Holiday fun from Northern to Central Ontario
By Anna Coppard, Contributor and Savanah Tillberg, Arts and Culture Editor
A new season is upon us, which (for those of us who like to procrastinate) means: fun season-themed events! Regardless of which campus you attend, The Argus has found some stellar must-attend events near all Lakehead University students. Many of us Argus staff believe that the holiday season really is the most wonderful time of year. So here, for your convenience, are 10 super fun holiday-season things to do for LU students!
First off, check out these fun events and activities taking place in Thunder Bay this season:
- Craft Shows
Craft shows are a Thunder Bay staple around this time of year, largely because shopping is one of the only activities, for those who don’t like the cold or snow, to participate in. But none-the-less, craft shows are a blast and a great way to support our local businesses! You can often find a wide variety gifts (for others or yourself) at these events and you’re guaranteed to come across at least one table with warm scarfs and mittens – because you can really never have too many of those when you live here. Some craft shows you might want to look up include: Artisans Northwest, Potters’ Guild Christmas Sale, Christmas Craft Fair, LU’s Visual Arts Department open house, and many more! Check out event dates and locations using the Thunder Bay events calendar.
- Sleigh Rides
If you can stand the cold temperatures (or bought yourself a nice pair of mittens at a craft show), you’ll definitely want to experience a horse-drawn-sleigh-ride through the beautiful Northwestern Ontario forest. Two popular locations to go sleigh-riding are Centennial Park and Gammondale Family Farm, where you can book private rides or attend a public ride on dates that have yet to be announced. Sleigh rides pair perfectly with hot chocolate and can be easily enjoyed with friends or family. Although we don’t have enough snow to break out the sleighs yet… I’m sure we’re not far off from peak sleigh ride season. If you and your friends are looking for the perfect post-exam, decompressing activity, I highly recommend you look into this!
- Vanderwees Home and Garden
Whether you’re a home decor enthusiast, or just like to admire pretty things – Vanderwees goes all out for the holiday season. Many locals turn to this farm store for all their spring planting needs, but Vanderwees in November and December is something that needs to be seen. Enjoy a scenic drive just outside the city limits and peruse their holiday décor. Walk through their unbelievable holiday displays and top it all off with some homemade fudge or lunch from their Tulips Café.
- Skating at the Waterfront
Another must-do activity in TBay is going for a nice skate at the splash-pad-converted-rink at the city’s Waterfront Marina. Skating , as with any other public outdoor rink, is free of charge, but just be sure to bring your own skates. This makes for a lovely, and cheap, activity to do with friends and family during your winter break.
- Parade of Lights
Another staple event is The Parade of Lights, sponsored by the Thunder Bay Police Association. This parade, which has previously held a Guinness World Record for longest convoy of semi-trucks, will take place on December 2nd at 7pm, when dozens of fully lit and decorated semi-trucks and floats will fill the streets of Thunder Bay. In case it didn’t already sound spectacular, the parade is a fundraiser for various local charities and organizations. This year’s funds will be donated to Autism Ontario Thunder Bay and District Chapter, George Jeffrey Children’s Centre, Special Olympics and the Therapeutic Riding Association, through donations made at the parade and pledges that are collected by volunteers leading up to the event. Last year the parade raised over $25,000 for local charities. This is a super fun and worth-while event for students to attend if they have the chance!
OK Orillia students, are you ready? Check out this list of events that Anna has compiled for you:
- Orillia Santa Claus Parade
Orillia’s annual Santa Claus Parade takes place on November 19th. So, dust off those Santa hats and head downtown! The parade starts at 1 pm and includes over 100 floats as well as live music and Santa himself!
- Mariposa Market
Ah, Mariposa Market, the gem of Orillia’s downtown. With the school stress that November always seems to bring, why not take some time to relax by heading down to Mariposa with some friends for a bite to eat? With their holiday decorations and festive treats, it’s the perfect place to sit back and unwind.
- Ice Skating
Nothing screams “holiday season” like a cute ice skating date, so grab some friends or your significant other and head to Rotary Place to show off your skills on the ice! Public skating is offered on Friday, Saturday and Sundays, and at under $3 to enjoy an hour and a half of skating, what’s not to love?
- Horse-drawn Wagon Rides
Downtown Orillia will be offering free horse-drawn wagon rides on December 2nd, 9th, and 16th between 1:00 -3:00 pm! There’s no better time to head downtown for some holiday shopping, a lunch date, or just to see downtown decorated for the holidays! Giddy up!
- Time to Bake!
For those of us who are running a little low on $$$ this November and are looking for a cheaper way to get into the holiday spirit (that doesn’t involve leaving the house or changing out of your pj’s — we don’t judge), then I suggest you put on your apron and get the sprinkles out. I really don’t know if anything says “holidays” more than eating your weight in pastries, chocolate and other delectable items. Holiday baking is a tradition cherished by many families, so why not make it a house-mates tradition? This is a great way to relieve some of the stress that November (or your impressive procrastination skills) always seem to bring. Plus, baked goods make great gifts for friends, family, and landlords!
Alright, we’ve done all the research for you! Now you know the places you ought to be and thing things you ought to try this holiday season (in between studying for finals, of course)!