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Family Day in Ontario: Fun Things to Do

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Family Day in Ontario: Fun Things to Do

Sudbury’s Ramsey Lake skating path is a Family Day favourite • Credit: Ontario Tourism

Enjoy an action-packed Family Day long weekend (February 15 to 17, 2020)

Use this list to keep your family busy this February holiday weekend.



Originally conceived to reflect the Canadian values of family and home, the Family Day holiday gives working parents a well-deserved mid-winter break to spend time with their families. Held on the third Monday every February, Family Day is a provincial statutory holiday—not a federal one—meaning not all working Ontarians get to enjoy this wintry long weekend. For the many who do, however, snowy trails, frozen lakes, fluffy white hills, and plenty of Family Day outdoor attractions, festivals and events make for an action-packed mini getaway or staycation.

THUNDER BAY

Man and son cooking bannock over fire.
Making bannock over the fire.

Named one of the top 100 festivals and events in Ontario, Thunder Bay’s SnowDay features incredible professional snow sculptures as well as a variety of family activities including outdoor skating, snow-carving, wagon rides, dogsledding, snow castle building, ice fishing and traditional winter games. The free event runs Family Day, 12 pm to 5 pm, at beautiful Prince Arthur’s Landing - Marina Park.

One of North America’s largest living history attractions, Fort William Historical Park hosts the three-day Voyageur Winter Carnival over the Family Day long weekend. The event is a Thunder Bay tradition, complete with wacky winter activities like a giant snow maze, tubing hills, skating, Zorbing, winter games and activities, and live indoor and outdoor entertainment. New for 2020, the Carnival also hosts Northern Ontario’s debut Ice Dragon Boat Challenge. Watch youth and adult teams (or register your own!) race across the frozen Kaministiquia River in specially designed dragon boats propelled by up to 10 paddlers with ice pick paddles.

Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma

Man riding a fat bike in snow.
Try family fat biking at Hiawatha Highlands. Photo: @welcometossm

Searchmont Resort celebrates Family Day with buy-one-get-one-free lift tickets, plus discounts on rentals and snow school lessons. Take a break from shredding the slopes to enjoy free s’mores and bannock making, snowshoeing tours, live entertainment, photo contests, and more.

Sault Ste. Marie is emerging as a top winter fat biking playground—bring your own bikes or rent rides and try this fun-for-all-ages sport on Family Day. Find easy trails along the city’s waterfront at Whitefish Island, or tackle the more challenging forest trails at the Hiawatha Highlands.

Too cold and blustery to stay outside? Sault Ste. Marie’s Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre has you covered with Family Day Fun—including half-price admission plus games, crafts, demonstrations and special guests just for kids. When you’re warmed up, lace your skates for a few laps on the Soo’s waterfront ice trail, located adjacent to the museum in Clergue Park.

Timmins, Cochrane & Area

Father and daughter on a ski lift.
Family Day fun at Kamiskotia Snow Resort.

Hit the hills at Kamiskotia Snow Resort—enjoy Family Day discounts on tubing and lift tickets. Alternatively, snowshoe or ski the excellent cross-country trails maintained by Timmins’ Porcupine Ski Runners. The club offers 30 percent off day use fees and equipment rentals for Family Day. Bring a lunch to enjoy in the sunlit chalet, and don’t miss the amazing ski playground—kids love this ski-themed play area complete with slalom, hoops, soft jumps, and toboggan run.

The Cochrane Winter Carnival climaxes Family Day weekend with heaps of family fun including the grand carnival parade, horseshoe tournament, youth snowmobile drag races, polar bear dip in Commando Lake, tobogganing, snow painting, snowman decorating, maple taffy, helicopter rides, skating, ice fishing derby, demolition derby, and much more! See the full event schedule here.

Families in the town of Kapuskasing head to Murdoch Hill for old-fashioned downhill sliding on toboggans, crazy carpets, and flying saucers. The hill is lit for night sliding and also features an outdoor skating rink.

North Bay & Lake Nipissing

Man and children looking at fish on ice.
It’s easy to get kids hooked on ice fishing.

Lake Nipissing is the perfect place to try ice fishing for the first time, while taking advantage of special license-free fishing Family Day weekend. Saturday through Monday, Canadians of all ages can enjoy fishing Ontario waters without having to buy a license. Jig for walleye, pike, perch, whitefish, and cisco (lake herring) from a cozy “ice bungalow.” Rent these fully equipped overnight ice huts with kitchen, bathroom, and bunks (sleeping four to 10 anglers) from North Bay/Callender-area outfitters like Bear Creek Cottages or Snowfari Adventures. View a map of more area outfitters.

Greater Sudbury & Area

Family sitting on couches in cozy cabin.
Saenchiur Flechey’s cozy cottages invite après adventure quiet time.

More superb ice fishing fun can be had on frozen waters throughout Sudbury and surrounding area. Test the waters at the Friends and Family Ice Fishing Day at Lake Laurentian Conservation Area (Sunday, 12 pm to 4 pm).

On the West Arm of Lake Nipissing, Saenchiur Flechey is a family-friendly resort that’s perfect for a long weekend getaway. The resort offers winterized lakefront cottages, an outdoor skating rink, ice fishing experiences, snowshoeing trails, and a wonderful, woodsy lodge where families can gather around a blazing fire.

For an easy adventure in the City of Greater Sudbury, take to the ice on the Ramsey Lake Skating Path. Kids and parents enjoy reduced Family Day lift rates at Sudbury’s Adanac Ski Hill, and Lively Ski Hill. Or head over to the Naughton Trail Centre for a Family Day Ski Party hosted by Walden Cross Country. There will be obstacle courses, free hot dogs, s'mores, and a bonfire. Cross-country ski rental packages are available.

Algonquin Park

Two people snowshoeing on a lake.
Snow much fun in Algonquin Park.

Sample the very best of famous Algonquin Park with Voyageur Quest’s all-inclusive Family Day Weekend Algonquin Park Adventure. Hosted at a cozy, log cabin outpost set deep in the park’s wintry wilderness, this three-day package includes guided backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, optional dogsledding, and delicious, home-cooked meals. Best of all, the 12-person lodge is entirely off-grid, so you can leave the phones and electronic devices at home and simply enjoy quality time together.

Group of people on a lake, each one is holding up one cross country ski.
Family ski tours on frozen lakes with Voyageur Quest. Photo: @voyageurquest

BLUE MOUNTAIN

Plan a long weekend at Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario’s premier downhill ski and snowboard area. Blue Mountain Village celebrates Family Day with a long weekend of scavenger hunts, outdoor games, snowshoe tours, magic shows, fireworks, and loads more entertainment and activities. See the full event schedule here.

MUSKOKA 

In Muskoka, classic winter carnivals offer small town fun for families of all ages. The 50th annual Gravenhurst Winter Carnival runs through Family Day weekend and features kids’ events, demolition derby, lumberjack demonstrations, a polar bear dip, and more.

Nearby, Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery lights up the night on their famous Cranberry Skating Trail with 400 tiki torches from 6 pm to 9 pm on Saturday of the Family Day weekend. The 1.2-km ice skating trail is open for daytime skating as well all Family Day weekend. Bring sticks and a puck for a game of shinny on the adjacent pond hockey rinks. Crackling bonfires beside the ice trail are perfect for B.Y.O marshmallow roasting.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17 2020 IS FAMILY DAY

This Family Day long weekend, be sure to enjoy an action-packed mini-getaway or staycation by visiting one or more of Ontario’s outdoor attractions, festivals or Ontario Parks

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