After the winter holidays, it can be hard not to look towards the next vacation or trip under the sun. Rather than boarding your plane and embarking on an expensive international adventure, why not take a weekend road trip to discover all that Ontario has to offer? From wineries to fashion museums and sculpture gardens to food tours, this province is home to a number of unique attractions that are worth visiting during these colder months. Here are our top picks for small Ontario towns to visit this winter, if you’re in the mood for a quick escape from the city streets.
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Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of the premiere wine destinations in Canada, with over 27 wineries scattered across the region. To celebrate their longstanding practice, the town will transform into a winter wonderland from January 15th – 31st for their annual Icewine Festival. The celebration includes activities and attractions such as skating, winery tours, and ice bars. To further explore the region, embark on a romantic tour of the old town with Sentineal Carriages, which offers horse-drawn rides complete with blankets to keep you warm.
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Orillia is found between two lakes, Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe, making for a very picturesque setting. Though it’s known as a prime summer destination, Orillia also offers plenty to do and see during the winter months. Go for a magical skate on the trail at Fern Resort, a 1.5 kilometre rink through Orillia’s woodlands. For some culture, head to the Orillia Museum of Art and History. The museum is currently running “The Spirit of Mariposa,” an exhibition that celebrates the history of the region. From February 11th – 14th, Orillia will host their annual Winter Carnival, which hosts an ice sculpture competition and a celebrity polar dip, among other activities.
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Elora is a village in Wellington County that is known for its 19th century limestone architecture. During the winter months, the village is blanketed in snow that enhances the century-old structures. The Elora Farmer’s Market runs year round and offers a variety of local and sustainably grown produce, meats, cheeses, baking, and more. To fulfill all your foodie dreams, go on the Elora Culinary Walking Tour of the town, stopping at five of the town’s key destinations.
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Enjoy the crisp winter air in the Cambridge Sculpture Garden, which runs alongside the river in downtown Cambridge and features temporary and permanent sculptures by artists such as Gareth Lichty. To warm up afterwards, head to the Grand River Brewery for a pint of their craft beer and a tour of their unique facilities which are housed in a historical manufacturing building. For a unique museum trip, try the Fashion History Museum, which is home to almost 10,000 garments from the 1660s and onwards.