One of Canada’s “best winter destinations” is located in Ontario and is like stepping into Narnia
The snow season is upon us, and the ground will soon be covered in a blanket of brilliant white. While every corner of Canada has its own winter charm, this Ontario city is the place to be if you want to experience the season to its fullest.
Thunder Bay, located in northwestern Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior, turns into a winter wonderland every year. According to the city’s website, it is “one of the best winter destinations in Canada.”
While the weather can be “quite cold and snowy,” the town and surrounding area offer great outdoor attractions and activities that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into Narnia.
From frozen waterfalls to sleigh rides through the snow, here are eight magical winter experiences to enjoy in Thunder Bay.
Slide around the ice rink
When: December 1, 2023 to April 1, 2024
Address: Sleeping Giant Pkwy., Thunder Bay, ON
Why you need to go: According to Tourism Thunder Bay, the city is said to have “the most outdoor rinks per capita” so there are countless places to strap up those skates.
Prince Arthur’s Landing is a popular place to hit the ice. Northern Ontario Travel reports that the downtown rink “features great views of the city’s harbor and the legendary Sleeping Giant skyline.”
It also has one of the longest outdoor ski seasons in Ontario, typically extending from mid-December until late March.
Relax by the fireplace and admire the beauty of the Sleeping Giant while gliding on the ice for a magical winter adventure.
Thunder Bay website
Explore a snow-covered park
Price: Prices vary
Address: RR 1, Pass Lake, ON
Why you need to go: Located just outside Thunder Bay, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park boasts rugged scenery and stunning snowy scenery.
It has “some of the best cross-country skiing in Ontario” and you can glide along 50 kilometers of groomed trails. You can also strap on your snowshoes and explore some of the popular trails like Sea Lion, Sawyer Bay, and a section of the Kabeyun Trail leading to Tee Harbour.
If you’re in the mood for skiing, check out the 300-meter toboggan run at Marie Louise Lake Campground.
Location of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Riding through the snow in a sleigh
Price: $500 for up to 20 people
When: Starting December 2023
Address: 426 McCloskey Dr., Slate River Valley, Ontario
Why you need to go: It is located near Thunder Bay at the foot of Candy MountainGammondale Farm, a picturesque property offering winter sleigh rides.
You can enjoy Christmas sleigh rides during the holiday season and winter sleigh rides from January onwards.
A horse-drawn sleigh will take you through a sparkling winter wonderland below the majestic Kandy Mountain. After your adventure, you can warm up at the Log House with unlimited beverages like hot chocolate and tea.
Sleigh tours take at least an hour and are a magical way to enjoy the snow season.
Jammondale Farm website
Visit the frozen waterfall
Price: Prices vary
Address: Kakabeka Falls, ON
Why you need to go: Did you know that Ontario has the “Niagara of the North?” Kakabeka Falls is the second highest waterfall in the prefecture and is absolutely magical during the winter.
The powerful waterfall freezes and looks like a scene from Narnia. You can gaze at this mysterious marvel from viewing platforms along the Boardwalk Trail.
The short trail loops around the top of the falls, offering stunning views.
You can also enjoy the 15 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails that take you through a sparkling wonderland.
Location of Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park
Embark on a snowshoeing adventure
Price: $5 parking fee
Address: Thunder Bay, ON
Why you need to go: Hazelwood Lake Conservation Area is a dreamy place to spend a winter day. The nature reserve is home to several snowshoeing trails where you can enjoy the sparkling surroundings.
You can take the Orange Trail, which circles the beautiful frozen lake, or the Forest Community Trail, which takes you through a snow-covered forest.
The trails are not maintained in the winter, so be sure to check the weather before heading out.
Lake Hazelwood Conservation Area website
Enjoy a winter vacation in a snowy wonderland
Price: Prices vary
Address: ON-11, Atikokan, ON
Why you need to go: Quetico Provincial Park is an amazing destination to visit during the winter. The park is home to winding paths, sparkling forests and beautiful landscapes.
There is plenty to do within the area, from cross-country skiing to snowshoeing and ice fishing.
Spend a short vacation in one of the three rustic cabins at Quetico’s Dawson Trail Campground. From traditional log cabins to lakefront rentals, these places offer magical nighttime experiences.
The park is also recognized by the International Dark Sky Association as an International Dark Sky Park. You can enjoy some amazing views of the night sky while exploring the area.
Quetico County Park website
Go tubing down a snowy slope
Price: to be announced
Time: will be announced
Address: 375 Mount Baldy Road, Shunia, ON
Why you need to go: You can take your winter adventures to the next level at Mount Baldy. The ski resort offers downhill skiing, snowboarding and tubing during the snow mites.
Tubing is a unique way to enjoy the cold weather and you can slide down the slopes surrounded by the fresh winter air. Prices and dates for the next season have not yet been announced, so stay tuned on the website.
Mount Baldy site
Get comfortable in the sauna
Price: $25+ per hour and a half
Address: 379 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Why you need to go: If you need a way to warm up after a day outdoors, you’ll want to head to Kangas Sauna. The place contains 7 small saunas, 5 medium saunas, and 4 large saunas that you can rent for an hour and a half.
Each sauna has its own changing room and shower, and some have private bathrooms as well.
There is an on-site restaurant and you can enjoy breakfast dishes, sandwiches and the famous “Finnish Kangas pancakes”.
Kangas Sauna website
Before you set off, check out our responsible travel guide so you can stay informed, safe, smart, and most of all, respect your adventure.
(tags for translation)Ontario winter