Despite the frosty winter temperatures, a number of families bundled up to enjoy a beautiful, sunny Family Day on February 15 at Duck Mountain Provincial Park (DMPP). While getting out and enjoying nature is a well-known remedy for cabin fever, few small towns in Canada have access to a provincial park that features a blend of both stunning scenery and peaceful quiet.
Beyond the usual park amenities, it seemed like everyone was buzzing about the new and unique feature at DMPP this year. It took a few weeks to complete, but the DMPP team realized an ambitious vision of constructing a full-sized maze built entirely out of snow. Family Day saw dozens of children and parents enjoying the puzzle of navigating through the snow walls from entrance to exit. Once the maze had been conquered, some of the older children found delight in climbing on top of the structure and jumping from one snow wall to another, all the time enjoying the bird’s eye view of people journeying through the paths below.
A number of toddlers gravitated toward the “fairy ice castle” blocks that lay adjacent to the maze. Multi-colored ice forms entertained the tots who stacked the blocks into magical ice castles, while parents warmed themselves at the outdoor fire pit or sipped from a thermos of hot coffee.
Although COVID has meant the cancellation of many community events, Saskatchewan’s provincial holiday saw a number of families taking in the natural setting and fresh mountain air at DMPP. For just $10 - the daily rate for unlimited use of the provincial park amenities, visitors found ways to burn extra energy by jumping into all sorts of winter activities.
A well-used sledding hill, located just off Saskatchewan Highway No. 57 west, was covered with a myriad of criss-crossing tracks from sleds, toboggans, inner tubes, and snowboards.
The parking lot offered a portable washroom, an outdoor skating rink, and a warm-up shelter that groups took turns using to follow COVID-19 safety protocol.
Throughout the park, visiting families could be found ice-fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing on the sun-filled day where temperatures dipped below -20 C.