One-Tank Trips: Enjoy opposite seasons during the same week –

In four-season Muskoka vacationland, they’re savouring the ice and snow, while crowds in Toronto can’t wait until summer.

It’s a frosty scene as an ice carver gets into his work at Bracebridge’s Fire and Ice Festival, on until Jan. 25.

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In four-season Muskoka vacationland, they’re savouring the ice and snow, while crowds in Toronto can’t wait until summer.

With the region aiming to be the coolest place in Canada, trucks have dumped 50 loads of snow on the main street in downtown Bracebridge. That’s for epic tube runs — alongside fire pits and Muskoka chairs for warmth and campfire snacks — at the Fire and Ice Festival on Jan. 25.

In Toronto, they’re turning winter into summer at the Toronto International Boat Show, on through Jan. 26 and featuring a huge indoor lake.

Light my fire

“The Fire and Ice Festival brings together two powerful elements that pay homage to the glory of a Canadian winter in a creative event that truly has something for every age and taste,” said Tracy Larkman of the Bracebridge Business Improvement Area.

The downtown will be alive with activities, demonstrations, gathering places, music and entertainment from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Fire” is represented by the fire pits and by Brant Matthews, a professional fire eater and juggler, as well as a fireworks show by the Rotary Club.

“You can expect Bracebridge to once again be crowned the ‘coolest downtown in Canada’ when it is transformed from its quaint and charming core into an epic tubing hill for all to ride,” said Katie O’Hearn of Muskoka Tourism.

“Ice” elements include the tube run, a skating trail and ice sculpture demonstrations that transform a block of ice into a work of art.

Muskoka has a well deserved reputation for knowing how to celebrate winter.

“Every year we welcome guests who join us to ski or snowshoe the trails, skate the lakes, climb the frozen waterfalls, take a tour through the forests by dog or horse sled and just savour the incredible beauty that is ours,” Larkman said.

There will be musical acts on stage throughout town as well, including at the Griffin Gastro Pub, Kelly’s Irish Pub and Camp Muskoka Coffeehouse, which also has an outdoor fireplace.

Festival tickets are $5 a person (free for children five and younger).

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Just add water

One of the highlights of the Toronto boat show is the return of Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel.

“Twiggy took a brief break after 40 years of performing across North America but is returning to the show by popular demand,” said publicist Tran Nguyen.

This is North America’s largest indoor boat show. It docks at the Enercare Centre.

There are 1,200 new boats on display and more than 550 exhibitors showing every product to enjoy the boating lifestyle.

This includes engines, trailers, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, marine accessories, navigational technology. It also includes products for entertaining at the cottage.

Some of the highlights include an indoor lake for free boat rides, wakeboarding lessons, a kids’ fishing zone and a sailing simulator.

There’s a welcome centre for new boaters, 300 free seminars and workshops, and special guests, including treasure hunters Darrell Miklos and Jim Sinclair of the Discovery Channel’s Cooper’s Treasure show.

Tammy Wolf, one of the most successful powerboat racers in North America, will make an appearance, and the show will feature wakeboarding championships.

Women’s Day takes place on Sunday with “hands-on lessons to further their boating skills.”

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Jim Fox can be reached at

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