surfing is not recommended for beginners and surfers should always go out with a buddy.