Imagine a blanket of white as far as the eye can see. The sky is brilliant blue and there’s not a cloud. You can see your breath each time you exhale, and yet, you’re not cold because the sun’s beams are so strong. As you walk out about five minutes from Couchiching Beach Park in Orillia, across the expanse of Lake Couchiching, all you hear is the crunch of snow beneath your boots.
And … the odd giggle coming from a nearby wooden hut, because there are always giggles when kids are catching fish, and oh yes, the fish are biting! Youngsters are amazed at the number of perch they can see through the hole in the ice. Even better, says Al Knell, owner of A Breath of Fresh Air, perch are easy to catch so everyone’s happy at the end of the day. The adults are also happy with their catch of pike.
For $40 dollars per person, per day, as well as half days and half price for kids, Knell will supply everything needed for a day of ice fishing. All you have to do is show up in warm winter wear. He’ll even drill the hole inside the hut!
Now, envision a similar snowy scene, but this time the sun has set. Tiki torches line up along a shiny, 1.5 km skating trail that winds through the forest at Fern Resort. Their flames provide a magical ambiance amongst the trees. In the distance, a much larger flame shows skaters gathered around a bonfire, drinking hot chocolate provided by the resort. It’s an enchanting way to spend a Wednesday evening or weekend with the kids.
It’s true, Ontario’s Lake Country offers every winter activity imaginable, including camping in one of four yurts at the Black River Wilderness Park, where a winter wonderland includes snow-laden trees and the famed river meandering through ice-encrusted bluffs.
Winter camping doesn’t get any better than having a roaring fire outside and a comfortable felt-lined canvas yurt to sleep inside. Each is 17 feet in diameter and offers a double bed, bunkbed, and table and chairs to accommodate four people. An electric wood stove and skylight adds to the cosy feel, and each has a barbecue on its wooden deck.
Best to rest up. There’s another action-packed day in Ontario’s Lake Country tomorrow.