The snow has arrived in our region once again, but the pandemic is sure to make this winter a unique experience. Social distancing and mask-wearing will continue to be the norm this season, but that doesn’t have to stop us from having fun!
The Grey-Bruce region offers plenty of great outdoor (and indoor) activities that we can do while still following public health guidelines, keeping us active and exploring the spectacular scenery in our special corner of Ontario.
Here are 7 fun, local activities to help prevent cabin fever and keep you and the family healthy this winter.
1. Downhill skiing and snowboarding
One of the most adrenaline-pumping activities our area has to offer is downhill skiing and snowboarding. Grey County boasts many snowy slopes that visitors come from hours away to enjoy. Check out this winter’s offerings at Alpine Ski Club, Blue Mountain Resort, Craigleith Ski Club, Devil’s Glen Country Club, Georgian Peaks Ski Club, Mansfield Ski Club, Osler Bluff Ski Club, Toronto Ski Club. Contact each location for information on seasonal memberships, day passes, and lift passes, as well as ski and snowboard programs. Interest has increased this season, so make sure to reserve your spot early!
2. Cross-country ski and snowshoeing
For a more relaxing outdoor activity, take advantage of great cross-country skiing and snowshoeing options.
The Bruce Ski Club offers “some of the most affordable, accessible and best-maintained cross-country ski trails in southern Ontario.” The club manages two trails:
- The Sawmill Nordic Centre in Hepworth is their most popular location, with trails for novice and advanced skiers. The trails are groomed for both classic and skate skiing, features a lit loop for night skiing, and snowshoe trails cut through rolling hardwood and evergreen stands.
- The Colpoys Ski Trail is located northeast of Wiarton and offers cross-country skiing through gently rolling woods and open fields.
Access to these trails is available through a membership fee or a day pass.
The Sauble Beach XC Ski Club offers cross-country and snowshoeing trails for members and day pass users. The trails are located 1 kilometre north of Sauble Beach and wind through forest areas west of the Rankin River.
3. Skate through the forest or in the park
Is ice skating your winter passion? Lace up your skates and glide through a 400-metre loop through the middle of a forest at MacGregor Point Provincial Park. At night, the path is lighted until 10:00 p.m. for a magical nighttime experience. Day use fees apply.
In Owen Sound, Harrison Park has an outdoor skating rink located next to its two children’s playgrounds and the Harrison Park Inn restaurant. Skating is free but follows an alternating schedule of hockey on odd calendar days and skating on even calendar days.
4. Go fat biking
Have you heard of “fat biking”? Also known as snow biking and snomoriding, this is an increasingly popular outdoor sport that uses bicycles with over-sized tires, allowing you to ride on soft, unstable terrain such as snow. Get started at Explorer’s Tread in Lion’s Head or Ride Guides in Collingwood.
5. Hike the Bruce Trail
The Bruce Trail is a magnificent feature of our area. Winter hiking can be just as enjoyable as in the other seasons but care must be taken because the trails are not maintained in winter. The Bruce Trail is free to use.
Snowmobiling is a big draw in our area. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) District 9 manages over 2,900 kilometres of groomed trails that criss-cross all the way from Tobermory in the north to Walkerton, Hanover, and Durham in the south. These trails are proudly developed and maintained by 30 volunteer-based Clubs and Associations. You can buy a permit on the main OSFC website.
7. Walk Indoors at the Bayshore (Owen Sound)
Do you need somewhere warm to take a leisurely stroll with your family this winter? The Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre indoor walking program is now available, free of charge, Monday to Friday with three timeslots each day:
- 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
- 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
- 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Participants must pre-register, complete a COVID-19 screening form before entering the facility, and wear a face covering or mask at all times in the building. For more information and to register, visit the city of Owen Sound website or call 519-376-4440 ext. 1255.