How To Do Winter In Thunder Bay

Winter can be a cryptic time - the sun disappears for hours on end, the windchill convinces you that your toes are falling off and the summoning of a fresh snowfall making you leave your warm bed to shovel the driveway is repelling.

You either love it or hate it.

Personally, I'm situated precisely on the borderline. The early sunsets allow me time to cosy indoors and watch a Hallmark movie, the sauna becomes my best friend after adventures in the cold and the efforts of neighbours helping each other clear the snow warms my heart.

As you might have already guessed, when winter arrives in Thunder Bay, I am the first to bundle myself up indoors and make a fresh batch of hot cocoa. But on that oddly warm winter day, you know the one where the sun is peaking through and it's just warm enough to strip off a few layers, those are the days where I have a thirst to be outdoors.

Now if you live anywhere similar to Thunder Bay, where activities are sparse, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, you to realize that creating your own fun is crucial. So consider this a guide to all things fun in the midst of a provincial lockdown.

Tobogganing:

I'll be the first to admit that I went sliding multiple times during the holiday break. It's not just a pass time for kids, ok. There are really only two essentials to tobogganing - you need a sled (it can even be a garbage bag for all I care, I won't judge) and you need a hill.

This past holiday break I ventured to Centennial Park in Thunder Bay for my first tobogganing excursion. An absolute thrill. Minus the kids at the bottom of the hill who clearly had no concept of safety as we bowled through the crowds of tiny children.

The second location we scouted was an old pit on crown land. Although the snow wasn't initially packed nor sliding-ready, we eventually packed it down enough so that the drive was well worth it. You can see all the fun we had in this montage video I made here.

Some of my other favourite sliding hills in Thunder Bay are Balsam Pit or Chapples Park.

Skating:

I am a sucker for skating - and maybe everyone in Thunder Bay is actually - we have a hockey reputation to live up to after all. But there's no denying the fun in it. Any of the municipal outdoor rinks are great skating places. Hint - try a morning sunrise skate to avoid potential pucks to the head. Or to avoid that all together, the Waterfront Skate Pad at the Marina in Thunder Bay offers great views and an artificial fire pit in the centre for added warmth.

Hiking:

It's no secret that Thunder Bay has many trails accessible in the summer and winter months. So if the weather permits, grab some boots, put on a coat and head out on a trail. Who doesn't need fresh air in times like these?

Join a local hiking group on Facebook for updates on the best trails for you. I find groups like these to be so helpful for advice on gear to wear or bring along with me.

Grab a Coffee and Go for a Drive:

Honestly, this is so underrated. Whenever I tell my friends from school who aren't from up north that going for a drive is a favourite pass time of mine, I get stared at with crazy eyes. It's sooo therapeutic though. Seriously. Put on a favourite playlist, grab a coffee to-go, and drive to a lookout spot. Walk around if you feel like it too.

Drives like this will always be my favourite.

Find your winter muse. The thing that gets you out of the house and in the mood to explore. I know that right now finding that motivation can be difficult, but I promise you it's worth it.

Until next time,

Ashley

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