18 Amazing Things to Do in the Lakeland in Winter

Embrace winter. You’ve heard it before. Yes, there are many amazing things to do outside in the Lakeland in winter. But, for the shoppers, history lovers, and culinary buffs among you, there are indoor options too.

1. Cross-country ski in Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park and other places with the Lac La Biche Ski Club. Cold Lake Provincial Park has 30 kms of ski trails, frequented by the Cold Lake Nordic Ski Group. Trees protect skiers from the wind and make it a gorgeous place to ski. Vermilion Nordic Ski Club has trails that follow the river valley in Vermilion Provincial Park, home to Olympian, Becky Scott. Bonnyville Nordic Ski Club members choose Muriel Lake or Moose Lake Provincial Park, while, in St. Paul, the Lakeland Cross Country Ski Club maintains Westcove Campground trails or the St. Paul Golf Course trails.

2. Drop a line at an ice fishing derby in Cold Lake.

3. Watch for northern lights or stars. Borrow a telescope at the Stuart MacPherson Public Library in Lac La Biche and head to Pinehurst Lake Day Use Area at Lakeland Provincial Park. Alberta’s Lakeland Provincial Park and Recreation Area was designated an RASC Dark Sky Preserve in 2016, in partnership with Alberta Parks. Observe from five sites, all accessible by vehicle.

4. Overnight in a luxury sky watching dome at Métis Crossing. Take in one of its winter Signature Experiences that change with the seasons for interactive fun and a deeper understanding of the Métis.

5. Go skiing or snowboarding at Kinosoo Ridge Resort after a Grazing Board breakfast at The Ridge of waffles, bacon, cinnamon buns, diced potatoes, fruit and yogurt.

6. On days too cold for outdoor therapy, try retail therapy. Shop for a lovely frock at Chantilly Lace in Bonnyville, embroidered denim at Ella’s Closet in Cold Lake, or a standout handbag at Harbrook and Paisley in Vermilion. St. Paul’s Crowbar Boutique, too, is a trove of unique finds for women.

7. Ice fish and sleep in a comfy ice hut. Kinosoo Ice Shack Rentals has huts on Cold Lake, one of Alberta’s largest and deepest lakes, perfect for lake trout and northern pike. Fishapalooza Ice Hut Rentals in Lac La Biche, one of Lakeland’s best ice fishing lakes for northern pike, walleye, perch, as well as whitefish and burbot. Evergreen Birch Lodge on Cold Lake has ice shacks to rent from Anglers Bait Tackle and More.

8. Watch the thrilling and crazy sport of skijoring, where participants are pulled by a rope behind dogs or horses. St. Paul Ag Society exhibits skijoring action in the winter during its annual Skijoring Event.

9. Can’t make it to Mexico this winter? Go to Two Hills for Mexican food! Two Hills Family Restaurant has enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos as well as Mexican hamburgers and specials such as pollo asada, or grilled chicken. Burger Palace has burgers, but also one of the best Mexican breakfasts north of Puerto Vallarta. Huevo Ranchos in the morning or Mexican Plate at night with rice, tortillas and refried beans. Mini Mex Bakery is almost exactly like walking into a bakery in Mexico, with wonderful little pastries and baked treats.

10. Nab a burger and milkshake at Bonnyville’s very cool Jennie’s Diner & Bakery, a 60s diner themed place with shiny red stools, black and white flooring, and plenty of really good comfort food.

11. Bone up on your history at the two acre Bonnyville & District Museum. The museum has thousands of artifacts including a 1930s Whippet: the largest private collection of RCMP paintings, and fixtures from the original Bonnyville Hospital, including an iron lung. St. Paul Museum has a Ukrainian cultural display, “Who are the Métis?” display and coming soon, the Willingdon train station.

12. Revel in Ukrainian dancing. More than 300,000 Canadians of Ukrainian descent live in Alberta today. Dance celebrations around Ukrainian Christmas in January and New Year’s Eve, called Malanka, make for festive fun. Check out Samotsvit Dancers via the Vermilion Ukrainian Cultural Association or the Chudovyi Dancers.

13. Stop in for cheese at the Old School Cheesery in Vermilion, one of Canada’s few Economusées, an artisanal business that showcases its know how. Other Economusées, Healing à la Source, shares the mesmerizing art of stained glass, and St. Paul’s Twisted Fork showcases the art of preserving in a tasty way.

14. Roam amid the rolling hills of Elk Island National Park, a UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve just 35 minutes east of Edmonton. The park has almost a dozen trails ranging from the easy 400m Living Waters Boardwalk that loops out into Astotin Lake to the difficult Tawayik Lake Trail, 15 kilometres through aspen forest and meadows great for viewing—and walking with!—elk, plains bison and waterfowl. Be bison wise.

15. Eat! Head out on a road trip to five unique Lakeland eateries in Waskatenau, Vilna, Myrnam, Vermilion and Mundare.

16. Be inspired by Indigenous art at the Museum of Aboriginal Peoples’ Art and Artifacts, a Lakeland gem spread out over two levels along the hallways of Lac La Biche’s Portage College.

17. Plan a ride on an ATV or snowmobile, when there is enough snow, on the Iron Horse Trail, Alberta’s longest and oldest trail.

18. Skate from McArthur Park in the hamlet of Lac La Biche and glide from the beach to the boat launch off of Churchill Drive.

Try something different. Go somewhere new. Experience the Lakeland!