a peek inside the fishbowl

25 Jan, 2010

The ultimate Canadian adventure? It’s dogsledding.

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Easy ways to make kids happy|Publishing/writing/career stuff|travel talk

And now for something completely different! In fact, it is the POLAR OPPOSITE (no pun intended) to yesterday’s post about tropical holiday destinations.  

I wanted to tell you about something we did before we left for the sunny beaches of Punta Cana. We went dogsledding at the lovely Fairmont Château Montebello. I wrote about it for SavvyMom. You can read that article here.

Dogsledding at Fairmont Chateau Montebello

If you haven’t ever gone dogsledding, do it. The really great thing about this little adventure is that it’s so family-friendly. And so Canadian! Like hockey (done that), skating on the Rideau (done that) and poutine (eaten that) it is a fundamental part of our national heritage. As I wrote in the article, can you really call yourself a Canadian if you haven’t been pulled around by a pack of dogs? (And gone ice fishing? Mark doesn’t know this but that’s what we’re doing next. And then I’ll be planning a portage through blackfly-infested swamps. Heh.)

Your team will have you flying through the woods faster than you imagine.

Dogsledding at Fairmont Chateau Montebello

After you’ve finished wiping the tears from your eyes (silly me, I forgot my sunglasses and didn’t hike up my scarf) mosey over to the main lodge for some hot beverages. You will be glad you did. It is gorgeous.

Apres-sledding inside the Fairmont Chateau Montebello

It is an easy and beautiful place to linger. Someday we’ll stay for dinner.

The Château Montebello is a luxury hotel with an interesting history. Local lore has it that the local curé was sent away for several months so the builders could work on Sundays. Built in 1930 in under four months, it’s been called the world’s largest log cabin. It’s easy to see why.

The Fairmont Chateau Montebello

If dogsledding isn’t your thing, there is a beautiful curling rink you can rent by the hour. You can also rent snowshoes, skis, and skates. There’s also tubing, but we didn’t have time to check that out. There are also some interesting items for purchase in the ski shop. Like this hat:

Emma cuddles a coonskin cap

The Fairmont Château Montebello is a pretty drive outside of Ottawa (very near Parc Omega), and it’s a great place to spend a wintery afternoon, even if you aren’t a guest of the hotel.  You and your family won’t ever forget it.

11 Responses to "The ultimate Canadian adventure? It’s dogsledding."

1 | coffeewithjulie

January 25th, 2010 at 9:49 am


Oh! I was under the impression you had to be a guest to take part in the activities …. awesome.

2 | DaniGirl

January 25th, 2010 at 8:25 pm


That is a most excellent adventure! Dogsledding has been on our to-do list for a while now, but I think Lucas is a little too wee yet. Same with tubing. One of these days!!

3 | Finola

January 25th, 2010 at 9:41 pm


Thanks for the great idea. I would love to try this out with our family!

4 | Trea

January 25th, 2010 at 11:43 pm


I’ve been dogsledding, and you’re right – it should be on every Canadian’s bucket list. What a thrilling adventure. I went with some girlfriends near 100 Mile House in BC … but your pictures look lovely and I wouldn’t mind trying it again at Fairmont Château Montebello!

5 | Woof

January 26th, 2010 at 2:36 pm


How much do they charge for a dogsled ride at Montebello? And can 2 kids and one adult climb aboard? Or just 2 at a time? Or do they allow 2 pairs to share the experience (each get a half ride)?

6 | andrea

January 26th, 2010 at 2:59 pm


It doesn’t come cheap. It’s $30/adult and $15/kids. They put us on two sleds. Mark rode with Sarah, I went with Emma. The sled is pretty long, so you can definitely ride one adult with two kids, but I’m not sure if they’d give you a deal.

I should point out that this is totally doable with small squirmy kids because of how you’re seated on the sled. It’s easy to wedge the kids between your knees!

7 | BeachMama

January 26th, 2010 at 3:18 pm


Does it count if I get pulled by my Huskey at least once a day?? I can just step up on the back of the stroller and we are off ;)

8 | vanessa

February 3rd, 2010 at 11:50 am


that looks like a real live racoon – makes a change from their bushy tails on hats !
having had a go at dogsledding in a french ski resort I can appreciate your enthusiasm .it looks more fun with trees .and don’t they have piercing black eyes .

10 | Sunday Mother’s Day brunch at Chateau Montebello >> a peek inside the fishbowl

May 10th, 2012 at 11:31 am


[…] I suggested in the article was the Sunday brunch at Fairmont Chateau Montebello. We went there a couple winters ago for a special adventure but we went back a couple weekends ago I wanted to write more about it […]

11 | eleanor

February 22nd, 2013 at 7:24 pm


just came back from la belle provence – amazing dog sledding at Montebello! sooooooo Canadian – loved it. Took the grandchildren one with each of us – a must try!

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