City Name
Home » Recent posts » The Great Freeze: Toronto’s 20 Must-Try Winter Activities

The Great Freeze: Toronto’s 20 Must-Try Winter Activities

The Great Freeze Toronto's 20 Must-Try Winter Activities

During winter, did you know that the Toronto harbor freezes over, allowing for ice skating and walking? Our guide today reveals the top winter activities you can do in the city!

From ice skating under city lights to cozying up with hot cocoa, we’ve rounded up the top ways to embrace the winter wonderland!

Go Skating at Nathan Phillips Square


Address: 100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N1, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-392-2489

Operating hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from November 25, 2023 – March 17, 2024 

Locals know Nathan Phillips Square where there’s a fountain, but when winter rolls around, they turn that fountain into an ice rink. Skating is free for all, and you don’t have to make reservations to ice skate here.

The place looks so pretty, especially at night when they’ve got this Toronto sign all lit up. Sure, the ice can get a bit bumpy with all the folks skating around, but it’s still a blast, especially if you’re out with the fam!

Pro tip:
If you don’t have your own skates, you also have the option to rent skates for a fee. 

Head to the CN Tower


Address: 290 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-868-6937

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 9:30am to 9pm

When winter hits in Toronto, the CN Tower is the perfect place to enjoy views of the city, especially from the main lookout at 346 meters. You can see the whole city and even Lake Ontario stretching out below you.

You can walk on this crazy glass floor or shell out a bit extra to go all the way up to the SkyPod at 447 meters. And if you’re feeling hungry, there’s this restaurant called 360 that rotates, so you get to see the entire city while you chow down.

Pro tip:
So, what we figured out is that hitting the place up early in the morning on a weekday is your best bet. That’s when you can soak in the views without getting lost in the crowd.

Cruise under the Gardiner

– Media credit: timthompsonfilms


Address: Gardiner ExpyToronto, ON, Canada

Contact details: 416-338-0889

Operating hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

If you’re into outdoor skating vibes: the Gardiner Expressway has this awesome 1.5 km figure-eight skating trail. But what’s really cool about it is they’ve set up this whole village where you can grab some drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

And get this, if you don’t have your own skates, no worries! They’ve got free rentals on Thursdays, or you can snag a pair any other day for just 5 to 10 bucks. 

Pro tip:
Make sure to swing by Jimmy’s Coffee on Portland Avenue for a toasty hot chocolate or gingerbread latte.

Toboggan at Riverdale Park

– Media credit: best_immigration


Address: 425 Carlton St. #381, Toronto, ON M5A 2M3, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-392-6794

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 6am to 11pm

Another thing to do in the city is tobogganing. For this, you can hit up Riverdale Park. It’s right near Danforth and Broadview Ave, and let us tell you, it’s a blast. The slopes there are super steep, which makes for some epic sledding runs.

The best part here is that you get killer views of the city skyline while you’re zooming down the hill! 

Pro tip:
Up in the northern section, you’ll find most of the benches, and it’s a prime spot for people-watching. But if you head over to the southeast side, you’re in for a treat with some breathtaking views.

Go for a Winter Walk at Glen Stewart Ravine


Address: Glen Stewart Ravine, Toronto, ON M4E 1R9, Canada

Operating hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Stepping into the Glen Stewart Ravine during winter is like stepping into a whole other world right in the heart of Toronto. This place is tucked away in this picturesque forest, and when snow blankets the ravine, it’s pure magic.

Seriously, walking through there feels like something out of a fairy tale. It’s like a winter wonderland coming to life, right in the middle of the city. 

Pro tip:
Don’t forget to swing by Beaches Brewery for a beer and a wood oven pizza! It’s a must-try spot.

Experience Cross-Country Skiing at Tommy Thompson Park


Address: Tommy Thompson Park, 1 Leslie Street, Toronto

Contact details: +1 416-661-6600

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Friday: 4pm to 9pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 5:30am to 9pm

Located on the Toronto waterfront, Tommy Thompson Park is a unique man-made peninsula that extends five kilometers into Lake Ontario. The lake makes for an excellent place for cross-country skiing or a refreshing winter walk.

Pro tip:
Make sure to download the park map before you head out. It’s super handy for keeping track of how much farther you’ve got to go!

Drop by the Toronto Christmas Market


Address: 51 Gristmill Lane, Toronto, ON M5A 3R6, Canada

Contact details: +1 647-693-4646

Operating hours: Open at 10am from November 13, 2024 to December 31, 2024

Known as the Distillery District and the Winter Village, the Toronto Christmas Market features over 80 vendors where you can score unique holiday items and other knick knacks from all over the world.

The whole area is just buzzing with unique shops, restaurants, cafes, and galleries. It’s like a winter paradise for anyone looking for something fun to do in Toronto during the chilly months.

Pro tip:
Trust us, getting the express pass is a game-changer if you want to skip those pesky lines. Highly recommended!

Enjoy Downhill Skiing at Earl Bales Park

– Media credit: cuyuganelisse


Address: 4169 Bathurst St, North York, ON M3H 3P7, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-392-2489

Operating hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding and want a chill spot to hit the slopes, Earl Bales Park is where it’s at. It’s not the biggest ski center around, but it’s perfect for beginners and families.

They’ve got everything you need to get started: four lifts, a snow-making machine to keep the powder fresh, a ski school to learn the ropes, and equipment rentals so you don’t have to lug your gear around. 

Pro tip:
Keep in mind that it can get pretty dark around sunset since there aren’t many lamps in the area.

Savor Every Bite at St. Lawrence Market


Address: Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-392-7219

Operating hours: 

  • Tuesday to Friday: 9am to 7pm
  • Saturday: 7am to 5pm
  • Sunday: 10am to 5pm

St. Lawrence Market is like a foodie’s dream come true! It’s been around forever, one of the oldest markets in Canada and a total icon worldwide.

You’ve gotta check it out if you’re in Toronto. They’ve got over 120 local vendors selling all sorts of goodies – fresh produce, meats, seafood, baked treats, spices, cheese, you name it!

Pro tip:
Make sure to have your cash or debit card ready before you visit, as some stores only accept those forms of payment.

Shop at the Toronto Eaton Centre


Address: 220 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5B 2H1, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-598-8560

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Saturday: 10am to 9pm
  • Sunday: 11am to 7pm

Probably one of the top attractions in Toronto, Toronto Eaton Centre is one of the busiest malls in North America. 

The architecture is stunning, with these gorgeous vaulted glass ceilings and multi-level walkways that’ll make you feel like you’re in a futuristic wonderland. Plus, they’ve got this cool sculpture of geese.

During winter, the mall is decorated quite lovely, with twinkling reindeers, sculptures, and get this, a whopping 108-foot-tall Christmas tree! It’s the tallest one in Canada and it’s absolutely breathtaking.

Pro tip:
You’ll love this mall because it’s connected to the Toronto PATH, which is a network of underground pedestrian walkways in the downtown core. It’s super convenient!

Check Out the Castles at Casa Loma


Address: 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, ON M5R 1X8, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-923-1171

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 9:30am to 5pm

This Gothic Revival mansion and garden is a must-visit for history lovers and buffs alike. Originally built as a private home by Sir Henry Pellatt back in the early 1900s, it’s now been turned into this awesome museum you can explore.

The place is seriously impressive – think beautiful rooms, secret passageways, grand staircases, and lookout towers that’ll make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale.

Pro tip:
Oh, and don’t forget to check out the wax museum with celebrity figures! It’s totally unrelated to the castle, but it’s definitely worth a visit.

Browse through Vintage Stores at Kensington Market


Address: 160 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T 3K7, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-323-1924

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 9am to 12am

Kensington Market is nestled in one of the raddest neighborhoods in Toronto. This place is packed with all sorts of awesome spots – cozy cafes, vintage stores, bars, boutique shops, record stores, and ethnic restaurants .

And let us tell you, Kensington has always been the place where artists flock, so you know it’s got that super eclectic and lively vibe. It’s like a melting pot of creativity and culture, and just walking around there is an experience in itself.

Pro tip:
You might luck out with some street parking if you’re quick, but there are also plenty of parking decks available nearby.

Explore the Street Arts at Graffiti Alley


Address: South of Queen West

Contact details: 1-416-751-1342

Operating hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

If you’re into street art, you absolutely have to swing by Graffiti Alley! It’s this epic kilometer-long stretch tucked between Spadina Ave and Portland Street, and it’s like stepping into a whole other world of color and creativity.

The street art there is just next-level – so vibrant and iconic, you’ll find yourself snapping pics at every turn. And here’s a little tip: winter is actually a great time to visit because there tend to be fewer people around.

Pro tip:
The coolest thing is that the graffiti is always changing! As we walked down the street, we saw new pieces being spray-painted right before our eyes.

Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame


Address: 30 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5E 1X8, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-360-7765

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 10am to 5pm

If you’re a hockey fan, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a must-stop. It’s like a shrine for all things hockey, with exhibits on players, teams, NHL records, and all sorts of cool memorabilia.

They’ve also got tons of interactive stuff to do. You can go head-to-head with famous players in shoot-out simulations, test your skills, and really feel like you’re part of the action.

Pro tip:
It’s great because they give you a stamp on your hand, so you can easily go out and come back whenever you want!

Stop by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)


Address: 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-586-8000

Operating hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10am to 5:30pm

If you’re in need of a cozy indoor spot during the winter, you’ve gotta check out the Royal Ontario Museum. It’s the biggest museum in Canada, and you can easily spend hours exploring.

From the wonders of the natural world to the fascinating history of human culture, they’ve got it all covered with their world-renowned collections and innovative programs.

Seriously, they’ve got over six million items and 40 galleries to check out, showcasing everything from artifacts from around the globe to mind-blowing natural history exhibits. 

Pro tip:
Just a heads up, the ground level floor offers free entry for many months of the year. Keep that in mind when planning your visit!

Tour the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada


Address: 288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada

Contact details: +1 647-351-3474

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 9am to 9pm

If you’re into aquatic life, you’ve gotta check out Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. With over 20,000 aquatic specimens representing over 450 species, it’s the largest indoor aquarium in Canada.

Whether you’re mesmerized by the colorful fish, fascinated by the graceful movements of the jellyfish, or in awe of the majestic sharks, there’s so much to see and explore.

And when you need a breather, they’ve even got a play area and food court about halfway through the aquarium. 

Pro tip:
After 5pm, you can snag discounted tickets, and it’s handy to bring your own food since options around the area tend to dwindle towards the end of the day.

Check out the Museum of Illusions


Address: 132 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1E2, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-889-2285

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Thursday: 10am to 7pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 10am to 8pm

The Museum of Illusions is a total blast – it’s like a playground for your mind! With over 80 illusions, holograms, installations, and exhibits, this place is all about mixing fun and entertainment with a side of education.

There’s so much cool stuff to see and do there. From mind-bending optical illusions to mind-boggling holograms, you’ll be amazed at every turn.

Pro tip:Keep an eye out for posters with other fun science facts scattered around different spots.

Keep Up with the Toronto Maple Leafs


Address: 50 Bay Street, Suite 500. Toronto, ON M5J 2L2

Contact details: 416-703-5323

Hey, sports fans, listen up – you can’t visit Toronto without catching a Toronto Maple Leafs game! These guys are the heart and soul of Toronto hockey, and let us tell you, watching them play is an absolute thrill.

You can watch them at Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto to catch all the action. It’s not just a game, it’s a whole evening of Canadian entertainment that’ll have you on the edge of your seat cheering for the home team.

Pro tip:
Double-check for any major city events or road closures before you head out. You don’t want any surprises!

Dive into the Wilderness at Evergreen Brick Works


Address: 550 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4W 3X8, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-596-7670

Operating hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Evergreen Brick Works is the place to be in Toronto during winter! They’ve got it all – an outdoor skating rink, an indoor farmers market to warm up and grab some goodies, and plenty of scenic walking trails to explore.

But here’s the real treat: the park is teeming with interesting wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for some cool critters while you’re there!

Pro tip:
It’s best to go in the morning since they don’t have a lot of parking spots available.

Warm up in Allan Gardens


Address: 160 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M5A 2E5, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-392-7288

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 10am to 5pm

If you’re a garden enthusiast, you’ve gotta check out Allan Gardens during the winter! This indoor botanical garden boasts five greenhouses filled with all sorts of lush foliage.

The conservatory’s Victorian charm adds a special vibe to the whole experience. And during the winter months, the garden is decked out in stunning decorations, creating a magical atmosphere.

Pro tip:
They really appreciate it when you bring in things like used coffee grounds to be used as compost!