10 childhood activities anyone who grew up in Canada remembers

Growing up in Canada is awesome. There are lakes to swim in, forests to run through, and of course, SNOW! The changing of the seasons always keeps things interesting, the epic landscape provides the perfect backdrop for adventure, and the cultural diversity constantly gives rise to new games, sports and traditions.

There’s something undeniably special about growing up here. Something that we can all remember fondly. Something that unites us.

That’s why we’re counting out the best memories from our childhoods of all the activities that make us thankful to be Canadian. We hope they spark some good memories for you too! 

10 amazing activities every Canadian remembers from their childhood

1. Trick-or-treating in the snow

It doesn’t get any more classic than trick-or-treating through a blizzard, does it? It’s -20 out, snow is flying everywhere, but you can’t cancel Halloween. No Canadian kid would allow that. 

So you somehow make a snowsuit fit underneath your costume. You strategically think of costumes where wearing hats and gloves makes sense. You replace your white sheet ghost costume with the warmest white blanket you can find. Somehow you figure out a way to brave the cold, because you can’t miss out on free candy. You come home freezing, but with candy, and memories.

2. Waiting for the first snowfall of winter

We can all remember sitting by the window, our nose pressed against the glass, our eyes alight with excitement watching the white flakes come down from the heavens like little bundles of joy.

We shriek with giddiness, running to throw on our boots and grab our gloves as fast as possible. We burst through the door still struggling to get our second arm into our coat sleeve.

And then we go crazy! Snow angels, snow ball fights, snowmen, tobogganing—whatever we can think of. Remembering that first-snow excitement really is what growing up in Canada is all about.

3. Going to the cottage on a long weekend 

Not everything in Canada is about snow, though. Going to the cottage – also called the camp/cabin/trailer/summer house, depending on where you live –is also an essential activity.

Having a chance to get out on the lake in a canoe or kayak. Jumping off rocks or a rope swing into the water. Hiking through the wilderness. Spending an active, fun-filled weekend at the cottage holds a special place in many Canadians’ hearts.

4. Learning to skate for the very first time

Your dad has your skates laced up so tight you think your feet might fall off. The pond has just barely frozen solid enough, or the makeshift rink in your backyard has finally been flooded. Whatever the case may be, you’re ready to take that first, glorious, Canadian stride onto the ice.

And then you fall flat on your back.

For some of us that first skate leads to a lifetime of on the ice, playing hockey or figure skating. For others, it’s a once-a-season kind of event. But everyone remembers being out on the ice at some point or another. The crisp air. The incredible cold. That’s growing up in Canada.

5. Spending a day at the beach

It may not always be warm enough for the beach, but when it is, we seize the day.

We bury someone in the sand. We build castles with towers and drawbridges and moats and we play Marco Polo and tag and volleyball. We charge into the water, no matter how cold it is, because we only get so many beautiful days in the sun and we don’t want any to go to waste.

6. Shovelling the walkway on the coldest, most miserable day of winter

We’re all familiar with that dreadful feeling of waking up, looking outside, and realizing we’re going to have to shovel to get out. You grab the shovel before your mom or dad even asks.

It’s actually really heavy. It’s wet and absolutely freezing. But somehow it has to get done. So you put on another pair of gloves, put your head down, and clear the way. It builds character. Canadian character.

7. Learning to ride a bike

Wobbling side-to-side as we struggle to build momentum, our mom scared to let go, we know we’re going to fall a few more times before we get it right, but the freedom is well worth it.

Being able to bike around the neighbourhood is a classic Canadian activity. Biking on trails, or down hills, or through the mud. Anywhere and everywhere. Learning to bike in Canada is a truly awesome experience. An unforgettable one even.

8. Building snow forts

We can all remember that one year, when the snow was just perfect for making a fort. Okay, maybe that was every year, but that didn’t matter. When it happened we would spend hours and hours building the walls, the tunnels, the windows and doors. There was just something so cool about making walls with snow.

Then, once everything was perfect, it was time for war—SNOW BALL FIGHT!

9. Making jumps and makeshift ramps with your friends and siblings

Growing up in Canada is exciting, but kids always need more excitement. We always find a way to make an activity more fun, even if it adds a little bit of risk.

And what better way than making a ramp? Whether it was for your bike, your sled, or your skateboard, turning some plywood, or whatever was lying around, into a launching pad was always a must.

10. Playing mini-sticks in the basement, hallway, or some place you’re not supposed to 

No Canadian childhood is complete without a few hours spent on the floor, battling it out with mini-sticks. We all love mini-donuts. Miniature ponies are adorable. But nothing compares to the endless hours of fun that mini-sticks provide.

Of course, somehow the game would get super intense and eventually someone would wind up getting hurt. But that never ruined the fun for long. It was just another part of growing up in Canada.

If you hold memories of a truly Canadian activity from your childhood, it deserves to be on the ParticipACTION 150 Play List. So, go and submit it, or vote.

Be sure to share some of your classic childhood memories with us on Facebook!