Team building getaways in rural Ontario
Want to foster more interpersonal growth among your professional team members? Need a chance for your employees or co-workers to get to know each other in a more relaxed setting than the office? Team building retreats are a great way to help your staff establish stronger relationships and work together on something challenging and fun that won’t be reflected on their performance assessment.
We know how valuable those opportunities to bond with co-workers outside of the office are, so we’ve gathered some team-building activities from around Ontario that we think you should try with your staff. There’s something for everyone, from cooking to painting, from horseback riding to kayaking, from spa retreats to unplugged lodges.
1. Edge of Walton Challenge Course, Walton (formerly Above the Falls Challenge Course)
10 or more people | Prices upon request
Climb and balance your way to the top of a forty-foot tower, strengthen the trust levels of your team with low course activities, or take up the challenge of a mountain biking course. EWCC is no ordinary corporate retreat – it is outdoors in a natural environment, physically, emotionally and mentally challenging. Your success is based on personal growth. Improve group decision-making, develop confidence and connect with fellow workers — all without the usual distractions. Rob and the EWCC team will work with you to develop a program that really focuses on the areas your team needs to grow in.
2. Rawhide Adventures Ranch Life Getaway, Shelburne
Contact for capacity and prices.
Escape to the country and enjoy the peaceful ranch life as part of a custom corporate retreat package. Provide the organizers with your budget and expectations and they will work with you to design a package specifically for your group. Activities include horseback riding,hiking on Bruce trail, archery, fly-fishing, and snowshoeing and tobogganing in winter.
3. Voyageur Quest Retreat, Algonquin Park
1-3 nights | April to November.
Soak up the tranquil scenery of Surprise Lake as your team stays at the rustic Algonquin Log Cabin lodge for a few days. Take advantage of the lodge’s award-winning guided program and go rappelling, hiking, sunrise canoeing, dog sledding or snowshoeing. In the evenings, enjoy a steam in a floating sauna, bonfires, and delicious homemade meals at a round table alongside a 36-foot stone fireplace. With no electricity at the log cabin, you will soon forget the sound of the buzz of your BlackBerry and start humming along with the seasonal fauna.
The same adventure company also offers corporate adventures in Collingwood, Muskoka, Prince Edward County, and Toronto.
4. Treetop Trekking, Huntsville
Appropriate for large groups | Activities starting at 2 hours in length
Spend some invigorating time away from the office, swinging in some Ontario treetops on a ropes course or zip line adventure (starting at $60/person). Or, take it up a notch and take your team on a night trek, where a ropes course is navigated by the light of headlamps ($65/person, minimum 8 people). Add in some specific team-building activities such as survival challenges or group dynamic challenges.
Treetop Trekking has also has parks in Ganaraska and Stouffville, as well as two GTA locations and five locations in Quebec. Not all activities are offered at all parks.
5. Grand River Rafting, Brantford
90 minutes to 5 hours | 2 to 200 people.
Take your team on a river rafting trek between Hamilton and London, launching from the Brantford area. Choose between kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddling, or river tubing. Paddling lessons are available prior to the trek. This team-building option is even good for non-swimmers: the water averages only one metre deep. Plan your adventure so you can enjoy a shoreline barbecue meal, a river tripper lunch, or an evening dining reservation at recommended establishments.
6. Meetings and Retreats at Ste. Anne’s Spa, Grafton
Your team will experience ultimate relaxation at this spa and wellness centre. Choose from several unique locations for your group to meet, and enjoy dinner prepared by the Ste. Anne’s Chef in an intimate setting. You could even choose to engage in a cooking demonstration or hands-on class where your team can add to its culinary repertoire alongside professionals. Participate in workshops designed to help your team learn how to enhance wellness in the workplace. The animal lovers will enjoy the chance to help care for the horses, and the nature loving groups may wish to conduct a version of the Amazing Race or other outdoor adventures.
7. Wine Country Cooking School, Niagara-on-the-Lake
$2100 up to 12 people | Cost per person reduced with increased numbers | Capacity for fairly large numbers
At this cooking school within Strewn Winery, work in small groups to prepare a seasonal three-course meal which you will then enjoy together in the School’s dining room. They provide the aprons, recipes, instructors, and everything else you’ll need to work together to create an unforgettable meal. After the fun, each team member goes home with a set of the recipes used in the session. As an added bonus, you don’t have to do the clean-up!
8. Long Point Eco Adventure Park, St. Williams
Choose from a one-day getaway at $50/person, a two-day escape starting at $235/person*, or a three-day retreat starting at $390/person*. Adventures include ziplining (day or night), mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking, stargazing, or a custom adventure designed specifically for your team and its needs.
If you decide to stay overnight, the wilderness suites, a.k.a. tents with all the amenities you’d need, would make for an unforgettable experience. Top it all off with wine tasting at the on-site Burning Kiln Winery.
*Prices based on double occupancy in wilderness suites. Accommodation for up to 30. Meeting area available.
9. Art Party at 4Cats Studio, Woodstock
1.5 hours of studio time + 30 minutes of party time | Prices vary depending on length of project and size of party
Create and collaborate! At a 4Cats Team-Building Party, have a laugh and discover the artistic side of your colleagues while you work together to create a masterpiece inspired by greats like Gustav Klimt and Jackson Pollock. More fun than paintball, and just as messy!
Themes: Choose from parties inspired by Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Klee, or Claude Monet!
You can also find 4Cats studios in the following rural Ontario locations: Caledon, Port Credit, St. Catherine’s, as well as several GTA locations.
10. From the Farm Cooking Classes, Ameliasburg
8 to 15 people | $85 + HST for 2.5 hours | Available March through November
Employees compete in an appetizer cook off with assigned roles in each group, such as project manager and food stylist. Judging is based on a number of components, including originality, based on ingredients sourced from the “surprise” table. From the kick-off “ice-breaker” exercise to the final presentation, this two-hour workshop, plus reception, is a unique way to build your team and have a fun afternoon together.
Stay nearby at the Huff Estates Inn, which also can provide your group with a meeting space large enough for 30 people.