arrowhead skating trail

You can visit a magical ice trail through a forest north of Toronto once lockdown is over

With snow-all-the-time fast approaching and a global pandemic preventing us from doing anything social indoors, many Toronto residents are searching for safe, yet fun things to do outside.

How does skating through a snowy forest on a twinkling ice trail flanked with torches sound? Magical, yeah? It really is, as anyone who's been to Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville, Ontario, can tell you.

Here's the thing, though: As word of its idyllic beauty has spread in recent years, Arrowhead has become exceedingly popular... meaning that it often fills to capacity, and that you need to plan ahead if you actually want to enjoy the experience.

Ontario Parks just put out some guidance for people who want to "have a safe and fun experience at Arrowhead this winter," noting that the skating trail typically opens in early January, "but is weather dependent."

Parks staff advise anyone seeking an amazing winter experience at Arrowhead to:

This season won't be like any other, of course, due to COVID-19 public health and lockdown restrictions. Ontario Parks acknowledges this.

"We're counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks and continue to follow all of the public health advice," say Parks staff.

This would include "practicing physical distancing by keeping at least two meters from others, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or not possible and when entering indoor spaces, washing your hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available."

For Toronto residents, it also means waiting to come out of the grey - lockdown zone of Ontario's COVID-19 restriction framework... or, theoretically, for Huntsville to join us in lockdown.

You see, the small, cottage country town roughly 2.5 hours north of Toronto is part of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit — currently in the orange zone but moving into red on Monday.

Provincial public health officials state that individuals from higher transmission regions "should avoid travel to lower transmission regions except for essential reasons," meaning that Torontonians should not go anywhere in Simcoe Muskoka right now.

Besides, Arrowhead isn't even open yet.

Hopefully, by the time this popular winter wonderland opens for the season, we'll all have a little more space to roam.

Lead photo by

Arrowhead Provincial Park

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