Best Christmas gift: Brand spanking new snow shoes! What do you mean Santa doesn't exist? Phooey. I know for a fact that he's real because the jolly guy just granted my Christmas wish. See, last year I bought myself a pair of these: Except, there was a tiny little problem. I never got a chance to use them last winter. The snow in the Greater Toronto Area, where I live, just didn't seem to cooperate. Weekend after weekend went by. Nada. I prayed for a good snowfall, but, alas, there wasn't a snowshoe's chance in... As I've declared several times of late, sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do: I wrote Santa. Voila! It worked. I just got confirmation this week that I'll be overnighting in Parc La Maurice, Quebec one weekend in January. Topping my itinerary: snow-shoeing (let's not talk about how rusty I am.) I'd like to say I'm doing a happy dance right now but that could be a little awkward while wearing these babies. In about a month's time, this will be me: (Photo: Courtesy Parks Canada -J. Pleau) So, now do you believe me? Santa does exist. Wishes are granted...even to grown-ups, naughty, nice or somewhere in between. If you've got a hankering to get out and enjoy the outdoors this season, spend a little time on the Parks Canada web site, where you'll find excellent information on snowshoeing, dog-sledding, cross-country skiing, winter hiking, winter camping all across Canada. Looking for last-minute stocking stuffers? The Parks Canada Discovery Passes are a deal. It's a gift that lasts all year long.