Healthy Shorelines for Healthy Lakes

Summer days of soaking up the sun, listening to the loons call from across the lake and taking out the kayak may be memories from the recent past, but the fun doesn’t have to end now that winter is here!

While it’s true that cozying up to a warm fire, drinking a cup of hot chocolate and immersing yourself in a great book sounds delightful, there’s still plenty to do outside. So, grab your toque and mitts, get outside, and make some more great memories at the cottage this winter! To help, we’ve provided 16 outdoor winter activities to spark some ideas! You can:

  1. Go for a skate on the lake if conditions are safe (Sources such as the Canadian Red Cross say ice should be at least 15 centimetres thick for individuals skating or walking, 20 centimetres thick for a group, and at least 25 centimetres for snowmobiling).
  2. Corral the neighbours and enjoy a friendly game of pond hockey
  3. Take some time to go snowshoeing
  4. If there’s a hill on or near your property, take a sled and do some tobogganing
  5. Who needs hills? Try cross-country skiing and connect with local landscapes
  6. Grab a blanket and roast some marshmallows on the campfire
  7. Take your favourite field guide and identify animal tracks in the snow
  8. Check out what wildlife is around your cottage in winter and contribute to citizen science by sharing your observations with
  9. Get involved with other citizen science programs such as:
    • IceWatch – scientists need help in acquiring data on the freeze-thaw cycles of our lakes
    • SnowTweets – Help snow and ice researchers at the University of Waterloo by tweeting the depths of snow in your area
    • Christmas Bird Count – This is conducted on one day between December 14 and January 5. The results are used by biologists and naturalists to determine bird population trends.
    • Christmas Bird Count for Kids – Inspired by the Christmas Bird Count but this one is geared towards kids!
  10. Bundle up and do some star gazing. Depending on where you are, maybe you’ll even see some northern lights!
  11. Warm up some pure maple syrup until it reaches 235°F on a candy thermometer and pour it over clean packed snow for delicious maple syrup snow candy
  12. Give Frosty some company by making snow bunnies, snow bears, even snow deer!
  13. Try your hand at ice bowling – clean off a patch of ice and set up some pins. No bowling shoes required!
  14. Ice fishing is a popular activity for many. Just be sure to follow your provincial rules and regulations!
  15. Try a scavenger hunt. Take your checklist that may include spotting items like a bird, an icicle, a nest, and animal tracks and see who can finish their list first!
  16. For more great information on how to connect with nature during the winter, visit Canadian Wildlife Federation’s “Below Zero” page.