We had no idea back in March that we would still be living with the COVID-19 at this time of the year. In the last few months, many of us have lost our jobs or have reduced hours or are still working from home. However, more businesses are now open, and schools and the children have adapted quite well. However, we are not anywhere near the old ‘normal.’ We can still not visit with family and friends and see our grandparents. Sadly, there is no light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. As the days are getting shorter and Winter is rapidly approaching, it is essential not to get stressed even more.
Winter Fun Will Reduce Stress
When we are stressed out, it is always good to forward focus and make a plan. This Winter will provide us with the opportunity to do both. We can make a list of the fun Winter activities you can enjoy by yourself or with the family. The COVID-19 levels of infection and the Public Health Rules are very dynamic. When making a plan, always check with the Ottawa Health Department rules about getting together. For activities in Quebec, visit the Government of Quebec Website; if you plan to go up the Ottawa Valley, check with Renfrew County and District Health Unit. Not following the rules can increase your chance of catching the virus, and possibly paying a fine and adding even more stress.
Fun Winter Activities
What can be considered as a chore can be turned into a fun family activity. Get enough shovels for everyone. Let them shovel at their own speed. The shovelling party can be followed by hot chocolate in the house. The older children can help any older people on the street by volunteering to remove the snow. Grade 9 to 12 students can send a letter to their Student Services/Guidance office detailing the proposed activity for credit towards their 40 hours of community service. Always check before you start. They can also create a neighbourhood Snow Removal Service. They can advertise in the area and get paid for the services, exercise, and income, always a great combination.
Ottawa is famous for skating on the Rideau canal. When all the 7.2 km of ice is open, it is the longest in the world. Next to City Hall is the Senator’s Rink of Dreams. It is free and available from 6:00 am to 11 pm. There is also a famous rink at the historic Rideau Hall. Ottawa also has many outdoor rinks. Check the City of Ottawa site for updates. For added family fun, you can have a backyard rink.
From 8 December to 7 January, the whole family will enjoy the Parliament Building’s Centre Block’s beautiful lights. They project a multimedia light show of Canada’s history and culture. It is free to watch and is on a continuous loop from 6 pm to 11 pm nightly.
NCC Walking Trails
The NCC Greenbelt features over 150 km of natural trails, which link to the Capital Pathway network, the Rideau Trail and The Great Trail of Canada. The Greenbelt Pathway will be a continuous 56-kilometre recreational corridor extending from one side of the Greenbelt to the other.
From the comfort of your vehicle, you can see more than twenty different species of wild animals from the northern hemisphere. This is truly a unique winter experience for all family members. The car trail is on a 12 km long path and takes about 1 ½ hours.
There are many world-class museums in Ottawa. With their new health and safety protocols, they are safe and exciting places to visit. Always check the hours of operation before you plan to go. They include:
Canadian War Museum
Canadian Museum of Nature
Canada’s Science Museum
Canadian Aviation and Space Museum
National Gallery of Canada
Canadian Museum of History
National Gallery of Canada
Snowshoeing is a great sport to get exercise at a low cost. People of all ages can enjoy it. It is lots of fun to watch everyone fall over in the snow. There are many trails in the National Capital Region. An exceptional one is in Gatineau Park.
Skiing, Snow Boarding and Tubing
Ottawa has many outstanding areas for these Winter fun sports. In Ontario, there is:
Calabogie Peaks Resort, Calabogie
Mount Pakenham, Pakenham (skiing, boarding and tubing)
In the Gatineau area, there is an excellent choice of resorts:
Mont Cascades Ski Resort
Cross Country Skiing is available in many locations, including:
Mooney’s Bay Ski Centre
Sir John A. Macdonald Winter Trail
Ottawa and the area have every winter sport you can think of. You can always have fun outside by yourself or with your family, without spending a lot of money. Winter sports equipment can be bought second hand at much lower prices. Work out a plan to enjoy our Winter wonderland. Always check with a local Health Department for the current COVID-19 situation and guidelines.
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