Oh yes, my friends! Time for another Instagram photo challenge post! This has to be one of my favourite things about this job. Every two weeks I put out a new #PhotoChallenge to our amazing community via Instagram – and each time I am absolutely blown away by the response. [Read more…]
Tents, sleeping bags, S’mores, and freaky ghost stories by a crackling fire. They’re all synonymous with a cultural phenomenon that has lasted centuries. Well, maybe it’s more like several millennia. [Read more…]
As summer comes into full swing, South Eastern Ontario becomes a hotbed of fun outdoor activities. Whether it’s on dry land, or out on the water there is a nearly endless list of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
Last week, I asked the fine folks within our amazing Instagram community to tag us in their outdoor adventures. As always, the result was fantastic. All across the board, people were tagging us in a series of breathtaking images of the natural splendour that surrounds us in South Eastern Ontario.
Thanks again for sharing your adventures with us! Here are our ten favourite Instagram posts from our last photo challenge!
All built in the 1800’s. Sort of hits you as you paddle along that you are looking a some pretty cool history. 1846. 1896. 1896 left to right. Oh and the #cruisersup board is 2017! #standuppaddleboard #paddleboarddirect #sup #suplifestyle #waterfront #greatwaterway #findygk #kingston_on #ig_photooftheday #teamygk #weekendvibes #godiscover #canada150 #historicbuilding #discoverontario #ig_great_shots_canada #paddleboarding #paddlecanada
Exploring our local assets today with some cross country explorers! Everywhere we went with our @greatwaterway film crew location scouts from @makehaymedia we kept running into the amazing members of the C3 (coast to coast to coast) ship on a similar tour. Crew members got tours of the Aquatarium, the railway tunnel, and even got to take a quick discovery scuba lesson. Unfortunately our schedule didn’t leave us time for a deck tour, but I did run off in between locations to snap a few quick pics of their ship. @canadac3 #ExploreBrockville #C3 #1000islands #greatwaterway #brockville
Canada turns 150 in 2017, and to help you celebrate in South Eastern Ontario, here’s a handy list of Canada-themed events happening in the region throughout the year. Check back often because we’ll keep adding to this list.
National Parks and Historic Sites (for free!)
Parks Canada is throwing down the welcome mat with free admission to all of its properties all year long (with a free Discovery Pass). In Southeastern Ontario that means unfettered access to over 10 national parks and historic sites, including Thousand Islands National Park and the Rideau Canal, where lock fees will be waived.
Fort Town Memories
Prescott Public Library, Prescott, Ontario
With Fort Wellington, over 75 historic homes and sites, and the St. Lawrence at its doorstep, Prescott definitely has a few stories to tell about the impact it’s had on Canada. Read, listen to and watch close to 100 of them at the public library, where volunteers have been collecting tales about all aspects of life in the over 200-year-old town.
Sunday Night in Canada
Sundays, until July 1
The Drake Devonshire, Wellington
Take a culinary trip across Canada with The Drake Devonshire as your guide. Every Sunday until Canada Day this gorgeous, award-winning resto on the banks of Lake Ontario will feature a unique heritage dinner inspired by the food and drink of different areas in the country. Each month the $35 menu will be inspired by a different province, territory or region.
Quinte West Multicultural Week
June 25 – July 1
Quinte West, Ontario
The city of Quinte West isn’t settling for just one day of partying. They’re planning a week-long multicultural bash leading up to Canada Day that’ll include daily celebrations. Details are still being set, but events could include a Francophone music festival, an Aboriginal art festival, an Oktoberfest celebration, a Celtic picnic, and an Italian and Greek food fest.
A Royal Visit to Prince Edward County
Wellington Farmers’ Market, Wellington
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will be in Canada to help celebrate our 150th, and they’ve chosen Prince Edward County as one of their destinations during their three-day visit. Arriving at CFB Trenton, they’ll make their way to the Wellington Farmers’ Market for an event that will be open to the public.
Canada Day in Southeastern Ontario
Plans are still in the works for Canada Day festivities across southeastern Ontario, but since a 150th birthday only comes around once, you can count on each community truly bringing it this year. Canada’s first capital, Kingston, will host the biggest bash, but almost every other community in the region will celebrate, too. Stay tuned to our events page, thegreatwaterway.com/events, for details.
The Canadian Adventure
July 1 – August 13
St. Andrew’s, Picton
This month-and-a-half long celebration of Canada will feature a documentary photography exhibition; four Saturday night shows focussing on the sights, sounds and food of a different region; and regular photography workshops and outings.
Eve of Confederation
July 1 – August 19
Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg
Offered on Saturday evenings in July and August, this immersive family-friendly theatre experience will use the historical backdrop of Upper Canada Village to explore the issues and changes about to come with Confederation.
Prices: Not yet set
Oh Canada Art Show and People’s Choice Awards
July – August
Brockville Public Library
The curators of the Brockville Public Library’s art gallery have invited artists to submit works that celebrate Canada’s 150th. Submission will be exhibited throughout July and August, and winners will be chosen by people’s choice ballots. Winners announced July 31st.
Belleville Waterfront & Ethnic Festival
July 6 – 9
West Zwick’s Park, Belleville
Voted one of the top 100 festivals in Ontario, and it’s easy to see why: four days of midway, food from all over the world, adventure sports (zip line or parasailing, anyone?), laser tag, family fishing, a vendor exhibition and even a dog-jumping show. This year, special Canada 150 events will include ParticipACTION Sports Expo and Canada 150 Sesqui Celebration, which is a revolutionary 360° cinematic experience touring all over Canada.
Rendez-Vous 2017: Tall Ships Regatta
July 7 – 9
From June 30 to August 20, more than 40 tall ships will sail Canadian waters to honour the country’s 150th. Scheduled to stop in the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario, the fleet will make its southeastern Ontario port of call in the historic village of Bath. Head to the waterfront and tour these majestic cathedrals of the sea for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see history up close.
Engage for Change Talking Circle
July 13, 10am – 4pm
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning, Kingston
This community talking circle, co-designed with community partners and Indigenous leaders, will be an open discussion on the theme of reconciliation. The intent is to increase our overall cultural competence around Indigenous issues, building on what residents know, how residents feel and how well residents put this knowledge into practice. Additional talking circles will happen throughout the year.
150 Canadian Tastes in North Grenville
July 19, 2pm – 7pm
Kemptville College, Kemptville
Part of the Kemptville Live Music Festival, this special culinary event will celebrate the bounty Eastern Ontario has been bringing to Canada for 150 years. The centrepiece will be a farmers’ market with over 60 vendors, but there will also be food and drink tastings, exhibits from local artisans, and live music to keep you moving.
Rails to Trails
August 10 – 13
Canada’s rail system is like its backbone, connecting communities all across this great land, so it’s fitting that Brockville, home to Canada’s first railway tunnel, will honour it at this special four-day fest. The centrepiece will be the grand re-opening of the tunnel underneath downtown, but there will also be a vintage carnival, a sideshow and even a 5K run.
Wolfe Island Music Festival
August 11 – 12
After a 2016 hiatus, the Wolfe Island Music Festival returns this year. And thank goodness. Where else in the country can you take a 20-minute ferry to an intimate island festival featuring some of the biggest names in Canadian indie music? The headliners this year include Born Ruffians, Land of Talk, Hannah Georgas, Said the Whale, Dilly Dally and Donovan Woods.
Price: $95 – $150
SESQUI 2017 Immersive 360° Cinematic Dome Tour
August 11 – 16
28 Barrack Street, Kingston
Take a ride in an illuminated dragon boat on the Rideau Canal, get enveloped by the Northern Lights and take in 90 other breathtaking scenes in this 20-minute immersive film experience. Featuring scenes shot in every province and territory and over 380 on-screen performers, this visually stunning journey will show you Canada from a whole new perspective.
Innovation 150: Power of Ideas Exhibition
August 18 – 19
Loyalist Collegiate and Vocational Institute, Kingston, Ontario
Travelling to schools and science centres across the country, this Signature Canada 150 event is all about channeling that inner innovator in all of us. Think immersive, hands-on displays about everything from the world’s largest science experiments to changing ideas about our universe to stories of Canada’s past.
Canada 150 in Lennox & Addington
County Court House, Napanee
Join thousands of spectators for an unforgettable evening of free entertainment outside on the grounds at the Lennox & Addington County Court House in Napanee. On Saturday, August 19th at 7pm, you’ll hear a live performance from headliner The Irish Descendants, as well as from 70’s Revolution featuring Andrew Martin, and Sol & the Switchblades. Circus Orange will also be on hand for an amazing aerial performance. More details at www.County150.ca.
150th Road Rally Celebration
South Frontenac, Ontario
Take a Canada themed road tour through South Frontenac, where locations in each of the four districts will feature special events devoted to a particular province. Locations will include hidden gems, like the train track park in Battersea, Fermoy Hall in Bedford, as well as more well-known venues such as the Point in Sydenham and rally headquarters at Centennial Park in Harrowsmith. Exact date not yet available.
Sesquie for Canada 150
Throughout 2017, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is partnering with orchestras and ensembles across the country for a special pan-Canadian celebration. Over 40 new works — including two-minute pieces called “Sesquies” — will be co-commissioned and presented from coast to coast to coast. Kingston location and concert details not yet available.
Price: Not Yet Available
The Kingston Prize
October 6 – 22
Firehall Theatre, Gananoque
This Canada-wide portrait competition showcases the work of 30 contemporary artists. Open to any Canadian artist who depicts a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, the juried prize is partially meant to develop an historical record of Canadians by Canadians. The winner receives $20,000, and the exhibition of the 30 finalists will be held at two venues: the Firehall Theatre in Gananoque and the Peel Art Gallery in Brampton.
We’ll keep adding to this list all year, so stay up to date on Canada 150 events in southeastern Ontario by bookmarking this page. In the meantime, head over to our events page for even more things to do.
See More Events In The Great Waterway
Here at the Great Waterway we’ve explored some amazing locations together and told countless stories about the variety of things to do and places to see on dry land. However, it’s beneath the surface of the St. Lawrence River, that we discover an entirely different story. One that began as far back as when the Earth was forged, and still continues to unfold today. [Read more…]
In light of last week’s seemingly endless rainfall, I was inspired to try and make the best of an otherwise dreary forecast for South Eastern Ontario. When it came time to launch the latest Instagram photo challenge – I asked our wonderful community to get out there and capture some creative #RainyDay images and tag us in their journies.
Well, once again, the #GreatWaterway community answered the call! I was amazed at the variety of stunning moments you all captured. Everything from wildlife, to intricate moments in time that exposes the underlying beauty surrounding us.
It just goes to show, that while water levels are rising, basements are flooding, and sandbags are being piled up against the torrent – we can always find that metaphoric high ground together.
Thanks again for playing along with our latest #photochallenge! Without further delay, here are our favourite posts! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and share your stories with us by tagging: #GreatWaterway!
Rain on the water creates tiny splashes and ripples just like creative ideas in our head. . . . . . . #nature #naturephotography #nature_perfection #water #rain #waves #lakeontario #greatwaterway #kingstonontario #exploretocreate #perspective #chasinglight #artofvisuals #visualsoflife #kingston_on #vscogood #ig_captures #creativity #minimalism #ygk #moodygrams #rain #moody #agameoftones #illgrammers #killeverygram #heatercentral #monochrome #texture #contrast #igtones
If your going to get #wet you might as well get #wetnwild lol #kids #children #photography #son #myboy #greatwaterway #quintewest #bayofquinte #rainyday #rainy #photochallenge #mayshowers #ontario #discoverON #puddlejumper #playing #pureontario #homegrown #splash #canon_photos #canon70d #toddler #waterplay
Rainy day walks ☔✨ . . . . . . . #pink #umbrella #penniesfromheaven #rain #queensu #ygk #exploreygk #exploreON #kingston_on #downtownkingston #photography #photographer #view #sky #architecture #campus #rain #greatwaterway #photogram #instadaily #kingstoncanada #colorstudy #photooftheday #summer #travel #archilovers #wanderlust #architexture #rainyday
What’s the best way to shake off the doldrums of winter? Skydiving, of course, or zip-lining, or scuba diving. Or all of these 10 ways to raise your heart rate, each of which you’ll find right here in South Eastern Ontario.
1. Skywood Eco Adventure Park
Unleash your inner ape at one of the largest zip line and treetop adventure courses in North America. Whatever your age or perceived ability, you’ll find multiple ways to get your adrenaline pumping here. The eight zip line canopy tour, for instance, takes you through the treetops, over a limestone cliff face and 70 feet over the Jones Creek Marsh. The adventure courses lead you through bridges, swings, nets and zip lines as you move from one treetop platform to the next. And the Treewalk Village is a series of treehouses connected with elevated walkways. This is also home to the first permanent accessible zip line in Canada for those with special needs. Check out this Great Waterway story for 8 things to know before you go.
1278 Thousand Islands Parkway, Mallorytown
2. Skydive Gananoque
It’ll be tough to find a more adrenaline-pumping experience in the region than this one. And since Skydive Gananoque has been around since 1971, you can be sure these folks not only know how to make it a memorable experience but a safe one, too, whether it’s your first time throwing yourself out of a plane or your thousandth. Plus, since you’ll be free-falling high above Gananoque, you’ll get one of the two best views of the Thousand Islands. The motto here: “We believe that jumping out of an airplane isn’t just about throwing yourself at a planet; it’s about being part of a society that doesn’t back down when they call us crazy.” So go on, be crazy.
258 Airport Road, Gananoque
3. 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours
The other way to get the best views of the Thousand Islands is to take a helicopter tour. And at this operator just north of Gananoque, you have five choices: a 10-minute 1000 Islands Tour, a 20-minute Boldt Castle Tour, a 30-minute Two-castle Tour, a 30-minute Kingston Tour and a 1-hour The Works Tour. They’re all private and they’re the only way to truly get a sense of the size and the beauty of this 1864-island archipelago. You’ll also quickly see why this area is one of the continent’s most biodiverse. Minimum 2 passengers for dispatch. Maximum helicopter capacity is 3 passengers.
88 County Road 32, Leads & Thousand Islands (Gananoque)
4. Hell Holes Nature Trails and Caves
This is your spot if your idea of adventure is climbing down through a hole in the earth and investigating an underground cave. Millions of years ago the Salmon River flowed through this area about a half hour north of Kingston. It carved the limestone into overhanging ledges, mushroom-shaped rocks, caves, gullies, potholes and sinkholes. It’s one of the most unique geological areas in Eastern Ontario, and because it’s now empty of water, you can explore it on the 3.2 kilometre trail here. Your journey will take you over a natural stone bridge, through a mini rainforest, across a gorge and down into “Hell Hole Cave,” which requires a 7.5-metre descent and a flashlight.
5. Shannonville Motorsport Park
The customizable race track at this gearhead’s nirvana east of Belleville has hosted some exceptional car, kart and motorcycle races over the years. And sure, you can go just to watch the races. But you can burn some rubber too. There’s a one-day high performance driving school for novices run throughout the summer, for instance, and there’s a more advanced car racing school as well. You can also book the track for private use. If you get hungry, pull up a seat at the on-site restaurant, Papa’s Kitchen, for sandwiches and off-the-grill food.
7047 Old Highway 2, Shannoville
6. 1000 Islands Scuba Diving
It’s hard to beat the 1000 Islands when it comes to freshwater scuba diving. The waters in the Saint Lawrence River here are so clear divers can usually see 50 to 60 feet in front of them most of the year (60 to 100 feet in the fall). And what they’ll usually see is rich wildlife and the final home for ships from all over the world. Over 200 shipwrecks lie below the surface, some from the 19th century. No wonder scuba divers in the know call this place the “Caribbean of the North.” Check out my guide to scuba diving in the Thousand Islands for rentals, service, courses, charters and more.
7. General Splatters Paintball Park
You won’t find a better paintball park between Ottawa and Montreal than this one in Lancaster, which is about 20 minutes east of Cornwall. There are six distinct playing zones on the property, each with names like “Ewok Village,” “D-Day” and “Field of Screams.” They feature bunkers, foxholes, forts, a castle, trenches and bridges connecting the different zones. There are also two dense forests on the property. When you’re shot dead, head back to base camp where there’s a bathroom, barbecue, picnic tables and a viewing area to see who else gets painted up. Equipment rentals are available, as are plenty of paintballs.
6080 1st Line Road, Lancaster
8. WildCat Cruises – 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises
Let’s face it: a meandering, peaceful cruise isn’t for everyone. Sometimes you just want the captain to put the throttle down. If that sounds like you, pick either of the WildCat Cruises offered by 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises. The 2-hour “Castle Prowler AdrenIsland” cruise covers 48 miles and features views of Boldt and Singer Castles and three lighthouses. The 1-hour “Single Castle Express” travels 24 miles of the islands and offers up views of Singer Castle and historic Crossover Island Lighthouse. Both happen in a 54-passenger high-speed catamaran that moves at an average speed of 36 to 38 miles per hour — which is definitely fast enough to blow your hair back, by the way.
30 Block House Island Parkway, Brockville
9. The Boiler Room Climbing Gym
What was once the boiler room for a 19th-century woollen mill is now a state-of-the art climbing gym with Canada’s highest indoor ascent. If the 100-foot chimney climb sounds like too much, though, find your wall in one of two rooms, where there are 40 ropes and over 80 climbs to choose from whatever your skill level. There is also a new bouldering structure with a 17 degree wall, a 53 degree wall, an overhanging arête and a top out option for members. Beginner and advanced lessons and programs are available, as are change rooms, showers, lockers, equipment, and snacks and drinks. Open seven days a week.
4 Cataraqui Street, Suite 103, Kingston
10. Rideau Trail Canada 150 Challenge
Canada turns 150 this year, and what better way to celebrate than hiking 150 kilometres of the Rideau Trail? If you walk that many klicks of the 300-plus kilometre trail this year, you’ll get a free one-year membership to the Rideau Trail Association and a special commemorative badge. That membership will get you into special group hikes, discounts on gear from local outdoors shops, and association voting rights. The trail itself is the real reward, though. Stretching from Kingston to Ottawa, it meanders through farmland, forests, quaint villages and the rugged Canadian Shield. The hum of that natural and technological marvel that is the Rideau waterway is never far away. Trail difficulty: easy to difficult.
Head to The Great Waterway’s Adventure Tours page for even more ways to get your adrenaline pumping this summer!
As we roll into March, there is a resounding sigh of relief in South Eastern Ontario as yet another winter ends up in our collective rear-view. The vanishing snow reveals the once buried grass, and soon enough, the iconic images of shamrocks and other green things mark the approach of Saint Patrick’s Day. [Read more…]
Love it or hate it, winter isn’t going anywhere soon.
While some people tend to hunker down and hibernate the cold months away – others embrace the crisp winds of winter and take full advantage of the broad selection of things to do throughout Southeastern Ontario. Getting outdoors during the winter with friends and family is not only healthy, but a great opportunity to make an otherwise dark and dreary season into a collection of positive memories you’ll keep for life.
One of my fondest memories dates back to my childhood. Every March Break I would go up to Eagle Lake near Parham for a week of ice fishing with my grandfather. We would rip around on his snowmobile and spend hours in the fishing shack listening to old school country tunes. Usually, we would catch a whole lot of nothing.
I remember one momentous day when my grandfather triumphantly pulled a rather large whitefish out of the water, only to watch it fall from his eager grasp and right back down the hole. That was also the day I learned a few bad words, but that’s a different story altogether.
To help inspire your next winter outing, here is a collection of fantastic activities and events happening from Cornwall and the Counties to the Bay of Quinte this winter.
Cornwall and The Counties
Cornwall’s Outdoor Skating Rinks
There’s likely nothing more distinctly Canadian, than hitting up an outdoor skating rink with friends and family, feeling the crisp winter’s breeze in your face until your cheeks tingle and finishing it all off with a cup of piping hot cocoa.
The City of Cornwall has 11 awesome outdoor rinks located throughout town. These rinks are maintained by dedicated community volunteers and are free for public use. To help you select which rink you want to visit, the City has a handy online map on their website.
Two Creeks Conservation Area
Two Creeks Conservation Area offers a diverse selection of ecological points of interest spanning a beautiful 457 acres.
This wonderful network of natural spaces is accessible year round and maintained by both the South Nation Conservation group and local partners.
Among Two Creek’s newest offerings is a breathtaking 4.5 km marked trail that is prime for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter hiking. This particular conservation area boasts a lush biodiversity, with several animal and bird species to observe; so don’t forget your binoculars!
Two Creeks also allow on-leash dog walking, so it’s ok to bring your puppy along for a romp in the wilderness.
15th Annual Alexandria Ice Fishing Derby
Cornwall and the Counties is one of many premier destinations for anglers year-round.
The Annual Alexandria Ice Fishing Derby is an event not to be missed by any fishing enthusiast – especially with over 40,000 dollars in prizes up for grabs.
This classic fishing derby will also have an early morning brunch, and a 50/50 draw for some sweet prizes. The proceeds of this year’s draw will benefit the Optimist Club of Alexandria.
Saturday, February 18th, 2017.
Island Park, Alexandria, Ontario.
For full details visit: AlexandriaFishingDerby.com.
Rideau Heritage Route
Murphy’s Point Provincial Park
Nestled between Westport and Lombardy you will find a majestic destination for x-country skiing, and snowshoeing at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park.
Here, you will find over 20 kilometers of various trails, captivating scenery, and quaint chalets for warming up.
For a more rugged snowshoeing experience there are also non-groomed trails for that purpose. Murphy’s Point has two parking areas maintained during the winter months for day-use.
There are no equipment rentals available, so it’s a bring your own gear scenario. It’s also noteworthy that dogs are not permitted on the ski trails.
For full details, I highly recommend reviewing the Trail Info page over at the Tay Valley Ski Club’s website.
Tay Valley Ski Club Loppet
A Loppet is a fun winter skiing event that draws its roots from Scandinavian history. It refers to a particular route that a former King of Scandinavia skied over 500 years ago.
Today, the Tay Valley Ski Club keeps this tradition alive with a fun filled day of cross country skiing with an emphasis on fun and participation.
Date: Feb. 12th, 2017
Info, Contact & Registration: Tay Valley Loppet Online Registration Site.
The Cataraqui Trail is a former CN railway line that once connected Smiths Falls to Strathcona which is just North of Napanee.
During winter, and when snow levels permit – this sprawling trail is groomed for a variety of uses including snowmobiling, cross country skiing and more!
This beautiful trail is kept in operation thanks to proceeds gathered through donations and membership fees. If you go out and enjoy the Cat Trail – perhaps take some time to visit their website’s support page; to learn more about how you can help this great destination remain open for years to come.
Outdoor Skating in the City of The 1000 Islands
As weather conditions permit, Brockville has two outdoor skating locations. The first is located in the city’s North end at Memorial Park (Laurier Blvd at Bridlewood). The memorial park rinks operate from January to mid-March.
The second outdoor skating venue is located at Rotary Park (King Street West at Gilmour Street.) It sports an artificially chilled natural hockey rink which is open from early December to the end of March.
Rotary Park also has an excellent synthetic rink for casual skating (hockey is not permitted) which runs from November to April. Additional information and contact details are available on the City of Brockville website.
Brockville Winter Classic Weekend
Starting March 3rd, 2017 the Brockville Winter Classic Weekend will return once again to fill the air with a public celebration of hockey and good old fashioned outdoor Canadian fun.
2017 is the event’s third anniversary and will feature a smorgasbord of activities ranging from hockey tournaments, prize draws, community skating, and a headlining hockey game between Boston Bruins Alumni and a local all-stars team.
The full team of Bruin’s alumni isn’t fully confirmed yet, but such greats as Ray Bourque, Rick Middleton, and Al Iafrate are set to hit the ice.
For full details including ticketing information visit the Winter Classic Weekend website!
Mac Johnson Wildlife Area
A scenic drive North of Brockville will bring you to Mac Johnson Wildlife area. This breathtaking conservation area spans over 500 hectares of wetlands, rolling fields, critical wetlands and scenic forested areas.
During the winter months, Mac Johnson Wildlife area becomes a sought after destination for outdoor activities and special events.
In addition to the traditional hiking, cross-country skiing, and skating options – Mac Johnson is also host to a great lineup of events this year. Below is a handy list including links to help plan your outing.
Every Saturday in January and February, weather permitting @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Saturday, January 28 (10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
Monday, February 20 (10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
Epic Snowshoeing at Jones Creek Trails
Parks Canada says it best on the Thousand Islands National Park website: “Don’t let the chill of winter keep you cooped up indoors.” I intend to heed this advice and try snowshoeing for the first time this year.
Jones Creek Trails look like a good place to start out, as their routes vary in difficulty from easy 20 minute walks to more moderate hikes that can last up to two hours or more depending on experience.
To help determine your path, there is a handy downloadable map available on the Parks Canada Website.
Outdoor Skating at historic Springer Market Square
In beautiful downtown Kingston, the winter months are brightened up each year by the opening of the outdoor rink at Springer Market Square.
It’s free to the public, and there are skate rentals, public restrooms and lockers available in the Market Wing of City Hall.
The best part is that Kingston’s fabulous downtown cafes and restaurants are all within easy walking distance to warm up and enjoy some nibbles after a glide around the rink.
The rink is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (closes in March, weather permitting). For full details check the City of Kingston website.
Feb Fest 2017
Since it’s inaugural event over a decade ago, Feb Fest has become a much-anticipated premier winter event in Kingston.
This year’s event kicks off on Thursday, February 2nd and continues until the 5th. As always, Feb Fest will feature a slew of awesome events.
Stay tuned to the Downtown Kingston! Website for news and updates about Feb Fest ‘17.
Little Cataraqui Creek
Owl Hoot & Coyote Howl Hike
This guided night hike at Little Cat Creek is a perfect opportunity to bring the family for an outdoor adventure they won’t soon forget.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll see any coyotes or owls – you’ll likely hear them as they call out across the frosted twilight.
Cost is $2 per person plus regular gate fee. Registration for this event is required to ensure there are enough hike leaders. To book your spot on the hike visit: crca.ca/online-services.
Saturday, January 14, 6:30 p.m. weather permitting.
Starlight Snowshoe Hike
Join the crew at Little Cataraqui Creek for a novice level snowshoeing trek beneath a starlit sky. If you’re looking for a chance to try out snowshoeing, this is an affordable and guided trek.
This is a night hike, so don’t forget to bring a headlamp or flashlight. Hot chocolate and snacks will be available.
Registration is required for this event also. Registration forms are available at crca.ca/online-services. Registration closes Friday, February 10 at 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 11, 2017 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm.
Land O Lakes
Frontenac Provincial Park
Winter is an ideal time of year to visit Frontenac Provincial Park. Visitors can enjoy 11 kilometers of track-set trails that are perfect for hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and spotting wildlife.
After the hustle and bustle of summer, the forests and trails of Frontenac become a quiet and tranquil environment perfect for escaping the urban grind.
For details about activities and other helpful info, visit: OntaroParks.com/Frontenac/Activities.
Dion Frontenac Snowshoe Race
For those of you with a bit more snowshoeing skills and savvy, the 2017 Dion Frontenac Snowshoe Race is something to consider competing in.
The race takes place over a 6.5 km route that follows a rugged, broad and single track that traverses variable terrain with a combination of potentially deep snow and packed sections of trail.
Chances are, that if you’re participating in a snowshoe race, you already have your own gear. If you do not, there are limited rentals available.
January 14, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Race day registration from 8:30 – 9:45 a.m. at the Park Office
Location: Frontenac Provincial Park – at Park Office
For full Details & Online Registration visit: HealthandAdventure.com.
Napanee Winter Chill Festival and Family Day
Last year, the Town of Greater Napanee combined the annual Winter Chill Festival and Family Day to create one huge day of fun.
This year’s event has been confirmed for Monday, February 20th to coincide with this year’s Family Day.
One burning question remains, however. Will the chili challenge be back? Stay Tuned to The Town of Greater Napanee website to find out!
Bay of Quinte
Ice Fishing in the Bay of Quinte
Ice fishing is an activity that has made this list more than once. It’s a great outdoor activity and a staple in Canadian culture.
Each season, the Bay of Quinte becomes a sought after destination for winter anglers from all over. It is, after all, one of the best places in the world to hook some serious Walleye.
To help give you an idea or two, and for some handy links to licensing and other info for anglers in Ontario, check out this post on our blog by Jordan Whitehouse.
Enjoy the Serenity of Presqu’ile Provincial Park
For travelers looking for a mild winter stroll, Presqu’ile Provincial Park offers a relatively flat level of terrain making it accessible to seniors, or novice hikers.
It’s also a prime spot for birdwatching in peak seasons, and the trails are perfect for a relaxed walk or cross country ski among nature.
Family Day Winter Soup Hike at Presqu’ile
Enjoy a fun-filled and educational day at Presqu’ile, which involves birding, animal tracking, plant and fungus identification and more!
After the day’s activities visitors can enjoy a hot bowl of soup or hot chocolate. Cost is 5.00 per person or 8.00 per family. Prices include park admission.
February 11, 2017 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Registration is required. Call: (613)475-1688 ext. 2
For details visit: OntarioParks.com/events
City of Quinte West
Carve Some Powder at Batawa Ski Hill
Situated roughly 15 minutes north of Trenton, Batawa Ski Hill is a well-known destination for families and anyone looking to enjoy outdoor winter fun.
Batawa is a non-profit operation and offers a range of activities including alpine skiing, hiking, and snowboarding. There are also camp programs, and special events including, concerts and more!
Prince Edward County
Milford Winter Carnival
Make sure you visit the County January 27th & 28th for an epic two days of fun at the Milford Winter Carnival!
There will be a great collection of winter activities, a pancake breakfast, hot dogs and hot chocolate (a winter classic) and more!
Some of the activities depend on weather conditions so stay tuned to the event page on the County’s website for details!
Jan 27 – 28, 2017
Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area
Macaulay Mountain is a popular summer destination for hikers and picnickers. The conservation area features over 400 acres and trails offering easy hiking in the lowland area, and more advanced trekking on the escarpment portion.
When winter arrives, and a good layer of snow blankets Macaulay Mountain – it becomes a favourite place for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s also a good place to bring your toboggan or sled to shred some hills.
Wellington Outdoor Rink
Enjoy an outdoor skating session at Wellington’s outdoor rink. Located at 266 Main Street Wellington (across from the library).
The Wellington outdoor rink was generously donated by local entrepreneur Michael Hymus, in memory of his late father.
There is a limited amount of skates available (40 pairs total) that range in size from children’s small to men’s large. The skates are available for free to anyone who wishes to borrow a pair.
The rink is open to the public seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Details and other information are available on the rink’s Facebook page
Winterfest at Sandbanks Provincial Park
Sandbanks Provincial Park is easily the most iconic attraction in Prince Edward County. Winter is an especially beautiful time of year for the park.
Winterfest is a great activity which takes place on Family Day (Feb. 20, 2017). The event is free and includes all the expected outdoor activities in addition to live music and kids activities.
If you’re musically inclined – make sure to bring a musical instrument and join the “Kitchen Party Jam!”
Feb 20, 2017 12:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Embrace Winter’s Beauty!
After compiling this list of epic winter activities, I can safely say that I will be spending far less time on the couch this year. With such a wide range of places to visit and things to do, I can hardly wait to get out there and show winter who’s boss.
Yes, I get it. It’s cold out there, but trust me. Once you get outside, take in a deep breath and embrace winter’s beauty, you’ll feel a certain warmth in your soul that even Jack Frost can’t nip away at.
Get Out There & Enjoy Winter!