Kayaker on a misty river in Kawarthas Northumberland

Celebrate Spring with Ten Unique Activities

We all feel it – spring is on the way. Birds are singing, buds are on the trees, and your neighbour’s already wearing shorts. We’ve covered our top springtime activities already on this site, but the season has us so pumped we thought we’d add a few extra dates and weekend events to the list. Here are ten more ways to celebrate the coming of spring in Kawarthas Northumberland.

Doors Open Ontario

Ontario boasts some jaw-dropping historic properties, and you can get the grand tour with the Ontario Heritage Trust’s Doors Open Ontario event. Communities around the province sign up for different weekends, with Peterborough playing host from May 2-3. As the name implies, Doors Open provides free admission to any sites participating in the festival, which typically include heritage buildings as well as modern constructions and culturally significant outdoor spaces.

Peterborough’s 2020 events were still TBA at the time of writing, but 2019 offerings included rides on a turn-of-the-20th-century trolley and tours of historic East City. Keep an eye on https://www.doorsopenontario.on.ca/ for updates. While you’re on the site, mark your calendar for other dates in the region. Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland County both participate, but not until later in the year.

Ranney Gorge Run

You might’ve heard us promote the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge in Campbellford before, but here’s a twist – on Sunday, May 3rd you can join the Ranney Gorge Run and jog across it. The 10.55K, 5K, and a 1K Fun Run for Kids will take you across the scenic bridge and through the tranquil scenery of Ferris Provincial Park. All proceeds go to support Campbellford Memorial Hospital. Get the details here:


Warkworth Lilac Festival

Lilacs are the scent of springtime, and you can fill up your senses at the Warkworth Lilac Festival beginning May 30. The month-long festival features rare varieties of lilacs along the 2.6km Millennium Trail, as well as a variety of events in downtown Warkworth. Guided tours are available for gardeners and would-be botanists. They’ll even let you borrow a shade umbrella so you can take in the beauty in comfort. Learn more on the festival website:


40th Anniversary Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny

Port Hope’s Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny looks to be particularly exciting this April as the festival celebrates its 40th anniversary. Float Your Fanny commemorates an historic 1980 flood with a 10km team race down the Ganaraska River in improvised “crazy craft.” The outlandish costumes and even odder boats make for a winning combination of comedy and adrenaline. You can also grab a bite and catch some entertainment in Fannyville, the festival village. Start planning your visit here:


Free Fishing Day

Did you miss the Family Day free fishing weekend in Bridgenorth this year? You’ll have another chance to fish license-free on the weekend of May 9 – 10, 2020 (that’s Mother’s Day Weekend, so be careful not to double book yourself if mom doesn’t like fishing). If you’re a new or infrequent fisherperson, the Tackleshare program can get you loaner gear at no cost – for instance, Balsam Lake and Emily provincial parks both support the program. With over 350 lakes in the region there are a bewildering array of options, so check out our compilation of fishing resources to find gear and location advice.

Outdoor Farmers’ Markets Open

Most regional Farmers’ Markets open in May to take advantage of the fairer weather. Lindsay, Bobcaygeon, Peterborough, Lakefield, Cobourg, Port Hope, and other smaller communities all offer farm-fresh local products for foodies and families. Check out these lists of markets in the region and start planning your next road trip:




Patio Season Opens

Every beer drinker and coffee connoisseur knows that beverages taste better on a patio. After the May long weekend, it’s open season for outdoor eat and drink. Off the top cuff we’d recommend Kawartha Coffee Co. in Bobcaygeon with its “Bobcaygeon Constellation” mural, Peterborough institution the Silver Bean with its Otonabee River view, or the Oasis Bar and Grill in Cobourg with its funky courtyard. Really, though, most of the larger communities have at least one local hangout that makes for a lunch or dinner stopover on a spring drive – just follow the laughter and sounds of live music.

The Trent-Severn Waterway Opens for Boating

No need to confine yourself to road and cycling trips this spring, because The Trent-Severn is slated to open May 15 (subject to weather and water conditions). This nearly 400km stretch of lakes, rivers, and canals wends its way through gorgeous landscapes and charming Kawarthas Northumberland communities. Hop out for a bite, drop a fishing line, or just put your feet up by the waterside. Find more TSW options here:



Whitewater canoeists wait all year for the spring, but even paddlers looking for a more sedate experience can take advantage of the high water. Paddling routes that would require portages and pullovers are often comfortably deep in the spring. We’ve compiled several perfect routes for your planning convenience, so head over to our Canoeing & Kayaking page for more info.

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