With skyscrapers, bustling Yonge Street, and endless city-related attractions, it’s hard to imagine Toronto as a hub for snowy adventures. But nestled within and just outside the rows of businesses and busy streets sit a collection of open spaces tailored for outdoor activities. You may be under the impression that there’s not a lot of things to do in Toronto in winter, especially when it comes to adventure, but we’re here to prove your thinking wrong!
Read on to find a list of Toronto winter activities, gain insight into winter weather in this popular eastern Canadian city, and find some unreal deals for accommodations and snowy adventures.
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Best Outdoor Winter Activities in and around Toronto
If you’re heading to Toronto for a business trip, a family gathering, or some event, and you find yourself getting antsy, don’t worry! We can assure you that there are things to do in Toronto in winter for outdoor lovers.
Take a look at the following fun things to do in Toronto in winter, pick your favourites, and off you go for some fresh air and lanes of snow-laden trees, immersed in a canopy of white—away from city lights.
*Be sure to double-check the websites of the following attractions as some places may have restrictions or may be closed due to COVID-19.*
Surprisingly, you can find a vast network of snowshoeing trails around Toronto!
One of the closest and easiest trails near Toronto is the 1.2km Bronte Coronation and Battery Park Trail. You can access this short route via public transit. It’s great for a quick dose of fresh air and glimpses of stunning, snowy scenery. The 1.6km King’s Mill Park Trail offers a similar experience! Get a short snowshoe before getting on with your day.
Not into these options? Give the Edwards Garden Trail winds through 4 acres of snow-sprinkled gardens. Side note: if you’re here in the spring, you’ll want to come back and check out the 12 gardens peppering this area!
More dedicated snowshoers who don’t mind mixing up historical city views with nature will love the storied 7.0km Cedarvale Ravine and the Beltline Trail. Get some exercise while you explore Ernest Hemingway’s 1920s neighbourhood. This fun route starts at Rosedale subway station and finishes at Davisville station.
Train to become the next great forward on the Toronto Maple Leafs by skating at one of the many rinks dotting this city. (Or, maybe it’s better to imagine you’re good enough to play with the Maple Leafs or to train like Canada’s favourite figure skaters: Tessa and Scott.) Lace-up your skates in one—or all—of the following rinks:
Barbara Ann Scott Skating Trail: This is an artificially cooled skating rink situated in the thick of downtown Toronto! You don’t have to worry about this rink melting on warmer winter days.
The Bentway: Weave in and out around concrete pillars! And whenever you want a break, you can sip some alcohol-infused hot chocolate or mulled wine at Winter Village.
Greenwood Park: Now, this is where you can train to become the next Toronto Maple Leaf (or pick another NHL team—one that will actually win a Stanley Cup)! You can play shinny here, and there’s a roof to help keep you comfortable if it rains or snows.
Fat tyre biking
Fat tyre biking is the perfect answer for avid bikers seeking natural views and thrilling trails when snow covers the land. Thankfully, you can find some exciting routes in and near Toronto. Some of these trails include the 20.0km Eldred King, the relatively easy 8.0km Whitchurch trail, the more challenging 35.0km Durham Forest and 20.0km Glen Major. The best part is that these trails are all free.
Rent your fat bike from Oxygen Bike Co!
*Oxygen Bike Co and many rental stores aren’t renting out bikes during COVID-19.*
Don’t own snowshoes, a fat bike, or cross country skis? Lace-up your boots, dress in winter-friendly layers and get ready for one of the best outdoor activities in Toronto: hiking (or walking since the trails below are pretty chill). Don’t expect crazy inclines on the following tracks, making them easier to navigate in slippery conditions.
Sun Valley Loop in Crothers Woods: Escape into nature within the heart of Toronto on this short but enjoyable 2.4km walk. Begin your snowy walk at the Loblaws entrance.
Scarlett Mills Park: Walk along Humber River on this gentle trail that winds through stunning scenery. You may even spot some small waterfalls!
Rouge National Urban Park: For more of a hiking experience (rather than gentle walks), head to Rouge National Urban Park, where you can find a range of easy to intermediate routes.
Skiing and snowboarding in Toronto
You won’t find top-notch skiing and snowboarding super close to Toronto, but you can find some areas within three hours outside of the city. They may not be tailored for experienced riders, but the slopes give anyone a chance to enjoy a day immersed in nature with a sprinkle of thrill.
Take a look at three ski resorts that are between 1-1.5 hours from Toronto:
Mount St. Louis Moonstone: Drive around an hour to reach this family-friendly ski resort near Barrie, Ontario. Choose from 36 runs when you’re here! If you’re feeling up for it, try out the terrain park.
Horseshoe Resort: You’ll find an excellent combination of Green, Blue, and Black Diamond runs here with most of these falling into the Black Diamond range. It takes around 1.5 hours to reach this resort from Toronto.
Lakeridge Ski Resort: Just 60.0km to 70.0km from Toronto sits the Lakeridge Ski Resort. The 23 trails spanning this park meet the needs of all levels. Challenge yourself on their two terrain parks!
Don’t feel like driving? Consider these two beginner-intermediate-friendly ski resorts in Toronto: Centennial Ski Resort and Earl Bales Park (you’ll find more intermediate trails here). They are only 25-30 minutes away from downtown.
Cross country skiing around Toronto
Glide through lanes of snow-frosted trees on cross country skis without travelling crazy distances to woodland areas! You may not consider cross country skiing when you’re in the thick of the city, but it’s one of the most popular Toronto winter activities for outdoor enthusiasts. For a trails network, head to High Park, Tommy Thompson Park, Don Valley Ravine Trails (Crothers Woods, Sun Valley, Cottonwood Flats), the 9.0km Beltline Trail, or Toronto Island Park. You’ll have to take a ferry to reach Toronto Island Park, and it costs $8.19 per adult for a round trip.
This may be an indoor activity, but it’s still a winter sport, so we think it perfectly fits this list of Toronto winter activities. While most rinks only allow members to enter or play, you can still find places that rent out to smaller groups. Leaside Curling Club rents its ice out to individuals, groups, and organizations!
Toronto puts on an ice sculpture spectacle once a year! If you’re in Toronto on Feb. 8 and 9, 2020, head to Bloor-Yorkville Ice Fest to marvel at dazzling, soaring sculptures and for an epic scavenger hunt.
Toronto Christmas Market
Get into the holiday spirit by visiting the cheery, uplifting, festive Toronto Christmas Market! Visit Santa’s House, walk amid shimmering lighting and fun decor, go on a distillery district walking tour, admire the massive Christmas tree, and so much more.
You have to pay for admission on weekends, but it only costs $8 for an advanced ticket and $12 for a day-of-purchase ticket, which isn’t so bad for one of the biggest Toronto winter attractions, right?!
Best Winter Deals In And Around Toronto
You won’t want to miss out on the best winter deals in and around Toronto when you’re stopping by for a few days! Take advantage of the following:
Best Accommodation Deals around Toronto
Chelsea Hotel Staycation Package: This staycation deal includes a lot: choose your room, 15% off food and drink at Market Garden, free parking, and they also cover the taxes!
Fairmont Royal York Canadian Residents’ Rate: Take advantage of this deal, which lasts until December 31! When you use this offer, you get 10% off the best available rate, $25 daily dining credit, a room upgrade (depending on availability), self-parking, and late checking (depending on availability).
Holiday Inn Holiday Party: Gather family and extended family for a fun COVID-friendly holiday party at the Holiday Inn! This package includes a special room rate ($89 plus taxes), festive table centrepiece, holiday tree, non-alcoholic welcome punch, special parking rate.
Best Ski Deals around Toronto
Ski and Stay at Horseshoe Resort: For $235, receive one night’s accommodation, a Day N’ Night Lift Ticket per guest per night, and a bonus lift ticket for each guest on arrival day!
Buy One, Get One Couplet Booklet: With this booklet, you get 7 coupons for either Buy One, Get One or Half Price Day or Night Lift Ticket, and 2 coupons for Buy One, Get One or Half Price Day or Ski or Snowboard Rental Equipment. You can’t redeem these coupons on Boxing Day, New Years Day, or Family Day.
Best Outdoor Deals around Toronto
Tubing parties at Mount Chinguacousy Ski Area: Just 50 minutes from Toronto, this ski area offers night tubing and party packages! You can call their office at 905-458-6555 ext 63707 to find out more about this thrilling winter activity.
Winter Weather in Toronto
When Toronto gets cold, it’s the type of chill that sifts through your skin and torches your bones. Being close to the coast, the weather is humid, making 0°C to -10°C in Toronto feel worse than -40°C in the Canadian prairies. The winter weather in Toronto is biting! Don’t let the thermometer fool you, and come prepared with layers and layers of clothes.
On average, the Toronto winter temperature varies between 3°C and -7°C.
What to Wear during Winter in Toronto
Considering what to wear during winter in Toronto boils down to one word only: layers. When walking around downtown, it’s totally okay to rock jeans, but try to layer your upper half with a long-sleeved shirt, fleece or sweater, and a winter jacket on top. Do wear a toque, scarf, and mittens, too.
For outdoor adventures, wear similar clothes on your upper half and layer your legs with long johns and moveable waterproof pants or pyjamas and snow pants (if you’re boarding, skiing)!
Fun Winter Facts about Toronto
Tell the following fun winter facts about Toronto to your friends and family as you travel:
- In 1943, Toronto recorded its lowest temperature ever without wind chill at -31.3°C.
- Toronto averages around 301 days of measurable sunshine, with December recording the least at 19.
- This isn’t a winter fact, but Toronto has over 10 million trees!
- And another non-winter fact: Yonge Street is the longest street on Earth.
- Toronto has 52 outdoor skating rinks.
Toronto may be a thriving city, but it’s glittery winter atmosphere makes any visitor feel cozy and welcomed!