This year, Family Day—Ontario’s wholesome stat holiday—falls on Monday February 18th, but the whole long weekend is a great opportunity for family bonding. Hotels, parks, community centers and businesses in cottage country are offering activities and deals in celebration of the holiday. It’s the perfect excuse to plan a fun-filled adventure!
Winter in the Wild Festival, Algonquin Park: February 16th
Organized by the non-profit group Friends of Algonquin Park, the Winter in the Wild Festival is a day filled with outdoor events that highlight the natural beauty of the national park. There are snowshoeing expeditions, guided birdwatching tours, and outdoor ice-skating. It’s all capped off with a cozy evening campfire and barbeque. All of the events are free, but you do need to purchase a daily vehicle permit or a camping permit to enter the park.
Family Fishing Weekend, various locations: February 16th – 18th
Thanks to the cooperation of government and non-government fishing organizations, families can take advantage of a special license-free fishing weekend. Kid-friendly tournaments, derbies, and day events are being held all across Ontario to celebrate the sport of fishing (http://www.ontariofamilyfishing.com/events/). Families can also book an ice-fishing getaway and spend a whole weekend bonding in a fishing hut. Click here for a list of great ice fishing locations. To find out what you need to get started, read our article, “A beginner’s guide to ice fishing.”
Frost Festival, Haliburton: February 16th
Held in the village of Halliburton, this festival includes tons of outdoor fun, such as horse-drawn wagon rides, snow taffy, pony rides, and dog-sledding. Those looking for a respite from the cold can pop inside the library or the art gallery for some arts and craft activities. Brave ones can sign up for the Polar Bear Challenge and take the frozen plunge into Head Lake to support SickKids
Snowman Mania!, Wasaga Beach: February 15th – February 18th
This four-day event started off as a simple snowman building competition, but it has grown into a huge winter festival with an opening ceremony featuring a live concert, fireworks, and hot air balloon rides. Throughout the weekend there are lots of quirky activities and attractions, including a giant snow maze, a chili-cook off, a toboggan party, and demolition derby. There’s even a contest where people build snowmen from recycled materials instead of snow!
Deerhurst Resort Family Day Weekend Getaway, Huntsville: February 16th – 18th
If you’re looking for a place to hole up for a mini-vacay, Deerhurst Resort offers a special family day package starting at only $179 per night. You can partake in on-site snowmobiling (with optional guided tours), dogsledding, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides. The resort is also a 10-minute drive to nearby Arrowhead Park where you can strap on some skates and tackle a 1.5 km ice trail. Hidden Valley Highlands is also right next-door, so you can hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding.
Family Day at Cobble Beach, Cobble Beach Golf Resort: February 18th
At this event, admission is free and there are lots of activities for all ages. Little kids can have their face-painted, go on a pony ride or participate in some group games. Older kids can wrestle in sumo suits, play some road hockey or try out obstacle carts. Parents can park their butt in front of a bonfire and breathe a sigh of relief.
Try Our Trails, various locations: February 16th – February 1th
In an effort to encourage people to get outdoors, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is allowing anyone to drive their trails for free on Family Day Weekend. You can register for a free permit online and it’s valid for the entire weekend. Click here for a map of all the OFSC trails.
Family Day Weekend, Blue Mountain Village: February 16th – February 18th
Part amusement park experience, part festival, there is something to satisfy everyone at this event. Free activities include horse and wagon rides, guided snowshoe tours, group skating, and a stage show featuring exotic birds. For an entry fee families can also splash around at Plunge!, an indoor waterpark or jet down the mountain on the Ridge Runner coaster. For fancy food lovers there is a family style gourmet buffet courtesy of restauranteurs Oliver and Bonacini.
Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre Celebrates Family Day, Gravenhurst: February 18th
If you’re looking for a fun cultural experience to share with your family, the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre is hosting a daylong event that includes a pirate treasure hunt, arts and crafts, movie screenings, and floating boat races.
Winteractive, Orilla: February 15th – February 18th
This is a bonus Family Day event because it was originally supposed to be held in January but was postponed due to lack of snow. Plus, the message of this festival is easily embraced by happy, healthy families: “Get up, go out and be Winter Active” Featured outdoor adventures include a Victorian costume skating event, a snow volleyball tournament, a cardboard toboggan race, and a large-scale game of winter tag called the Fox and Geese Obstacle Race.