Villager Ventures: Making the Most of a Muddy & Green Winter

By Hillary Handy

Indoor Swimming at the Orillia Recreation Centre

Well, it has been a very strange wintery season thus far in our region. Uncharacteristically warm temperatures made for a green and grey Christmas, followed by a wet New Year’s Eve. Parents had to be very creative over the Christmas holidays to keep little ones entertained. January didn’t prove to be much better in the classic winter weather department. We did have pockets of snow and snow storms, so that was something, complete with Snow Day bus cancellations! But also considerable rain which promptly melted the accumulated snow. We keep waiting for winter to arrive!

I’m hoping our luck has changed by the time you’re reading this and that you’ve been able to enjoy the wintery fun that North Simcoe can offer. We are so fortunate to have access to some incredible outdoor winter activities in our region. May February be the time we finally participate and celebrate a true winter. Leading up until now, I feel like we didn’t get to the ski hills often enough, go tobogganing, or even visit an outdoor rink. 

But… just in case we have been dished out another serving of perpetual grey this February, I have some ideas to make the most out of a green winter for you and the family:

Indoor Skating Orillia
  • Visit the library once a week- The various libraries across our region host some incredible programming for children and adults. Not to mention the obvious, the ability to borrow new books. Most libraries also have games, kits and equipment you can borrow too! This is a free outing that is sure to pass the time and be enriching for all.
  • Go Swimming at the Orillia Recreation Centre– This seems to be an activity in the opposite direction of winter, but if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. If winter refuses to be winter, then we shall dream of summer!
  • Skate Indoors- There are several rinks in our area that are indoor. Check out the free skate schedule and lace up those skates! It’s not the same feel as an outdoor pond, but it will get your skating fix in.
  • Do a house swap with a friend in a different part of the province- Times are tough with the current state of the economy and post-Christmas budgeted. One way to explore is by swapping houses with a friend or family member. The change of scenery alone is good for everyone’s mental health. You can also make a list of some fun and cheap (or free) activities to do in each of your respective areas. Once you make it to your destination, it’s as if your itinerary has been planned for you and you just have to show up!
  • Go check out the Swans in Washago– If you didn’t do it last month with our tip in the January issue, now is your time! Check out these majestic birds in all their glory as they await spring.
  • Bust out the scooters and bikes– Go for an adventure on some of our many paved paths or roads. We rode scooters on Christmas Day around our subdivision because why not. If there’s no snow, we might as well enjoy the pavement.
  • Enjoy a wagon-ride- Forget hitching up the horses and the sleigh, go for a tractor ride instead. My uncle thought it would be a good idea to go for a hay ride on Boxing Day. There was mud on mud and we got the tractor and trailer so incredibly stuck. It wasn’t much of a ride, but it certainly was a family Christmas we won’t forget anytime soon! I have seen many a UTV and even lawn mower moseying around our neighborhood…especially when snowmobiles are a no-go. 

Hopefully this list is in vain and the snow has finally arrived as you are nestled at home reading this by the fire, cuddled up in a cozy blanket and tapping into some serious hygge. But if winter has failed to show up, at least this Villager has your back with some emergency activities planned. Let us know what you and your Villagers get up to this February!