Ontario: the unexpected winter wonderland for groups
Date Posted: 27/10/2015
Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights
The Canadian province of Ontario is home to nearly 3,000 winter events every year, making full use of Canada’s famous sub-zero temperatures and winter weather.
In some places like London, snowfall can make a city ground to a halt. In Ontario however people grab a sleigh, head outside and make the most of it.
What’s more, Ontario is all geared up for groups, offering travel trade advice on accommodation and sightseeing on its website.
With this in mind we’ve rounded up five cool (pun intended) reasons to visit Ontario during winter.
The annual February Boo Soo Winter Carnival is a real community affair which brings the whole town together. Events are both indoors and outdoors and include the annual polar bear swim, giant snow slides and a variety of performances.
Taking place over a whopping ten days, there’s also a night of ice and fire which includes wine tasting, appetizers and complimentary cheeses followed by a night of dancing. The festival is named after its mascot, Bon Soo.
One that’s probably just for the adults, the Niagara Icewine Festival celebrates Ontario’s famous icewine for two weekends in January.
With the region being home to over 90 distinctive wineries – most of which take part in the festival – there’s never a shortage of drink.
Visitors can enjoy fire pits used to roast icewine marshmallows, marvel at ice sculptures and visit a signature icewine martini bar.
There are also smaller festivals within the main one, such as Sparkle and Ice, where guests can try culinary creations and view live entertainment in a grand century old courthouse ballroom.
Winterlude in the evening
Recognized as the greatest winter celebration in North America, this three weekend outdoor event attracts more than 650,000 visitors a year. Taking place at the end of January every year, the festival features the largest ice rink in the world and frozen zip-lines, a giant maze and go-carts at the world’s biggest snow playground, Snowflake Kingdom – in case you have families in your group.
There’s plenty to eat and drink too with hot apple cider on offer and Canadian favourite, Beaver Tails pastry, among the different food and drink stands.
For foodies, Winterlicious provides the opportunity to mix the winter season celebrations with great culinary treasures. The festival, which centres on Toronto, offers three course meals at over 200 top restaurants around the city, and other events.
Some experiences include cooking classes and demonstrations, dinner theatre, tastings and pairings and intimate chef dinners.
The Winter Festival of Lights covers Niagara Falls with bold and vibrant colours, offering three million sparkling lights along a five kilometre route.
It includes an annual Christmas Concert Series and an outdoor skating experience, Rink at the Brink, which doubles up as a popular location for viewing the lights against the captivating backdrop of Horseshoe Falls. The event has gone on to become a popular family tradition.
For more information about what Ontario can offer groups visit www.ottawatourism.ca/travel-trade.