Snowy season is just around the corner and the land will soon be covered in a blanket of glistening white. While every corner of Canada boasts its own special winter charm, this Ontario city is the place to be if you want to experience the season to the fullest.
Thunder Bay, located in northwestern Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior transforms into a winter wonderland each year. According to the city's website, it's "one of Canada's best winter destinations."
While the weather can be "quite chilly and snowy," the city and surrounding area offer incredible outdoor attractions and activities that will make you feel like you've stepped into Narnia.
From frozen waterfalls to sleigh rides through the snow, here are eight magical winter experiences to enjoy in Thunder Bay.
Glide around an ice rink
When: December 1, 2023 to April 1, 2024
Address: Sleeping Giant Pkwy., Thunder Bay, ON
Why You Need To Go: According to Tourism Thunder Bay, it's said that the city has "the most outdoor rinks per capita" so there are endless places to lace up those skates.
Prince Arthur's Landing is a popular spot to hit the ice. Northern Ontario Travel reports that the downtown rink "boasts remarkable views of the city’s harbour and legendary Sleeping Giant skyline."
It also has one of the longest outdoor skating seasons in Ontario and typically runs from mid-December through late March.
You can cozy up by a fireplace and take in the beauty of the Sleeping Giant while gliding about the ice for a magical winter adventure.
Explore a snow-covered park
Price: Prices vary
Address: R R 1, Pass Lake, ON
Why You Need To Go: Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, located just outside of Thunder Bay, boasts rugged scenery and breathtaking snowy views.
It has "some of the best cross-country skiing in Ontario" and you can glide along 50 kilometres of groomed trails. You can also put on your snowshoes and explore some popular trails like the Sea Lion, Sawyer Bay, and a section of the Kabeyun Trail to Tee Harbour.
If you're in the mood for skating, you can check out the 300 metre- long skating trail at the Marie Louise Lake Campground.
Ride through the snow in a sleigh
Price: $500 for up to 20 people
When: Starting December 2023
Address: 426 McCluskey Dr., Slate River Valley, ON
Why You Need To Go: Situated near Thunder Bay at the foot of Candy Mountain isGammondale Farm, a picturesque property offering winter sleigh rides.
You can enjoy Christmas sleigh ride parties during the holiday season and winter sleigh rides from January on.
The horse-drawn sleigh will take you through a glistening winter wonderland beneath the majestic Candy Mountain. After your adventure, you can warm up in the Log House and sip unlimited drinks like hot chocolate and tea.
The sleigh rides are at least an hour long and are magical way to experience the snowy season.
Visit a frozen waterfall
Price: Prices vary
Address: Kakabeka Falls, ON
The powerful cascade freezes over and it looks like a scene from Narnia. You can gaze at this mystical wonder from the viewing platforms along the Boardwalk Trail.
The short path loops around the top of the falls, providing stunning views.
You can also enjoy 15 kilometres of groomed and track-set cross-country skiing trails which take you through the sparkling wonderland.
Go on a snowshoeing adventure
Price: $5 parking fee
Address: Thunder Bay, ON
Why You Need To Go: Hazelwood Lake Conservation area is a dreamy place to spend a winter day. The nature reserve is home to several snowshoeing trails where you can enjoy your sparkling surroundings.
You can take the Orange Trail which loops around the beautiful frozen lake or the Forest Community Trail which takes you through a snow-covered woodland.
Trails are not maintained in the winter, so be sure to check the weather before heading out.
Have a winter getaway in a snowy wonderland
Price: Prices vary
Address: ON-11, Atikokan, ON
Why You Need To Go: Quetico Provincial Park is a stunning destination to visit during the winter. The park is home to glistening trails, sparkling forests and beautiful nature views.
There is lots to do within the area, from cross-country skiing to snowshoeing and ice fishing.
You can have a little getaway at one of the three rustic cabins at Quetico’s Dawson Trail Campground. From a traditional log cabin to a rental with lake views, these spots make for enchanting overnight experiences.
The park is also recognized by the International Dark Sky Association as an International Dark Sky Park. You can catch some incredible views of the night sky while exploring the area.
Go tubing down a snowy slope
Price: To be announced
When: To be announced
Address: 375 Mount Baldy Rd., Shuniah, ON
Why You Need To Go: You can take your winter adventures to the next level at Mount Baldy. The ski resort offers downhill skiing, snowboarding and tubing during the snowy moths.
Tubing is a unique way to enjoy the cold weather and you can glide down the slopes, surrounded by the crisp, wintry air. The prices and dates for the upcoming season have yet to be announced so stay tuned on the website.
Get cozy in a sauna
Price: $25 + per hour and a half
Address: 379 Oliver Rd., Thunder Bay, ON
Why You Need To Go: If you're in need of a way to warm up after a day outdoors, then you'll want to head to Kangas Sauna. The venue has 7 small saunas, 5 medium saunas and 4 large saunas you can rent by the hour and a half.
Each sauna has its own change room and shower and some come with private bathrooms as well.
There is a restaurant onsite and you can indulge in breakfast dishes, sandwiches and "Kangas Famous Finnish Pancakes."
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.