On one of the coldest winters on record in Ontario, heading north into possibly colder temperatures, may not rate high on anyone’s list of things to do. But, this is winter in Canada and hibernating is not an option. A 3-hour drive north of Toronto takes you to an area that is best described as, a winter wonderland. Fresh country air, clear blue skies, hundreds of miles of cross-country trails and many rivers and lakes await you. And everywhere, trees, dusted with white-powdered snow, glistening under the sunlight. It’s the kind of scenery foreigners imagine when they think of Canada. And it’s all right here. And it's all real.
Haliburton, also known as Haliburton Highlands, is an outdoor lover’s paradise and an all-season playground.
One of the best places to start your Haliburton experience is at the Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve, or simply, Haliburton Forest.
Haliburton Forest is an 80,000 acre, privately owned forest with beautiful lakes, rivers and extensive wetlands. In the winter two sports top the list of activities: snowmobiling and dog sledding—two, true Canadian experiences.
|Prepping for dog-sledding|
In the summer available activities include: mountain biking, fishing, wilderness camping and the always popular, Walk in the Clouds. This is a four hour tour which includes a half-kilometer walk along the Pelaw River, a canoe ride across a wilderness lake to the highlight of the tour, the canopy boardwalk. At over half a kilometer long, it’s the longest of its kind in the world. The boardwalk is built 10-20 meters above the floor and winding its way through the treetops, it offers spectacular views over the forest and lakes.
Year-round, be sure to drop into the Wolf Centre, one of the largest wolf sanctuaries in the world. A pack of Grey Wolves, led by alpha pair, Luna and Fang, roam freely in the 15-acre enclosure. The centre contains, among other things, a cinema/classroom, retail space with a large selection of wolf related media, but the highlight is the one-way glass observatory which allows visitors to observe the pack in their natural habitat. The day we visited, Luna and Fang, along with one of their off-spring, were lazing about under the warmth of the winter sun.
Two children, both dressed in snazzy red snowsuits, were in the observatory watching the wolves through the glass. Their excitement was contagious.
“Look. They’re getting up,” screeched one child to the other.
Everyone inched closer to the glass-pane. A wolf had stood up and rubbed its nose into the crisp snow, a playful gesture that aroused its companions.
In a magical winter wonderland, it's all that's left to do.
|Another resident of the forest|