Ski an Ontario Parks loppet

Whether you ski for fun, race, or love a good workout, cross-country skiing is an opportunity to see Ontario Parks at their winter best. Ontario Parks’ have some of the best cross-country skiing in Canada.  Local nordic ski clubs help us to maintain many park trail networks. In Arrowhead, Sleeping Giant, and Quetico Provincial Parks, there are also annual ski loppets you can join. These have become increasingly popular with cross-country skiers. These ‘loppet’ parks also have heated roofed accommodation in the form of cabins, cottages and yurts. While the roofed accommodations often book up quickly during loppets or on weekends, mid-week bookings are still pretty easy to get, even at the last minute. If you can’t find availability, try Resorts of Ontario, which has a range of member resorts located near Ontario Parks across the province. Family Day is also a big deal at select Ontario Parks every winter. For a look at Family Day 2015, check the Park Blog events post.  A complete listing of winter events is on the Ontario Parks web site at  http://www.ontarioparks.com/events.

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Tiki torch skating through the woods at Arrowhead

One of many cool things to do at this winter “amusement park” 

OK, so we’re Canadians, right? We know skating. We know it’s fun, invigorating and downright patriotic. But how many of us can say we’ve skated through the woods, at night, under the stars on an ice trail lit by tiki torch? The family memories! The selfies!

With nighttime and daytime skating Arrowhead Provincial Park, north of Huntsville, is the only provincial park with its own zamboni that grooms a 1.3 km trail to glassy perfection mid December to February. Cars line up down the highway to take part in this magical mystery tour that has struck a chord with visitors and increased winter attendance from 600 day passes five years ago to 6,000 last year.

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Go for a run at Ontario Parks

Looking for a new place to run? Try Ontario Parks. Softer trail surfaces minimize the impact on runner joints and backs. Runners have over 1,800 kilometres of trails to choose from. Park landscapes are spectacular and many parks offer roofed accommodation. Derrick Spafford is a regular trail runner at Frontenac Provincial Park which has 160 kilometres of trails, one of the largest trail networks east of the Canadian Rockies. In this Park Blog, Spafford shares his trail running tips and three favourite Frontenac trails.

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Winter at Ontario Parks

Don't forget a thermos of hot chocolate for your outing!

Looking for fun winter outings? You’ve come to the right place.
Across the province, Ontario Parks offer a bounty of winter activities for families. Some host special events like Family Day celebrations. There are parks with cool ice trails through the woods to skate and hundreds of kilometres of park trails to ski.  Local ski clubs keep many park trails groomed and track set and winter ski loppets have become annual family gatherings.  A couple of snowshoe races are even held every winter on designated snowshoe trails. Tobogganing is also popular.  At Arrowhead, park visitors can even borrow a tube to take down a hill groomed especially for snow tubing.  Use the Park Locator tool on the Ontario Parks’ website to help you search for winter park amenities  or browse past Park Blog post for ideas.  Here are some other helpful sources to get you started:

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2013 March Break events at Ontario Parks

Every March, the sap flows from trees and birds begin their journey north making pit stops at parks along the lower Great Lakes.  The weather is milder allowing for more outdoor play. Special March Break events for 2013 are planned in many Ontario Parks including a maple syrup festival, a fun cross-country ski touring event and two big birding festivals. Guided hikes and natural heritage activities are planned for March weekends in select Ontario Parks across the province. Continue reading 2013 March Break events at Ontario Parks

Art Froid at Arrowhead Provincial Park: calling all snow sculptors!

Arrowhead Provincial Park is currently looking for local artistic talent to build snow sculptures along the Ice Trail for the first annual “Art Froid” (cold art).  Public viewing and judging will occur on February 9th, 2013 from 8:30am to 9:00pm.  Free hot chocolate will be available compliments of Northern Sanitation and Disposal. Continue reading Art Froid at Arrowhead Provincial Park: calling all snow sculptors!

Camp in Comfort

Ontario Parks is piloting new types of roofed accommodation this year at Murphys Point, Arrowhead and Pinery Provincial Parks. We started with Camp Cabins. There is one located in each of our pilot parks.  The second new accommodation is a Deluxe Tent.  This tent is now available at Murphys Point (site 48), Arrowhead (site 247) and Pinery (site 491). Continue reading Camp in Comfort