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Start the New Year in the Canadian Outdoors

Embrace the winter season with frozen waterfalls, fat bikes and scenic snowshoe hikes

A man and a woman tie up their skates before hitting the rink

Feeling the post-holiday cabin fever? Kick off the new year with some outdoor activities near the GTA.

Glide along skating trails

Skating at The Bentway in Toronto, Ont.

Forget indoor rinks—the GTA has several outdoor skating trails that wind through scenic winter wonderlands. The Bentway is a figure-eight skating trail underneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway with winter programming, hot chocolate stations, on-site rentals and even free lessons (for adults, too). If you’re up for a drive, MacGregor Point Provincial Park near Port Elgin offers a scenic 400-metre skating trail.

Try fat biking

Sweet Pete's offers guided fat-bike rides at Evergreen Brick Works, in Toronto, Ont.

Instead of going to a spin studio to cycle in the winter, embrace the snow on a fat bike, equipped with oversized tires for winter terrain. Sweet Pete’s at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto offers two-hour guided fat-bike rides for all levels on Sundays and for intermediate riders on Tuesday evenings. You’ll wheel over frozen landscapes and explore little-known trails in the Don Valley on a Trek Farley 5 bike.

Take up snowshoeing

Snowshoeing at Crawford Lake, Ont.

There’s nothing like the feeling of treading over a fresh blanket of snow in the Canadian wilderness. Rent a pair of snowshoes at Crawford Lake and explore 8.5 kilometres of trails. You can also sign up for a sunset snowshoe hike (for families) or moonlight snowshoe hike (for adults) every Saturday during the winter season, weather permitting. Best of all, you can warm up afterward with hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows around a bonfire.

Check out some frozen waterfalls

Frozen waterfalls near Hamilton, Ont. 

While some people avoid going outdoors during a cold snap, others know it’s one of the best times to visit waterfalls—when they’re frozen solid. There are more than 100 waterfalls in the Hamilton area, many along the Niagara Escarpment. Options include Tiffany Falls, Webster Falls and Sherman Falls, accessible by hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.


Experience Terra Lumina at the Toronto Zoo

Visitors explore Terra Lumina, the Toronto Zoo's nighttime multimedia experience

If you need some motivation to go for a winter walk, how about giant illuminated holograms? Head to the Toronto Zoo to experience Moment Factory’s Terra Lumina night walk, an immersive experience designed by the acclaimed Montreal-based multimedia studio. Beginning at nightfall, you’ll stroll along a 1.5-kilometre path through a soundscape that involves multimedia effects, video projections and an original score—all while soaking up the great outdoors. Even better, CAA Members save 10% on admission to the Toronto Zoo when you show your Membership card at the gate.

Attention curling fans!

The 2020 Tim Horton’s Briar is taking place in Kingston, Ont., February 29 to March 8. Tickets go on sale January 13, but CAA Members can buy theirs on January 10, plus, get a 15% discount.

Keep reading

If you’re looking for more outdoor activities, head to one of these ski towns in Canada or try winter camping.

Image Credits: Courtesy of Ontario Parks, Andrew Williamson, Sweet Pete’s, James Hackland/Alamy Stock Photo, Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association,Toronto Zoo