“How sweet it is” — or as they say in the Niagara Region: “When winter hands you ice and cold, make icewine.”
Record-breaking cold and ice have been at the forefront this winter, so why not embrace the season with some icy-themed getaways?
Step aside maple syrup, icewine is the hottest Ontario treasure savoured around the world.
This month, they’re celebrating the chilly nectar of the vine in Niagara.
In “cottage country,” there’s the Bracebridge Fire and Ice Festival with its take on a traditional winter carnival.
And, in these cold, dark days of winter, city residents and visitors are being lured out to experience the Toronto Light Festival.
The sweetest gift
They’re toasting “one of Canada’s sweetest gifts of the season” at the Niagara Icewine Festival now through Jan. 28.
The world-renowned wine region welcomes thousands of visitors for weekend parties and food-and-wine pairings at more than three dozen wineries.
This sweet, intensely flavoured wine is made from grapes that have been left to freeze naturally on the vine.
Ontario has produced icewine since 1984 and gained world acclaim.
The fest offers an opportunity to find out what it’s all about and sample the dessert wine delicacy.
“This truly is a one-of-a-kind experience that allows people to see a different side of Niagara and enjoy our Canadian winter in a fun and memorable way,” said Anthony Annunziata, executive director, Tourism Partnership of Niagara.
The Niagara Icewine Discovery Pass costing $45 provides eight “experience vouchers” for paired icewine-and-food offerings at a selection of 25 wineries.
Events include the Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival with a wine, food and entertainment this weekend through Jan. 28.
Historic Queen Street transforms into a winter wonderland with the Icewine Village this weekend (Jan. 20, 21).
Icewine from local wineries will be poured and the renowned Signature Kitchen Chefs will serve up wine-inspired culinary creations.
The Niagara Falls Icewine Festival at the Scotiabank Convention Centre has outdoor and indoor wine, food and entertainment on Jan. 26 and 27.
It will feature 20 wineries and savoury dishes from local chefs, musical performances and icewine marshmallow toasting. See visitniagaracanada.com or call (289) 477-5344.
They’ll be tubing down the main street next Saturday (Jan. 27) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Bracebridge Fire and Ice Festival.
The name means fire artists and fire pits, while ice will be “interactive ice displays, downtown tube run and the Memorial Park Winter Village skating trail.”
There will also be “try-it-out” activities including snow yoga, fat biking and snowshoeing.
Come for the fire department pancake breakfast, beer garden, road hockey tournament, music in Memorial Park from 7 p.m. and traditional carnival activities.
Day passes cost $5 for adults; $3, ages six to 12; and free, five and younger. See fireandicebracebridge.com or call (705) 645-8121.
Let there be light
The lights will shine brightly as Torontonians and visitors come out of the dark and party into the night.
The Toronto Light Festival brightens up the long winter nights with distinctive works from local and international artists at the Distillery Historic District, now through March 4.
This free event starting at sundown daily takes visitors on a “visual journey” that transforms the historic neighbourhood into a large open-air gallery.
It’s also called an “imaginative cerebral adventure designed to entertain and inspire.”
Festival creator Mathew Rosenblatt, executive director and exhibitor, said this will be bigger and brighter with more than 30 light-art installations
“Works will range from interactive displays and light projections to awe-inspiring sculptures and even thought-provoking messages by artists from Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.” See torontolightfest.com
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