We embrace winter full-on here, because whether you love the fresh air of the great outdoors or the warmth and comfort of the great indoors, we live in the ultimate winter wonderland. It’s simply the most beautiful place to be when the snow falls and the ice forms and everywhere you look it is picture-perfect. There’s so many things to do.
We have easy access to a variety of viewpoints, from wide open rural fields to forest pathways, the stunning views alongside the frigid flows of the Grand River and the rugged spectacles of ice formations that decorate the Elora Gorge, to the fishing huts spread out across the expanse of Belwood Lake in the heart of the season, to all the groomed trails and uncharted paths in between. This is winter’s playground.
Choose your adventure:
- Snow shoe
- Cross country ski
- Ice Fish
- Ice Climb
Whether you strap on the snow shoes, step into cross country skis or layer up and venture out for a hike, ours is a winter landscape that beckons you to explore. The options are endless. The views are stunning. The air is free.
In every season, the Elora Cataract Trailway offers a 47 kilometre stretch of wide and mostly flat trails that follow the old Canadian Pacific railroad bed accessible for adventure seekers who are eager to create their own tracks in the snow-covered trails. Depending on your sport of choice, and your hearty spirit, the Elora Cataract Trailway can take you from the village of Elora through the heart of Fergus and across to the Shand Dam in Belwood, before heading out to the Forks of Credit Provincial Park at Cataract. It’s nature at its best and the birds will cheer you on.
Snowmobile enthusiasts love to blaze trails and there is a trail system for them between the towns of Fergus and Erin, as well as rural routes throughout Centre Wellington. The Hillsburgh Snow Roamers Snow Mobile Club have the most up-to-date information and best advice on sled routes to explore.
The Grand River Conservation Authority and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority own the trailway and manage it in conjunction with the Elora Cataract Trailway Association. It’s a wonderful hub to other trail links too. The Grand Valley Trail passes along a section of the Elora Cataract Trailway and the Bruce Trail can be accessed from the Forks of Credit Provincial Park.
Lace up the skates
Is there anything more Canadian than an outdoor skating rink? Probably, sure, but this is one of our favourite activities for all ages and it’s free. Whether you want to jump into a game of shinney or just practice your spins, you’ll find several outdoor rinks created by a dedicated crew of community volunteers.
When the weather allows here are a few outdoor rinks to check out:
- Bissell Park, Elora
- Elora Community Centre
- Belwood Sports Field
- Beatty Park, Fergus
- Stait Park, Fergus
Of course, if indoor is your more thing, we have ice pads at both the Elora Community Centre and Centre Wellington Sportsplex, in Fergus, with public skating ice schedules.
Pack up the toboggans, snow racers, snow tubes and let’s not forget the good ole snow saucers, and head to the hills. When the snow flies, so does the time having fun sliding down one of the many free, public toboggan hills, found at:
- Salem Public School (outside of regular school hours)
- Vinegar Hill, Fergus
- Wellington County Museum, Aboyne
(Photo credit: GRCA)
Forget frozen fish. Catch’em fresh! Ice fishing is a seasonal tradition for anglers and anglers-to-be. Bundle up and head out to the giant ice surface of Belwood Lake when the season is in full swing and take part in a great outdoor experience for all ages. The Grand River Conservation Authority monitors the ice conditions throughout the season. It’s not a long one, but it’s a good one. Make sure you check the conditions before you head out, to be sure the ice is safe. And when it is, get here. Drop your line. The fish are biting!
Curl a rock
Throw the stone and hurry hard to get it on the button. Curling is a big deal here. It’s a part of our proud Scottish heritage, In fact, the story goes that one frozen, winter day a curling stone was thrown and swept through the heart of downtown Fergus back in 1834, to establish the Fergus Curling Club, which is the oldest continuously operating curling club in Ontario. And not long after, in 1839, the Elora Curling Club open its doors.
If you’re in town for a bonspiel you know we balance this sport with a competitive spirit of sportsmanship and one seriously fun post-game celebration. Drop in and watch the action.
Outdoors is all well and good, but sometimes it’s good to hunker down in the warmth and comfort of the great outdoors. Whether you’re sipping tea or hot cocoa in one of our splendid cafes or enjoying a pint at the local pub, perhaps sharing a delicious meal with friends, it’s good to relax. It’s healthy even! I mean, you can’t get frostbite at a pub, right?
Maybe retail therapy is your winter exercise. We fully support that too. Shopping is good for you. Trust us on this one. With such interesting and unique shops, you may even break a sweat carrying your bags around. It’s a win-win.
We hope you’ll join us in our winter wonderland, where you can enjoy the beauty of the winter season as nature intended it.