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Unfortunately, the Canadian/U.S. border is closed to leisure travel, and re-opening doesn't seem likely in the near future. That means, for most Canadian snowbirds, a migration south of the border isn't in the cards. But you can still enjoy the season — only a little differently this year.

If you’re staying in Canada this winter — instead of heading someplace warm — chances are you’re not happy about it. And while you may not grow to love winter, you might need an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach and find ways to embrace what winter in Canada has to offer.

Here are five ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Canada — even in the depths of winter.

1. Winter Hiking/ Snowshoeing

Depending on where you are in Canada, there are a few ways to take in the scenery while getting the kind of exercise you might be more used to down south. On trails with packed or no snow, winter hiking can be a great way to explore. If there’s heavy snowfall, it may be an opportunity to give snowshoeing a try.

There are many winter hiking trails throughout the country. offers hiking routes based on your location, giving you distance, difficulty levels and points of interest. You can also load the app on your phone to track, record your hikes, and share your adventures with friends.

2. Bird Watching

Wintertime in Canada offers new and exciting bird watching experiences. There are many winter birding options throughout the country — from snowy owls and puffins, to the northern cardinal and downy woodpecker. Plus, the bareness of the branches typically makes birds easier to spot. Get out your binoculars!

3. Winter Photography

At first glance, a stark or snowy landscape might look, well, cold. But when you examine the winter world around you through a different lens, you might just discover raw and unexpected beauty. Whether you’re in a city, exploring mountains and countryside, or strolling through a park, there are amazing winter moments waiting to be captured. Even familiar surroundings can give you a new perspective. Check out some winter photography tips and examples. Or, you can invest a bit of prep time by taking an online course. Alison and Udemy offer free classes, with the opportunity to progress as experience and confidence grow.

4. Fat Biking

With oversized tires for extra stability, suspension and comfort, fat bikes give you a fantastic way to get some solid winter exercise. If there’s snow on the ground, fat biking lets you stay active and exploring your favourite trails no matter the weather. There are outfitters across the country that rent fat bikes so you can try out this new sport before you buy. But with extra buoyancy and a super smooth ride, you may find fat biking to be your go-to year-round activity!

5. Ice Fishing

If you love fishing on your winter trips to the U.S., think about pivoting to the ice. It’s not quite the same experience, but you may discover — or rediscover — you enjoy the challenge ice fishing provides. Ontario alone has over 250,000 lakes and is known as “Hardwater Heaven,” thanks to all the ice fishing spots. The rest of Canada offers many options too, and it’s easy to find shacks to rent, as well as outfitters who can set your group up with guides and gear as needed.

Tips to make the most of your winter activities

As you get ready to embrace the Canadian outdoors, here are some tips to help you make the most of your adventures:

  • Gear up. If you’re too cold while trying new activities this winter, you won’t enjoy them. Make sure you have the cold weather wear you need to enjoy your time outside. If you have some RBC Rewards points saved, check out the merchandise and gift cards that can help you gear up — including gadgets to enhance your fun.
  • Get help with the grunt work. If you have to spend an hour shovelling your driveway before you head out on a hike, you may lose interest in spending any more time outdoors. So get help for the shovelling, car de-icing and walkway salting this winter. Tip: There are plenty of teenagers looking for something to do this season!
  • Stay fit inside. To maintain your fitness level through winter, it’s a good idea to keep doing exercise indoors. There are many apps that offer online fitness classes you can do at home — plus extended and more rigorous options as you prefer. Staying active will allow you to have the strength and energy to get outside.

The Canadian winter isn’t all slush, ice and dark days. Staying home this year doesn’t need to be a dreaded experience. Finding ways to get outdoors and embrace the beauty of Canada’s winters may give you a new appreciation for all the country has to offer.