Family Day Weekend - Muskoka Style

Family Day Weekend Fun in Muskoka Winter Fun at Colonial Bay

Family Day Weekend is February 16-18.

Here are 10 ways to get outside and celebrate with family and friends in Muskoka:

1. Alpine Skiing – Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area is a truly family-friendly ski hill with slopes for all ages and abilities. The Algonquin Outfitters Winter Carnival is back on Sunday, February 17with fun outdoor activities and demos. Plus, there’s face painting in the chalet by Painted Kids.

2. Cross Country Skiing – Arrowhead Park has 29 km of track-set, cross-country ski trails and 12km of skate skiing trails. Each trail is rated for difficulty and ranges from beginner to expert. You can rent both classic and skate skis at the fully stocked Park Pro Shop

3. Skating – Arrowhead Provincial Park’s skating trail is open late Saturday, February 16 and Sunday, February 17. Skate under the stars until 9:00 p.m. (with some added light from tiki torches along the path). A campfire will be roaring to warm fingers and toes or roast some hotdogs and marshmallows.

The Cann Lake skating rink, at the corner of Brunel Road and Forbes Hill Drive in Huntsville, will also be open, weather permitting, all weekend for outdoor skating.

If you prefer your fun indoors, the Canada Summit Centre has indoor public skating – check the link for the schedule.

4. Family Gold Rush Challenge at the Canada Summit Centre – “This Family friendly outdoor game will have you searching for gold all around the Canada Summit Centre. Be careful though, we've heard that gold bandits have been seen in the area!” Fee of $3.00 per person and minimum requirement of one adult per group.

5. Shopping – When you get tired of playing in the snow, check out some of our local businesses, cafes, and restaurants. Historic Downtown Huntsville has something for everyone: sporting goods, clothing, home décor, candy, toys, art and more!

6. Snowshoeing – Arrowhead Provincial Park There are over 6km of marked snowshoe trails . Travel along Mayflower Lake or stomp your way to Stubb's Falls. Snowshoe rentals are available at the Park Pro Shop.

7. Biking – Biking in the winter? Yep! You can rent a snowbike from Algonquin Outfitters and tackle snowy trails on two wheels.

8. Art – The Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery never closes! That’s because most of the installations are hung outside in public spaces. Wander the streets of Huntsville on foot, or hop in your car to find more art in Algonquin Park, Dorset, Dwight, and Baysville.

9. Winter in the Wild Festival in Algonquin Park A full day of indoor and outdoor events on Saturday, February 16, 2013. All activities are free with the purchase of a daily vehicle permit (except for food). There’s a guided winter bird walk; a snowshoe winter wildlife excursion; skating with a campfire, and barbecue; winter camping demonstrations; and a night hike wolf howl. Check the link for locations and schedule.

10. Play in the snow! Build a snow family. Build a snow fort and have a snowball fight. Make snow angels. Or make yourself a snow Muskoka chair to sit and enjoy the view.

We hope you have a fantastic long weekend no matter how you choose to enjoy it. And if you need a place to stay, there’s always the waterfront cottages at Colonial Bay! You can view our availability here.

Here’s to winter fun!

The Howell Family


Kearney Dog Sled Races

Dog Sled Races and Adventures.

There’s no end to the fun you can have in the snow in Muskoka. We often talk about skiing and snowshoeing and snowmobiling, but this weekend you can experience winter with some four-legged friends.

It’s the 19th annual Kearney Dog Sled Races,just a short drive north of Huntsville. In addition to sledding and skijoring races, there’s a whole bunch of family fun happening: kid and mutt races, face painting, an antique snowmobile display and parade, chainsaw carving, musicians, and tons of food!

To get you in the spirit, here’s some history and info on dog sledding and skijoring:

“Sled dogs have coexisted and cooperated in partnership with humans for many thousands of years in the northern regions of North America and Siberia. Archeological evidence puts the earliest date at over 4,000 years ago. Some anthropologists suggest that human habitation and survival in the Arctic would not have been possible without sled dogs.” (International Federation of Sled Dog Sports.)

“The first written account of a race was an informal challenge between travelers on the route from Winnipeg to St. Paul in the 1850s. In 1886, the first Saint Paul Winter Carnival featured sled dog races and ski competitions as part of the festival to glorify the attractions of winter in Minnesota.”

The most common dog-sledding commands are: Hike (start pulling), gee (veer right), haw (veer left), easy (slow down), whoa (stop) and on by (pass another team or other distraction).

Skijoring is Norwegian for ski driving. In this sport, a dog (or dogs) pulls a cross-country skier using harnesses and a rope.

You don’t need to have a Husky to skijor! Any enthusiastic breed that can follow commands will do, including Pointers, Setters, Golden Retrievers, Labs, American Bull Terriers, and Mastiffs.

If you aren’t coming to Muskoka this weekend or want to try dog sledding and skijoring for yourself, check out these local businesses:

Call of the Wild Adventures

Snow Forest Adventures

Voyageur Quest

Wilderness Adventures

Chocpaw Expeditions

The Bike Shop in Gravenhurst

There’s still lots of winter left in Muskoka! If dog sledding and skijoring aren’t your speed, join us at Colonial Bay for other winter activities.

You can view the availability of our North Muskoka family waterfront cottages here

Embrace winter, we hope to see you soon.

The Howells
Colonial Bay Cottages
Huntsville, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada