October 2020

Yours Outdoors and Haliburton Forest Joining Forces

It is with great excitement that we announce the formal partnership between Yours Outdoors and Haliburton Forest. This partnership between two award‐winning businesses will provide and promote the very best tourism opportunities available in the Haliburton Highlands, to travellers from near and far.

ToDoOntario, Yours Outdoors, logo ToDoOntario, Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Preserve logo

Yours Outdoors was founded by Barrie Martin in 2006 and has grown exponentially to feature events and experiences in every corner of the Haliburton Highlands. Martin excels in creating
connections, highlighting the beauty and wonder of the area, and offering off‐the‐beaten‐path experiences.

Haliburton Forest boasts 100,000 acres of experiences; with everything from hikes through the treetops to howling with wolves. Though these companies have historically operated separately,
they have always shared the common goal of highlighting and celebrating the Haliburton Highlands, and everything the places and the people have to offer.

This common goal has been reflected over the years with mutual recognition: Martin was named Tourism Champion of the Year in 2016 and received the Sustainable Tourism Award in
2017 from the Ontario Tourism Industry Association, while Haliburton Forest received the latter award in 2018.

As manager and founder of Yours Outdoors, Barrie Martin will join the Tourism & Recreation division of Haliburton Forest, alongside Tegan Legge, the General Manager, and Cameron Ferguson,
the Operations Manager.

Yours Outdoors and Haliburton Forest are excited to welcome Emily Stonehouse to this new partnership. She will lead the marketing and promotions for Haliburton Forest, and serve as comanager of Yours Outdoors. Stonehouse has spent the past two years working in municipal economic development, and has a passion for connecting with local experience providers, and
bringing the experiences of the Haliburton Highlands to life.

Yours Outdoors will maintain its distinctive brand and products, will continue working independently with local tourism partners/providers and experience leaders, while working with
Haliburton Forest to further develop authentic rural experiences.

After a decade of working side‐by‐side to bring these experiences to life, Haliburton Forest and Yours Outdoors are excited to formalize their partnership. Beyond the natural growth this partnership will provide for both companies, other benefits include but are not limited to:

• Helping to build the County and region as a premiere tourism destination.
• Increased capacity and leadership for marketing, partnership, product and community
• Greater ability to respond to specific client needs through custom packages and experiences.
• Increased community outreach and engagement throughout the Haliburton Highlands.
• Broader range of services and experiences to offer domestic and international markets.
• Business efficiencies with integration of operations and processes.

In this ever‐changing world, we believe that strong partnerships are the key to success. Haliburton Forest and Yours Outdoors are dedicated to bringing energy, transparency, growth,
and development to all experiences offered in the Haliburton Highlands, and are excited to navigate this new chapter as partners.

“The partnership between Haliburton Forest and Yours Outdoors is a business and a social mission all in one, to work with our stakeholders ‐ and especially experience delivery staff ‐ to grow
the tourism economy of the Haliburton Highlands” notes Malcolm Cockwell, Managing Director of Haliburton Forest

Media Contacts:
• Tegan Legge at Haliburton Forest ‐ [email protected] 705‐754‐2198
• Barrie Martin at Yours Outdoors ‐ [email protected] 705‐754‐3436

• Haliburton Forest ‐ https://www.haliburtonforest.com/
• Yours Outdoors ‐ https://www.yoursoutdoors.ca/

‐ 30 ‐

ToDoOntarioYours Outdoors and Haliburton Forest Joining Forces
read more

Best Places To Ice Skate Outdoors in Ontario

ToDoOntario - Ice Skating Ottawa Canal

Ice skating outdoors in fresh winter air is one of the most quintessentially Canadian past times. But believe it or not, ice skating did not start in Canada. Ice Skating is believed to have actually started in Scandinavia more than 2000 years ago, and not for fun, but as a means of transportation. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia the word ‘skate’ likely comes from the German word ‘shake’ meaning shank. The first primitive skate ‘blades’ were obviously not made of metal, but of animal shank bone.  The history of skates in Canada can be traced back to the French in the 1600’s and even the Iroquois before that. From the Canadian Encyclopedia article:

“In Canada, according to legends, the Iroquois used to skate, tying animal shinbones to their footwear with leather thongs; and in Acadia, French explorers were skating as early as 1604. Skating as a sport was introduced into Canada by British garrison officers in the 1840s, and quickly gained a strong following. It was thought especially appropriate for girls and women, and thus became an important social pastime”.

Today you can find ice surfaces all over from commercial setups to backyard DIY’s. People love to skate and play hockey, do figure skating, race or just plain hold hands and glide. Skating is definitely a beloved activity for people of all ages.

From the more modern days of shinny on the pond to the newest craze of skating trails, Canadians, and more specifically those in Ontario, have always been on the quest for the best ice to drop their skates on.  In Ontario there is no shortage of outdoor places to lace up your skates, from frozen lakes, ponds and trails. Many municipalities also have indoor ice surfaces and public skate times if the outdoor weather is truly not cooperative.

Please remember to check ahead for Covid safety rules, regulations and procedures.

Not all rinks are open but some municipality rinks are, some skate trails are open and the Rideau Canal is also open. Please check your local listings as they say!

Please stay within your city and region and do not travel at this time. 

ToDoOntario, two kids ice skating

Here are some favourite spots to carve and glide in Ontario. What is most exciting is that these surfaces are so neat – you can skate on historic sites, through parks, on mountain tops and the most unique – on a cranberry bog! Do not forget to bring your camera. These are memories in the making and the scenery is perfect for social media friendly snaps! That being said, remember to be safe and aware of yourself and other skaters. Don’t get in the way of other skaters, it could get dangerous.

Unique & Cool Skating Locations That Are Outside

ToDoOntario, skates on the Ottawa Canal

Blue Mountain Village
At the steps to The Westin Trillium House and in the heart of the Village you’ll find the area’s largest free outdoor rink  – five acres of skating on the Mill Pond at the base of Blue Mountain. Skate rentals are available at the Skating Hut at the south end of the Mill Pond.

Learn More

Is there anything more Canadian than gliding across an outdoor rink? Whether you are going for a skate with the family, or watching the kids play a pick-up game of pond hockey well after the sun sets, outdoor rinks are a right of passage for Canadians of all ages. There are a number of outdoor rinks across Muskoka that are available for public use, and are maintained throughout the winter (weather dependent).

Learn More

Ottawa Valley
What could be more exhilarating than taking the family out into the cool, crisp air, slapping on a pair of skates and gliding the day away on one of our well-maintained municipal rinks. Our skating season is generally from December through to March (weather inclement).

Learn More

Ottawa Rideau Canal Skateway
A highlight of winter in Ottawa is the Rideau Canal Skateway. With a length of 7.8 kilometres, the Rideau Canal Skateway is also the world’s largest skating rink. Come and enjoy this scenic skating rink which begins in the heart of downtown and extends to Dows Lake. In between, warm up at rest areas, where there are toasty fires, hot drinks and tasty snacks.

Learn More

Skating Trails

ToDoOntario - Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery, ice skating trail

Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery Ice Trail

Skating trails are growing in popularity and for good reason.  Who doesn’t want to skate hand in hand with their loved ones? Check out these fun Ontario skating trails, they might be near you or a little bit of a drive.

Muskoka has rapidly become the hub of skating trails in Ontario, offering several places to experience a twist to one of Canada’s most iconic winter experiences.

Deerhurst Resort An onsite waterfront skating trail! Lace up and hit their 250-metre trail this winter.

The Cranberry Ice Trail, Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery
Skate a 1.2 km loop around 12 acres of cranberries! This narrow designed skating trail really creates an intimate feel, perfect for hand holding with your special someone, or locking arms with your girlfriends.

Ice skating trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park, Muskoka
The 1.3 km Ice Skating trail winds through the thick Muskoka forest and is a winter experience like no other.

Memorial Park Winter Village, Bracebridge Muskoka
An ice skating rink that wraps around the park and carves in and out of Bracebridge landmarks, the Winter Village brings its own exciting take on a skating trail.

Lake Muskoka Ice Trail, Gravenhurst Muskoka
Muskoka Wharf Marine has cleared a huge trail on Muskoka Bay in Gravenhurst down at the Muskoka Wharf. The Marina is charging a flat fee of $5 per person (kids 7 and under are free), and the trail is open from 9am to 4:30pm for skating. There are no rentals on site, so bring your own skates.

Learn More about Skating Trails in Muskoka


ToDoOntario - Blue Mountain Resort, ice skating trail

ToDoOntario – Blue Mountain Resort, Woodview Mountain Top Ice Skating

Other notable and picturesque Ontario places have some pretty cool ice skating trails too!

Woodview Mountain Top Skate Trail, Blue Mountain Resort
Sharpen your skates and cruise on our 1.1km ice skating loop while enjoying extraordinary views along the Niagara Escarpment. Ice skate rentals are available and all skill levels are welcome. After you skate, relax with a hot chocolate while enjoying the beauty of Blue Mountain.

Learn More

The Township of Laurentian Valley Skating Trail, Ottawa Valley
The Township of Laurentian Valley has established a free to use 1.5 km Skating Trail through a scenic wooded area.  The Township has several pairs of children’s skates which can be signed out at no cost at the Municipal Office through our lending hub program. 

Learn More about the Laurentian Valley Skating Trail

Resort Skating

ToDoOntario - Bayview Wildwood Resort, winter skating family

Ice Skating on the Lake at Bayview Wildwood Resort

Bring your skates (or rent or borrow) on your next family or romantic getaway to these fine resorts and destinations in snowy Ontario.

Check Out Other Winter Activities Find My Winter Getaway
ToDoOntarioBest Places To Ice Skate Outdoors in Ontario
read more