New Year’s Eve can be one of the most exciting days of the year — if you know where to go to celebrate! Luckily, Ontario is home to all kinds of traditions and events to make the last night of 2022 a great one. With 2023 fast approaching, we’re rounding up some of our favourite New Year’s celebrations around the province.
Try a historic Canadian tradition
A little piece of Canadian history trivia for us all: ice fishing is one of the country’s oldest New Year’s traditions! New Year’s Day marks the official opener of the ice fishing season in northern Ontario. The region sees an influx of anglers each year, making their Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 trek to ring in the new year and new ice fishing season. Although ice fishing used to entail absolutely freezing your extremities off as you wait for fish to bite, Ontario has had some major updates in that department over the past few years. Now, you can rent heated ice huts, cosy yurts for an upgraded private experience or even book a stay at a lakeside resort that comes fully equipped. Spring for an all-inclusive ice fishing package, such as the one at Buttermilk Falls Resort in Haliburton, which includes accommodations, a heated ice hut and bait. buttermilkfallsresort.com
A very merry Hogman-eh celebration
“Hogmanay” is a Scottish word for the last day of the year and is the word most commonly used for all kinds of New Year’s Eve celebrations that happen in Scotland. Lucky for us Canadians, the Scottish Society of Ottawa takes its Hogmanay very seriously, and for over a decade, it has hosted its trademarked “Hogman-eh!” celebration. The largest New Year’s Eve celebration in eastern Ontario and the largest Hogmanay celebration outside of Scotland, Hogman-eh! features live music, fireworks, skating and more at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, along with some great Scottish food and drink. Ring in the new year the Hogman-eh! way — twice! The party celebrates midnight in Scotland at 7 p.m. our time and then again at our official midnight. ottscot.ca
Make it a New Year’s to remember in Muskoka
Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka hosts a New Year’s Eve celebration for resort guests that is filled to the brim with activities fit for kids, families and couples! Every year, the resort transforms into a holiday haven for New Year’s celebrations. There are two special dinners available by reservation at the resort: the Eclipse New Year’s Eve Dinner Experience, ideal for adults, and the Family New Year’s Eve Buffet and Celebration. The Eclipse dinner features live food stations of bison, lamb, duck, fish, pasta, desserts and more served by Deerhurst’s chefs. The family buffet features roving entertainers, magic tricks and children’s stations full of all the best child-friendly eats. Both dinners are followed by the Great Canadian Dueling Pianos show and celebration until it’s time to ring in the new year. deerhurstresort.com
Countdown at one of Ontario’s largest New Year’s Eve events
This year, it might be worth booking a trip to Barrie, not just for a ski adventure at Horseshoe Resort, but for the city’s Downtown Countdown. One of Ontario’s biggest annual New Year’s Eve celebrations, the event has been around since 1998 and features family activities, skating, live music, fireworks and more under the lit-up arch of city hall. Bundle up, grab a warm drink and enjoy one of Ontario’s longest-standing New Year’s Eve traditions this season! barrie.ca
Skate the night away in Niagara
Sure, you could head to Niagara for the Niagara Falls annual New Year’s Eve celebration featuring a fireworks display and live music series. But why not try something new this year just 20 minutes down the road in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Wayne Gretzky Estates rings in the New Year in the most Canadian way: hockey, skating and food. The hockey game is played on an inflatable screen that overlooks the rink and patio so guests can cheer on as they drink, eat and skate. With twinkle lights shining bright over the rink, skate the night away — or at least until you need to warm up! The Whisky Bar Patio will provide this warm escape, in addition to delicious food and drinks. gretzkyestateswine.com
Plunge into the new year
Whether you’ve spent New Year’s Eve falling asleep on the couch or took the trip to enjoy one of these Ontario events, there’s no better way to kick off the new year with a refresh — literally! The Courage Polar Bear Dip for World Vision sees hundreds of people gathering in Oakville to plunge into the icy cold waters of Lake Ontario on New Year’s Day — all in support of a good cause. The funds raised from the dip support World Vision’s fight to provide clean water in developing nations. The tradition has been around for 37 years. Since then, over $2 million has been raised to support clean water projects around the world. Participants willing to brave the cold can register online at polarbeardip.ca.