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From igloo dinners to winter zip lines, 12 ways to embrace winter across Canada




Some people enjoy the temperatures a Canadian winter has to offer.

From frigid winds to fluffy snow, winter doesn’t have to be about indoor hibernation. In fact, a recent survey from InterContinental Hotels Group found that “winter travel” is becoming trendier among some Canadians.

One-third of millennials preferred to travel within Canada during the winter months, and more than 60 per cent consider Canada a go-to destination for winter travel.

READ MORE: 11 of the most popular places to visit in 2019

It makes sense — winter can be absolutely beautiful in Canada. From outdoor skating rinks to light festivals to igloo dinners in the city, there are hundreds of things you can do to embrace the cold — even if you’re not a fan.

Below, Global News newsrooms across the country selected some of their favourite winter activities from coast to coast.

What’s your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

Outdoor igloo dining in Toronto

Credit: InterContinental Yorkville

Until April 1, Toronto residents can enjoy eating in outdoor igloos at the InterContinental Yorkville. Each fixed menu ($50 per person) comes with a cup of mulled wine or warm, spiced cider, a bread bowl and a house-made dessert. You can also order winter cocktails, warm drinks and ice wine.

Winter zip lining in Montreal

Credit: MTL Zipline

If you’re willing to face Montreal’s frigid temperatures, Tyrolienne MTL Zipline at Old Port is right up your alley. The 1,200-foot-long zip line welcomes participants of all ages (92 was the oldest participant) and is open on weekends until May 1.

Sip ice wine in Niagara

Credit: Tourism Partnership of Niagara

For three weekends in January (starting Jan. 11), Ontario’s Niagara region will turn into a winter wonderland, featuring its very own ice wine festival. Check out 40 wineries and the Niagara Icewine Gala, and be sure to explore the best food pairings the region has to offer.

Hit the slopes in Kitchener, Ont.

Credit: Facebook/Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort

READ MORE: 6 Canadian cities that must be seen in the winter

Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort offers winter camps, private lessons and beginner lessons for snowboarding and skiing. The resort also has a racing program for athletes looking to improve their slope skills.

Stargazing in Calgary

Credit: Getty Images

Stargazing doesn’t sound like a traditional winter activity, but Sharon Morsink, director of the University of Alberta Astronomical Observatory, said it’s a great season to check out constellations — if you can handle the cold, that is. Morsink said this time of the year also has bright stars, and she even offers tips on what you can see in Calgary.

Check out a maple farm in Halifax

Credit: M. Stack

Sugar Moon Farm is the go-to spot for everything maple, from eating pancakes and sugar on snow to learning about how maple syrup is made. The farm’s “Maple Magic” package comes with a classic maple brunch, maple shopping and tasting.

READ MORE: What to do in Saskatoon in the winter

Visit ice castles in Edmonton

Ice castles in Edmonton. Credit: Kelly Frazer

There is an ice castle located in Edmonton’s river valley. The annual ice castles in Hawrelak Park feature tunnels, fountains, frozen thrones, slides and towers of ice. If you’re taking kids, check out the fire performances and say hello to the Snow Sisters on site.

Ice castles in Edmonton. Credit: Kelly Frazer

It also makes the perfect backdrop for all those Instagram selfies.

Make mittens in Saskatoon

WATCH: Activities taking place at Wanuskewin Heritage Park this winter

On Jan. 16 and 26 as well as Feb. 16, and 23, learn how to make hide mittens with fur and beading at Wanuskewin Heritage Park. At $120 per workshop, each session (for ages 16+) comes with materials and an instructor.

Get lost in the lights in Vancouver

Credit: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

There are light festivals happening across Canada, but there is something extra stunning happening in Vancouver. The Canyon Lights Winter Festival features thousands of lights throughout the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, even on its famous suspension bridge. The festival runs till Jan. 27.

Witness snow sculptures in Winnipeg

Credit: Festival du Voyager

Festival du Voyageur is celebrating its 50th year in 2019, which means people living in and near Winnipeg’s French-speaking community can expect everything from live concerts to French-Canadian food to eye-opening sculptures made from snow. The festival runs from Feb. 15 to 24.

Sleep under the stars in P.E.I

Credit: Instagram/Treetop Haven

Talk about a winter escape. Treetop Haven lets you sleep under the stars and is ideal for a romantic winter getaway or a solo trip to embrace nature. Each pod comes with its own personal hot tub.

Skating along the canal in Ottawa

Credit: Ottawa Tourism

You can find skating rinks in the majority of cities in Canada, but most don’t compare to the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa. Stretching at a full 7.8 kilometres (7.2 kilometres of which are safe for skaters as of Jan. 11), the canal runs from Hartwells Locks up to the Laurier Bridge downtown.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal




MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow




Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise




Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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