Five Ideas for Winter Activities in the North

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SUDBURY – Storm, ice, hail… There’s no doubt that winter is here and so are winter activities! Here are some ideas for experiences to try in Northern Ontario.

Visiting Polar Bears in Cochrane

If you dream of meeting the eyes of a polar bear, then the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat, located in Cochrane, is the right destination. It is the only facility in the world dedicated solely to the care of polar bears.

It is currently home to three bears, Ganuk, Henry and Inukshuk, who are treated with the utmost care there. With almost ten hectares of pristine natural environment, the site offers several activities every day this winter.

You will be able to visit the facilities, see among other things where the bears sleep and how they are fed. It is also possible to attend a session of behavioral training and care provided by the center’s team.

Another guided tour includes access to the private walkway through which you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the bears and arctic enclosure. The site includes a snowmobile museum and a heritage village.

Contrary to what one might think, polar bears are considered marine mammals. Source: Cochrane Polar bear habitat

Ice Biking in Kenora

Freshly landed in Kenora, in Northwestern Ontario, Victoria Moss has just launched, Mosswood Adventures and Rentals, an ice bike rental company.

An original activity that is very successful in the neighboring province of Manitoba, where the young Francophile is from.

You can pedal alone or in tandem on the Lac des Bois, and sip a good hot coffee and enjoy a hot dog or good homemade pastries at the mobile café. Hard Water also located on the lake.

Victoria Moss, center, at the grand opening of her bike rental company on Jan. 14 in Kenora. Courtesy

Relax at the Timmins Nordic Spa

If there’s one thing that winter awakens in us, it’s the need to relax in the warmth and what better way to do it than in a setting that inspires Scandinavia?

Head to the Cedar Meadows Resort and spa, to take full advantage of their unique facilities in Northern Ontario.

Surrounded by nature typical of the North, you will have the choice between Nordic baths, indoor and outdoor, bath, hydrofusion, dry and infrared sauna…

It is also possible to enjoy chocolate and blueberry body wraps, sugar scrubs, massages, manicures/pedicures and other facial treatments.

The resort hosting the spa occupies nearly 71 hectares of land overlooking the Mattagami River. The site is home to deer, moose, elk and bison that can be observed very closely from a tractor.

It is the only Nordic spa in Northern Ontario. Image credit: Inès Rebei

Skate on Ramsey Lake in Sudbury

Impossible to go through Sudbury in winter without skating on one of the many frozen lakes in the city of Nickel. Sudburians’ favorite place to slide is the famous Ramsey Lake, whose free skating trail has been open since January 21.

Be careful to provide very sharp skates, because it is not possible to rent or sharpen them on the site. The trail is approximately 1.5 miles from the Science North Parkway to McNaughton Bench.

The trail is open Monday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m., Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. A little bonus for Valentine’s Day: skaters will be entitled to free hot chocolate and s’moreswith a bonfire.

Particularly pleasant rest areas were designed by architecture students from Laurentian University. A patrol circulates on the trail to offer assistance during opening hours.

The City of Sudbury has 330 lakes, more than any other municipality in Canada. Source: Rainbow Routes Association

Snowmobiling at Smooth Rock Falls

The outdoors is the specialty of the North, and the thousands of kilometers of trails will not deny it. Ontario is also the snowmobile capital of the world with its 30,000 kilometers of marked and maintained trails.

The Spirit of the North, a tourist company based in Smooth Rock Falls, offers a snowmobile expedition to James Bay.

Participants traverse frozen rivers and snow-filled canyons on their snowmobiles, retracing trails once used for the fur trade. At night, small reclusive cabins serve as shelter.

Snowmobiling is the flagship activity in the North of the province. Source: Canva

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