FROZEN LAKE ERIE

by Slavka

Winter in Canada can be lots of fun. Those beautiful sunny days with clear sky, tons of soft, white snow sparkling like diamonds and you have fun skiing, skating, snowman-building, snow-angel-making … But it is also a long drag of way-too-cold weather, less-than-ideal snow conditions (You know those small shallow heaps of bone-hard, icy snow not good enough for kids to play with.) and endless days of breathing dry indoor air that makes your nose bleed daily and your skin appear four decades older.

Port Stanley Pier in winter

Escape the indoors

By February, Canadians are becoming a little crazy from the forced indoor confinement and from the lack of sunlight and warmth. But February is also the best time to go to admire the winter beauty of the Lake Erie. After several months of wind and frost, we can be sure the lake is frozen solid along the coast. Pick a sunny day with no wind and drive to Port Stanley, Ontario. You can park the car near the beach by the Mackie’s. Hope you are well dressed in many layers.

Winter wonderland on Lake Erie

Frozen Lake Erie

Walk to the pier, turn your back to the town, face the open space and just enjoy the amazing view. The frozen Lake Erie doesn’t look like a lake. It looks like a vast plain of tiny glimmering crystals scattered on some distant, empty, sun-drenched planet. The look of the ice shapes in various sizes sticking out of the surface reinforces the impression of being on an intergalactic trip.

London, Ontario: Frozen Lake Erie landscape and winter wonderland

Did you know that Lake Erie is the shallowest and the warmest of all Great Lakes, but it freezes the first of them? Maximum depth is 64 m (compared to Lake Superior with its 406 m). It has three nuclear power plants on its US shore.  The lake is also a popular site for shipwreck diving. There are approx. 270 confirmed wreck sites that are well preserved in the cold waters. One of the oldest shipwrecks dates back to 1812. Divers love this lake.

Frozen Lake Erie in Canada, London, Ontario

From the pier, head towards west. Don’t be afraid to descend onto the ice. The lake Erie along the beach is shallow and frozen solid in a thick layer. You’ll see many people walk quite far from the beach onto the open lake.  The snow sprinkled on the ice makes you believe you are walking on a safe solid surface but be cautious. It’s deceiving and very slippery. The landing on a bony knee or elbow will make you remember this day with a nice painful bruise.

Day trip full of fun and adventure

Walk the kids (and the dog, too)

If you go there with kids, be extra cautious as there are broken tree branches, sharp ice blocks and drift wood sticking out from the frozen icebergs. Dress your kids in a very warm and thick snow suit, with heavy mittens and super-warm hat.

Children walking on frozen lake

Further from the pier, the large, irregular hills of blown snow and many bumps made of frozen waves create an intriguing landscape. In summer, the lake looks very different indeed. The wintry face of Lake Erie is a charming sight. I have never seen a lake frozen this beautifully. The locals come here frequently as it’s a great place to walk the kids or a dog on a sunny day. The glittery beauty and out-of-this-world lake-scape is a must-see. It’ll leave you amazed about the immense beauty of the ever-changing nature. You’ll go home shivering from windy chill but with a heart warm from happiness and content over witnessing such a fairy-tale view.

Dunes on frozen lake

 

Warm up in Port Stanley

In winter, Port Stanley is a sleepy little town with not many places open. The beach bar is always open whenever we stop by so if you feel like a simple snack of pop and French fries, this is your spot. But I recommend someplace else. Drive back to town to Bridge Street and park your car near the theater. There is a little coffee shop named The Harbour Merchant (288 Bridge Street) that serves great coffee, delicious hot chocolate and tasty pastries. The interior is modern and cozy, filled with sweet aroma of freshly-baked cookies and roasted coffee beans.  After a pleasant (and warming) pit stop it’s time to head home.

Do you like winter? What is the most beautiful winter scenery you have ever seen? Were is it? Please share below in the comments.

Travelling to Canada? Don’t forget to get a travel insurance and your visa or eTA.

—> More activities in London and area:

LABATT BREWERY TOUR: REVIEW BY A BEER-HATER

CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN IN CANADA

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13 comments

Diana October 19, 2019 - 11:43 pm

I would love to see this.

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Wendy Lee December 12, 2019 - 11:46 pm

Since I live in Southern California, along the coast, I don’t get too many opportunities to walk on a frozen lake, but it sure does look like fun. And how interesting that Lake Erie is the shallowest and warmest of the Great Lakes!

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Natalie December 13, 2019 - 9:22 pm

Living in Australia I have grown up watching Northern Hemisphere movies of people skating and walking on frozen lakes, but here our lakes tend to dry up for most of the year, and there is certainly no ice. Would be great to experience one day.

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CHELSEA MESSINA December 15, 2019 - 11:28 pm

I LIVE IN MICHIGAN, JUST HOURS AWAY FROM 3 OF THE 5 GREAT LAKES.. IT IS INCREDIBLE WHEN THEY FREEZE IN THE WINTER. GROWING UP WE USED TO TAKE SNOWMOBILES OUT ONTO THE LAKES AND TRAILS UP NORTH.

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Jan January 8, 2020 - 5:21 pm

I would love to see and walk on a frozen lake like this!! Your pictures are beautiful and capture the scene totally! 🙂

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Slavka January 8, 2020 - 8:21 pm

This is winter in its magical form indeed 🙂

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Nancy Hann January 22, 2020 - 10:01 pm

I love this post! I grew up on the U.S. side of Lake Erie in a small town near Cleveland, Ohio. We spent many hours playing on the frozen lake in the winter. It’s so amazing to see how different it looks each year, depending on how quickly it froze. My brother was even crazy enough to hop around on the chunks of ice in the spring when it was beginning to break up. Not something I was brave (or crazy) enough to do.

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Becki January 24, 2020 - 5:45 pm

I’m planning a trip to Canada later this year but I will be too late to see the frozen lake. I’ll have to plan another trip in February like you said. It looks insane how there is a lake under all that snow and ice. Nature is crazy.

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Sarah January 25, 2020 - 9:15 am

This looks amazing, wow and so cold too! I would love to take my dog here. She has never seen snow before, I’d love to see how she’d react lol.

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Lauren Korstrom February 16, 2020 - 6:25 am

Oh I love Canada in the winter. Just minus the cold since I grew up in Manitoba and it is literally colder than the north pole there haha. This is so cool though! All those iceblocks!

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Sharon February 20, 2020 - 5:34 pm

How lovely! My cousins grew up on Lake Erie in Ohio, so I think of it as a boating lake. It looks like so much fun in the winter from the Canadian side!

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Slavka February 20, 2020 - 5:51 pm

I bet it’s as beautiful on the southern shore, too. Cold and windy weather is needed for it to be this picturesque.

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Jay Artale March 2, 2020 - 10:43 pm

I grew up in England and in the winter’s you end up going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. I hated the days when it was dark by 3:30pm, it was just so gloomy and depressing. But I could definitely do a winter day when the sky was bright blue and the air was crisp and cold. That adventure on Lake Erie looks like a lot of fun, because it fit’s the requirement!

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