Whether your take on winter is frightful or delightful, there’s little doubt that winter weather is a subject with potential to divide the nation. Anticipating winter’s arrival has some enthusiasts leaping into their long undies eagerly awaiting snow, while others resign themselves to months of near-hibernation. Regardless of your preferred side of the fence, one thing is certain in Canada… winter always comes. Fortunately, upon arrival it provides us with opportunities, options and possibilities, and leaves us in the spring with the gift of appreciation and wonder as our natural world reawakens.

As any school child will tell you, snow creates possibilities for fun, and fun and physical activity go hand in hand. Watch upon the arrival of our first real snowfall as school kids take to the fields to roll massive snowballs, make snowmen and snow angels and build forts. Watch as older children and youth defy the rules and engage in fun, and friendly snowball fights. Snow creates possibilities. Snow also provides us with options: ice skating, outdoor hockey games, XC skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, sledding, and winter hiking. But what about keeping it simple and heading to a community park or your own backyard with the kids?

While many physical activity enthusiasts do spend more time in the gym over the winter months, winter provides the perfect playground or natural gym. Furthermore, as so many of today’s children aren’t well-acquainted with nature and don’t engage in active outdoor pursuits, winter presents us with yet another season for outdoor discovery and family fun. Peek outside and you’ll see countless walkers bundled and striding briskly as they show winter they’re not about to be bullied indoors. Venture into Toronto’s trail system or many parks on winter weekends, and you’ll soon discover that what appears at first to be an artist’s blank canvas is really a playground for people and their dogs, Nordic walkers, snowshoe enthusiasts, XC skiers, and those simply unwilling to spend winter indoors.

Remember, winter is here. You might as well welcome it, embrace it, and help your kids explore the many active opportunities it brings… and above all, dress for the weather

Some Seasonal Tips:

  • Make sure your family has the winter gear necessary to brave the cold. Dressed for success, there’s no reason not to continue walking to work or school or running errands on foot.
  • Skates, sleds, shovels, hockey sticks and other seasonal equipment help ensure a fun and active winter for all. Look for community skate exchanges and be sure to pass along outgrown equipment that’s in good condition for someone else to enjoy.
  • Skating, whether outdoors (Harbourfront, Beaches, City Hall, Mel Lastman Square or the Shops at Don Mills and at various community centres) or indoors at your local arena, provides active fun for all ages that’s usually free. Why not look into lessons or get your kids started with hockey or ringette?
  • Snowshoes provide for super winter fun for all ages and aren’t overly expensive. Leave your prints in Toronto’s trail system or a nearby park or ravine — or head north to Barrie or Collingwood where rentals are available to try.
  • Get resources and information that will help your family connect with nature from organizations like The Trans Canada Trail and The Child & Nature Alliance of Canada.
  • Go sledding! Check out Leaside hill after the first snowfall. Then check to see who’s enjoying it more — the kids or the parents!
    Have your kids invite the neighbourhood kids or their school friends over to play outdoors. Whether it’s building a fort or playing a game of ball hockey, the more the merrier!
  • Take your camera along for winter walks and hikes, and encourage the whole family to capture the season.