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As fall slowly blends into a blissful winter season, many of us are wondering how we can keep active. With the pandemic limiting our access to so many different indoor activities, getting outside is becoming more important in order to stay fit and maintain our health and mental wellness. Thankfully, Ottawa provides a scenic backdrop and excellent locations to make outdoor winter activities fun, and in abundance. The snow brightens the trails, animals can easily be seen enjoying their habitats, and the fresh air and sun give us the energy and vitamin D so many of us crave throughout the winter season. 

Below is a list of wintertime sports for you to try out this year, and some great parks and hills to try them out on. As always, remember to wear appropriate gear and follow all recommendations and precautions to ensure your safety while having fun outdoors. 



Dust off your snowshoes and head out onto your favourite trail in the City of Ottawa! While heading to Gatineau Park might not be in the cards this year, The Mill of Kintail, Stony Swamp Conservation Area, and Old Quarry Trail are all excellent locations to indulge in some snow-shoeing fun. If you have already conquered these trails and are looking for something new to explore, see here for a list of excellent trails for snowshoeing. 


Ice skating

Many of us are anticipating the opening of the Rideau Canal Skateway, in order to take part in an Ottawa ritual that comes for only a short time each year. While we are waiting though, there are many other skating rinks in the area to check out. Skating rinks in City of Ottawa facilities began opening in October, allowing residents to book ice time in order to maintain appropriate capacity and encourage social distancing. There are also smaller outdoor rinks that have begun opening ice time. Be sure to check here for information on what is open, ice condition, and COVID-19 measures that are in place before you head out. 


Cross-country skiing

If cross-country skiing is more of your scene in the winter, the Sir John A. Macdonald Trail is well known for its accessibility and stretches from the Canadian War Museum to Westboro Village. For options closer to west Ottawa, check out Jack Pine Trail and of course, Wesley Clover Parks for ample cross-country skiing territory! 


Downhill Sports! skiing, snowboarding and tubing

If you are anxiously awaiting your opportunity to get in some downhill skiing or snowboarding or tubing, Mount Pakenham will likely have what you need to fill your adrenaline rush for the season. The 85-meter hill has 10 runs that range in difficulty level and alternative sites for tubing and snowshoeing. This park located west of Ottawa in Pakenham is an excellent stop for downhill enthusiasts. 



One activity that people of all ages enjoy during the winter months is tobogganing. Thankfully, Ottawa is full of hills of all sizes to cater to people of all ages! Grab your sled and safety gear and make sure to hit one of these hills this season for some exhilarating wintertime fun! Bruce Pit, Conroy pit, and Craig Henry Park are just a few of the hills in Ottawa. For more hills closer to your area, see here.

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