Ultimate Guide to Celebrating Family Day Ontario: Fun & Activities 2024

Activities for Celebrating Family Day in Ontario

Looking for ways to celebrate Family Day in Ontario? From thrilling outdoor sports to cozy indoor games and cultural gems, we highlight the top picks for a joyful Family Day in any of the best cities in Ontario. Dive into the festivities and make the most of this special day in Ontario's winter landscape! Whether you live in the city of Windsor or the capital of Ottawa, this article is your starting point for an unforgettable family holiday.

Key Takeaways

  • Ontario's Family Day hosts many activities, including outdoor winter festivals with ice sculptures and sleigh rides and indoor events at museums and art centers catering to all ages and interests.
  • Various outdoor adventures such as snow sports, ice skating on scenic trails, and nature exploration in provincial parks are available to create lasting family memories during Family Day weekend.
  • Special Family Day promotions include free admission to attractions like AGO, exclusive hotel and resort packages, and shopping deals, encouraging families to engage in festive activities and experiences.

Discover Ontario's Family Day Festivities

In Ontario, Family Day is a splendid opportunity for families to step away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and engage in memorable outdoor activities amidst the chilly yet invigorating winter landscape. Families can embrace the beauty of the season by lacing up their skates and gliding together on outdoor ice rinks scattered across cities like Toronto and Ottawa or by exploring the serene, snow-covered trails in provincial parks such as Algonquin Park on snowshoes or cross-country skis.

For those seeking a thrill, snow tubing at one of Ontario's many winter resorts provides an exhilarating experience for all ages. Participating in a local winter festival invites families a taste of Ontario's rich cultural tapestry through outdoor concerts, ice sculptures, and traditional Canadian treats. Family Day in Ontario is perfect for reconnecting with loved ones and creating lasting memories by enjoying the great outdoors in all its winter glory.

Indoor Entertainment Extravaganza

Indoor entertainment in Ontario matches the excitement of its outdoor festivities. Here are some options for indoor activities:

  • InPlay Inc. in Barrie and Newmarket: arcade games and mini-golf, perfect for family-friendly activities on a chilly winter day.
  • iFLY Toronto: provides the exhilarating experience of indoor skydiving.
  • The Rec Room: located across Ontario, features arcade games, virtual reality experiences, and live entertainment.
  • Putting Edge: distinctive glow-in-the-dark mini-golf experience that is entertaining for all ages.

Whether it's exploring interactive museums like The Factory and Kids Fun City or taking on challenges in escape rooms, indoor entertainment in Ontario promises a fun-filled Family Day.

Cultural Experiences for Families

Family Day weekend in Ontario also marks a cultural celebration. Heritage celebrations such as the Penetanguishene Winterama allow families to experience Ontario's oldest winter carnival throughout the weekend before Family Day.

Museums and performing arts centres across the province host a variety of events and activities, including:

  • Carnivals
  • Shows
  • Films
  • Interactive activities

These events give families a rich cultural experience.

Family Day Adventures Outdoors

Outdoor Acitivites in Ontario on Family Day

Ontario's scenic landscapes and winter wonderlands are perfect for outdoor adventures during the Family Day weekend. From snow sports to ice skating and nature exploration, Ontario's outdoors gives families a chance to embrace winter and create unforgettable memories. Whether it's fat-wheel biking on snowy trails at Crimson Ridge in Sault Ste. Marie or horseback riding at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, there are plenty of winter adventures.

Families can also participate in quintessentially winter activities like building snowmen, making snow angels, or tobogganing at locations like Riverdale Park West in Toronto. For thrill-seekers, snowtubing at Horseshoe Resort in Barrie or the Hike N' Tube at Blue Mountain guarantees an adrenaline rush.

Away from the thrill of winter sports, Ontario's provincial parks, such as John E. Pearce Provincial Park, are home to peaceful winter walking and nature-sighting opportunities. The FROST & FIRE event in Perth provides a unique mix of indoor warmth and exciting outdoor experiences, making it an ideal family activity during the Family Day weekend.

Snow Sports Galore

Ontario stands as a paradise for winter sports. Blue Mountain Resort offers various activities, including skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. Eastern Ontario's premier ski destination, Calabogie Peaks Resort, is known for its skiing, snowboarding, and lodge accommodations designed for ski-in and ski-out access. Facilities like Calabogie Peaks Resort also have inclusive lessons for guests with special needs, ensuring everyone can participate in snow sports.

Resorts like Pine Vista Resort and Deerhurst Resort provide seasonal and holiday packages, with options for cozy cottage rentals, making them the perfect winter escape for families.

Ice Skating Rinks and Trails

The magic of gliding on ice can be experienced by families along:

  • The scenic Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa
  • The forest-lined skating trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park
  • The unique Cranberry Ice Trail in Muskoka
  • The Bentway Skate Trail in Toronto, a unique urban experience underneath the Gardiner Expressway
  • Portland's Skate the Lake event, which features a 1km & 2.5km ice oval for skating races amidst winter festivities
  • Lanspeary Lions Outdoor Rink in Windsor has free public skate times from Dec 1 to March 1, on Monday to Friday (4 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sundays (1 p.m. to 3 p.m.)

Nature Exploration

The natural beauty of Ontario reaches its peak of serenity during winter. Guided snowshoe tours in Craigleith and other locations, such as Murphy's Point Provincial Park, offer families an opportunity to explore the winter landscape. The Winter in the Wild Festival in Algonquin Park is a celebration that includes various activities, providing a lively venue for family nature exploration.

Most of Ontario's provincial parks remain open during the winter months, allowing families to engage in several winter activities, enhancing the accessibility of nature exploration.

Memorable Family Getaways

Family Day weekend in Ontario is ideal for planning a family getaway. From winter resorts to city breaks and countryside retreats, Ontario's diverse landscapes offer many options for a memorable escape.

Winter Resort Escapes

Ontario's winter resorts present an idyllic setting for a family getaway. Some popular resorts include:

  • Blue Mountain Resort: A range of winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing.
  • The Fern Resort: Offers supervised Playvillage and private sitter services for children, along with vacation packages that include multi-night stays and three daily meals.
  • Deerhurst Resort: Provides a Ski & Stay package featuring discounted lift tickets for Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area and complimentary room sharing for up to two kids aged 18 and under.

These resorts provide various options for families to enjoy their winter vacation.

City Breaks

Exploring a new city in Ontario on Family Day can be an enriching and exciting activity for families looking to break from routine and discover something new together. Each city and town holds its unique blend of culture, history, and entertainment, making for an educational and enjoyable experience.

Windsor, for instance, sits on the border with the United States, showcasing picturesque views of the Detroit skyline, rich historical sites, and beautiful walking trails that are perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride. Toronto, Ontario's bustling capital, is a mosaic of neighbourhoods, world-class museums like the Royal Ontario Museum and the iconic CN Tower, and endless dining options, ensuring that families with varied interests will find something to love.

Barrie, located on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay, provides a more laid-back atmosphere with its beautiful waterfront, outdoor sculptures, and the opportunity for winter sports at nearby Horseshoe Resort, making it ideal for families looking to enjoy both cultural and outdoor activities. With its vibrant arts community, Mississauga offers family-friendly attractions such as the interactive exhibits at the Ontario Science Centre and the sprawling green spaces of Kariya Park, perfect for a Family Day picnic or stroll.

Beyond these cities, Ontario is dotted with charming small towns that boast their own unique attractions, from historical sites and local artisan shops to natural wonders and cozy cafes. Exploring the best small towns in Ontario can open a glimpse into the quieter side of this province, where community events and local hospitality highlight the warmth of the province's smaller communities.

Countryside Retreats

For families seeking a peaceful retreat, Ontario's countryside resorts offer serene landscapes and many winter activities. Resorts like Fern Resort in Orillia and Pine Vista Resort in Lakefield provide a scenic winter backdrop with activities for family enjoyment.

Bayview Wildwood Resort and Elmhirst's Resort present rural winter experiences with beautiful views of Muskoka and Rice Lake, making them ideal retreats for families seeking serenity.

Culinary Delights for the Whole Family

Family Day weekend in Ontario also celebrates culinary delights. From food festivals and family-friendly dining to unique culinary experiences, Ontario's diverse culinary scene serves something for every palate. Whether you're a foodie searching for gastronomic delights or a family looking for kid-friendly menus, Ontario's culinary scene has you covered.

Food Festivals and Events

The Family Day weekend is a feast for the senses, with numerous food festivals showcasing local and international cuisines. For example, the S'mores & Cocoa Festival in Windsor introduces families to sweet treats.

Family-Friendly Dining

Ontario has a cornucopia of family-friendly dining options. Restaurants like Kaytoo Restaurant and Bar in The Blue Mountains offer free kids' meals before 5:00 p.m., while The Farmhouse Restaurant in Barrie provides kid-friendly options, including ice cream. Windsor's family-friendly restaurants include The Clique Restaurant, Bubi's Awesome Eats, and Dime Store.

Play-A-Latte Cafe in Kitchener and Ampersand Bakehouse in Toronto combine tasty treats with indoor playgrounds and play areas, making them ideal spots for family dining.

Unique Culinary Experiences

Beyond traditional dining, Ontario is home to unique culinary experiences. The Forest City Culinary Experiences in the town of London offer food and drink-focused walking experiences. The Ultimate Forest City Gastronomic Tasting Experience takes guests on a profound culinary journey through a distillery, an upscale bodega, and a final multi-course farm-to-table meal.

The Covent Garden Market in Downtown London encourages culinary exploration with samples from local specialty vendors and includes a cooking class for a full market kitchen experience.

Educational and Interactive Fun

Museums to Go To on Family Day in Ontario

Family Day weekend also serves as a time for educational engagement and interactive fun. Ontario offers a myriad of opportunities for learning and engagement, including:

  • Animal attractions
  • Museums
  • Art galleries
  • Historical sites

Families can immerse themselves in interactive experiences that entertain and educate the entire family.

Museums and Science Centers

Museums and science centers across Ontario offer a treasure trove of knowledge. Some options for Family Day programming include:

  • The Royal Ontario Museum
  • The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
  • Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology
  • The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre

These museums offer tailored Family Day programming, including nature-inspired design workshops and themed events.

The Ontario Science Centre, AGO, and Little Canada provide educational, interactive experiences such as:

  • The Space Hall
  • KidSpark
  • Storytelling and dance performances
  • Transforming visitors into miniature figures

These attractions offer a range of engaging activities for visitors.

Art Galleries and Creative Spaces

The province's art galleries and creative spaces are a canvas for families to explore and express their creativity. The AGO celebrated Family Day with special events and family dance events to engage visitors in movement and creativity.

The National Gallery of Canada offered art-making activities and cultural performances like Inuit throat singing and film screenings.

Historical Sites and Attractions

Exploring Ontario's rich history is yet another exciting way to spend Family Day weekend. From Whitehern Historic House & Garden in Hamilton to Battlefield House Museum & Park, families can delve into history with guided tours and hands-on experiences.

The On the Forks Culinary Experience in London pairs historic site visits with specialty food vendors and includes a sit-down gastro tasting at Blackfriars Bistro, blending culinary arts with heritage exploration.

Family Day Weekend Special Offers

Family Day long weekend in Ontario also presents an opportunity to benefit from special offers, discounts, and contests. Many businesses offer special deals from attractions and restaurants to mobile carriers to celebrate families during the Family Day weekend.

Free Admission to Attractions

Several attractions in Ontario offer free admission and special offers during the Family Day weekend. The Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre offers free family-oriented programming on Family Day, and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) provides special Family Day programs inclusive of general admission.

Through the Chelsea Hotel's program in Toronto, families can receive discounts at attractions like Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, the AGO, and Little Canada.

Exclusive Family Day Packages

Hotels and resorts in Ontario also offer exclusive Family Day packages. The Radisson Hotel Kitchener Waterloo, The Inn at Waterloo, and The Champlain Waterfront Hotel provide special rates and extra perks for Family Day.

Resorts like Deerhurst Resort and Nottawasaga Inn Resort cater to families by offering vacation packages and a serene retreat full of activities specifically for Family Day.

Shopping Deals and Promotions

Family Day weekend is also a great time to shop and save. Local artisan markets at events like the Breaking the Ice Festival in Wasaga Beach and the Tweed Winter Carnival offer special deals and promotions.

Celebrate Family Day in Ontario!

From winter festivals and exciting outdoor adventures to unforgettable family getaways and culinary delights, Family Day weekend in Ontario celebrates family life. Whether it's gliding on ice, finding things to do downtown in a new city, or dining at a kid-friendly restaurant, every moment spent together is a memory created. So, bundle up, embrace the winter wonderlands of Ontario, and celebrate the love that binds families together. After all, Family Day is all about creating unforgettable memories with the ones you love.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Family Day an official holiday in Ontario?

Yes, Family Day is an official holiday in Ontario, designated for provincially regulated employees as one of the nine statutory holidays.

Why is Family Day celebrated?

Family Day is celebrated to recognize the importance of home and family to the founding pioneers, and it was first observed in Alberta in 1990, spreading to other provinces in Canada in the following years.

Are schools open in Ontario on Family Day?

No, schools are closed on Family Day in Ontario.

Which provinces are off for Family Day?

Family Day is a statutory holiday in New Brunswick, Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Other provinces have their own holidays on the third Monday in February.

How do I celebrate the Family Day?

Celebrate Family Day by watching a classic movie, making a family dinner, having a game night, or planning a family outing. You can also bake together, visit parks, have a backyard campfire, or ride a bike.

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