Destinations Things To Do

Late winter and early spring are a magical time of year in Ontario. Scroll down to discover the magic.

Photo: Sandy Flat Sugar Bush
Maple Syrup Festivals & Spring Event Info
Sandy Flat Sugar Bush

Spring is maple syrup season, and Kawarthas Northumberland has ample opportunities for you to soak up the sap-to-syrup magic. Enjoy demonstrations, live music, games, crafts and more at Buckhorn Maplefest at McLean Berry Farm.  Celebrate the Maple Syrup Festival in the village of Warkworth. Enjoy a farm tour in the Kawartha Lakes, or experience tree tapping traditions with the Elmhirst family at Emhirst’s Resort & Spa. (Tip: kids stay free at Elmhirst’s during March!)

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Info & Workshop Dates
Canadian Canoe Museum Beading Workshop

Connect with authentic cultural traditions. Discover your inner artisan. Immerse yourself in traditional tools and knowledge that few people have the chance to experience first-hand. Get hands-on guidance from the talented craftspeople and artisans throughout Kawarthas Northumberland.

Book a workshop with an artisan in paddle-carving, pyrography, beading, leather-working, snow-shoe making and more at The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough. Enjoy a guided forest experience or a workshop in traditional greenwood carving at the Gamiing Nature Centre in Lindsay. Immerse yourself in the floor-to-ceiling displays of Indigenous artwork at the Whetung Ojibwa Centre at the Curve Lake First Nation. Experience the dozens of unique local legends & artisan studios along the Kawartha Lakes Arts and Heritage Trail, including a multi-day escape to the Kawartha Lakes that features guided workshops in birding and wildflower photography at the unique Carden Alvar Provincial Park, one of the Top 5 Birding Sites in Ontario. Enjoy the heart-warming hilarity of baby goats with a unique Shmurgle Experience at Haute Goat in Port Hope.

Whatever inspires you, go home with something you made yourself & a renewed sense of creativity and connection.

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Photo by Arni Stinnissen
Birding Info
A blue bird perches on a wire

Kawarthas Northumberland is home to some of Ontario’s best birdwatching destinations. Carden Alvar Provincial Park and Presqu’ile Provincial Park are internationally recognized Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, and both of these parks rank amongst the Top 5 spots for birdwatching in Ontario. Over 338 species have been spotted at Presqu’ile Provincial Park alone. The staff and volunteers at Presqu’ile Provincial Park offer annual events geared towards birders, and there’s a new multi-day nature photography experience being offered at the Carden Alvar Provincial Park. Whether you’re working on your own “Big Year” or you just love seeing our fine feathered friends, Kawarthas Northumberland has some hidden gems for you to discover. Find all the info at the links here.

Taste Kawarthas Northumberland
Haute Goat 4

The culinary scene in the region is robust and full-bodied. Famous for an abundance of fresh ingredients and intrepid chefs, we are a unique area in Ontario thanks to vast quantities of fresh water and rolling hills with nutrient rich topsoil. Our farmers take advantage of the distinctive microclimates to cultivate flavourful produce and raise healthy, happy livestock. Fuelled by a zest for farm-to-table, and supported by a network of family farms, local markets, bakeries, and restaurants, our food scene is popular with foodies of all types.

Sign up for a cooking class, tour a winery or brewery, enjoy local food in our exquisite restaurants, and be sure to fill up on some award-winning butter tarts. Regardless of what you’re looking for, a visit to Kawarthas Northumberland is guaranteed to satisfy your culinary cravings.

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Ice Fishing Links
Family trying ice fishing in Kawarthas Northumberland

Drive past a good fishing lake in Kawarthas Northumberland during the winter and chances are good you’ll see a smattering of ice huts out on the water. Ice fishing puts a unique twist on familiar activity, and it’s accessible to participants of all ages. The biggest challenge for some people is knowing how to get started, so we’ve put together a handful of options to help make it fun and easy.

Family Fishing Weekend

The best place for a newbie to try their hand at ice fishing is at the OFAH Family Fishing Weekend. This annual tradition takes place over the Family Day weekend (February 15 in 2020) and allows fishing without a license, making for a convenient and affordable outing. Equipment is provided through the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters’ TackleShare program. All holes are pre-drilled, and prizes are dished out to keep young fisherfolk engaged. Ice conditions are checked regularly leading up to the event to ensure a safe experience for the 1,000 expected participants. 

If this event sounds intriguing, shuttles depart regularly to BEL Rotary Park north of Peterborough and experts are on site to demonstrate the tools of the trade. Chemong Lake provides an excellent habitat for perch, bluegill, and crappie, so odds of landing a catch are good. Just note if you’re having a very lucky day on the ice, all regular license limits must still be observed.

Elmhirst’s Resort

Rice Lake also offers terrific ice fishing – it even got the thumbs up from fishing legend Bob Izumi. Elmhirst’s Resort got in on the Family Day festivities last year too, but if you’re tied up that weekend Elmhirst’s can help arrange equipment throughout the season. Couple that with their luxurious cottages and you have all the makings of a memorable winter getaway.

Golden Beach Resort

Golden Beach Resort’s ice fishing package is a pretty sweet deal. Booking a weekend with them gets you access a two or four-person heated ice hut, all the necessary equipment, and five hours of fishing time. Oh, and a two-bedroom lakeside condo with a gas fireplace to retreat to with the day’s catch. It’s a good setup for beginners and pros alike — you can even arrange to bring your own ice hut.

Additional Considerations

Wherever you’re heading for your next ice fishing expedition, the usual winter rules apply. Dressing in layers is highly advisable, as you’re likely to warm up while getting established then cool down as you wait for a bite. Never assume ice is safe. If you’re not going with an experience guide, then remember ice should be a minimum of 15-20 cm thick. It’s important to gauge that thickness regularly as when moving from location to location. If you’re coming from a distance, it’s best to check on the conditions with local fishing authorities before making a long trek.

Outside of Family Day weekend, of course, anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 will need a license. Details on how to get one can be found here. Get some tips from local pro Chris Huskilson’s more thorough equipment recommendations. Hope the sun’s shining and the fish are biting for your first ice fishing expedition!

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