It may be getting cold out there, but that’s no reason to stay inside and hibernate all winter. Not when there are so many magical things to see and do in Ontario. From natural wonders to annual events, these hidden gems will remind you just how incredible this province is all year round. You may have to wear an extra layer (or four), but once you’re nice and toasty, you’ll be glad you traded your slippers for boots.

Here are 6 of the most incredible hidden gems you might not know about in Ontario!

Frozen waterfalls


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Ontario is a province full of waterfalls and you may not know just how majestic they are in the wintertime.

Tiffany Falls Conservation Area is a stunning place to visit in the colder months as the cascading water transforms into giant icicles.

The second-highest waterfall in Ontario, Kakabeka Falls, is equally as breathtaking when it freezes over at a soaring 40 m above the ground.

The most amazing phenomenon is known as the “melting falls,” when melting snow and ice trickle over the rock face and freeze over in a giant cascading mass of shimmering icicles.

Skating trails in the woods

Ontario’s vast forests are just as fun to explore in the winter as in the summer, especially on skates. North of the city,  you can glide on frozen trails among towering trees that glow by torchlight when the sun goes down.

The Fern Resort’s skating trail spans a whopping 1.5 kilometres.

Arrowhead Provincial Park’s frozen trail gets super popular in the winter for its picturesque setting among snow-covered trees.

The park’s Fire and Ice skating nights are one of the major attractions, as well as the nearby skating loop around 12 acres of cranberry fields lit by hundreds of tiki torches.

Lake Superior ice caves

These caves are so spectacular that the New York Times named them one of the 52 best places to visit in the world in 2019.

The ice caves are a rare and magical phenomenon that occurs when the waves of Lake Superior in northern Ontario freeze over and form fascinating shapes.

According to the Great Lakes Guide, the crashing waves of Lake Superior can reach over 6 metres high. The bitter cold, intense wind and waves are what allow these ice caves to form.

These ice caves change from year to year depending on the conditions,  but there is still ample opportunity to see these majestic caves. You just have to know where to look and be prepared for a serious trek.

Snowshoe, waterfall, and wine tour

Snowshoe your way to one of the most impressive waterfalls on the Niagara Escarpment, Hoggs Falls.

Then, sample some of the region’s finest cool-climate wine and delicious charcuterie while overlooking the gorgeous Blue Mountain area.

Between the fresh air, exercise, beautiful sights, tasty nibbles and sips, you won’t regret this wintertime adventure.

Winterlude ice sculptures


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Every February, Ottawa-Gatineau celebrates the winter season with its iconic Winterlude festival, which is making a full comeback this year.

In addition to the bustling Rideau Canal Skateway and outdoor adventure park with a zipline, one of the standout attractions of the festival is the ice sculpture competition.

From February 3rd to 5th, 13 pairs of professional ice carvers from 10 provinces and territories will battle it out on Sparks Street in Ottawa for the public to see.

They will have 20 hours to carve 15 blocks of ice and create a work of art with the theme “Creatures of the Sea,” and then you have until February 20th to vote for the winner.

The Northern Lights


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You may not know that you could get an amazing view of the Northern Lights right here in Ontario. You just have to know where (and when) to look! According to Destination Canada, the best time to see this phenomenon is on chilly winter nights, between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m., when the skies are darkest.

You’ll want to trek way out to see this spectacular sight, like Manitoulin Island, which is the only Dark Sky Preserve in northern Ontario. With its inky black skies and peaceful atmosphere in the off-season, you could be treated to a breathtaking Aurora Borealis show without the crowds.

Other great spots include the Cree Village Eco Lodge on the shores of Hudson’s Bay, Lake Superior Provincial Park, and the Chapleau Game Preserve, which is actually the world’s largest wildlife preserve, according to Ultimate Ontario.