Insight Advisor

Activities for the Whole Family

Looking for things to do while visiting friends and relatives in the 1000 Islands this winter? With family-friendly activities and attractions all over town, you can find just what you are looking for in Brockville to make your visit truly one of a kind.

Your starting point is the Aquatarium, Brockville’s interactive discovery center devoted to sharing the history, ecology and culture of the 1000 Islands.

From there you can head out on foot and explore the waterfront along the Brock Trail. Slap on a pair of skis and discover amazing trails just north and west of the city.

Don’t forget your camera as photo-worthy opportunities are around every corner and memories are being made at every turn.

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Brockville at its Best

Wintery fun at Rotary Park Rink
Wintery fun at Rotary Park Rink
Natural winter
Natural winter
Aquatarium at Tall Ships Landing
Aquatarium at Tall Ships Landing
Brockville Farmer’s Market at the Aquatarium
Brockville Farmer’s Market at the Aquatarium
Brockville Arts Centre
Brockville Arts Centre

Rotary Park Rink

Lace up and glide into winter on the Rotary Park Rink in Brockville that provides a covered ice surface from December through March. This free synthetic ice is popular with beginning skaters – and the entire community! With washrooms and a skate change hut, lots of parking and close proximity to the Brock Trail it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon revelling in winter. Outdoor skating fun starts– grab your fam jam, besties or even join in a game of pick up. Specific activity times apply to this outdoor rink, and the city usually posts them weekly here.

Mac Johnson Wildlife Area

Trails around Brockville become even more intriguing in winter! Identify animal tracks in the snow, enjoy the peacefulness of the woods in the winter and embrace the season by immersing yourself in nature. Mac Johnson Wildlife Area, at the north end of the city, is a winter-activity hot spot with almost a dozen kilometres of cross country ski trails, as well as an outdoor skating rink. On Saturdays in the winter, Mac Johnson features family skates – complete with hot chocolate served by local volunteers at the outdoor shelter.

MacIntosh Mills is another wintertime gem for ccross-countryskiing and snowshoeing. The Triangle Ski Club of Brockville operates the trails which see children to experts enjoying more than 35 km of ski trails. There is even a heated clubhouse on site. Want to have some good old fashioned fun this winter? Head over to Laurier Hill in Brockville for a memorable tobogganing experience! One side of the hill caters to kids – the incline on the other side of hill may be more suitable for daredevils. Either way – winter fun awaits!

Cross-Country Skiing

This region has embraced the sport of cross-country skiing, with trails available throughout the entire area. Whether you are a skiing enthusiast or trying out those skis for the first time; this is a great place to glide.

Skip the crowds at the ski hill; get outside and enjoy an amazing workout with incredible views.

Where to Ski:

Mac Johnson Wildlife Area: With 11 kilometers of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails, you don’t have to go far out of town to get in a quick ski. In the Winter they also offer skating on a natural outdoor ice rink as the reservoir freezes over.

Triangle Ski Club: The ski trails are located on the west and east side of Leeds County Road 5. They consist of a mix of Crown land (Ministry of Natural Resources) and various landowners’ property who generously allow the club access. Day users are welcome on the club’s ski trails. It is requested that non-members of the club deposit a $10 contribution towards the cost of maintaining the trail systems in the box located beside the sign at the entrance to the West trail system. The club maintains 35 km of picturesque trails for beginners, intermediate and expert skiers, with 17 km of groomed, track set trails. There are also 6 km of independent showshoe trails for beginner, intermediate, and expert snowshoers.

Gordon MacCormack Maitland Trails: The Maitland cross country trail system consists of three, relatively flat loops (orange, green and red) of varying lengths from 7.5 km for the Orange trail to around 3.0 km for the Red trail. The main trailhead is behind the MERC Hall (off McLean Boulevard in Maitland) where there is ample parking. The trail system is maintained by MERC volunteers with machine grooming performed as conditions permit.

Jones Creek: Enjoy snowshoeing in the Winter to take advantage of these hiking trails in the colder months. Park trails at the Jones Creek property vary in difficulty from an easy 20-minute walk to a moderate 2-hour hike and connect to each other for a longer trip.Limerick Forest: The mapped trail network within Limerick Forest consists of approximately 180 km of trails ranging in size from single track to emergency access roads suitable for full-sized vehicles. In addition, approximately 30 km of “groomed” snowmobile trails are maintained by the Leeds & Grenville Snowmobile Association. Recreational activities in Limerick Forest can be divided into two broad categories; motorized and non-motorized. Motorized activities include the use of dirt bikes, all terrain vehicles (ATV’s) and snowmobiles. Non-motorized pursuits include mountain biking, cross country skiing, geocaching, horse-back riding, bird watching, hiking and hunting.

Aquatarium at Tall Ships Landing

The Aquatarium is an engaging, fun filled, educational and interactive center where visitors can explore the history of this region, all year round. This 27,000 square foot centre showcases the diverse waters and wildlife of the St. Lawrence River and 1000 Islands. Best of all, you and your kids will love it!

A visit to the Aquatarium is a gateway to a world of underwater immersion where fish tanks showcase the diverse environment of the St. Lawrence River. You’ll get up close to a variety of fish species and underwater perspective of a shipwreck as you walk through the underwater tunnel.

Ahoy, matey! You can also climb through the rigging of a tall ship with the one-of-a-kind ropes course! This activity is engaging and interactive for kids and adults alike. Instructors are on hand to ensure that climbers safely learn to navigate this unique climbing adventure. Navigate to the edge of the deck—where a 4-storey quick jump awaits! Take the 40-foot AquaDrop to the ground floor, or take a comfortable slide off the SS Kingston. There’s even a mini ropes course and scramble net for the littlest explorers.

When you plan your visit make sure to be there when the playful otters get fed at 11:30 a.m. These furry friends invite you to take a step out of the ordinary and explore the 1000 Islands from their point of view. The 3 aquatic denizens will keep you captivated as they swim and play throughout the massive glass-enclosed river habitat, complete with a rushing waterfall for the otters to delight in as they put on a show without even realizing it. This is just a fraction of what there is to see and do at the Aquatarium, making this a wonderful family-friendly attraction in South Eastern Ontario.

Explore Now

Brockville Farmer’s Market

Put some local under the tree this holiday season! The Brockville Christmas Farmers’ Markets will happen on the first three Saturday of the month from 9:30am-2:00pm at the Aquatarium (FREE admission all day at the AQ!).

This historic, down-home market has been bringing the community together for 185 seasons to feature a collection of traditional and organic produce, herbs, meats, honey, maple syrup, preserves, baked goods, and much more including ever-changing selection of hand-crafted jewelry, furniture, textile products, quality cut flowers, perennials and annuals. Celebrate all things local in Brockville and area and connect with local producers and makers. This is the ultimate in farm to plate!

Brockville Arts Centre

Located in the world famous 1000 Islands region, the Brockville Arts Centre presents some of the best live theatre and live entertainment concerts in Eastern Ontario and the 1000 Islands. This beautifully restored heritage theatre is well known for its comfort, friendly staff, big stage and exceptional acoustics.

Going to a show at the Brockville Arts Centre is like stepping into an old English music hall. Much of the original building still stands from when it was originally built in 1858. And it’s been through quite a lot – surviving two World Wars, the Great Depression and a catastrophic fire. Today, the Brockville Arts Centre lives up to its reputation as an arts hub for the 1,000 Islands region, and one of the finest medium-sized theatres in Canada. Each season, the Arts Centre offers a diverse line-up of musicals and plays put on by local theatre companies and companies from across the country.

The Brockville Arts Centre’s location just a few steps away from the St. Lawrence River in downtown Brockville gives you easy access to 30 different places for dinner and drinks before or after the show. A wide variety of home-style bakeries, pubs, and bistros satisfy whatever taste you’re craving. Charming tearooms and outdoor patios can also fit the bill if you’re in the mood for a cool drink and light meal out on the waterfront.

Be sure to check out these performances:

December 4: The Nutcracker Ballet
December 6: Elvis – A Christmas Special
December 8: Wayne Rostad & friends – Christmas in the Valley
December 13: Natalie McMaster & Donnell Leahy – A Celtic Family Christmas
December 14: John McDermott – Family Christmas
Click here for more info on each performance, and to buy tickets!

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