Snowshoeing, outdoor hockey games, winter festivals, tobogganing, dog sledding and cross-country skiing are quintessential Canadian activities. The thing that connects them all together isn't just the fact that they're enjoyed outdoors in winter — they're a part of Canada's heritage. Our communities are built around a love for the great outdoors. Celebrating the season has always been an irrefutable and proudly defiant part of who we are as a country and as a people.
There's no place that is so well-suited to embrace and revel in winter than Ontario's Highlands — just 2.5 hours northeast of Toronto and 30 minutes west of Ottawa. After all, they don't call this area "Snow Country" for nothing.
Go dogsledding with Winterdance Dogsled Tours
Initially a method of winter travel developed by Indigenous peoples, early European explorers and trappers adopted dogsledding as the most efficient way to haul goods across Canada's snow-covered terrain. While it's still used for practical purposes, sledding with huskies has now also become a unique and exciting way to experience the beauty of Canada's winter landscapes. Winterdance Dogsled Tours in Ontario's Highlands is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Hank DeBruin and Tanya McCready-DeBruin who have 150 pure-bread Siberian Huskies and 5,000 acres of rugged private land. They offer two-hour, half-day, full-day, moonlight or multi-day dogsledding trips. The DeBruins are hardcore dogsledding enthusiasts who've competed in some of the toughest dogsled races in the world, and their passion for the sport shines through with every tour they run.
Skate the Perth Outfitters Trail and eat roasted Timbits
Imagine skating at night on a trail through the woods that's illuminated by tiki torches! Now, imagine that once you're ready for some après skate, you can cozy up around the campfire to enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate, and roasted Timbits to give the entire outing the ultimate Canadian seal of approval. Both adults and kids are guaranteed to enjoy this outing at Perth Outfitters.
Go cross-country skiing in Silent Lake Provincial Park
If your idea of heaven is making fresh tracks on a crisp Ontario morning, a visit to Silent Lake Provincial Park in the Bancroft region of Ontario's Highlands is exactly what you need. You'll find more than 40 kilometers of ready-for-you cross-country ski trails in the middle of pristine wilderness — the perfect way to get in touch with your Canadian roots. Plenty of warm-up huts stocked with a stove and firewood dot the trails, when you need a moment to rest and warm up. Snowshoeing and ice fishing are also available on site. If the stillness and the peace of the woods convince you to stay a little longer, the park has 10 cozy yurts available for overnight guests.
Ride the RAP Snowmobiling Tour
It seems only fitting that the snowmobile was invented in Canada. A vehicle that's made specifically for travel on snow should be enjoyed in a country that gets lots of the white stuff. The area in and around Ontario's Highlands has more than 10,000 kilometers of snowmobile trails and this tour gives you access to 900 kilometers of them to experience as you feel the rush of the wind across your face. The Round Algonquin Park (RAP) Tour takes you over a mixture of the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield, gently rolling hills, abandoned rail lines and forest access roads. It includes the only snowmobile trail that cuts through majestic Algonquin Park. Sledding through the mixture of heavy forest and open country provides numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing and to be in awe of the region's pristine landscapes.
Catch the Canadian Pond Hockey Championships
If there's anything more quintessentially Canadian than hockey, we don't know of it. From coast to coast, province to province, nothing defines and binds this country like our love for the game. Whether played on a backyard rink, a frozen pond, or a state-of-the-art arena, the fun remains the same. Representing the purest form of the game, the Canadian Pond Hockey Championships is a two-weekend tournament in Haliburton that takes us back to the essence of what a Canadian winter is all about. Over 300 games are played by competitors from all over the globe on side-by-side-by-side rinks over two weekends in one of the largest pond hockey events worldwide. And it happens only in Ontario's Highlands.
Don't miss your opportunity to enjoy some truly iconic Canadian moments in Ontario's Highlands this winter!