winter activities

10 winter activities to try within two hours of Toronto

A few months into winter, the only exercise you might feel like taking part in is curling up in front of the fire, especially as the temperature continues to drop.  But before you grab that weighted blanket, there are plenty of winter activities for those who are up for a snowy adventure in the outdoors.

Snow tubing

Snow tubing is the perfect wintry activity for those looking for a thrill. There are plenty of amazing hills worth visiting within an hour’s drive from Toronto, including Horseshoe Valley in Barrie, which claims the bragging rights of having the longest snow tubing hill in Ontario – back in 2017, the resort doubled the length of their hill, adding 1,200 feet. A two-hour midweek pass is $26

Ice fishing

When the temperature starts to plunge, why not head to a frozen lake or pond and try ice fishing. Just an hour north of Toronto, Lake Simcoe has been known for decades as Canada’s ‘ice fishing capital’ and is a favourite for those who enjoy fishing for perch and lake trout. You can stay warm(ish) and rent a hut, or if you’re up for a weekend excursion, an ice bungalow is available for $190 per person. Don’t forget to pack your fishing licence!

Cross-country skiing

If you’re eager for some fresh air and exercise, grab a pair of cross-country skis and get ready to glide across a snow-covered trail. Located in Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Hardwood Ski and Bike is an hour north of Toronto and features cross-country trails ranging from 3.3 km to 19 km in length, with eight different loop rings. Full day passes are $39.


If you’re looking for an aerial activity this winter, head to Niagara and get ready to soar like a bird over snowy landscapes on a fully-guided Zipline tour. Featuring four parallel ziplines, riders dangle from a 220-foot vantage point while taking in panoramic views of the falls, from $49.99.

Winter surfing

For those who are brave enough to face the frigid waters of Lake Ontario, suit up, grab a board and don’t forget the earplugs (surfer’s ear is real!). Some of the best waves of the year can be found in the winter months thanks to stronger winds and denser air. Surf the Greats is a Toronto-based surf shop and school with the aim to unite Canadian surfers by providing lessons, gear, workshops and events. They also post detailed wave forecast reports on instagram and to the Wave Rider Club.

Snowboarding and downhill skiing

Whether you’re ‘team ski’ or ‘team snowboard’, prepare for an authentic winter adventure experience and head to Snow Valley. Located in Barrie, Ontario, this resort has 19 runs, plus eight lifts. Lessons for every age and skill level are also available. Lift tickets start at $54


There’s nothing like strapping on a pair of snowshoes and crunching over freshly fallen snow. Plus, it’s a serous calorie-burner. And if you don’t want to leave the city, there are a few snowshoe trails to help you embrace the elements, including the one at Coronation and Battery Park. Located just east of Ontario Place, this 1.2 km trail runs Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street and is accessible by public transit.

Dog Sledding

If you’re looking for a cool way to travel this winter, get your mush on and try dog sledding. A quintessential Canadian pastime, there are many dog sled trails in the province, and several within a two-hour drive from Toronto. North Ridge Ranch offers half-day tours at $249 per person that includes a lesson, and a 20 km drive through the Muskoka wilderness.

Fat Biking

Take mountain biking to the next level with this winter activity. Fat bikes are essentially bikes with “fat” tires (more than four inches wide), that make it easier to traverse through mud while getting great traction on the snow and ice. Cycling enthusiasts can now bike year-round, and the lower air pressure means they work great on sand too. Shop for fat bikes at Bateman’s Bicycle Company.


If you’re up for an adrenaline rush, pack an overnight bag and head north of the city for a weekend of epic snowmobiling. Huntsville’s Deerhurst Resort, offers guided tours on 2,000 km of uncrowded, groomed trails. Safety and driver training sessions and riding gear are also included. Tours start at $199.

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