You could go buggy holed up in the house during Ontario’s first Family Day long weekend, or you could indulge in a few, served up as tasty side dishes, or even dessert, during the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory’s Bug-a-licious Insect Food Festival.
Chef Jeff Stewart is just itching to welcome his first Family Day crowds for a few servings of Ant Egg Soup or Shanghai Street Dumplings with Bamboo Worms. And while it may not be the gourmet gastronomy mom and dad might be craving during this first February blahs break — there’s lots of that being offered up at Ontario’s resorts — it’s a different take, to say the least, on keeping the kids entertained.
Ontario’s resorts and attractions are offering a host of special deals and programs for Family Day weekend:
• Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka: Sing and dance your heart out like High School Musical’s Zac and Vanessa in a special Showtime! Family Day weekend package. Kids can sign up for singing, dancing or drumming workshops and then strut their stuff at Canada Rocks, Deerhurst’s new stage production. There’s also the 20,000-square-foot Sports Centre with tennis courts, floor hockey, a video arcade and pool. Two-night packages start at $329 per room, per night for a family of four. Call 1-800-461-6522 or visit deerhurstresort.com.
• Nottawasaga Resort near Alliston: Family snow soccer, ping-pong and mini-golf tournaments are just part of the fun on this 230-hectare site with a sports and leisure dome featuring an arcade, a pool with 30-metre waterslide, spa and games room. Snow tubing, downhill skiing and snowshoeing nearby. See nottawasagaresort.com or call 1-800-669-5501 for details.
• Niagara Falls has more to offer than the rush of water over rocks. There’s Great Wolf Lodge, which promises “84 degrees with 100 per cent chance of family fun” at its Northern-look lodge and waterpark, to Waves Indoor Waterpark and Americana. There are also sightseeing packages. See Niagarafallstourism.com for details.
• Bayview Wildwood Resort: Roast marshmallows around a campfire or take a horse-drawn sleigh ride when not snowmobiling, snowshoeing or skating on Sparrow Lake. Indoor pool and games room and three great meals. Packages start at $240 per person, double occupancy and up to two children stay free. See bayviewwildwood.com, ontariotravel.net or resortsofontario.com and click on “Family Experiences” for winter resort packages.
• Wye Marsh near Midland: Wye Marsh is celebrating winter, and families, with free snowshoe rentals for kids 12 and under and free cross-country ski lessons at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Feb. 18. There’s always the popular Trumpeter swans. One child gets free admission for every paying adult. See wyemarsh.com/prog_family.html.
• Algonquin Park offers a getaway for the true outdoor enthusiasts — winter camping in a yurt. See algonquinpark.on.ca/campcan/moreinfo/yurts.html.
• Fairmont Hotels has a number of Family Day packages, including one that makes it worth the drive to Ottawa — a perfect family getaway, especially during the annual Winterlude Festival, which ends Feb. 17. The Fairmont Chateau Laurier’s Winter Warmer Package includes free accommodation for the kids, sleigh rides and a coupon for the consummate Canadian treat, Beaver Tails. Skating conditions on the Rideau Canal, unfortunately, are poor. Packages start at $206 per room, per night based on double occupancy. See fairmont.com for details.
• Ontario’s Northern resorts and hotels have many programs aimed at wooing kids with full-on winter pursuits such as building an igloo, cross-country skiing, dogsledding and snowmobiling. Choose from cosy cottages to historic lodges. See 400eleven.com/getaways-family.html for a list of packages.Torstar News Service