winter activities

Five cool winter activities to try this season just a short drive from Toronto

Dog sledding, snow kiteboarding, ice fishing and more

Natalie Preddie is a travel and lifestyle writer, speaker and guest expert on Cityline, Your Morning and Global’s The Morning Show.

The snow has arrived with a bang this January, and while that will make the commute a little more painful, there are certainly ways to take advantage of the weather. To keep things exciting, families can visit different regions within Ontario to try some outdoor winter activities that guarantee good times and good cheer.

Dog sledding

Although few Canadians use a dogsled for transportation anymore, in Muskoka you can embark on a recreational dogsledding adventure filled with excitement and nostalgia.

North Ridge Ranch offers dogsledding excursions for the entire family through scenic private bush trails for one hour. There is also a half-day tour which includes a midday break complete with hot chocolate and granola bars.

Participants can explore the twists and turns of the beautiful Muskokan wilderness with some magnificent dogs in the lead. This unforgettable tour is definitely a bucket list experience.

Fat biking

Fat bikes have wider than normal tires, making it possible to ride through the thick Ontario snow. Since its introduction in 2005, many Canadians are taking to snow-covered trails to explore the beauty of a winter wonderland paired with the fun of fat biking.

Muskoka’s stunning forest landscape is an ideal destination for a dazzling holiday ride. Companies such as Algonquin Outfitters are ready to get you and your family on your own fat biking adventure.

Winter zip lining

Once you’ve finished with Niagara’s more traditional holiday attractions like the Festival of Lights, outdoor skating and tasting the region’s icewine, why not grab a few thrills to go with your chills. This holiday season, Niagara is ready to raise your heart rate with winter zip lining.

If you’ve ever wanted to fly over a UNESCO world heritage site, now is your time. This Christmas, your family (those aged seven and up) can zip line across the world-famous Niagara Falls.

WildPlay Niagara Falls provides fully guided tours that offer unrivaled views of Niagara Gorge, the American Falls and, the breathtaking Horseshoe Falls of course.

Nighttime zip liners will soar over a fully lit falls, colourful lights dancing and sparkling across the water as riders take in this stunning spectacle. No matter what time you decide to fly, zipping across Niagara Falls will be a holiday adventure that your family will never forget.

Ice fishing

The Lang-Hastings section of the TransCanada Trail runs right through the Kawarthas, making the region perfect for holiday hikes, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Add a few fully frozen lakes, and the Kawarthas proves to be the perfect escape for you and your family to also experience ice fishing.

The Kawarthas is an ice angler’s dream. Grab a fishing hut, bait and drill from a local outfitter and head out onto the ice in search of perch, crappie or bluegills.

For those new to ice fishing, join an ice fishing tour to ensure that you are suited and booted, have all the correct gear, and get some tips on how to make the most of your ice excursion. If your family loves sun, ice and fresh air, this is the perfect activity for enjoying some quality time together.

Snow kiteboarding

Rice Lake in the Kawarthas is the place for Canadian snow kiteboarding. Ahead of its annual snow kiteboarding weekend from Jan. 27-29, Elmhirst Resort can show you and your family why snow kiteboarding is quickly becoming a popular winter sport.

As the name suggests, this sport is dependent on good weather and strong winds. Lessons are available for newcomers when the wind is right, and the lake is ready and waiting for experienced boarders. Snow kiteboarding is a fun new way for your family to catch the wind this holiday season.

This year embark on a winter adventure in our unique province. Explore something new and exciting, making magical memories with your closest loved ones.