You Gotta Do This: Toronto (Winter Edition)

Wintertime in Toronto isn’t necessarily a Torontonian’s favourite time of year—the roads are slushy, the wind chill is in the negatives and the damp coldness makes some days seem unbearable to be outside.

As Canadian’s we choose to live in this weather because despite the cold during the winter months, Toronto is a great city filled with awesome events and activities to make the winter months a little more bearable. Here are some must-do things in Toronto this winter, whether you’re visiting or here to stay.

Toronto Christmas Market

The Christmas Market

Every year for about a month, the Distillery District gets into the holiday spirit for their Christmas market—known to be the best and most anticipated in the city. The market usually runs between the end of November to the end of December and this historical area of Toronto will become a hub for holiday shopping, beer gardens, great and unique food, and a gigantic, gorgeous Christmas tree.

Photo Credit: PROBenson Kua

Photo Credit: PROBenson Kua

Ice Skating

The most well-known spot for ice skating is Nathan Philips Square, located right downtown near the Eaton Centre. Skates, washrooms and a snack bar are all available on-site—skate the day away right in Toronto’s core. Looking for a less busy option? Toronto has over 50 other options to choose from. Click here to find a rink that’s closest to you, but note, many of these other public rinks are bring-your-own-skates!

Photo Credit: photo4howi

Photo Credit: photo4howi


Happening each year usually in January/February, Winterlicious is a great time of year to try restaurants around the city. More than 200 restaurants across Toronto put together special menus and culinary events at usually a much more reasonable price than usual. I love this event because I get to test out restaurants that I normally wouldn’t be able to afford and try some great food!

Photo Credit: Timothy Neesam

Photo Credit: Timothy Neesam

Toronto Island

When people think of Toronto Island, they usually think of the summertime, but the island also has lots of winter activities for you to enjoy during the winter months too. From cross-country ski trails to ice skating, check out the winter ferry schedule to get yourself to the island for some outdoorsy winter activities.

Photo Credit: mark.watmough

Photo Credit: mark.watmough

Ice Fest

Happening in February, the Bloor-Yorkville Icefest can be a great way to celebrate winter in the city. This area of the city turns into an icy wonderland filled with ice sculptures, live ice carving demonstrations, and street performers. To learn more about the event, click here.

Winter Beerfest

Winter Beer Fest

One of my personal favourite winter activities, the Winter Craft Beer Festival is the ultimate Canadian celebration. The event takes place in the historical Roundhouse Park downtown Toronto and is hosted by Steam Whistle Brewery. The festival showcases Ontario craft brewers and a selection of great food trucks. Gather outside dressed to keep warm, and huddle around a bonfire while sampling some great Canadian beers. Tickets are limited and guaranteed to sell out fast!

Happy winter everyone and keep warm! Am I missing something from this list? Comment below your favourite activities in the city. 

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  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks for the winter travel inspiration, Lauren! The Christmas market and the Ice Fest sound particularly appealing.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I love this list! Edmonton has a similar ‘a little cold and snow won’t stop us’ ethos. Like Toronto, they also have a free skating rink by their city hall. Bring on the snowflakes!

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