Having Seasonal Fun in Durham!
So what do people in Durham do to have fun, to stay active and meet others in their community? Tourism Durham can help you to learn more about what Durham has to offer.
One of the benefits of living in Ontario and especially Durham Region is there there are four very distinct seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall. Each season offers ideal conditions for something new to do. There is no excuse for not having something to do in Durham.
Winter in Durham
Winter is a magical time in Durham, especially when we begin to get regular snowfalls that transform the landscape. Durham offers many snow sports such as downhill and cross-country skiing, sledding and tobogganing, and snowmobiling. Some rural locations offer winter fairs with dog-sled racing and snowmobile races.
For those who enjoy fishing there are opportunities to rent ice-fishing huts and catch a good variety of game fish through the ice. Watch for outdoor skating rinks in your area or enjoy the many municipal rinks that offer recreational skating. There are many levels of competitive and recreational hockey leagues in Durham for young and old.
While it can get very cold on occasions in Durham our winters tend to still be enjoyable for walks and outdoor activities. Dress warmly and be careful on windy days when it is very cold as frostbite is possible on exposed skin. Many people enjoy walking in the woods to feed small birds such as the chickadees by hand.
Winter in Durham can be cold. How cold you ask? Well, it can get down to minus 20 Celsius or colder but not very often. Most of the time it is just below freezing and snow stays around for much of December through to early to mid-March. Natural snow allows for cross-country skiing at several local clubs and the addition of man-made snow allows for better downhill skiing and a longer season. Durham has a number of small to medium size ski hills and resorts in the Oakridges Morain area.
Many of the smaller lakes and waterways freeze over in the winter and offer opportunities to fish through holes in the ice in special ice-fishing huts. Others enjoy sled-dog races during special winter festivals or just snowshoeing or walking in the woods and feeding the birds from their hands. There are also many kilometers of groomed snowmobile trails in Durham and a number of organized clubs that you can join.
Even if you are not an outdoors person there is lots to do here in Durham. There are many arts activities, entertainment venues and indoor recreation facilities. Durham has some of the best community recreation centers in Ontario.
Go to Durham Tourism for more information and some videos that show what Durham has to offer in winter. You can also contact local Information Centres for more information.
Spring In Durham
By mid-March and the spring school break we are usually into the sap running in the trees and Maple Syrup time. Many conservation areas offer demonstrations of how maple syrup is made by boiling the sap collected from maple trees over open fires. The sap becomes very thick and an amber to brown colour that is very sweet and tasty. A tradition is to serve it over pancakes or to pour it on snow to make a type of taffy.
Spring is a time of renewal with birds returning from migration, trees beginning to bud and plants beginning to bud. It is said that April showers bring May flowers. This is a great time to hike and explore and to start getting bikes out to enjoy what nature has to offer along many trails in Durham. Farmers and gardeners begin to prepare for the coming growing season and temperatures warm up to the teens. By April, many golfers are back on the fine golf courses or at least practicing on the driving ranges. The 24th of May is the traditional opening of many parks and camping facilities and it also marks the traditional start of frost-free planting for gardeners in this area.
Watch for neighbourhood parks openings in your area and registrations for spring and summer sports. These are good places to meet your neighbours and others in the community. Many parks offer low-cost sports leagues for children and activities for adults.
Summer in Durham
The weather continues to warm up and can move into the 30s during part of the summer. Being close to Lake Ontario it can get humid but many community centers and parks offer wonderful swimming pools to cool off and there are many beaches, parks ands picnic areas to enjoy in Durham.
Summer sports include soccer, baseball, softball, swimming, biking and golfing to name a few. Many community sports leagues continue through the summer and many are looking for volunteers to help coach, referee, or just to make phone calls and help organize.
Fishing, boating and other water sports are enjoyed throughout Durham Region. The Trent-Severn canal system in the north of Durham connects us to many other recreational areas across Ontario. It is fun to just stop by and watch the boats go through the locks.
Several communities offer open-house weekends at many farms and rural businesses. Pick-your-own farms and orchards are very popular and offer low-cost outings and some real bargains for fresh produce. Farmers Markets can also be found in most communities on certain days of the week. There are also many classic car shows to enjoy in the area.
Fall in Durham
Day-time begin to shorten by the end of summer and by mid-September nights are getting cooler and daytime temperatures are in the high teens to low twenties. Frost warnings usually begin in mid-October. By then, many of the trees have begun to change colour and the leaves begin to fall. This is a wonderful time to walk, bike and hike in the area and to enjoy the changing scenery.
This is also the time when summer sports end up and registrations begin for winter leagues and activities. There is still lots to do for bird-watchers and photographers and those who enjoy being active in the outdoors. Fall fairs and shows are featured in many communities and offer opportunities to learn more about farms and farm activities. Watch for fall farm tours as well. Many orchards offer special events and chances to pick your own apples and other fruit. Some offer wagon rides and fresh cider and donuts.
For information on pick your own opportunities you can go to Farm Visits Ontario.