• Sudbury, Ont.

    Sudbury, Ont. (Photo: P199/Creative Commons)

Northern Ontario is nothing short of astounding with breathtaking lakes, mountains, lush greenery and beautiful scenery at every turn. Even blanketed beneath a sheet of snow, there’s plenty to do and lots to explore. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll find in three thriving winter cities.

SUDBURY

Whether you’re an adventurous thrill-seeker or prefer to take things leisurely, history-rich Sudbury’s has something for everyone.

1. Lake Laurentian Conservation Area (LLCA)
Roam 9.7 square kilometres of protected green space just 10 minutes from downtown Sudbury. Powder hounds can partake in some cross-country skiing or take a walk along the trails with scenic lookouts throughout, finding the perfect spots for nature photography. The area, which is surrounded by lakes and wetlands, also offers snowshoeing and bird watching.

2. Snowmobiling
Rip through (or stroll on) 3,000 kilometres of snowy fields and trails at Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs District 12 or Sudbury Trail Association to get a taste of the over 30,000 kilometres of maintained, interconnected trails in Ontario, offering the longest network of recreational snowmobiling in the world. Make it a mini-getaway with a two-day tour loop.

3.   Science North (and Dynamic Earth – Home of the Big Nickel)
For those a little weary of the icy winds, there’s still plenty to do at Science North, Canada’s second-largest science centre. It features an IMAX theatre, digital Planetarium, butterfly gallery and special exhibits ranging from biology to space to technology. It also hosts Dynamic Earth – Home of the Big Nickel. Get a Dynamic Duo Passport to access both centres and your chance to head underground to roam and learn about Sudbury’s vast mining industry. Great for kids and adults alike!

Aerial view of North Bay, Ont.

NORTH BAY

If you’re not taking advantage of one of the many trails passing through the escarpment or overlooking the city with awe-inspiring views, there’s still plenty to do.

1. Curling
With roots in Scotland, curling has a long history in Canada, dating back to 1807 when the Montreal Curling Club became the first organized sporting club in Canada. Now, you can get on the ice and see what the fuss is all about in one of four curling clubs in the city, all equipped with optional bar service. North Bay Granite Club has also been chosen to host the 2015 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship!

2. Ice Fishing
Once a method of survival for natives searching for food, ice fishing is now one of the most popular winter activities in Canada, and a perfect getaway. Rent a day hut or spend the night, fishing at your leisure on Lake Nipissing. The usually mobile ice huts are equipped with basic bedding, a table and a hole into the icy water. Less equipment intensive, ice fishing can be a great family activity.

3. Sleigh Rides
Travel through snow covered fields and beautiful wooded trails like royalty. Village Clydesdales, located 20 minutes south-east of North Bay, offers horse-drawn carriage sleigh rides through the countryside in the winter. End the evening fireside roasting marshmallows, hot dogs or anything else you’d like! They’ll even provide the roasting sticks.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Thunder Bay, Ont. (Photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson)

THUNDER BAY

If you can imagine it, Thunder Bay’s got it. This true winter paradise has everything from ice racing to trail hikes. Here are some popular activities that help make use of the wintry beauty.

1. Winterfest
Once a year on Family Day, the city locals and tourists gather to participate in a day of activities, entertainment and friendly competition. Some of the events include fat biking, sledge hockey, kick sledding, a dance party at the skating rink and a snow sculpture symposium. The exhibit features local and regionally carvers with a new assortment of snow sculptures every year. 

2. Snowkiting
It’s the Canadian kiteboarding! Snowkiters use skis, snowboards and skates to glide across snow and jump in the air with a kite harnessing wind power. Like any extreme sport, it’s thrilling but can also be dangerous. Take advantage of Superior Kiteboarding school to take part in the thrill; they offer the only certified instructor in central Canada!

3. Dog Sledding
Sit back in a dog sled or learn to mush your own team of Alaskan huskies at Boreal Journeys Sled Dog Kennel. An outdoors experience like no other, sled past stunning trails and routes near Lake Superior. Customize your time on the snowy fields, from a half-day sampler to an overnight excursion to a five-day mushing immersion and everything in between.