Canada in the winter is exceptional. The country comes alive in a whole different way to the summertime. While temperatures can reach minus degrees, as long as you’re wrapped up well, you won’t even feel the cold. Imagine being toasty and warm, while having fun throwing snowballs and ice-skating in the heart of Toronto. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? Toronto serves up a slice of fun and winter realness which is completely unmissable. Save your next trip to Toronto for the winter, and you can thank me after you do.
1. Admire the winter view from the CN Tower
One of my favourite parts about visiting any city is the sky high views. Nothing beats it. However, it wasn’t until Toronto that I had ever admired miles of cityscape covered in a blanket of white snow from the CN Tower – the 9th largest free-standing structure. It’s truly something else. In 50 seconds flat, you’re rocketed up to the LookOut which is 1,136 feet high, giving you 360-degree floor to ceiling panoramic views of the city.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you should take part in Toronto’s most EXTREME attraction, the edge walk. Imagine leaning back over Toronto with nothing but air and breathtaking views of Lake Ontario beneath you? Definitely one of the thrill seekers!
2. Check out the street art in Queens
If you haven’t heard of the famous street art in Queens, you have now. Saunter down to the Queens area, and take your camera along. You’ll get to experience some of the best street art you have seen, with some of Toronto’s best street artists coming together to create an array of tasteful pieces of art, which some of the most realistic murals too. If you’re in Queens, I also recommend checking out the local independent shops and stopping by to have lunch at La Palma.
3. Spend a morning at Riley’s Aquarium
Ripley’s Aquarium is like no other aquarium in the world, with over 20,000 exotic and freshwater specimens, which makes it a perfect indoor activity to start the day. This underwater adventure takes on you on an interactive journey throughout the aquarium, you can get up close and friendly with sharks, as they swim above you in the heart-pounding Dangerous Lagoon or transport yourself to the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific at the Rainbow Reef.
Have you ever wanted to touch a shark or a stingray? Well, now’s your chance at the Shoreline Gallery. Run your fingers against the sandpaper-like skin of a Bamboo Shark or the silky smooth skin of a Southern Stingray, it will be an experience you will never forget.
4. Catch the sunset at Polson Pier
The winter evenings in Toronto bring a certain beauty around, especially when it comes to night time activities and chasing the early sunsets. I discovered this little hidden gem on my recent visit to Toronto, and I have to admit it was the best sunset I have EVER experienced. Imagine being in a remote location, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Right in front of open water, with the small ripples and waves crashing into each other softly and the sky starts to turn firey and throw some shades of apricot into the sky, like a famous masterpiece right over the skyscrapers. Pure bliss.
5. Escape the cold for a coffee
Toronto is known for its coffee, more than any other nearby Canadian city. Especially in the winter time, you need those hot drinks to warm your cockles and escape from the cold weather from time to time. You can’t visit Toronto without trying a couple of these “must-try” coffee hotspots that I discovered on my recent trip.
6. Take a trip to Casa Loma
Casa Loma is one of the majestic jewels of Toronto. Once owned by a Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, a Canadian soldier and financier. His finances grew, after being the chairman of 21 companies and so did his love for castles. With 17-million Canadian Dollars (equates to 412-million Canadian Dollars now) he built a 98-room castle in the middle of Toronto over three years and named it Casa Loma. He had 40-live in staff and spent his money in unique ways, such as having his horses’ stable door nameplates made in 24-carat gold. But, sadly it was his frugal ways that sent him into bankruptcy with a vast decline in his business too, forcing Sir Pellatt to sell. It is great to visit Casa Loma as it stands now, still in its entirety, with many of Sir Pellat’s original attributes.
7. Winter light festival
Throughout the winter in Toronto, you can experience the talent of local art creators at Ontario Place. The Winter Light Festival brings utilising creativity, innovation, light and discovery to showcase the new exhibit that has the theme of “Disruptive Engagement.”
You can also find some great independent stores, stalls and an array of places to eat and drink. Definitely the perfect way to spend a wintery evening in Toronto.
8. Winter ice skating in the heart of Toronto
Who doesn’t love ice skating?! Toronto knows exactly how to put on winter activities for locals and tourists to enjoy. From DJ skate night, which is starts after 8 pm until the early hours of the morning with club style lighting and popping tunes all night as you skate, right through to skating at the Nathan Phillips Square, right in front of the famous multi-coloured Toronto sign, open from 9am-10pm from November through to March.
What are your favourite winter activities in Toronto?
Until next time…