Where to Take Your Friends and Family Visiting Sunset Country This Holiday Season
Alyssa Lloyd
By Alyssa Lloyd

Alyssa is a photojournalist and angler based out of Kenora, Ontario.

Last Updated: August 8, 2019

Company's Coming!

Whether you have your folks, kids, grandchildren, distant relatives or close friends visiting this holiday season, there is something on this list that's bound to be a complete crowd pleaser. Use this list as a guide to list off ideas to your company, wow them with your knowledge of the area, and find an activity that will leave them talking about this Christmas and New Years for years to come! 

Events To Attend

Polar Bear Plunge in Fort Frances on New Years Day! Do you dare?! 

Ice Candle Festival of Lights December 24, at the Lake of the Woods Cemetery: This truly touching event is a must experience for anyone in Kenora over the holiday season. On December 24th, hundreds of candles are lit in the Lake of the Woods cemetery to celebrate the lives of loved ones now passed. Join in on the night tour and bring the whole family to marvel at this heartwarming sight. 

Matiowski Winter Farmer's Market December 15th at Seven Generations Education Institute : A Christmas Market for those who are showing up a week or so before the holidays to enjoy! Go to pick up last minute gifts, see what catches the eyes of your loved ones and return to the vendors when you get a chance! 

New Year's Eve Family Frolic December 31 held at Fort Williams Historical Park : Bring your tobaggans and hand warmers! Stick around for the fireworks that are bound to be a hit with the whole family, young or old! 


You never know what you'll find at shops here in Sunset Country! Here's a list of shops, specialty stores and more to visit over the holidays. Keeping in mind holiday hours! 

Egli's Sheep Farm is located in Minnitaki, between Vermillion Bay and Dryden, Ontario. This place is unique in its surprising size and selection. A lot of pieces are also made right on the premises! Keep an eye on their calendar, sometimes they have some cute events for kids surrounding the holidays too! 

Silver Cedar Studio is located just outside of Thunder Bay, owner Katie Ball has a small home run studio. Katie makes beautiful pieces from ethically and sustainably harvested furs. Call her for advance bookings or check out her website here

Seasons Gift & Lifestyle Shop in Kenora, Ontario is a must see. Located right on Main St, you can't miss it and you'll likely be pulled into its aura before you even realize the name of it. While you're in Kenora, you should check out Melissa Jean Art's ongoing gallery at Image One Designs and Nibbler's Bay, an adorable goodies store filled with all the sweets you could possibly desire! 

McTaggart's in Fort Frances is a wonderful place for those who like both style and function, check them out for outdoors and casual wear alike! 

Famous Bobby's Sport Shop in Vermillion Bay is a MUST-see for all anglers, hunters and outdoors folk alike. Even if you don't consider yourself outdoorsy, you'll love the atmosphere and convenience of this place! 

Guided Ice Fishing

Have some outdoors orientated family visiting that are up for an adventure? Treat them to one of the most quintessential experiences northwestern Ontario has to offer over the winter, ice fishing! The cold may make it sound unappealing, but keep in mind a lot of these outfitters have shacks, heaters and all the gear you could possibly need! Take a look below at some of our members that offer daily ice fishing adventures.  

Clarke and Crombie in Nestor Falls is close enough for a day trip from Kenora, or Fort Frances, Ontario. Even International Falls, MN! Shacks are available for rental. 

Jeff Gustafson Outdoors is a knowledgable, independent guide well known in the Kenora area. Jeff supplies all equipment!

Vic and Dot's is located between Nestor Falls and Sioux Narrows. Close enough for a day trip from Fort Frances or Kenora, they have portable shacks and are able to transport you to your fishing grounds for the day! Enjoy hole hopping and sipping warm beverages with your family for the day! 

Temple Bay Lodge is located in Eagle River just a few kilometres from Dryden, Ontario and offers daily ice fishing trips with or without transportation. You are fully outfitted with gear and can just worry about keeping your hook sets clean! 

Gullrock Lake Lodge is located just 10kms south of Red Lake and offers daily trips ice fishing for small groups. 

Branch's Seine River Lodge is roughly a half hour drive west of Atikokan or 70 miles from Fort Frances/International Falls. The perfect location for locals to Atikokan, or perhaps those wanting to include a snowmobile trip in their holidays

Lecuyer's Lodge is located in Nestor Falls in HWY 71 running between Emo and Kenora, close enough for a day trip from both Fort Frances and Kenora, but they also offer reasonable overnight packages for groups of 2-8 and more! Perfect for a mini family vacay. 


Go on a museum tour for the history buff in your family. They usually aren't any longer than an hour, and you'll be surprised what you can learn from them. You'll want to stick around reading more on the exhibits and checking out their gift shops, usually with impeccable literature on the area!  

Lake of the Woods Museum, Emo Museum, Fort Frances Museum, Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre, Fort William Historical Park 

Brewery Tours out of Lake of the Woods Brewery are a sure fine way to appease any beer drinker! The food is incredible, and the old fire hall adds a unique sense of nostalgia for a Kenora once passed. 

Recreational Activities

Bird Watching: Sound lame? Think again. Take a quick jaunt through a treed area just outside of town, if you're lucky you'll come across chickadees or Canada Jays also known as Whisky Jacks! Remember to bring some offerings for them, it's a great opportunity to get some candid holiday shots!  


Skating: One thing is for sure, most towns in Sunset Country have their very own indoor skating rink, all of them certainly have outdoor rinks! Bring a thermos of hot cocoa and lace up your skates at your local skating grounds this holiday season. 

Hiking: You can find public hiking trails in just about every town in Sunset Country! Here are a few to consider; Vernon and Tunnel Island Trails in Kenora/Keewatin, Abram Lake Trails in Ignace, 

Cross Country Skiing: Cedar Bay Complex & Trails in Sioux Lookout, Minaki Yurts Trail Club in Minaki and dozens of urban trails within Kenora and Keewatin, not to mention Atikokan as the gateway to the ever beautiful Quetico Provincial Park and urban trails of Fort Frances await your cross-country skis this holiday season!

Skiing/Snowboarding: Sunset Country may not be known for its mountainous ski hills, but we sure do know how to have a good time. There's Mt. Evergreen Ski Club in Kenora, Ontario, the Dryden Ski Club, and Loch Lomond Ski Area in Thunder Bay! 


Book a Photoshoot

If you live far from your family and only see them a handful of times a year, chances are you don't have a lot of opportunities to get everyone in the same area for photos. Life is busy and hectic, give yourselves the gift of memories this holiday season. It's a perfect two for one also, you give yourselves a fun afternoon out and about taking portraits and candid photos, and you can give your loved ones the photos as a gift.

Everything's covered in a fresh blanket of snow, golden hour turns into golden days during the winter, it's the perfect time to schedule a photo shoot with your visiting family. 

Restaurants & Cafe's

Find yourself wandering aimlessly looking for a bite to eat, or perhaps you want a hot chocolate or latte to get you through the chilly afternoon! Stop by any of these places for good eats and drinks!

Mystic Grill in Dryden and another location in Ignace!

Lake of the Woods Brewing Company in Kenora.

HoJoe's Coffee and Eatery on Main Street in Kenora. 

Boston Pizza in either Fort Frances or Kenora is a sure place for that pizza you've been craving between all the holiday dinners. 

Need something quick but want to mix it up a little? Run into Quesada in Kenora for a burrito, taco or quesadilla! 

Need Inspiration?

All of these things and much more can be found right here on the website, or hop over to our page at Northern Ontario Travel's site for more inspiration! 

Need advice? Give us a shout 807-468-5853 before 5 p.m. Monday- Friday, we'd be happy to help you as much as we can. Are we missing any of your favourite activities over the holidays in Sunset Country? Email myself, and I'll add it to the list!