Embrace the Chill: Indoor & Outdoor Toronto Winter Activities

Embrace the Chill: Indoor & Outdoor Toronto Winter Activities

 

Winter in Toronto

What is winter weather in Toronto like? Temperatures can quickly fall below zero once winter starts around December.

Throughout the season, you can expect the average temperature to rarely exceed 10°C (50°F) or fall below -17°C (1.4°F). Make sure to layer up before heading out into the cold.

Outdoor Activities in Toronto

Tighten your bootstraps and zip up your coat! The first snowfall transforms Toronto into a winter wonderland full of exciting outdoor activities. Boot prints line the snow-covered sidewalks and frost coats the lampposts and leafless trees. Once you have the right winter gear, there are a lot of things to do and places to visit during winter in Toronto. Check out our seven favourites below!

  1. Go sledding at Riverdale Park

If you grew up in Canada, you probably have fond memories of sliding down a hill on a sled, friends at your side, wind at your back. If you’re a newcomer to Canada, this winter activity is a must. The best place to try it is Riverdale Park. 

Both Riverdale Park East and Riverdale Park West have their own hills. You will have to bring your own sled or toboggan though. The most affordable places to purchase a toboggan, sled or sliding saucer are Walmart or Canadian Tire, the latter of which is located at Yonge & Dundas. From Yonge & Dundas, you can take the 505 streetcar directly to Riverdale Park. 

  1. Visit the Distillery District 

With holiday decorations and string lights aglow, the Distillery District becomes a beautiful spot for a stroll in the winter. Start your visit off with a hot beverage at the iconic Balzac’s Coffee Roasters. In 1895, this coffee shop was originally a pumphouse, and still retains much of its original Victorian architectural character.

  1. Explore Queen Street 

There is no shortage of winter activities on Queen Street. Enjoy a warm cup of black sesame hot cocoa at Cacao 70 on 485 Queen Street West. Go skating at Nathan Philips Square. Shop for unique gifts on Queen Street West, Toronto’s fashion district.

  1. Explore the street art of Graffiti Alley

Found behind Queen Street West, Graffiti Alley is covered in some of Toronto’s best street art. You’ll experience 1000 feet of art in multiple styles, so bring your camera! The best spot to start your walk is at the intersection of Rush Lane and Augusta Ave.

  1. Enjoy the views from Toronto Island 

Most folks assume that Toronto Island is only a summer destination. However, in the winter, the island becomes a great place for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating and taking photos of the Toronto skyline and of Lake Ontario. Keep in mind that all the restaurants on the island close during the winter, so bring your own snacks or even a thermos full of hot chocolate!   

  1. Catch a concert

If live music’s your thing, there’s lots in the winter. The skating rink at Union Station has live DJs and other performers. If you need to get out of the cold and into a warm venue, check out a complete listing of concerts on the city of Toronto’s website.  

  1. Go skating

Skating is a classic Canadian activity. Take advantage of the cold by hitting the ice at one of the several public skating rinks around downtown Toronto, including at The Bentway, Nathan Philips Square and Union Station.

 Indoor Activities in Toronto

So, what about when you need refuge from the cold? Toronto has plenty of indoor activities to engage in. Get out there and into one of the following eight recommended activities for staying warm during the Toronto winter.

  1. Visit the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

See the latest exhibits at the ROM, a Toronto staple and the largest museum in Canada. The ROM has a diverse collection of historical artifacts and fascinating finds to keep you entertained for a day out. Plus, it’s an opportunity to dive into history from around the world and probably learn something new.

  1. Watch a movie

When in doubt, movie theatres are always an option for a cozy indoor activity. Visit your local Cineplex or Imagine Cinemas theatre and see what’s playing. Alternatively, you can check out one of Toronto’s indie theatres, such as Paradise Theatre or the Fox Theatre for a new experience.

  1. Check out the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has the largest number of visitors of any art museum in the country. Check out the impressive and diverse collection of art at the AGO, located in the Kensington-Chinatown neighbourhood, right by OCAD University.

  1. Shop at the Toronto Eaton Centre

The Eaton Centre is a Toronto favourite for avid shoppers. Located in the heart of downtown at Yonge and Dundas, the Eaton Centre is a popular shopping mall to browse, shop at and enjoy special events or attractions they may have going on, such as the Winterville event hosted throughout the holiday season.

  1. Hit up an arcade

Game on with your friends! Head to an arcade like The Rec Room or Dave & Buster’s for guaranteed fun times. These places also offer food and drinks to fuel your gameplay and make for a well-rounded night out.

  1. Have an escape room experience

If you’ve never experienced an escape room, you need to check out one in downtown Toronto. They include Escape Manor, Roundabout Canada Escape Room, Enigma Escape Room and Captive Escape Rooms. Invite a few friends (usually a maximum of 8-10) to join you on an adventure of the mind and body, as you attempt together to crack codes, solve puzzles and decipher the clues to your escape.

  1. Take public or private classes at a community centre or gym

Depending on your interests, you can look into taking classes at a gym or community centre. Check out the options near you for fitness, arts and other types of programs.

  1. Play with friends at a board game café

An experience that is perfect for winter is visiting a board game café, like Snakes and Lattes, Twilight Cafe or one of the several other options in Toronto. Grab a few friends and head to a board game café for a night out — spent indoors — playing games, drinking warm beverages and indulging in snacks and light-hearted competitive fun.

FAQ

What is there to do in Toronto indoors?

There are plenty of indoor activities in Toronto that are fit for the colder temperatures, for example: movies, arcades, shopping, museums, art galleries and more.

Is Toronto fun in the winter?

During the winter, Torontonians enjoy various fun activities, both indoors and outdoors. Outdoors, there are classic winter activities like ice skating and sledding, along with Toronto gems like the festive Distillery District. Indoors, there are always activities like movies, shopping, arcades and more fun options.

To learn more about living in Canada, email info@flemingcollegetoronto.ca

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