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Visiting Toronto in winter: Amazing things to do and see

Natasha Weiss
06/06/2022

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Although winter in Toronto is frosty, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! The city known for its diversity, luxurious destinations, family entertainment, and amazing sports venues will be an exciting discovery for every adventurer. 

Regardless of whether you are traveling solo, with your significant other, or with the whole family, seeing Canada’s largest city will be a great experience. In this article, we have created a list of top things to do in Toronto in winter. Go through them and find inspiration for your next trip!

Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame

Did you know that Canada is the birthplace of hockey? Winter is the perfect time to try the impressive sport yourself, but – if you prefer to watch it, not play it – make sure to include the Hockey Hall of Fame in your itinerary.

In 1967, Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup, and now the Hall of Fame is its permanent home. As you go through the museum, you will have the opportunity to see one of the finest collections of hockey artifacts in the world. Admire famous jerseys and NHL trophies and even go against animated versions of today’s best players – you will be surprised how much there is to do.

Go ice skating

Although it is fun to learn about the history of hockey, one of the best things to do in Toronto in winter is to hit an ice rink. As you can expect, the beautiful city is home to some of the most impressive ice rinks in the world, so you have plenty of options to choose from. 

To enjoy breathtaking views, head to the Harbourfront Centre. If you wish to take Instagram-friendly photos as you pass twinkling lights, consider visiting the West Island Rink. Nathan Phillips Square is the perfect place to glide past the iconic ‘Toronto’ sign. If you have the opportunity, plan your visit on a weekday, when there are fewer crowds to worry about.

Satisfy your inner foodie at the Distillery District

As far as gourmet experiences go, Toronto is one of the best destinations you can imagine. Regardless of what your preferences might be, you will find something that will satisfy your foodie cravings. Head to the famous Distillery District to try new flavors and memorable meals. 

Although it may seem like the Distillery District is all about drinks, the historic pedestrian-only neighborhood includes excellent restaurants and offers new dining experiences. 

To get your hands on fantastic tapas, head to Madrina’s. Fans of Mexican food won’t be disappointed by a visit to El Catrin. Pair your meal with a glass of margarita and take your taste buds to a new high! End your visit by stopping at Cluny Bistro, which is a paradise for all things chocolate, marshmallows, and ice cream.

Wander around the Kensington Market

Toronto has many vibrant neighborhoods worth checking out, but Kensington Market is the perfect place to get truly diverse experiences. Whatever you may need – restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, or bars – the area has got you covered. In fact, you could spend hours just wandering around it. 

On December 21st, a special event takes place – the Kensington Market Winter Solstice Festival. It is certainly the perfect way to kick off the holiday season!

Enjoy spectacular views from the CN Tower

Visiting Canada and not seeing the iconic CN Tower is a crime. For epic, panoramic views of the city, it is the best place to head. Not only is it the tallest building in Canada – up until a few years ago, it was even the tallest freestanding tower in the world.

Unfortunately, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa surpassed it, but that doesn’t take away from the magic the CN Tower has to offer.

Head to Niagara Falls

You might think the best time to visit Niagara Falls is summer when the water is rushing at full force, but that is not the truth. One of the best things to do in Toronto in winter is to visit the spectacular natural wonder because then it is partially frozen, creating a descending cascade.

Of course, taking the Mist boat tour won’t be an option in such cold weather. However, you can still enjoy the beauty by standing on the platforms. Then, once you have taken in all the views, hurry back inside to warm yourself up with hot apple cider. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

Go skiing or try snowshoeing

The great thing about visiting Toronto is that you can enjoy the best of both worlds – city life and being in nature. The Rouge Urban National Park is set on the border of Markham and Toronto, therefore, it is the perfect place to head for a day trip or even just a few hours. 

If you are a fan of cross country skiing or snowshoeing, the park includes 7.5 miles of trails. They aren’t maintained in winter, however, that doesn’t really matter if you wish to try one of these activities. Conveniently, throughout the park, there are plenty of bus stops and places to park.

See the Toronto Islands

Seeing Toronto Islands is a ‘must’ regardless of which season you are planning your Canadian adventure. Most travelers head there in the summertime since the islands offer many outdoor activities (even hitting the beach), but they will charm you also in the coldest winters. 

At the islands, you can enjoy an awe-inspiring view of Toronto’s skyline, including the CN Tower and the many tall buildings. Center, Hanlan, and Ward’s Islands are set on Lake Ontario and can be accessed by hopping on a few minutes ferry ride from downtown. In this article, you can find tips and tricks on how to plan a trip with multiple stops.

In winter, the ferry goes only to Ward’s Island. The entire trip should take around 15 minutes. To purchase tickets, head to Jack Layton Terminal.

Discover Casa Loma

A unique fact about Toronto is that it has a ‘castle’ right in the heart of the city. Casa Loma, which used to belong to a wealthy businessman, is now a museum open to every curious visitor. The enormous castle includes 98 rooms, gardens, a wine cellar, and a stunning outdoor area that offers splendid views of the city’s skyline. 

Constructed in Gothic-Renaissance style, the impressive building is one of the best historic attractions in Toronto. To learn more about the glamour of the high society of the past, Casa Loma should certainly be on your travel itinerary. Take a look at this article to find information on creating the perfect itinerary.

Wind down at a spa

Toronto is known to have some of the best spas in the world. After bitter winds seem too much, soaking out the shivers is the best solution. In the city, you will find many luxurious spas that offer treatments you wouldn’t even believe to exist. 

A favorite for many is Spa My Blend by Clarins at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto. An aroma-infused hot tub, sauna, and eucalyptus steam room will be the perfect choice for winding down after a long day of exploring. Another place that should be on your travel bucket list is Stillwater Spa at the revamped Park Hyatt Hotel.

Cheer on the Maple Leafs

When searching for the most epic things to do in Toronto in winter, consider checking out a Maple Leafs game at the Scotiabank Arena. Canadians are all about hockey, so seeing their favorite team is a great way to get a feel of the local life. 

Make sure to purchase tickets well in advance because they sell out quickly. If you don’t want to spend so much money, you can also see an AHL game with the Toronto Marlies. Another option is to head to Maple Leaf Square, where the games are broadcast on an 80x50ft screen. 

Admire Canada's finest art

To get a different perspective on the city, consider visiting the Art Gallery of Ontario on Dundas Street. The AGO is regarded as one of Canada’s most loved tourist attractions, and if you are an enthusiast of art, you won’t be disappointed. 

A highlight of the museum is the Thomson Collection, which includes beautiful artwork of Canadian landscapes. From Paul Kane to Lawren Harris, getting to know Canada’s finest artists will be an exciting experience.

Take a walk at the High Park

When the temperature drops, most locals swarm to High Park to enjoy relaxing walks in nature. Take a stroll along Grenadier Pond and admire the many ice skaters or try to spot plucky duck families trying to stay warm in the bitter cold. Just remember to bring a cup of hot tea! 

Toronto really is a city of endless opportunities. In this article, we’ve only covered the tip of an iceberg, but there are many other cool things to do in Toronto in winter. Don’t be afraid of the cold! 

There is something magical about exploring the city in snowy weather. As long as you dress properly and pack the right things, you should be alright! Check out this article to learn which gadgets are a ‘must’ for every traveler.

Natasha Weiss
06/06/2022

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