Bundle up and have some fun this winter!

Whether you’re the outdoorsy type or prefer to stay out of the snow, Cornwall and the SDG Counties will have something for you! Don’t let the snowy season pass you by without enjoying some of these adventures and activities.

1. Visit Local Trails

Switch out your sneakers for some snowshoes, or trade-in your bike for some skis and hit the trail at the Summerstown Trails located in the Township of South Glengarry. With roughly 20 kilometres of beautiful snowy trails individually crafted for cross-country skiing and another 9 kilometres groomed for the perfect snowshoeing experience, any age can participate and fall in love with the stunning winter wonderland.

Whether cross country skiing, snowshoeing or playing in the snow, the trails at Guindon Park on the western edge of Cornwall are known as a place to reconnect with nature, friends and yourself. The trails are a natural oasis for avid birders and even fat biking enthusiasts and offer space to roam that feels like it’s miles away from the city – even though it’s still close to home.

The scenic Riverside Trail – part of the larger Waterfront Trail network extending across Ontario – stretches over 40 kilometres from Gray’s Creek  all the way to Upper Canada Village, with countless attractions, outdoor spaces and landmarks along the way. It’s a dedicated off-road, multi-use trail that spans the entire city’s waterfront, offering stunning views of the Cornwall Canal and the St. Lawrence River. A beautiful spot for a winter walk!

2. Enjoy Winter Adventures

Create the perfect family adventure that will be the talk of Sunday dinners for decades! Experience the magic of winter with Countryside Adventures where you can skate through the forest hand-in-hand with those you love the most. Make a day of it and enjoy their warm bonfire after gliding through the 3 kilometre stretch of trail and finish your day by filling your bellies with mouthwatering moose ears and poutine!

Take advantage of fresh snow and feel the thrill of racing the clock in snowshoes! The snowshoe trails are beautiful: on gentle rolling terrain, protected from wind and surrounded by nature. Keep an eye out for Family Day events at Summerstown too!

Get back to nature and explore the trails at Gray’s Creek Conservation Area. With 6.4 kilometres of meandering trails that are open year round, explore the trails by snowshoe or cross country ski and keep an eye out for the wide variety of animals, songbirds and waterfowl that inhabit Gray’s Creek. Geocaches are also hidden within the trail system. During the winter, snowshoe rentals are available!

Snowboarding is a winter addiction in Cornwall! Learn or re-learn your ski and snowboard skills at Big Ben Ski Centre. The hill is open December to March. Big Ben provides a wire cable lift with tow handle, snowmaking and grooming, a terrain park, night skiing on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, a heated chalet, change trailer, washrooms and a snack bar. Lessons are available for children aged four and up – or just come and board at your own pace!

3. Visit Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Blue Jays, Waxwings, Nuthatches, Cardinals – a rainbow of birds you can spot while you take a stroll down the stunning trail here. This bird haven is a blissfully peaceful place to become one with the frosted flora and fauna. View 200 waterfowl, raptor, passerine and other bird species. The sanctuary covers hundreds of hectares and habitats, with more than eight kilometres of self-guided nature trails weaving through it all. The seasoned birder and amateur naturalist, alike, will enjoy this unique winter experience! Bring your binoculars and your camera to catch hidden glimpses of beautiful birds and don’t mind the bold chickadees who follow you through the forest.

4. Explore and Taste The Culinary Scene

No matter the time of year there is one thing that never goes out of style: food. So we cooked up a shortlist of the best food Cornwall has to offer!

Essential Kitchen

Learning and treating yourself go hand-in-hand here! Essential Kitchen is downtown Cornwall’s new wine bar and cooking class studio. Events at Essential Kitchen are hot tickets and combine discovery with diving in for hands-on learning (and eating!). They also supply delicious dips, dressings and butters, alongside wine to go!

Birchwood Restaurant and Bar

But that happy hour tho… Birchwood Restaurant in Cornwall offers a diverse menu, inspired by fresh seasonal produce and New Zealand influence. Birchwood offers a hunger bashing mix of lunch, happy hour and dinner fare Tuesday through Saturday. Meals are complemented by a large choice of wine, beer and cocktails – and we hear the locals have some favourites, including a banner bruschetta and East Coast scallops.

Eight Zero Zero

This charming yet elegant restaurant is inviting for intimate dinners or gatherings. Eight Zero Zero intertwines modern day steakhouse with a chic setting. Known for its friendly service and ambiance, the menus change with unique offerings for special occasions. A local fav for a reason!

Tilly’s Eatery and Delicatessen

Think cozy coffee house – now add fantastic food! You’ve got Tilly’s in a nutshell. Look for a delightful array of scones, soups from scratch and even an epic breakfast sandwich. Tilly’s will soon be your go-to stop for caffeinated bliss and you’re guaranteed to find something to please your palette, too!

Simply Jennifer

You’re looking at Cornwall’s first vegan/vegetarian cafe located in the heart of the city! Simply Jennifer incorporates an innovative plant-based menu that is globally inspired. With an awesome daily menu, this place is a haven for all people who simply love real food. Nourish your inner foodie here!

The North Glengarry

Where great food meets great people! Experience the Scottish roots and rustic charm of small-town eastern Ontario with this restaurant steeped in history – in a gorgeous location. The unique patio runs alongside the waterfall that once powered the mill onsite and is a popular summer hang in the warmer months. The building dates back to 1819 and is the oldest standing building in Alexandria! This family-run restaurant is known for generous portions and the menu doesn’t disappoint with mouth-watering chicken parm pizza, legendary burgers, jumbo bbq ribs and much more. Dig in to elevated comfort food.

Restaurante Sol de Acapulco

If you’re looking for a cuisine that reminds you of the Mexican beaches, or of Eastern European flavours, then this is it! Sol De Acapulco offers both authentic Mexican and German cuisine located in the Ingleside area. With freshly-prepared food on-site, enjoy full flavours and delicious meals that will keep you coming back for more. Visit a piece of Mexico without having to get on a plane!

Quinn’s Inn

Built in 1865 by Ontario’s first premier, John Sandfield MacDonald, Quinn’s Inn has a welcoming atmosphere, large portions and classic dishes. Enjoy the dining room, Mordecai’s Pub or banquet facilities. We hear Quinn’s Inn has prime rib nights – and even Sunday brunch!

Restaurant Bourdeau

Two words: Perch Roll. Bourdeau’s is famous for its fish rolls but its impressive menu is available in drive through form and includes everything from an incredible brekkie to tasty dinner deals. See what all the fuss is about and order the perch rolls with fries and coleslaw. You’ll be hooked!

5. Get Crafty This Winter

Rurban Brewery is the first brewery back in Cornwall in about a century! This fiercely independent brewery crafts quality beer with all-natural ingredients where taste matches the unparalleled commitment to customer service. Explore the taproom at Rurban, open throughout the week, to get a feeling for a local brew!

Humble Beginnings Brewing Co. is just down the road in Ingleside. This small-batch brewery, taproom, bottle shop and beer garden, has even been designated as a bicycle-friendly brewery.

You don’t have to be family to love this place – stroll around and get in the know at Wood Brothers BrewingThis microbrewery offers tours, frosty beers and friendly brewmasters – as well as events!

6. Can You Escape In Time?

Plan your escape from the hottest new entertainment attraction: Rush Hour Escapes Cornwall. To complete the mission in this challenging real-life adventure game, players have to work together to find clues, crack codes and solve puzzles to escape before time runs out.  Your adventure awaits with one of the four escape room missions: Operation Mindfall; Magic Portal; Gallery Heist or CSI: Cornwall Murder. Groups of four to eight players have 60 minutes on the clock to find their way around the mission by solving puzzles that test your brain and teamwork skills. See if you can speed through rush hour in Cornwall!

7. Visit Upper Canada Village Alight At Night

Please note: Alight At Night is now finished for the season and Upper Canada Village is closed until the spring.

With the holiday season coming up so quickly, sometimes it can be tough to find that festive spirit that makes this time of year so magical. Find that special feeling when you take your family to the Upper Canada Village Alight at Night festival. One of the largest outdoor light festivals in all of South Eastern Ontario, you will truly feel like you have walked into a winter wonderland, with wagon rides, Christmas carols, and gingerbread houses galore. Open 5 to 9 nightly for all of December and the first week of January, grab the family and prepare to be jolly!

8. Try Out Ice Fishing

Hoople Creek, located about 20 kilometres west of Cornwall, is one of the most popular ice fishing spots in the area — and one of the its best kept secrets. Drop a line here and most times you’ll come up with something. Hoople Creek is one of the largest natural Pickerel fish hatcheries and fishing areas in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. There’s a derby here every year and a Facebook page for the Hoople Creek ice fishing community.

This will be an exciting event – hook, line and sinker! Celebrating its 20th year, the Alexandria Ice Fishing Derby promises fun for all anglers. Taking place from noon to 3 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2022, there are more than $50,000 in prizes to be won. Reel in some fun!

Jack Frost has nothing on you! Turn winter into your fav season in South Eastern Ontario.

9. Go on a GeoAdventure

Discover treasure hidden – with even deeper meaning! Try the Raisin Region GeoAdventure, a geocaching treasure hunt of 20 caches tucked away at environmentally significant site in the Raisin River Conservation Authority’s watershed throughout Cornwall and SDG Counties. Geocaching is a fantastic outdoor adventure that is all across the globe, where smartphones or GPS devices are used to find secret containers hidden by other geocachers. In this GeoAdventure, caches have unique QR codes that point to a special page with info about each site.

Edited & Updated By Rosanne Lake and Lindsay Medeiros