Collingwood Wildlife: Try & Spot These 3 Animals

Ontario is home to thousands of animal species, and many of them are still active during the winter months. While you may be more inclined to go out into the wilderness during the summer and check out the different species, heading out into the cold winter air is a great way to have some fun and get out of the house.

If you find the weekends are slipping away and time is going by at a confusing rate, you probably want to spend your days doing something different. Getting outside, getting fresh air, and going hiking is an excellent way to experience some of the wildlife the Collingwood has to offer. Collingwood has it all, from birds to bears, combining both the luxuries of modern living with the wild outdoors.

The Majestic Snowy Owl

Many people are seeing snowy owls throughout southern Ontario, more so than in past years. The snowy owls are best seen during the early morning hours, near abandoned farms in the low-grown brush. If you go driving through the rural countryside of Collingwood during the sunrise, you may catch a glimpse of this majestic bird perching on a fence post. They are easy to spot against the sky, but they will easily blend into the surroundings if you’re looking at a snowy field. Make sure you keep your distance as many photographers venture too close and impede their hunting.

The Iconic Moose

While many people think they need to venture all the way to Algonquin Park to see a moose, there are some right here in your backyard. Moose are often present in bog-like areas and places where there is a frozen wetland, but some have been known to venture into suburban areas. During the winter, moose like to trek through areas where there is substantial snow cover. As moose tend to run hot, they enjoy the cold weather making them extraordinary wildlife for you to go and see. Even if you don’t see them on your first hike, it’s good to keep looking and make sure you always have your camera handy.

The Striking Bald Eagle

Bald eagles are becoming less common in Southern Ontario, with a majority being found near Lake of the Woods. The population in the southernmost parts of Ontario has significantly dwindled in the past years. Thankfully there have been some known to frequent Collingwood, but they are not common sightings. Bald eagles tend to perch high up in dead trees and often flee at the sight of any human activity. If you see a Bald eagle from afar, stay quiet if you want to snap a photo. As it is such a rare bird, it can be a fun challenge to try and spot one on your hikes through the Collingwood and Blue Mountain Area.

While this winter has been burdensome for many families with social gatherings limited and being stuck at home, you can still go out and enjoy the winter weather. If you set some wildlife spotting goals with your family, you can make it a fun weekend activity to get you learning more about the area.

 

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3 Delicious Meals To Enjoy During The Winter

During winter, there comes a time when things become dark and dreary, especially as the temperatures get colder. For those days in Collingwood, Ontario, where the sun stays hidden behind the clouds, and there is no way you will be heading to a local toboggan hill with the kids, as you may be staying indoors. While staying indoors too often can become a bit boring, you may be exploring new hobbies. One hobby that tends to be more popular now, more than ever, is cooking. 

Suppose you have picked up a cooking habit during the pandemic, or are looking to dive deeper and explore your culinary talents. In that case, you may want to consider meals specifically designed to warm you up during these cold winter months. Outlined below are three recipes that will bring the heat and make you feel cozier than ever during this time. By purchasing locally grown food and using organic herbs and spices, you can ensure these meals are delicious and fuel for the body and mind. 

A Hearty Stew

When you think of a stew, you may think of a culinary explosion featuring all the bits of leftover veggies and meat you have in your fridge, or you may have a go-to family recipe. If you are looking for a way to try something new this winter and spice up your stew. Try a recipe that includes lemon, honey, and ginger. While you may think this sounds like a home remedy for the common cold, this recipe is going to have you feeling hot and healthy from the inside out. You will be surprised at how well sour citrus fruit and spicy ginger brings out the meat’s flavors.

Homemade Ramen

Instant bags of ramen are chock full of salt and synthetic ingredients. While it can be fun ordering in ramen, it is often not as delicious as homemade. When homemaking ramen, you can choose your ingredients, making it a customized experience. Check out this delicious vegan ramen recipe for those of you jumping on-board this plant-based trend. 

 

Italian Style Pasta

There are some things that you think you are doing right, but then you learn of the right way to do it, and the way you were doing it before seems crazy. One way that you can warm up during the winter is by eating Italian style pasta. Many people will add sauce to their noodles and forget the key ingredients, including salt, lemon zest, and olive oil. When boiling your noodles, you should heavily salt the water and add olive oil. After straining, add your sauce and continue cooking, including some of the salty water. You will find your pasta tastes like no other you have ever tried before. Make sure to load on the fresh parmesan and grated lemon zest before serving.

 

Determining ways to stay entertained and cheerful while also adopting some new hobbies is not always easy. By mixing up a sour and savory stew, trying to make your ramen, and elevating your pasta dishes, you are sure to bring smiles to everyone in your home.

 

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Virtual School Is In Session: 3 Tips For Parents

With pandemic restrictions in full effect and virtual classes becoming the new normal, you may be having difficulty keeping your child on task during the day. As there are so many distractions around the house and possibly other people working from home, it can be complicated for your child to stay engaged with their teachers while also taking full advantage of the class.

If you have multiple children, you may find it even more challenging with everyone in class simultaneously. It can be draining trying to keep an eye on everyone to make sure they are on task.

Outlined below are some tips for you and your family to make virtual school a little easier. While most schools in Ontario are currently online, these tips will help ease the coming months as everyone hopes for a return to regularity in the future.

Limit Distractions

Even though most children have smartphones these days, it doesn’t mean that they need to have access to the smartphone at all hours of the day. During school time, their phone use should be limited, as it is a significant distractor. By having your child give you their phone at the beginning of the day, you will notice they are much more likely to stay focused during school hours. You can also put parental controls on their school computer to prevent them from visiting websites online throughout their day.

Create Learning Spaces

Creating learning spaces is an ideal tactic for parents of children in virtual schools. Having a space dedicated to their school will help them differentiate between home and school life. If you have multiple children, you should make sure there are clear boundaries between their spaces, as listening to someone else’s lesson can be a distraction. If there is not enough room in your home, opt for headphones or room dividers. You can even have each of your children personalize their space as they would their desk at a school.

Start & End The Day Outside

With the transition to virtual classes, one thing missing from everyone’s life is the commute. While a commute can be arduous, it is sometimes a great way to prepare for the day mentally. Start your day outside with your kids, before their classes start, by going on a brisk walk around your neighborhood. You can do the same in the evening. Through this exercise, you can help them prep for class and wind down after a day online.

Adjusting to the new normal will not be easy, and many teachers and parents are struggling now more than ever. Learning from home presents many hurdles. There are tons of distractions from phones to other family members, and staying engaged with a talking screen all day is not an easy task. With the three tips outlined below, you can attempt to ease the school days. Hopefully, by next September, virtual classes become a thing of the past, and you can get back to your standard way of life.

 

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Great Rainy Winter Day Activities For The Whole Family  

Do you know those days when it’s not cold enough to snow but not sunny enough to spend it outside? The days where the rain doesn’t stop pouring, but it’s not warm enough for you to splash around in the puddles? Well, in Canada these days happen more often than not, especially in the Collingwood Area. 

If you have recently moved into the neighborhood and looking for something to do, the list below has got you covered. When the days are lovely, you can get excited to indulge in some of the most fantastic outdoor scenery that Ontario has to offer. 

Indoor Treasure Hunt

If you have kids and live in the Collingwood area, an indoor treasure hunt is a perfect activity for a cold and rainy day. While you may want to get some fresh air still, you probably don’t want to spend too much time outside, so why not spend what little time you do outside on a cold rainy day, collecting natural treasures. 

Head outside with your outdoor gear and have your kids collect unique stones, driftwood, or other tiny treasures. You can then head inside, make some hot cocoa, and hide the objects around the house. Your kids will be excited to find their outdoor treasures inside. 

Living Room Camping

While Blue Mountain and Collingwood are prime areas for camping and enjoying the outdoors, you won’t be getting to do much outdoor adventuring when the winter is cold and rainy. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring that camp atmosphere indoors. 

Bust out your old tent, get some flashlights and sleeping bags, and set up a campsite in your living room. Your kids can camp out for a night or two, or the whole family can snuggle up for a movie marathon. Once you’re enclosed in the tent, the rain pattering away at the window, it will feel like you are deep in the woods. 

Make A Rain Gauge

If you have young kids, they may be studying science and learning about the weather and atmosphere. What better way to help progress their learning while having fun than by seeing if the weather channel predictions are accurate. You can create a rain measuring device by merely attaching a ruler to a bottle or can with a flat bottom. You can then measure the rainfall over a day and see if it matches up with weather reports. You can give away prizes to whoever has the closest guess.

While rainy days are not the most enjoyable, you may have more fun than you think if you try the above activities. Once the snow starts falling, you can grab your skis and head to one of Collingwood’s gorgeous resorts. While they may be closed for a short period, they will undoubtedly be back up and running in no time. 

If you are not a skier, no need to worry. The spring and summer present just as many opportunities for enjoying the fresh air in Collingwood. With a bit of time, you will soon come to realize you are living in the best place in Ontario. 

 

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3 Ways To “Get Together” Apart This Holiday Season

The holidays are a time when you get to enjoy time with family and friends while getting a bit of a break before you dive into the new year. You often think about the year’s accomplishments and set goals for the future. However, this year is not like others. 

If you want to get together with your extended family and friends this holiday season, you will have to do it “apart.” Thankfully, the pandemic happened at a time in history when connecting with people worldwide and in your own town is easier than ever.

Outlined below are three ways that you can “get together” apart this holiday season. While the pandemic might limit how close you can get to each other, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some good conversation and laughs from afar. 

Zoom Recipe Swap

While you can have a video conference with all your extended family to catch up and hear about each other’s lives, it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming with everyone trying to speak at once. Sometimes it helps to have a goal for the call rather than hope everyone is willing to chat into the computer screen. A great way to enhance these video calls is by exchanging recipes beforehand with your family members and planning to cook them on the same night. After you have eaten, or even while you are eating, you can do a conference call and talk about how the recipes went. This activity is a great way to share traditions and celebrate the holiday spirit without leaving your home. 

Neighbourhood Campfire

Many people throughout Ontario and the Collingwood area have close relationships with their neighbourhood. Many people have even bubbled up with their neighbours during the pandemic as they see them nearly every day. If you live in a neighbourhood with some of your closest friends and family members, you may be tempted to have an indoor get-together, but unfortunately, that can’t happen. Instead, bundle up and get together with our neighbourhood at an outdoor campfire. You can visit some of the Collingwood hotspots or meet in someone’s backyard. 

Decorating a wild tree can be a fun socially-distanced activity.

Wild Tree Decorating

The wonderful thing about living in the Collingwood area is that most neighborhoods are in proximity to densely wooded areas with wildlife and beautiful pine trees. Go to a local wooded area and spend some time decorating a wild pine tree in some of your favorite decorations. You can bring a portable speaker and a thermos of hot chocolate. Together you will be able to enjoy the holiday spirit while keeping your distance and staying outside.

Even though the holidays are looking a little different this year, it doesn’t mean you can’t still try and make it as festive as possible. By doing a video conference recipe exchange, a neighborhood fire, or decorating a wild pine tree, you can get a taste of a regular holiday season without putting yourself at risk.  

 

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The Best Trails in Collingwood, ON

Collingwood is famous for its outdoor activities. With Blue Mountain and Georgian Bay on either side, there is an endless list of recreational sports to fill your time. But what if you aren’t into sports? What if you prefer a nice leisurely walk or light hike? Here is a list of the best trails in the area.

 

Pretty River Provincial Park

Part of the Escarpment and located 6 km southeast of Collingwood, Pretty River Provincial parks is a nature lover’s paradise. There no facilities and no camping permitted, so there is nothing but nature. The 6 kilometers of trails are on some of the highest points of the escarpment. Visitors can enjoy fishing, hiking and skiing. The area has a variety of terrains and users should be aware that some locations in the park are for more advanced hikers.

 

Harbourview Park Loop in Collingwood

Harbourview Park is perfect for a leisurely afternoon walk for the whole family. Starting on Birch Street, the trail goes all the way to Georgian Bay. Visitors can expect to walk or cycle about 1.3 km from start to finish. The trail is well maintained and has a great mix of trees, greenery, and flowers.

 

 

Kolapore Uplands Trail

Part of the Bruce Trail Network, the Kolapore Uplands Trail is quite long. Beginners should expect a challenge and bring a map. The trail itself is about 9 km, but in the winter it turns into about 50 km of cross country skiing trails. The trails are clearly marked and their difficulty is marked on the trail as well.

 

Western Circle Route

For the seasoned and ambitious hiker, this is a system of 6 trails that tour throughout the Collingwood area. During a hike, users can stop in at a number the local resorts as they will pass many. The total circle can take about 2.5 hours so visitors should be prepared. A map is also suggested.

 

Blueberry Plains

Described as an easy to moderate hiking trail, the trail is located on some very unique sand dunes. The dunes have been marked as a nature reserve. The area and vegetation are very fragile so families should be aware of that when walking.

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Collingwood in the New Year

As we enter into January, and the prime of the winter season, in many ways Collingwood is just starting to come alive.  The days may be short, and the darkness comes early, but there are lots of fun and exciting events to get you through the winter and into spring.  Not to mention, a great line-up of exciting things to come in the latter half of the year, and plenty of events to look forward to for kids and adults alike as we embrace a new year with new possibilities as a community.  Get out your calendar to mark down some dates and get ready to join in on the fun!

Celebrating Winter

As a town located at the foothills of the Blue Mountains, and spending much of the time in winter mode, there are still several months of snow and snow activities to look forward to as we kick off 2018.    The Skate Trail through Discovery Harbour will open on the weekends until (hopefully!) mid March, and this year, in addition to skating, will be offering a snowshoe trail and a snow tubing hill.  As has become an annual event, Locations North will host their annual Winter Blast fundraiser as a ski and snowshoe day in February.  Book your tickets now to enjoy a day of outdoor winter fun and support a good cause at the same time. And finally, for all the pie lovers and food connoisseurs in town, don’t miss out on the Apple Pie Trail Feest!  For an evening combining snowshoeing, wine, and pie, strap on your snowshoes and trek across moon-lit trails and stop at fire-lit cabins where you get to enjoy food and drink featuring local chefs and local products.  Definitely an evening not to pass up!

Take in the Arts

We have mentioned before about the amazing arts scene available in Collingwood, and this year will be no different.  With an exceptional line up of plays and on-stage performances happening at Theatre Collingwood, and Meaford Hall, and the Elvis Festival taking over the scene in July, if your heart lights up when you see shows on stage, you’re in for a delight in the year ahead.  The call for artists has gone out for the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts annual Juried Art Show, and awards will be presented on April 22.   Put your talent to the test and submit your artwork for the whole community to enjoy.

collingwood in summer

Let’s Do Summer

While there may be lots to love about Collingwood in the winter, things come alive in the summer too!  The prime location on the Georgian Bay means there are endless options for beach days, spending time with the kids building sand castles and swimming.  And don’t think that the mountains are only best when they are covered in snow.  In fact, the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster is a summer-only activity in the Blue Mountains and is a must-do in the warmer months – if you dare!  While you’re there, go on a hike or enjoy a gondola ride, and then enjoy a beer at one of the many local breweries once you reach the bottom.  Summer has lots to offer and spending it out in the community in the sunshine is the best way to take it all in.

With 2018 just around the corner, start now to plan your year, book your vacation and secure your theater tickets.  Collingwood is sure to live up to your desires for a year of fun.

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10 Fun Activities for Snow Days in Collingwood

January is here and you can spend your time wallowing and complaining about snow, ice and cold and wondering why you live in the north, or you can take advantage of everything it has to offer. Snow squalls are definitely in the forecast in Collingwood this week (and definitely throughout the month), which could mean impacted travel plans, school and business closures and a lot of shovelling. Spend your snow days doing something fun in Collingwood!

1)      Go skating! We’ve got some great indoor and outdoor rinks in the area and there is nothing more Canadian than lacing up the skates and heading for a frozen pond.

2)      Make some snow cones or candy. A really fun tradition here in Canada is to make snow cones with real snow. It is incredibly easy and just requires Popsicle sticks, maple syrup and clean snow.

maple_syrup_popsicle_6974621697

3)      Go skiing. Anyone who lives in the area, already knows that skiing is important pastime in Collingwood. From beginners to more advanced skiers, our mountain offers the best in downhill and cross-country skiing.

4)      Have an indoor picnic. Dreaming of summer? Turn on the fireplace and host a picnic on your living room floor. You won’t miss the bugs or the heat and the snowflakes falling outside your windows will give you some great scenery to look at.

5)      Go winter caving. This adventurous pursuit is great for the entire family and gives you a break from the traditional activities of sledding and skiing. You’ll snowshoe to the caves, but then climb and crawl through them during this unique activity.

6)      Build snow castles. You don’t need to be at the beach to take part in this fun activity. In fact, snow may mold just a little better than sand and you can do it inside or out, if you choose (and can contain the mess!).

7)      Go swimming. Again, just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean it isn’t warm inside! There are a number of spots in the Collingwood area where you can swim with the family. Plunge! Aquatic Centre has pools, an indoor water playground and other fun. The Collingwood YMCA also has family swims and you don’t have to be a member.

8)      Do a photo shoot. Take advantage of the beautiful and snowy Collingwood backdrop and take some photos of your family doing what they do best in the snow. Be sure to adjust your aperture for the white background (or photos will look grey). Summer isn’t the only time of year to get out and take pictures!

9)      Borrow books from the library. You don’t even have to go outside for this one. While going to the Collingwood Public Library is always a treat, you can borrow ebooks right from your digital device at home.

10)   Have a movie day. With our lives being incredibly busy with work, errands and extracurricular activities, we probably don’t take much time for rest. Spend an entire day watching movies with your family while it snows outside. You won’t regret it!

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