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What Winter Is Like In Toronto: All You Need to Know

What Winter Is Like In Toronto All You Need to Know

Not everyone knows how cold Toronto can get, whether they’re visiting or staying for longer. Torontian weather can also be unpredictable at times, so it’s best to know what you’re getting into instead of going in blindly. 

Today, we’ll get into the nitty gritty of facing the frosty flows of winter in Toronto!

What is Toronto like in winter?

Toronto in winter is cold with temperatures often near freezing points. Snow can cover the outdoors almost overnight as the average snowfall in downtown Toronto is 121.5 cm (47.83 in).

You’ll usually see people wearing more winter clothes, bundled up with layers of coats, gloves, and hats. Also, the amount of sunlight gets shorter and the nights lengthen during winter.

High Park is one of the most picturesque Torontian landmarks for winter, and it’s here that you’ll see most visitors meet up for various winter activities.

Winter also brings out festivals like Winterlicious and the Toronto Light Festival to bring colour against the starkness of the snow. 

And yes, this is the time when you can sip your hot cocoa and enjoy winter’s playful nip from Christmas to New Year’s, whether from the inside looking out or outdoors enjoying the cold.

What months does it snow in Toronto?

Snow in Toronto typically starts in late November and lasts until March, with peak snowfall occurring in December and January. Snow’s pretty big all over Toronto, and it sees an average of 133 centimetres (52 inches) annually. 

If that isn’t enough, be prepared for occasional rainfall, freezing rain, and some hail during the winter months. In this case, it pays to be cautious and check for weather updates to see if you’ll need to bring additional protection from the elements.

How long does the Toronto winter last?

Winters in Toronto last about 4 months, and that’s the rough estimate. The snow starts falling in December and usually ends in March.

Torontians have gotten pretty used to temps averaging -1°C to -6°C (30°F to 21°F) in December, January, and February, but it can feel even colder due to wind chill. 

Visiting Toronto during winter is up to you now that you know what to expect. But if you ask us, it’s one of the best times to go due to all the activities that spring up once the cold season sets in.

How can I enjoy winter in Toronto?

There are so many sights, sounds, and tastes that you can enjoy while wintering in Toronto. We’ve curated some activities for you from the popular to the quirky, to help you decide which ones to go to and which ones to think about.

View snow-covered Toronto from the CN Tower

– Media credit: cntower


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

Contact details: 416-868-6937

Operating hours: 

  • Opens daily from 10 AM – 9 PM

Given the CN Tower’s iconic status and dominance in the Toronto skyline, your first visit to the city is incomplete without a trip to the top. Standing at 553 metres, it has spectacular views of the city and Lake Ontario. 

You can also walk on the glass floor or, for an additional fee, check out the SkyPod at 447 metres.

Not enough? Try the Edgewalk, the highest external walk in the world, where you’ll be strapped into a cable system and navigate around the CN Tower hands-free.

Pro Tip:

Hanging around tall buildings isn’t for the faint of heart. 

If you prefer a more grounded experience, get a seat at the 360 Restaurant for revolving views. Same skylines, but it’s better enjoyed with a hot drink and meal.

View Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

– Media credit: ripleysaquaca


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

Contact details: 647-351-3474

Operating hours: 

  • Opens daily from 9 AM – 9 PM

If you feel a connection to the aquatic life, a visit to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, conveniently close to the CN Tower, is a signal for your inner Aquaman. 

It’s one of Toronto’s top attractions, with over 20,000 aquatic specimens from 450 species, making it Canada’s largest indoor aquarium. It’s a win-win: you don’t have to get wet to enjoy time with the fish. 

Pro Tip:

Visit the shark exhibits with their impressive 10-foot sharks and two of the world’s longest underwater tunnels. 

Shop to your heart’s desire at the Toronto Eaton Centre

– Media credit: cftoeatoncentre


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

Contact details: 416-598-8560

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Saturday: 10 AM – 9 PM
  • Sunday: 11 AM – 7 PM

The Eaton Centre is a must-visit, even if you’re just there to admire the architecture or watch the shoppers inside. Spanning two blocks, it has over 250 retail stores, and you’re bound to get inside at least one of them.

During Christmas, the mall transforms with twinkling holiday sculptures and a soaring Christmas tree. Here, aside from boutiques, you’ll find fantastic food options that offer steaks, fast food, sushi, and more. 

Pro Tip:

Interactive installations are often put up to allow shoppers to appreciate new forms of art, with some being temporary and others more permanent. 

Go skating at Nathan Phillips Square

– Media credit: nathanphillipsquare


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

Contact details: 416-392-2489

Operating hours: 

  • Open 24 hours

Outdoor skating is a Canadian winter activity, and there are fantastic spots across the city to enjoy this timeless tradition.

Nathan Phillips Square is almost as iconic as the CN Tower, being the backdrop for countless events, concerts, and farmers’ markets. When winter comes, the outdoor skating rink comes alive.

Pro Tip:

Bring your own pair and skate for free! Otherwise, you can rent if you forgot to bring your skates – just remember they accept cash only.

Shop at the Nathan Phillips Square Holiday Fair

– Media credit: thephoenixking90


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

Contact details: 416-392-2489

Operating hours: 

  • Opens daily from 12 PM – 7 PM

At Nathan Phillips Square, it’s not just about outdoor ice skating; there’s also the Holiday Fair in December. A 60-foot-high Christmas tree with over 500,000 twinkling lights greets you when you enter. 

As you wander through the fair, you’ll be surrounded by local craftspeople and artists with their products, all uniquely made. Holiday-themed rides, playful games, and even a photo booth with good ol’ Santa will cheer you up even in the coldest winter.

Pro Tip:

The fair is dog-friendly, though you might want to keep your canine companion on a leash so you won’t lose him in the crowd.

Take a wintery walk at Glen Stewart Ravine

– Media credit: blogto


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

Operating hours: 

  • Open 24 hours

In the winter months, why not enjoy a peaceful stroll surrounded by snow-covered trees? It’s easier than you might think, especially in a place like Toronto. 

A top spot for a winter walk is Glen Stewart Ravine. The 1.5-kilometre trail features wooden boardwalks, dirt paths, and snow-covered staircases, offering a simple yet charming winter experience. 

Pro Tip:

Bring along some hot cocoa while you walk about the trail and you just might forget you’re still right in the heart of Toronto.

Go sledding at Riverdale Park


Address: 550 Broadview Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 2N6, Canada

Contact details: 416-392-2489

Operating hours: 

  • Open 24 hours

Another classic Canadian winter thrill is sledding – all you need is a sled, a hill, get to the top, and then slide down! Riverdale Park is your perfect venue as it has steep slopes to keep you zooming through the winter’s snow.

Just a word of caution: always exercise safety when sledding. If you’re in doubt about your skills, stick to the gentler slopes or have someone with you at all times.

Pro Tip:

Riverdale Park can get pretty popular and crowded during winter. If you’re into a quieter spot, then Trinity Bellwoods Park is your backup choice.

Indulge in the eclectic lifestyle at Kensington Market

– Media credit: kensingtonmarketbia


Address: Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Operating hours: 

  • Varies according to shops

Kensington Market is one of Toronto’s coolest neighbourhoods, filled with cozy cafes, vintage stores with decades-old charm, lively bars, boutique shops, record stores, and authentic ethnic restaurants. 

It’s been the artists’ hub of Toronto for years, making it an eclectic and vibrant place to immerse yourself in. The main attraction, aside from soaking in the lively atmosphere, is the food scene. 

Your taste buds will thank you when you join the guided food tour or, better yet, go on a food adventure on your own. 

And that’s just the start – there’s FIKA Cafe for coffee lovers, Your journey through Kensington Market promises not just a culinary adventure, but a full-sensory experience in one of Toronto’s most vibrant locales.

Pro Tip:

Some top picks include Pow Wow Cafe (Native American), Seven Lives Tacos Y Mariscos (Mexican), and Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles. 

Also, don’t miss Kensington Brewing Company if you’re a beer enthusiast, and Moo Frites for the best French fries your taste buds will ever get to try. 

Check out the Toronto Christmas Market

– Media credit: toxmasmarket


Address: 55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4, Canada

Contact details: 416-364-1177

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Thursday: 10 AM – 6 PM
  • Friday to Saturday: 10 AM – 7 PM
  • Sunday: 11 AM – 6 PM

Toronto’s Christmas Market in the Distillery District is a must-visit during the holiday season. It’s not just a beautiful spot; it’s globally ranked among the top Christmas markets. 

You can stroll through the cobblestone streets, surrounded by festive light canopies and decorations, and gawk at the magnificent 50-foot Christmas tree put up annually.

This charming historic neighbourhood also hosts numerous restaurants and pubs, perfect for light lunches or hearty dinners. Plus, there are stores that might have you leaving with souvenirs.

Pro Tip:

You’ll need tickets for the Toronto Christmas Market, particularly on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays after 4 PM. Otherwise, entry is free at any other time.

Eat your way in and out of St. Lawrence Market

– Media credit: oldtowntoronto


Address: Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada

Contact details: 416-392-7219

Operating hours: 

  • Closed on Monday
  • Tuesday to Friday: 9 AM – 7 PM
  • Saturday: 7 AM – 5 PM
  • Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM

St. Lawrence Market is known as one of the best food markets and a haven for food enthusiasts. Established in 1803, it stands as one of Canada’s oldest markets, with over 120 local vendors. 

A diverse range of fresh produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, spices, cheese, and other unique products wait for you to discover them. 

Trust us, the only thing you need to bring here is some cash and your appetite.

Pro Tip:

Cash remains the main form of payment, although some merchants will accept credit or debit cards. When in doubt, bring cash.

Revisit romance at Casa Loma in the winter

– Media credit: casalomatoronto


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

Contact details: 416-923-1171

Operating hours: 

  • Opens daily from 9:30 AM – 5 PM

If castles are your thing, Casa Loma in mid-town Toronto should be on your radar. This Gothic Revival-styled mansion, initially built as a private home by Sir Henry Pellatt in the early 20th century, is now a year-round favorite attraction turned museum.

It’s a thrill to walk through the beautiful rooms, discover secret passageways, climb sweeping staircases, go up lookout towers, and imagine what your life would be like in the days of the past.

Pro Tip:

Tickets for adults 18 to 64 are at $44.49 ($40.00 + $4.49 fees). And if you’re feeling famished, there’s High Tea at the Castle where premium teas, piping-hot scones, gourmet pastries, and tea sandwiches await hungry diners.

Discover urban street art at Graffiti Alley

– Media credit: graffitalleyt.o

Address: 513 Queen Street W. Toronto, ON M5V 2B4

Operating hours: 

  • Open 24 hours

If you appreciate street art, Graffiti Alley during winter is a good fit. Stretching a kilometre between Spadina Ave and Portland Street, this alley is a hub of beautiful and iconic street art. 

Bursting with colour and creativity, the strip usually draws crowds, but in winter, the scene transforms into a quieter, equally enchanting experience. 

Pro Tip:

If you’re into going deeper into the area and the art, there’s a tour with the Graffiti Alley InstaTour guys for new perspectives.

Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame

– Media credit: thehockeyhalloffame


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

Contact details: 416-360-7765

Operating hours: 

  • Opens daily from 10 AM – 5 PM

There’s hockey, and there’s Canadian hockey. If you’re the latter, then a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame is a must on your list. 

Inside the beautiful historic Bank of Montreal building, you’ll find exhibits about players, teams, NHL records, and memorabilia, including the permanent home of the Stanley Cup. 

Pro Tip:

You can ooh and aah at items from your favourite players, snap a photo with the Stanley Cup, or engage in interactive activities like facing off against famous hockey players in a shoot-out simulation.

Channel your inner Einstein at the Ontario Science Centre

– Media credit: ontariosciencecentre


Address: 770 Don Mills Rd., North York, ON M3C 1T3, Canada

Contact details: 416-696-1000

Operating hours: 

  • Closed on Monday
  • Tuesday to Friday: 10 AM – 4 PM
  • Saturday to Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM

If you’re up for even more mental gymnastics and knowledge power, the Ontario Science Centre deserves a spot on your itinerary. This science museum has over 500 interactive exhibits covering geology, astronomy, anatomy, music, and technology. 

Here, visitors of all ages can learn through play and discover how to think like a scientist every day. If you think you or people that you know have the brains for it, feed your mind with extra doses of discovery and hands-on learning.

Pro Tip:

The Ontario Science Centre is also home to Toronto’s only public planetarium and Ontario’s only IMAX® Dome theatre. Note that the film tickets are sold separately.

Gaze at the creations found at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

– Media credit: agotoronto


Address: 317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4, Canada

Contact details: 416-979-6648

Operating hours: 

  • Closed on Monday
  • Tuesday: 10:30 AM – 5 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 9 PM
  • Thursday: 10:30 AM – 5 PM
  • Friday: 10:30 AM – 9 PM
  • Saturday to Sunday: 10:30 AM- 5:30 PM

Calling all art lovers: get out of the cold and into the warmth at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). 

With over 95,000 works from global artists, you’ll enjoy the vast 45,000-square-foot complex. Beautiful paintings, contemporary art, interactive exhibits, and intricate sculptures are displayed, rotated, and sometimes replaced with new ones. 

Pro Tip:

If you visit on a Wednesday evening, admission is free.

Pay a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

– Media credit: romtoronto


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

Contact details: 416-586-8000

Operating hours: 

  • Closed on Monday
  • Tuesday to Sunday: 10 AM – 5:30 PM

When the winter chill gets a bit too much, the Royal Ontario Museum is your go-to visit for doses of trivia. With over six million items spread across 40 galleries, the ROM takes you through nature and humankind’s history.

Whether you’re into dinosaurs, minerals, meteorites, or the world’s largest collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale, the museum has it all, a staggering 150,000 specimens.

Exploring other cultures? They’ve got an extensive art collection featuring Canadian, African, Near Eastern, East Asian, and European influences. 

Are classical and modern masterpieces more your thing? The ROM also has a unique collection of design and fine art, covering everything from clothing to interior and product design, with a special nod to Art Deco.

Pro Tip:

We suggest dedicating at least a half day to soak in the richness of this cultural and historical treasure trove.

Question reality at the Museum Of Illusions

– Media credit: museumofillusions_toronto


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

Contact details: 416-889-2285

Operating hours: 

  • Sunday to Thursday: 10 AM – 7 PM
  • Friday to Saturday: 10 AM – 8 PM

At the Museum of Illusions, reality takes a quirky turn, and what seems unbelievable becomes the norm. With over 80 illusions, holograms, installations, and exhibits, it’s a unique blend of fun, entertainment, and learning.

Your sense of balance will be challenged in the Vortex tunnel or you can channel your inner Einstein with mind-bending games, and explore the quirky Tilted and upside-down rooms to grasp the laws of gravity and size ratio. 

Pro Tip:

The museum takes about an hour and a quarter to go through, even if you go through every exhibit. Oh, don’t forget to bring your camera!

Cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena

– Media credit: scotiabankarena


Address: 40 Bay St., Toronto, ON M5J 2X2, Canada

Contact details: 416-815-5500

Operating hours: 

  • Dependent on the event, but generally doors open at 6 PM

For that Toronto winter experience, why not catch a historic Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game at the Scotiabank Arena? As one of the original NHL teams, the Leafs are legendary, even though they haven’t clinched a Stanley Cup since 1967.

You can prepare for future events by checking the arena’s lineup, giving you the freedom to plan your beers and cheers way before the actual games.

Also, the venue isn’t limited to the Leafs. Why not check out concerts and other activities that might just work with your schedule?

Pro Tip:

Check out apps to snag tickets in the upper section of the arena, making your visit and support a more affordable way to enjoy the game-day atmosphere.

Spend a day at the Toronto Island

– Media credit: destination_toronto


Operating hours: 

  • Depends on the ferry schedule

You can’t miss that one big island in Lake Ontario when you check the views from CN Tower. That’s Toronto Island.

It’s accessible by ferry all year round. 

In the summer, it’s a playground for boating, hiking, biking, kayaking, and swimming. But in winter, it’s the perfect setting for scenic walks and cross-country skiing.

You’ll be exploring trails with great city views and frozen lagoons. The skyline is even more breathtaking when you wait for sunset.

Pro Tip:

Want to try cross-country skiing? Make sure to rent your skis before reaching the Toronto Islands. 

A convenient spot for ski rentals is Mountain Equipment Company.

Go on a day trip To Niagara Falls

– Media credit: niagarafalls


Address: 6650 Niagara Parkway. (River Rd) Niagara Falls, ON L2G 0L0

Operating hours: 

  • Open 24 hours

Just 130 kilometres away from Toronto, Niagara Falls is waiting for you in under two hours by car or bus. Here, you’ll experience one of the world’s largest waterfalls, and it’s even more breathtaking in winter with way fewer crowds. 

Get the best views of the falls, or take your time exploring the attractions. From the Bird Kingdom to the Butterfly Conservatory, there’s plenty to do.

Pro Tip:

If you don’t have a car and a bus is out of the question, you can always check the various tour packages for the falls.

How to Survive Winter in Toronto

Toronto’s winters can be deceptively harsh, no matter how beautiful the snow looks to you. Here’s what you need to prepare when going about in Toronto.

Wear Proper Winter Clothing

Pack your wardrobe with warm essentials: thermals, turtle necks, bomber jackets, snow pants, and waterproof outerwear like jackets and boots.

Layer Up

Even if you have the right gear, never forget layers when going out to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. Invest in waterproof snow clothing and prioritize quality over price.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Be ready for winter mishaps with a kit containing a de-icer, water, a first aid kit, non-perishable snacks, a small tool kit, a flashlight, some batteries, and a tow rope.

Pack Winter Essentials

Don’t forget moisturisers, creams, skin balms, and lip balms for the harsh Canadian winter. Keep your skin protected and hydrated.

Use Accessories

Essential accessories include hand warmers, beanies, wool gloves, quick-dry towels, and a waterproof phone case to survive Canadian winters.

Know Your Weather

Understand the dynamic weather conditions across Canada. Other cities tend to be warmer, while Toronto experiences more intense winters.

Maintain Essential Habits

Get enough sleep, maintain a balanced diet, and stay hydrated. Get the right vitamins, particularly Vitamin C and Vitamin D, which are all crucial for winter health.

Embrace and Accept Canadian Winters

It is what it is. So instead of complaining, explore winter activities like skiing, ice hockey, and skating. 

Just lean back, enjoy the beauty of snow-capped areas, savour Canadian winter delicacies, and simply make the most of this unique experience.