Snow Much Fun in Southern Ontario with 2024 Winter Festivals, Activities and Carnivals

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Snow Much Fun in Southern Ontario with 2024 Winter Festivals, Activities and Carnivals

Brr! The cold Canadian weather is here, leaving no doubt that it’s wintertime. As temperatures drop it’s tempting to spend less and less time outdoors. Yet, there are ample health benefits for children (and the adults who love them) to stay active outside, get fresh air and sun, and necessary vitamin D for growth and development. Teachers on Call’s online and in-person tutors also love the social and educational opportunities winter provides with creative play in the snow and winterfest events to celebrate in the community. To help get you started, our tutoring service has rounded up a comprehensive list of winter wonderland activities and festivals in Southern Ontario to look forward to in 2024. Not to fret if you live in Northern Ontario, that blog is coming next!

We are in the heart of the winter season, which can be challenging for parents looking to keep kids entertained and engaged on chilly days. Fortunately, the Teachers on Call in-person and online tutoring service love to celebrate wintertime filled with fun sports and recreation, outdoor education and winter STEM learning. Our tutors are Ontario Certified Teachers who are big fans of community festivals to explore on weekends, and the student volunteer opportunities they provide. In this blog, we've curated a variety of adventures in the south of Ontario. Read on to find an activity or event near you!

Teachers on Call’s tutoring service has rounded up a list of winter themed ideas in Southern Ontario for 2024 filled with community festivals, athletic activities, and attractions to visit.

Central Ontario

Bracebridge Fire & Ice Festival

Date: January 27, 2024

Location: Downtown Bracebridge along Manitoba Street

Cost: $5 - $10 *Kids under 5 are free

Winter Festival Details:  The town of Bracebridge (known as the heart of Muskoka) hosts an annual festival where the main street is transformed into a giant tubing hill. Volunteer opportunities are still open and will count towards the graduation volunteer requirement for Ontario high school students.

Hike Haliburton Festival – Winter Edition

Date: February 3 – 4, 2024

Location: Participating sites across Haliburton County, including:

Abbey Gardens - 1012 Garden Gate Dr, Algonquin Highlands, Ontario K0M 1S0

Minden Hills Cultural Centre/Agnes Jamieson Gallery - 176 Bobcaygeon Rd, Minden, Ontario K0M 2K0

Bonnie View Inn - 2713 Kashagawigamog Lake Rd, Haliburton, Ontario K0M 1S0

Cost: Free, yet donations are accepted.

Festival Details: While this festival is known for winter hiking and snowshoeing (registration on website), there is so much more including a winter scramble in Abbey Gardens, self-guided family activity along Chickadee Trail, and a winter magic skate at Bonnie View Inn.

Port Carling Winterfest

Date: February 2 – 4, 2024

Location: Participating venues in Port Carling – Township of Muskoka Lakes, including skating all weekend at Hanna Park and Port Carling Arena, and a silent auction at the community centre - 3 Bailey St, Port Carling, Ontario P0B 1J0

Cost: $5 for adults, *Kids under 12 are free

Winterfest Details: In it’s 55th year, this 3-day winter carnival is a hit with families and includes kids’ outdoor activities, skating, Winterfest hockey game (Muskoka Rock Coaches versus Muskoka Lakes Firefighters), and a snow snake throwing competition (as per tradition by Muskoka Lakes Museum)!

Snowtubing at Lakeridge Ski Resort in Uxbridge

Date: January 19, 2024, onwards *check website for end dates

Location: Lakeridge Ski Resort - 790 Chalk Lake Rd, Uxbridge, Ontario L9P 1R4

Cost: $35-$40/person

Winter Tubing Details: The Durham area is home to Lakeridge Ski Resort. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there is a tubing park to visit with 2-hour unlimited blocks.

Eastern Ontario

Snow Biking, Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing the Trails at McIntosh Mills (near Brockville)

Date: Open year-round

Location: 114 Marsh Rd Mallorytown Ontario K0E 1R0 – This location is 20 minutes from Brockville, 45 minutes from Kingston and Smith Falls, and 90 minutes from Ottawa.

Cost: Membership $50/Individual and $100/Household, donations and volunteers are welcome

Winter Activities at McIntosh Mills: There are dedicated trails for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and fat biking. Maintained by the volunteers of the non-profit organization, The Triangle Cross Country Ski Club. As a bonus, there are free snowshoe rentals.

Walk the Winter Beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park in Picton

Date: Open year-round

Location: 3004 County Rd 12, Picton, ON K0K 2T0

Cost: Check website for fee options

Winter Activities at the Provincial Park: While popular to visit for camping and picnic season, locals will tell you that Sandbanks Provincial Park in Prince Edward County and its dunes are a site to see in the winter season. It’s also a scenic location for a snowshoe or cross-country skiing adventure!

Kingston Tobogganing at Fort Henry

Date: Winter season, weather permitting

Location: 1 Fort Henry Dr, Kingston, ON K7K 5G8

Cost: Free

Winter Tobogganing Details: While most people associate this historic site with heritage and school field trips, locals like to go tobogganing there too!

Ottawa’s Winterlude

Date: February 2 – 19, 2024

Location: Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec

Cost: Free

Winter Festival Details: Attention tourists, over 200 activities take place in Ottawa and Gatineau for the winter festival Canada’s capital is known for.  This will also include activities that highlight Indigenous culture. Popular Winterlude sites include Snowflake Kingdom, Sparks Street (a few steps from Parliament Hill), ByWard Market, and the Rideau Canal Skateway.

The Golden Horseshoe

Moonlit Stroll at Halton’s Winterlit

Date: January 12 – February 19, 2024

Location: Mountsberg Conservation Area - 2259 Millburough Line, Campellville, Ontario Canada

Cost: $14 - $22, *Kids 4 and under are free

Winterlit Details: If looking for an evening adventure in the Milton area, visit award-winning Winterlit and take a stroll along two different trails that showcase an illuminated art installation. 

Niagara Falls Helicopter Night Flights

Date: November 15, 2023 – March 9, 2024, Tours offered 5:30-9pm nightly (weather permitting)

Location: Niagara Falls Tour - The following sites will be seen illuminated: Bridal Veil Falls, Skylon Tower, Queen Victoria Park, Whirlpool State Park, Sir Adam Beck II Generating Station, Rainbow Bridge, Canadian Horseshoe Falls, Clifton Hill and as a bonus: Toronto and Buffalo City lights off in the distance.

Cost: $180

Night Flight Details: For a memorable experience, Niagara Helicopters offers a Winter Nights and Lights Experience of a night flightseeing tour of Niagara Falls. Tour lasts approximately 12 minutes.

Holiday Lights by the Lake in Oakville

Date: December 1, 2023 – February 1, 2024

Location: Coronation Park - 1426 Lakeshore Rd W, Oakville, Ontario L6L 1G2

Cost: Free

Winter Details: This City of Oakville organized event is in its third year of operation. It’s known for decking out 90 trees in Coronation Park with over 130,000 lights, extending the magic of the holidays until February. This destination is known to attract nearby neighbours from Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Burlington areas.

Skating in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square

Date: November 25, 2023 – March 17, 2024

Location: Downtown Toronto - 100 Queen St W, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N1 - Located in front of Toronto City Hall, on the northwest corner of Queen and Bay Streets.

Cost: Free

Winter Skating Details: Check out one of Toronto’s most famous ice-skating rinks in Nathan Phillips Square, open daily from 10am – 9:45pm. The cost to skate is free, but rentals are at an extra cost. This is a quintessential winter experience where many series and movies have been filmed.

Southwestern Ontario

London’s Winter Skate Trail at Storybrook Gardens

Date: December 1, 2023 – March 10, 2023

Location: Springbank Park - 1958 Storybook Ln, London, Ontario N6K 4Y6

Cost: $4.75 for adults, $3.75 for children

Winter Skating Details: This skating trail is 250-metres long with 90 minutes allocated to each skating session. It is described as a magical winter experience filled with lights that go around the park grounds. Pre-booking is encouraged, open 7 days per week to the public.

Stratford Winterfest

Date: Saturday, January 27, 2024

Location: Upper Queen’s Park - 55 Queen St, Stratford, Ontario N5A 4M9

Cost: Free

Winterfest Activity Details: Stratford, Ontario’s Winterfest’s one day event includes Ice sculptures, food trucks, scavenger hunts and live demonstrations, all free of charge to visitors.

Waterloo’s Winterloo

Date: January 27, 2024

Location: Waterloo Public Square - 75 King Street South, Waterloo, Ontario N2J 1P2

Cost: Free

Winter Festival Details: This one-day festival runs from 12pm – 5pm and is organized by the City of Waterloo to include fun winter-themed activities and events that include snow dogs, ice carving and snow sculptures.

Bright Lights Windsor

Date: December 1, 2023 - January 7, 2024

Location: Jackson Park - 125 Tecumseh Rd E, Windsor, ON N8X 2P7

Cost: Free

Winter Festival Details: Bright Lights Windsor is an annual tradition and known as Windsor’s most popular winter festival. 

We hope this list is helpful to your family. If looking for more seasonal ideas, check out our previous blog on 10 Winter STEM Activities.

For our families in Northern Ontario, don’t forget to look out for our interview with the City of Thunder Bay on Winter Adventure Bucket List Ideas in Northern Ontario.

*Images provided by Fire & Ice Festival Bracebridge.

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