(Photo: Gaspr13/Getty)

A Weekend in Alberta’s Lakeland Region

By Andrew Penner

About 2.5 hours northeast of Edmonton, Bonnyville is a hub for lovers of the laid-back way of life. In winter, the surrounding Lakeland region is also perfect for outdoorsy types, with all manner of snow-covered terrain to explore.

 A full-service salon and spa, Elegance 719 is the ultimate place to unwind in Bonnyville. Get prim and proper with a mani-pedi and facial, then rejuvenate in the salt caves, which are said to soothe the skin and respiratory system. 4816 51 Ave., Bonnyville

Eat: The short drive from Bonnyville to Cold Lake is a rewarding one—especially if you’re hungry. Fresh Fusion Bistro serves up excellent Mediterranean fare, from grape leaves and calamari to filling falafel and chicken souvlaki burgers. 1208 8 Ave., Cold Lake

Drink: Recently expanded Cold Lake Brewing & Distilling Co. is an area favourite for its pair of large patios and taproom serving more than a dozen craft beers. Try a pint of the robust oatmeal cookie stout, or a Caesar with house-made vodka. 1014 8 Ave., Cold Lake

(Photo: Katie Goldie/Travel Alberta)

Born and raised in nearby St. Paul, Jamie Sadlowski is a professional golfer and former captain of the Bonnyville Pontiacs Junior A Hockey Team. A two-time winner of the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship (400-yard drives are his forte), he’s also an avid outdoorsman and revels in returning  to his home turf whenever possible.  

What’s the best thing about living in the Lakeland region? 
I’m on the road a lot, so I love coming back to a small, tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone else. You don’t ever sit in traffic. Life slows down dramatically.

What are your favourite winter things to do in the area? 
I usually take November off and go hunting. My father-in-law has land just north of St. Paul. The ice fishing around here is also phenomenal: I recommend visiting Warehouse Sports in  St. Paul for gear and advice. The staff are extremely knowledgeable. 

And what about indoor fun? 
The Bonnyville & District Centennial Centre, known locally as C2, is a great place to get moving. You can play just about any sport there in winter! During my hockey days with the Pontiacs, I spent a lot of time there in the gym. But these days I tend to sit on snowmobiles and golf carts as opposed to exercise bikes. 

Things to do in Medicine Hat

Get outside and see the sights on skisTrue, the Rockies are well to Bonnyville’s west. But that doesn’t stop locals from enjoying a good downhill slalom. Overlooking Cold Lake, Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort is a well-kept secret with five lifts, 13 runs, a snowboard terrain park, and a tubing park.

Muriel Lake Park is a treasure for cross-country skiers, who can get their blood pumping on the groomed trails, then cozy up in the warming hut or by the firepit. No skis? Rent them in Bonnyville from Sylvestres’ Source for Sports.

Traverse Alberta’s oldest and longest trail by snowmobile! The 300-km Iron Horse Trail winds through picture-perfect boreal forest, marshland and meadows. Bonnyville’s Pioneer Offroad Rentals offers snowmobiles to rent—plus training before you head out