Winter in Ontario: winter is Canada’s most famous season. In fact most people think its Canada’s only season, a sort of North American Narnia -- always winter and never Christmas.
In Ontario it isn’t that bad.
In fact, other than the cold, it's a great season with lots of outdoor and indoor activities to while away the short days and long nights -- as I mention lower down on the page.
And even that famous cold varies a lot from the south, where it's relatively mild around Toronto, to the north, where it really is arctic.
Depending where you come from, and if you're new or just visiting Ontario, you might find it hard to understand why you're the only one out walking on bright December afternoons in an autumn jacket or why the media is telling everyone to stay indoors.
Folks who came to Ontario years ago claim your blood thins after you've lived in the Province for ten years and you feel the cold more.
I'm not sure about the 'blood thinning' aspect of the explanation but I can believe you get used to your environment and regard as normal temperatures others would find unbearable. What I can't quite get is how that means you feel the cold more but so it is.
Personally, I like the bright, still days that sparkle with ice and snow.
Ontarians swap stories of how a centimeter of snow snarls up traffic in wussier countries while tough Canadians drive through meters of the stuff. And it’s true and so is the flip side.
Foreigners race through rain as if it wasn’t there, Ontarians crawl home if it’s a damp evening commute. And there’s method to both peoples’ madness; Ontario is flat, for the most part, and snow is driveable on the level; hilly places find snow trickier to manage. Also, snow abroad is often only just frozen so it’s wet and slippery while snow in Ontario is so cold it crunches under your foot or tire; it’s hardly slippery at all. With rain, it’s the reverse. Roads that are regularly washed clean by rain are easier to grip while Ontario roads are hardly ever damp so they develop a hard coating of dust and tire rubber that becomes slick when wet. Look out for that when you rent a car here.
Winter in Ontario is actually more about ice than snow, which is why they do so much better at ice sports than snow ones; world ice hockey champs not ski champions.
From October to April, kids and parents live inside the local arena in the evenings and at weekends, taking part in or watching hockey, figure skating, synchronized skating, ice dancing, or ringette.
This begins the moment kids can stand. They begin on ‘training’ skates (with double blades) at three or four and are in highly competitive leagues by six. Ontarians are very easy-going, tolerant people in all respects but one -- ice hockey.
This is Canada's game and no one better ever forget it.
One truly unique means of transport Canada has given to the world is the snowmobile or skidoo. This motorized sled is how folks up north get around during winter in Ontario and it’s also one of our largest winter pastimes. Frozen lakes and rivers, and snow-covered hiking trails are available to drive on all winter long.
In turn, the more traditionally minded dog-sledders, snowshoe-ers and cross-country skiers grumble about the skidoo-ers out on the trails.
Another very peculiar, to me anyhow, winter in Ontario pastime is ice-fishing -- see the photo on our Collingwood page. A sport that requires you to drive a 1.5 tonne pickup truck out onto a frozen lake, put up a fair sized shed complete with seating, heating and alcohol, drill a hole through the ice and fish all day with a group of similarly fearless friends. Consequently, Ontario lake beds have more sunken trucks than boats on them.
Frozen lakes are also good for skidoo and ice-bike racing and suitable lakes are more crowded with competitors and spectators, in addition to ice fisherman, on freezing weekends than they are with boaters in summer.
Personally, I’m never comfortable standing on the surface of a deep lake, no matter how thick the ice is. Maybe you have to be born to that too.
The start of winter is also the start of the Christmas holiday season. For Ontarians that kicks off with the Santa Claus Parade.
Winter is when Ontario gets a number of different visitors, skiers, snowmobilers, ATVers, dog-sledders and others of the human kind.
It's also when animals and birds that usually live up in the arctic regions come south for the 'warmth'. One of the more interesting species that congregate in southern Ontario in the colder months are owls.
And for a hotel in Ontario or anywhere else:
Tours To Explore
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