Outdoor Winter Family Fun – Covid Edition

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Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021at 12:01 a.m., the government issued a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for permitted  purposes or activities, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for work where the work cannot be done remotely. This order and other new and existing public health restrictions are aimed at limiting people’s mobility and reducing the number of daily contacts with those outside an immediate household. Please follow the guidelines, and check before engaging in any activity, as guidelines change often. This blog post is intended for inspiration only, when safe to do so. For updated info on COVID-19 please visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/

Canada is known for its long winters. The best way to get through a winter that seems to drag on is to embrace it and have some (safe) fun.  You know what they say, “if you can’t beat them, join them!”  Well, winter can’t be beaten, especially with Covid’s presence because travelling to somewhere warmer is not an option.  But, you CAN join the millions of Canadians around the country who pass the time in winter by taking part in fun, seasonal activities.

We are very fortunate here in Hastings county to have access to plenty of winter activities.  It doesn’t matter your age, there’s something for everyone. Why not try some of the ideas listed below to do with your family this winter?

youg adult male and female pond skating and playing hockey

While many indoor rinks aren’t open right now there is another alternative – outdoor rinks!  Some outdoor rinks have popped up in neighbourhoods for all the families who live there to use, but if your neighbourhood hasn’t created one, don’t worry because there are still options.

You can find an outdoor rink for public use in Robin Jeffrey Park as well as Bird Park.  Also, Batawa Lions Club has created four rinks for people to use for free.  Two are for hockey and the other two are for those who just want to skate.  Be sure to check out their Facebook page to keep up to date on the conditions of their rink throughout the season.


No winter is complete without some taking the toboggan out for some fun.  There are some great sledding hills in the area.  Bring the family and your favourite sleds over to O’Hara Mill Conservation Area, Vanderwater, Zwick’s park or Riverside park for hours of winter sliding fun.  

Woman walking in the forest and looking up

Walking on the trails in winter is absolutely gorgeous and if you are really lucky you may even find some animal prints in the snow.  If you have a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis strap them on for another way to explore the trails.  The conservation areas are a great place to trail walk.  Spend an afternoon at Vanderwater, the Frink Center, O’Hara Mills, or Quinte Conservation area.  Bring a thermos of hot chocolate to keep you warm as you enjoy an afternoon outside.


Ice fishing is extremely popular in the area and it’s never too early to bring the kids! There’s also a free family fishing weekend in Ontario in February every year that you can take advantage of if you want to try fishing but aren’t ready to invest in a license. You can even rent an ice hut for fishing which is a great idea if you want to go for a night or two.


Snowmobiling is a favourite winter activity for many locals and the Hastings Heritage Trail is a 118.7-mile trail for motorized vehicles which makes it a perfect place to drive your snowmobile on.  It’s also a great activity that you can do while socially distancing during Covid. Eastern Ontario includes all or part of four OFSC Districts. Check the conditions, get a permit, and stay informed with HPE Public Health.


Winter doesn’t need to be the season you dread.  Make this winter the best one yet by taking part in fun activities you can only do at this time of year.  Even with Covid affecting our every day life we can still make memories with our families that will last a lifetime.

So get outside and take in that gorgeous winter scenery.  It’s not only peaceful and beautiful, but it’s so much fun!

River and woods wintery scene



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