BY MICCA VANVIELD
Winter in Ontario has always had an unpredictable past. When it comes to snow, it seems that Ontario either has a little or a lot. Regardless of its less than perfect score in this area, the near north and northern reaches of the province are usually draped in a white blanket come Christmas and often stay that way well into April. The good thing is that Ontarians love to get out and enjoy the snowflakes no matter how cold, or even how frozen, as was proven with our most recent storm.
Since mother nature seems to constantly want to throw us for a loop, there’s no reason why you still can’t get out and have fun. There are a number of activities that can be enjoyed until we officially have or big thaw.
The following are just a few of the activities you can still enjoy with what’s left of old man winter:
There are lots of snowboarding hills and cross-country ski areas in the province including Chicopee, Talisman, Horseshoe Valley and the very popular Blue Mountain. Blue Mountain seems to always be expanding its facilities, with more places to stay, more restaurants and best of all, more features for boarders and skiers. I recently had an opportunity to visit Cochrane, a very small town of just over 5000 people and home of the very famous Tim Horton. The visit was extremely enlightening as I came to realize that I now have a new found love for the beauty of the wintery outdoors.
Algonquin- Make your own tracks, camp out or take advantage of the park’s yurts.
MacGregor Point – The park has winter campsites as well as yurt’s.
There are areas within the Toronto Region, such as Albion hills, where you can do some nordic skiing. You can even ski parts of the ravines, if the snow gods are with you. Failing that, head north to the North Central Region to some of Ontario’s best at Hardwood Hills, Mansfield and Highland Nordic, Muskoka, Gravenhurst, Haliburton, Barrie and Wasaga. Do keep in mind that there is a fee that’s charged for trail usage.
While enjoying the great outdoors, keep in mind that there are also fantastic indoor activities available as well. Most inns and lodges offer spa services, hot tubs and saunas and even the coziness of a wood burning fire place. You can turn your activity up with ice skating and even enjoy some ice hockey. You can even make an attempt at winter camping.
Whatever the activity or sport, the key is that it’s enjoyable. Remember that we do live in a province of many seasons and sometimes mother nature has a sense of humor. We don’t always get to enjoy the change of season when they are expected so we might as well start to enjoy the beauty and variations in all types of outdoor activities. As long as you bundle up, go out with the mindset to have a ton of fun.