The days are shortening. The temperatures are dropping. The electricity bills are soaring. Yep, it’s winter in Toronto, and we all know that feeling. That feeling of gloominess when you find yourself gazing out the window at 5pm, watching the world turn pitch black before your eyes. That feeling of exasperation when you realize that you will have to spend an extra few bucks on coat check every night out. And worst of all, that feeling of dread when you realize that it’s only January and you still have February and March to get through!
But winter doesn’t necessarily have to be so bitterly cold and uninviting! When the weather outside is frightful, here are some ways to make winter in Toronto more delightful.
Check out what’s on at the Distillery District
The Distillery District is a former distillery in downtown Toronto that has been converted into a vibrant neighbourhood. The original distillery buildings are now inhabited by trendy cafés, restaurants, shops, and art galleries. The Distillery District hosts many events throughout the year, and some of the best ones occur during the winter. They are currently hosting the Toronto Light Festival, an open-air gallery featuring decorative light installations by artists from all over the world.
The Distillery District is also the home of the annual Toronto Christmas Market, which runs from November until Christmas each year. With its glowing lights, festive food and drink stalls, and towering Christmas tree, the Christmas Market is a must-see Toronto winter attraction.
Test out your skating skills at one of Toronto’s outdoor rinks
Nathan Phillips Square is the home of Toronto’s City Hall. Each winter, they build a huge skating rink that is enjoyed by Torontonians and tourists alike. Nathan Phillips Square is also the site of the famously colourful “Toronto” sign. So go have a skate and take an obligatory photo in front of the “Toronto” sign (see above)!
Another great outdoor rink is at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. This rink is literally right beside the lake, so you get quite a nice view while you skate!
Cheer on Toronto at a basketball or hockey game
If there is one thing Toronto is known for, it is its passionate and dedicated sports fans. So if you happen to be in Toronto during the winter, then you absolutely must get some tickets to a Toronto Raptors basketball game or a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game! It doesn’t matter if Toronto is winning or losing – the atmosphere is always buzzing. Of course, it’s always more exciting when we DO win! Whether you’re a huge sports fan or you don’t know the difference between a ball and a puck, you’ll be screaming “LET’S GO RAPTORS” or “GO LEAFS GO” at the top of your lungs in no time.
Treat yourself to a delicious meal at Winterlicious
For a few weeks each winter, a some of Toronto’s best restaurants participate in the annual Winterlicious Food Festival. During Winterlicious, restaurants launch their own prix fixe lunch and dinner menus, allowing you to taste some of Toronto’s best dishes for a reasonable price. In addition to indulging in Toronto’s finest cuisine, there are also many events that you can enjoy as part of Winterlicious. This year, there is a special celebration in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary. So if you are looking to eat some delicious food in Toronto, look no further than Winterlicious!
Hit the ski slopes
While you may have a hard time getting your skis out in Toronto, just a couple hours drive from Toronto is Southern Ontario ski territory! Just under two hours from Toronto is Barrie, Ontario – home to some great family friendly ski resorts. Horseshoe Resort and Snow Valley are two popular resorts. Both are suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Just north of these resorts is Mount St Louis Moonstone, another well-known ski resort that is slightly bigger. If you are up for driving just a little bit further, in Collingwood, Ontario you will find Blue Mountain resort. Blue Mountain has much bigger ski hills than the other three resorts, making it a great destination for skiing and snowboarding. There are even chalets that you can rent onsite at Blue Mountain. If you have never tried skiing or snowboarding before, Ontario is a great place to learn!
With Toronto’s frigid winter temperatures, hibernation may seem tempting. But a hibernator would miss out on all the wonderful winter activities that Toronto has to offer. So bundle up and make the most of your winter in Toronto!
Do you have any other favourite Toronto winter activities? Let me know in the comments below!