The ‘winter blues’ are a common plight that many of us face during the colder months. We want you to make your winter a fun one, so we have gathered a list of frosty activities to keep your spirits high!
Need we say more? Enjoy the stunning winter landscape from a birds-eye-view and see the St. Lawrence and Thousand Islands from high above! Choose your own adventure from castle tours and historic views on one of the three tours offered.
Try something new and add an ice fishing excursion to your tour. Dress warmly and sit comfortably inside your hut completed with a wood stove and rods. Take the concept of ‘fresh food’ to a whole new level by having your very own fish fry out on the frozen lake!
2. Take A Stroll Through A Sculpture Park
Located within the steps of downtown Gananoque is a collection of amazing sculptures. Spend some time and unwind or share a romantic walk among Canada’s largest outdoor art exhibit. Surround yourself in a picturesque fairytale completed with lights and sculptures made by local artists.
Robeson’s Country General Store has part of the past ready for you. Beat the cold and come browse in the warmth of a friendly antiquing space. Go at your own pace and discover everything from lamps to antique wooden masks, to signs, clocks and furniture. The Drawing Room Vintage & General Shoppe has curated vintage treasures and even fun fill-a-bag sales throughout the year. Look here for snappy clothing and lots more!
You’ll find watercolours, oils, pastels, acrylics, and pen and ink works by local artists. Heather Haynes Gallery originally opened in Kingston in 2012, but later moved to its new home in Gananoque in 2016. You’ll be blown away by her exquisite and thought-provoking art. Learn more about the gallery and her incredible humanitarian work.
O’Connor Gallery is more of an interior design studio for the business or home, with a range of services from custom upholstery to unique lighting and so much more.
4. Get Active on one of the Beautiful Trails
“Don’t let the chill of winter keep you cooped up indoors.” Jones Creek Trails vary in difficulty from 20 minute walks to hikes that can last up to two hours or more depending on your experience. Check out the handy map on the Parks Canada Website and choose your own path.
Picture this: the sun glinting off the snow, blue sky, the wind keeping a comfortable chill on your cheeks and you looking out over the St. Lawrence River and islands from a granite ridge high atop the cliffs at Landon Bay, Thousand Islands National Park. While there are several stunning trails to choose from here, the breathtaking view of Landon Bay is from atop the Lookout Trail and accessible from a shortcut trail.
Renowned as one of the province of Ontario’s best trails, the picturesque paved stretch of the 1000 Islands Parkway provides an excellent opportunity to see the islands by being in the midst of their beauty and fascinating geological history. Snowshoe, ski or snowmobile along the 37-km paved path that skirts the shoreline’s coves and bays on the waterfront. The 1000 Islands Parkway runs between Gananoque and Brockville and also forms a section of Ontario’s Waterfront Trail that will take you through small port hamlets like Ivy Lea and Rockport.
Meander through the historical town of Gananoque or explore the natural beauty that surrounds the town – even in winter! The Gananoque Trail system is made up of a 12 km perimeter hike that can be divided into three returns to the Trailhead loops, each offer an enjoyable hiking experience. Get your boots on and go!
Grab those hiking shoes and take on a little bit of a challenge at the Maple Rock Conservation Area. Walkthrough the rocky forest, up and down the hilly landscape to make it to the stunning lookout point. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and make sure you pack some extra drinks and snacks. This trail is not for the faint of heart!
Did you know the 1000 Islands History Museum is open year round? Although the summer exhibit is all packed up, the permanent exhibits are still in full swing, with loads of information to uncover about the 1000 Islands over 10,000 years. We’re talking an intriguing crash course into the people, places and heritage in the region through interactive exhibits, hands-on kids activities and more. Be sure to take a winter stroll and walk back in time to explore Gananoque in the past through the fascinating Gananoque Heritage Walking Tour app!
The history of this theatre is enough to build enough intrigue to go check it out! This intimate theatre was built in 1930 by the Delaney’s as a vaudeville house – with one twist. It was a poured concrete structure and one of the first fire-proof buildings built in North America. After weathering being a bowling alley for years, it’s being filled with live music and theatre again! Curtains up on a good time.
This quaint little bookstore can easily have anyone spending a couple of hours inside. The owner’s hospitality can help point you in the direction of your next favourite book! From the wide selection of literary goodies, it will be impossible to leave empty-handed. In addition to books, there is also a variety of vintage vinyl and stereo equipment in the back of the store.
8. Where To Eat & Drink
Panache Bakery is where you want to go to sit back, relax, and stuff your face with their delicious baked goods! This quaint bakery makes food without the use of preservatives or additives. You’ll find everything from scones, danishes, to take home dinners!
Over at the Painted Turtle, it’s a relaxing and inspiring atmosphere, to slow down and chat with a friend or take the chill off sipping a hot bevvy. We hear their cheesecake is to die for, as well!
After that, hop over to local fav the Gananoque Brewing Company for a tasting tour! Sample the brew, like the famous Naughty Otter Lager or Bell Ringer IPA and enjoy the tasting room atmosphere. The GBC prides itself on using local ingredients and partnering with local farmers. It’s the perfect spot to unwind with friendly staff to make it even more welcoming!
Visit Canada’s only solar powered brewery in Mallorytown! ArBru Brewery lets you connect with friends in a unique winter dome, enjoying an afternoon of beer, wood-fired pizza and apps in a themed country charm setting or a winter wonderland dome. Privacy without compromising on experience! Great for photos, too.
Eat, drink, game and be jolly! This list wouldn’t be complete without recommending that you and your pals stop in at the famous Shorelines Casino! With bright lights, tons of fun games to potentially win big, as well as scrumptious food including ‘All-you-can-eat’ Prime Rib.
10. Where To Stay
Stay at the Gananoque Inn that is deeply rooted in local history. The suites are adorned in Victorian charm and there’s a luxurious dining room. Check out the gorgeous view of the St. Lawrence River!
There’s also the option of staying at The Woodview Inn. Originally designed by famed architect Robert Gage in 1874 and completed in 1877. The suites available at Woodview are absolutely jaw-dropping in beauty and includes features such as a marble fireplace, in-suite jacuzzi, and a king-size bed.
This top rated golf course features nearly 900 acres of wilderness and a long stretch of the Moira River – making it uniquely perfect for warm-weather hospitality. But did you know it’s also the home to some epic winter recreation opportunities? Black Bear Ridge is on the cusp of opening for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling! Tree-lined, groomed trails weave throughout the property and the resort is located right next to a trail entry point for snowmobiling in the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs trails system. Play for the day or stay at Black Bear Ridge and make it your home base while enjoying the snow.’
See the islands like never before – the stunning beauty carries over to the winter! The serene St. Lawrence River weaves among the islands as the world melts away and leaves you captivated by the bird’s eye view of the scenery below. Book first class with 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours and enjoy your exclusive helicopter tour of the 1000 Islands and Boldt Castle – also available for private charters. Make this winter memorable!
For seven generations the Horton family has been farming and making maple syrup. In fact, the foundation of the original sugar house still remains amidst the mighty maples of a 300-year-old forest! The tradition continues. Find out how it’s made, talk to the producers and take home some liquid gold!
Chase adventure in South Eastern Ontario this winter and make memories in Kingston, Frontenac, 1000 Islands Gananoque and along the Rideau Canal!
Edited & Updated By Lindsay Medeiros