Mother Nature tends to offer kind winters to Norfolk County. Being born and raised in Northern Quebec, I am still amazed by the typically mild winter weather that we usually experience in southwestern Ontario. The ground is still bare but the forecast is calling for some flurries soon and that gets me excited about winter activities. I love winter, yes I do! I love breathing the cold air into my lungs and always try to enjoy as much of the season as possible.
Here are my top 9 winter activities in Norfolk County:
1. Nature walks
The network of groomed trails in Norfolk is perfect for winter hikes. I love Hay Creek just outside of Port Dover for a shorter, family and dog friendly trail. Backus Woods is also one of my favorites. Hike ‘Sugar Bush’, a 3km trail for a wonderful winter experience.
2. Holiday lights
We might not get loads of snow in Norfolk but we go all out for the holidays! Take a stroll through Simcoe Christmas Panorama and the parks of downtown Simcoe to see the incredible display of lights. Get into the spirit of the holidays with a brisk walk with friends and family. There are also many homes around the county who entered the “Light Up the County Tour” contest. Walk around and spot the Panorama signs in the yard of participating homes.
3. Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day
This one is not for the faint of heart! Every January 1st, the Polar Bear Plunge in Port Dover offers the craziest way to start the New Year. Come take a swim in the frigid waters of Lake Erie to start the New Year refreshed! Open to all and guaranteed to raise your heart rate!
4. Fat biking
Winter fat biking is a super fun outdoor activity. Contact one of our cycling outfitters to rent your fat bike. Book a guided tour or ask for trail recommendations. The 80+kms of mountain biking trails in Norfolk County are sure to offer an experience like no other.
5. Winter sunset on the beach
A beautiful sunset on the beach is an amazing way to enjoy a winter day. Plan for a walk to start, bring some warm locally made cider from the Cider Keg and soak up the scenery! Set up in Port Dover or Turkey Point with some chairs and blankets. Cozy up and watch the sun disappear into the horizon.
When the snow comes, plan on digging out your sled for a fun family adventure. So many cool spots around Norfolk to have some winter fun. Every town has its own special spot. I love the hills in Port Dover but there are also some fun ones in Simcoe, Waterford or Delhi. Dress warmly and play outside, it can be a blast!
Being on the ice is a truly a Canadian winter activity. Lace up your figure skates or wear your hockey gear this season. Arenas in Norfolk County offer public and adult skating opportunities. Rather be outside? How about road hockey at one of our multi-use complexes like the Community Sports Complex in Port Dover? Gather your friends, make teams and challenge each other!
Yes, Yoga + snow= SNOWGA. Don’t let the colder weather stop you. Practice yoga in the snow! You can set up at your favorite spot and just get moving, stretching and breathing. Book a private session with me or other local yoga teachers and have fun trying something new this winter!
9. Wineries & craft breweries
Celebrate your active day by visiting one of Norfolk County’s many wineries and craft breweries. In late November and early December, taste local food and drink pairings during the Spirit of the Season Passport weekends, organized by the Ontario’s South Coast Wineries & Growers Association.
Other honorable mentions:
- Ice fishing
- Brisk morning jog
No need to dread winter, find activities that you enjoy. Challenge yourself to try at least 1 of these activities this winter. If you are ready for a challenge, why not make a commitment to trying them all? Get outside and have fun while being active this winter. Dress warmly and try something new to keep fit! I encourage you to post your pictures of you being active in Norfolk by using the hashtag #GoNorfolk. Empower others to move!
Amélie Chanda is a Norfolk County based wellness coach with a passion for active living. She works with individuals and organizations that are ready to make a commitment to a healthy life. She provides support, tools and motivation to help her clients reach their health goals. In 2017 she launched the #GoNorfolk community initiative to empower people to get off the couch and to explore Norfolk County. She is now the Active Living Ambassador for Norfolk County.