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How to Save Money on a Train Trip from Toronto to Vancouver
Traveling by train from Toronto to Vancouver can be a great way to explore the country and take in the scenery. However, it can also be expensive. Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks that you can use to save money on your train trip. Here are some of the best ways to save money on a train trip from Toronto to Vancouver.
One of the best ways to save money on a train trip is to book your tickets as early as possible. Most rail companies offer discounts for booking in advance, so it pays to plan ahead. Additionally, booking early will ensure that you get the best seats available and avoid any last-minute price hikes.
Take Advantage of Deals and Discounts
Rail companies often offer deals and discounts for certain routes or times of year. It pays to do your research and look for any special offers that may be available. Additionally, many rail companies offer loyalty programs that allow you to accumulate points or miles which can be used for discounts on future trips.
Travel During Off-Peak Times
Another way to save money on a train trip is to travel during off-peak times. Most rail companies offer discounted fares for trips taken during certain times of day or days of the week. For example, traveling during the middle of the week or late at night may be cheaper than traveling during peak times such as weekends or holidays.
By following these tips, you can save money on your next train trip from Toronto to Vancouver. Booking early, taking advantage of deals and discounts, and traveling during off-peak times are all great ways to save money while still enjoying a comfortable journey across Canada.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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The web log of Ontario Parks
The best winter day trips (if you live in Toronto)
Living in Toronto can make nature feel a million miles away. This is especially true in the winter, when the closeness of the buildings, the busy streets, and the slush limit the best that winter has to offer – tranquility, wide-open spaces blanketed in snow, and room to play.
In truth, however, the natural world is never too far away. Several provincial parks are open all winter and offer easy day visits for city-dwellers.
Here are some of the top parks near Toronto you need to check out this winter:
Darlington Provincial Park
Darlington is a lovely GTA destination just off Highway 401, minutes from Oshawa .
Hikers and snowshoers will love the Burk Trail, which moves through fields, meadows, and mature forest past a pioneer cemetery to a scenic lookout over Lake Ontario. Winter visitors should also check out McLaughlin Bay Trail and Robinson Creek Trail.
Bring your snowshoes or cross-country skis and enjoy a wonderland experience close to home.
Guarantee your entry to Darlington by making a reservation in advance!
- By phone at 1-888-ONT-PARK (1-888-668-7275) – open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST
Distance from downtown Toronto: 45 minutes east, near Oshawa.
Bronte Creek Provincial Park
Aside from snowshoeing and 5 km of cross-country ski trails in the park, Bronte Creek also features a disc golf course and a toboggan hill.
The park also hosts exciting activities to help cure your winter blues. Watch their Facebook page for updates.
Distance from downtown Toronto: 40 minutes southwest, just past Oakville.
Silent Lake Provincial Park
Silent Lake is a bit further away than the other parks on this list, but trust us – it’s worth it. We’re talking some of the prettiest winter landscapes in southeastern Ontario.
More than 40 km of cross-country trails wind their way through hardwoods, cedar swamps, groves of White Birch and beech stands. The terrain is rugged, but ideal for family skiing.
Want to make it more than a day trip? Silent Lake offers heated yurts and camp cabins for those wanting to stay overnight.
Distance from downtown Toronto: 2.5 hours northeast, on the way to Bancroft.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park
While camping may be closed during the snowy season, Presqu’ile Provincial Park is open for day-use 365 days a year.
Many animals are more visible in the park once people are gone for the summer. Red Foxes, Wild Turkeys, and White-tailed Deer are all routinely seen.
Bald Eagles, Snow Buntings, and Snowy Owls are also frequent visitors. How many of them can you spot?
Guarantee your entry to Presqu’ile on even the busiest days by making a reservation in advance!
Distance from Toronto: 2 hours east, on the way to Belleville.
Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
You’ve seen Wasaga Beach in the summer, but winter shows off a totally different side of the park. It has some of the most exciting Nordic ski terrain in central Ontario on over 30 km of groomed and track-set trails.
Expert skiers can challenge themselves on the High Dunes Trail while beginner skiers can choose the more leisurely Blueberry Trail.
No skies or snowshoes? No problem. The Wasaga Nordic and Trail Centre offers modern equipment rentals in addition to warm-up and outback ski shelters to heat up a lunch on a crisp winter day.
Distance from Toronto: Just under 2 hours north
Sibbald Point Provincial Park
Two words summarize Sibbald Point through the winter: “calm” and “quiet.” That means it’s the perfect spot for some winter fishing.
Lake Simcoe has excellent ice fishing opportunities for perch and whitefish. Just make sure you consult Ontario’s fishing regulations before you arrive (and remember your licence)!
Guarantee your entry to Sibbald by making a reservation in advance!
Distance from Toronto: just over 1 hour north, 20 minutes outside Beaverton.
Where will you visit in 2022?
15 Best Winter Road Trips from Toronto
Toronto is a vibrant city, famous for its diverse food scene, major sports events and buzzing arts and entertainment scene. Though the city shows no signs of slowing down once snow hits the ground, you've got plenty of choices if you want to escape for some winter fun elsewhere.
Whether you want to embrace the snow or head for warmth, a winter road trip from Toronto can involve outdoor recreation in stunning nature, foodie cities and wineries, winter festivals in picturesque settings, or seeking warmer weather at the coast.
Whichever kind of winter road trip you have in mind, we've pulled together key information for a variety of destinations to help inspire your trip. Read on for our guide to the places to go, how to get there, and what to do once you arrive.
Best winter road trips from Toronto: a quick overview
Single day trips (under 3 hours each way).
If you want to experience the snow at its most picturesque, head out of the city and enjoy one of these shorter trips for quaint Christmas markets, stunning winter scenery and a whole range of snow sports.
1. Kitchener (Christkindl Market) and St Jacob, ON
1 hour 30 minutes from Toronto (120 km)
Why you should visit: The shortest day trip from the city on the list, this destination offers a unique program of seasonal festivities with a German flare.
Kitchener is a former German Mennonite town that is rich in German heritage - walking through the snowy streets it really feels like you've stepped back in time to Bavaria, Germany.
How to get there: Head west on ON-401 out of Toronto and turn north on Highway 8 west towards Kitchener. From Kitchener, head north on ON-85 to St Jacobs, then onward to the St Jacobs Farmers' Market.
Our highlights: Turn back the clock 200 years and this region was settled by German Mennonites, whose heritage is prevalent in Kitchener's architecture, language and cultural traditions.
One such tradition is the Christkindl Market, which from December 1 to 4 is a charming place to browse vendor stalls, get Bavarian-style treats, and do some holiday shopping.
Kitchener boasts another famous market - the St Jacobs Farmers' Market - which features over 250 vendors selling everything from fresh produce, baked goods, home furnishings, toys, crafts, and a flea market.
November is a great time to go as the whole venue is lit up with sparkles, and you can even take horse-drawn winter sleigh rides!
If you want to try skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing, the Chicopee Ski Club offers all three, or try the Waterloo Region Nordic Sports Club cross-country ski trails that cover southern Kitchener.
For a hit of culture, check out the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, which displays selections from the culturally diverse city of Kitchener as well as art on loan from other galleries.
Bonus: During the holidays, Victoria Park puts on a Christmas Fantasy festive light display with a synthetic ice-skating rink, which is free to experience!
Our travel tips: Book any outdoor activities in advance and check weather conditions online before you set off.
2. Niagara Falls and Niagara-On-The-Lake
1 hour 50 minutes from Toronto (150 km)
Why you should visit: The Niagara River is a stunning sight to behold even in the colder months, and the scenery created by the Falls with ice and glistening snowy surrounding is not-to-be-missed.
Avoid peak summer times and see this world wonder in the winter instead when it's quieter and enjoy the festive holiday vibe in the surrounding city.
How to get there: Head south on Queen Elizabeth Highway through Hamilton. Take the exit for Regional Road 55 towards Niagara-On-The-Lake. Take Niagara Parkway south to Niagara Falls.
Our highlights: The surrounding areas are filled with local wineries - we recommend Wayne Gretzky's which has an ice rink on-site or Peller Estates which has an ice bar. If you're looking for something more romantic that's great for couples, try the Trius Winery and Restaurant.
The Icewine Festival in January is a festive winter wonderland that might just convince you to stay for the weekend - with special winery visits and tours as well as dinner pairings.
Sentineal Carriages operate horse-drawn carriage rides, which is a nostalgic way to explore the historic town of Niagara-On-The-Lake.
Niagara Falls is obviously the star of the show and is particularly spectacular in the winter when parts of it freeze over. In the city of Niagara there are plenty of restaurants and shopping, as well as a butterfly conservatory which keeps the butterflies (and you!) warm all winter.
Bonus: Inniskillin winery is the original maker of icewine, which you can sample at their premises. Icewine is made with grapes that have frozen on the vine and is very sweet, like a dessert wine.
Our travel tips: If you want, you can cross the Rainbow International Bridge to step onto American soil, though immigration customs checks do apply.
3. Presqu'ile Provincial Park
Why you should visit: On the shore of Lake Ontario, this park is open all year round and offers a unique chance to see ice cliffs, ice volcanoes, and other ice formations up close during the winter months.
This wintery wonderland can be explored by car or on foot, for a peaceful moment of solitude in the wilderness.
How to get there: Go east on ON-401 and turn south at Purdy Corners on CR25 to follow County Road 2 to the park entrance.
Our highlights: See elusive animals such as foxes, river otters, long-tailed ducks, bald eagles, snow buntings, and snowy owls on the Winter Wildlife Detective Program.
See the famous ice cliffs from the shoreline of Lake Ontario, including pancake ice formations and icebergs. It's also a great place to go snowshoeing, with plenty of outfitters nearby and established trails.
Brimacombe is a small ski area midway between Toronto and the park, which is especially good for beginners!
Waldeinsamkeit means “solitude in the forest”, and there is plenty of that on offer here during quiet winter months in the park.
Our travel tips: Don't walk directly on the ice on the shoreline of the lake as this can be dangerous! Stay on the trails on solid land unless you are with an experienced guide.
4. Collingwood and Blue Mountain Ski Resort
2 hours 10 minutes from Toronto (170 km)
Why you should visit: With a beautiful setting on the shore of South Georgian Bay, this area is under 3 hours from Toronto and offers plenty of winter recreation activities including skiing, snowboarding and sledding.
The Blue Mountains area boasts nearly every winter sport imaginable, as well as indoor activities in the historic village and local spas. So, whether you are looking to hit the slopes or want to pamper yourself, this road trip has those boxes checked.
How to get there: Take ON-400 north to ON-26 W to Collingwood, then take Mountain Rd (19) to the Blue Mountain Ski Resort.
Our highlights: The Blue Mountain area is not actually a mountain, but in fact the edge of the Niagara Escarpment which is one of Canada's UNESCO biosphere preserves, hence the stunning landscape.
Blue Mountain Ski Resort boasts 43 runs for skiing or snowboarding and a snowmaking system so you always have fresh powder. It also offers tubing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails.
If skating is more your thing, Woodview Mountaintop Skating is a 1km loop on top of the “mountain” with views off the escarpment, accessed via the Scenic Caves Road. You can also take in the landscape from the suspension bridge at the Scenic Caves Nordic Center.
After you've worked up an appetite, Collingwood is a historic cultural town with quaint shops and dining options.
Bonus: Collingswood has multiple craft beverage breweries, from beer to kombucha and coffee houses - make sure to take a local tour to sample some!
Our travel tips: Look out for scenic drives along Pretty River Provincial Park, Eugenia Falls and along Highway 26.
5. Muskoka Lake and Bracebridge, ON
2 hours 15 minutes from Toronto (200 km)
Why you should visit: This nearby region is only a short hop from Toronto and offers a range of unique winter activities in a stunning setting.
The Muskoka region is known for its natural scenery and is the closest natural wilderness to Toronto, featuring crystal lakes, pine forests and rocky shorelines.
How to get there: Head north on ON-400 out of Toronto and onto ON-11 to Muskoka District Road to reach Bracebridge. Lake Muskoka is to the west of Bracebridge and has multiple access points.
Our highlights: During the winter you can visit Santa's Village, a Christmas-themed amusement park with a petting zoo, rides for kids (and big kids!), and a zip line.
Muskoka Lake Farm and Winery is situated directly on the lake - you can fly around their unique ice-skating trail on a bed of frozen cranberries before enjoying some local wine and cheese by the fire.
Go ice-fishing on Lake Muskoka or Three Mile Lake, with many outfitters and companies in the area offering packages including snowmobile tours.
You can also take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride at Twin Maples Farm, which is located south of Bracebridge.
Bonus: The town is exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole, which is the inspiration behind the Santa's Village Theme Park.
Our travel tips: Book Santa's Village in advance, as it's open only on weekends from November through December. For New Year's Eve they hold a ‘Partybration' on December 31!
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Weekend trips (3-6 hours each way)
Getting a bit further out of Toronto offers an even greater range of outdoor winter activities, but you'll also find towns with significant cultural heritage, spas and festive experiences.
Whatever your speed, what these weekend trips have in common are stunning scenery and cozy places to unwind after a day in the snow.
6. Huntsville and Algonquin Provincial Park, ON
3 hours 10 minutes from Toronto (300 km)
Why you should visit: This untouched region houses spectacular waterfall scenery in a remote setting, with the chance to encounter local wildlife.
Away from the city and well-traveled areas, this haven of solitude has a plethora of outdoor adventures on its doorstep, such as world-class skiing, snowmobiling and dog sledding.
How to get there: Head north out of the city on ON-400 N and ON-11 and take exit 219 to Huntsville. From Huntsville, head east on Muskoka District Road 3 to ON-60 east towards Ottawa via Algonquin Park.
Our highlights: There are a whole host of snow sports on offer in Algonquin Provincial Park, including snowmobiles, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing or biking around the old railway trail. There are plenty of outfitters in Huntsville who can get you kitted up.
Winter camping is allowed in the park, or you can rent a yurt. There is plenty of wildlife to encounter, including moose and bears if you're lucky!
You can stay at Deerhurst Resort or Hidden Valley Resort to access the Hidden Valley Highlands ski area, which has lots of options for ski-and-stay packages, with runs for all levels and ski schools for kids.
If you've still got the energy, there's an ice-skating trail and cross-country skiing trail within Arrowhead Provincial Park north of Huntsville
Bonus: You can go dog sledding through the snowy forest north of Huntsville - make sure to book ahead.
Our travel tips: Winter in the Wild Festival in Algonquin takes place in mid-February, so visit then for indoor and outdoor events throughout the park.
7. Lake Nipissing, ON
3 hours 30 minutes from Toronto (350 km)
Why you should visit: This trip is the furthest north from Toronto, and it is worth the longer travel distance to see the beautiful Lake Nipissing and explore the surrounding wilderness.
Lake Nipissing is a fisherman's paradise and a great place to try your hand at ice fishing. It contains over 40 species of fish and attracts keen anglers from all over.
How to get there: Head north out of the city on ON-400 and exit slightly east to ON-11. Head north to Powassan and from there head west on ON-534 to Nipissing.
Our highlights: There are plenty of lodges that can gear you up with bait and tackle for a day of ice fishing on the lake. The lake itself is only 4.5m deep but can get choppy, so make sure you check the weather ahead of your trip.
Local fishing hot spots include Callander Bay, Smith Island, Deep Bay, and Nipissing Beach.
Once you've seen your fill of fish, there are lots of other wildlife to spot - moose, wolves, bald eagles, ospreys, ducks and loons can all be found along the shores of the lake for the keen observer.
There are many small towns and communities that border the lake, many of which are worth visiting to eat fresh fish. North Bay is the largest lakeside city that offers the most dining and overnight options.
Bonus: Try and spot Manitou Islands Provincial Park in the middle of the lake – these mysterious islands are said to be haunted by ancient people. You can catch a glimpse of the islands from Highway 17.
Our travel tips: Ice fishing season generally starts around New Year's Day and continues while the lake is frozen until mid to late April.
8. Kingston and Morrisburg, ON
4 hours 10 minutes from Toronto (400 km)
Why you should visit: Take this trip to discover the host of islands along the St Lawrence River, many of which light up for the festive season. This trip takes you on a rustic drive through stunning island scenery and with the opportunity to discover historic sites and museums.
How to get there: Head east out of the city on ON-401 to Kingston. Continue on ON-401 and take exit 758 south towards Morrisburg and the Upper Canada Village on County Road 2.
Our highlights: There are literally thousands of islands in the Lawrence River that you could spend days exploring. There are boat trips during which you can see the mansions and cottages atop this unique archipelago, which stretches from Kingston to Morrisburg.
Upper Canada Village is a living history museum that travels back in time to 1866. There are over 40 historical sites to explore and you can speak with interpreters about early English Canadian lifestyle.
During winter, the Alight at Night festival transforms the village into a winter wonderland.
If you're into history, Kingston is home to several significant sites such as Fort Henry (built to protect the navy dock during the War of 1812), the Grand Theater, Penitentiary, Royal Military Museum, and Bellevue House.
Bonus: The famous Thousand Island salad dressing gets its name from this group of islands, though no one is quite sure how it originated.
Our travel tips: The drive along CR 2 following the St Lawrence River is highly scenic, but can move slowly in winter weather.
9. Ottawa, ON
4 hours 50 minutes from Toronto (450 km)
Why you should visit: Ottawa is the capital of Canada and a smaller city that offers its own unique charm away from the bustle of Toronto. In winter, this charming city is blanketed in snow and transforms into a stunning winter wonderland with quintessential northern charm.
How to get there: On this road trip from Toronto to Ottawa , head east out of the city on ON-401 E and turn north on ON-416 N to Ottawa. Take exit 120 from the Trans-Canada Highway/ON-417 to reach the city.
Our highlights: The Winterlude Festival takes place in February, a region-wide celebration of Canadian winter activities including dining and culinary experiences, ice sculpture contests, concerts and a giant snow playground in the middle of the city!
Ottawa is a multicultural city with influences from the First Nations, French, Irish, Scottish, and English so there is a huge diversity of cuisines. With an abundance of surrounding agriculture, you'll also find many local farm-to-market eateries and wineries.
If you want to get active, there are natural skiing areas just outside of Ottawa at the Chelsea Nordic Ski Club, or you can ice skate on the frozen Rideau Canal - a UNESCO world heritage site.
As the nation's capital, the city boasts seven major national museums displaying art, history, science, and military objects. You can also see the government buildings where Canada's parliament meets or visit the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica built in the 1800s.
Bonus: The largest spa in North America is actually in Ottawa - visit Nordik Spa Nature for a Scandinavian-inspired retreat and the only saltwater floating pool in Canada!
Our travel tips: Don't miss the Christmas lights around Ottawa leading up to the holiday weekend, while Winterlude takes place for the whole month of February.
Longer trips (6+ hours each way)
If you're keen to head slightly further afield, there are a whole host of cities within reach that each offer their own charm. From high-end shopping and bright lights to foodie capitals and historic markets, there are plenty of rich destinations to set your sights on from Toronto.
10. Montreal and Mont-Tremblant
7 hours from Toronto (670 km)
Why you should visit: Winter is the tourism off-season in Montreal, meaning fewer crowds at the Christmas markets and amazing restaurants - it's also the food capital of Canada!
Montreal and Mont-Tremblant are in close proximity, meaning you can get your culture and foodie fix before heading up to the picturesque ski resort for a winter getaway on this winter-wonderland road trip .
How to get there: Head east out of the city on ON-401 to Montreal. From Montreal, head north on Autoroute 15 to Trans Canada Highway and then follow QC-117 to Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts. Head north from Mont-Tremblant on Mnt Ryan towards the Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort.
Our highlights: Old Montreal is a delight in the winter - get in the spirit at the downtown Christmas festival with sparkling lights, Christmas markets, ice skating and a Ferris wheel.
The city's namesake Mount Royal is a fun place to go sledding tubing or snowshoeing through the forest, and a great spot to catch a vista of the whole city.
For a unique spa experience, visit Bota Bota - a converted steamboat in Montreal - Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal or Ono Spa Tremblant. All these spas offer traditional Scandinavian treatments and hot and cold water plunge pools.
At Mont-Tremblant resort you can ski, tube, snowboard and even hit the casino at this scenic ski resort at the edge of the Mont-Tremblant National Park.
Bonus: Montreal is known for its food scene, and a great way to learn more is to take a food tour that teaches you more about the history, cultures, and cuisines on offer.
Our travel tips: Montreal is French-speaking, so you might want to brush up on your language skills in advance to fit in with the locals!
11. Stowe, VT
7 hours 40 minutes from Toronto (740 km)
Why you should visit: Winter brings a quiet beauty to the mountains of Vermont that's worth braving the cold for.
Stowe is one of the most established skiing areas in North America and has extensive facilities for all levels, while still maintaining its small-town charm and scenic beauty.
How to get there: Take ON-401 east toward Montreal. Cross into the USA via A 15 S and take I-89 south to Burlington. From Burlington head south on I-89 towards Montpellier and take exit 10 on VT-100 toward Stowe. Head up VT 108 to Stowe Mountain
Our highlights: Stowe Mountain Ski Resort will cater to all of your winter sports and recreation needs. The surrounding area also features activities like dog sledding, snowmobiling, biking and sleigh rides.
Downtown Stowe is straight out of a storybook, with cute shops, cafes, breweries, bars, and hotels. It's at its best when decked out for the holidays with lights and greenery, and you can visit Church Street Winter Marketplace in Burlington for festive food and drinks.
Bonus: On the way to Stowe, stop by the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury for a tour and a pint.
Our travel tips: If you find Stowe Resort is too crowded, you can try Bolton Valley Resort on the west side of the mountain.
12. New York City, NY
8 hours 30 minutes from Toronto (760 km)
Why you should visit: New York City is a classic trip all year round but is particularly spectacular in winter when it is lit up for the festive season.
New York City is a metropolis known for its endless shopping opportunities, food scene and nightlife. It's also world-famous for its Christmas celebrations - with trees, lights and countless Christmas movies set on its streets.
How to get there: Take Queen Elizabeth Way, ON-403 W, to Buffalo, NY. Take I-190 and NY-400 south to Aurora, NY. Head south on I-390, I-86, NY-17E, I-81 and I-380 to I-80, I-280 into Newark, NJ. Cross the Hudson River via the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City into Manhattan.
Our highlights: It wouldn't be New York without a trip to Fifth Avenue, the most famous shopping street in the city with luxury brands and storefronts straight out of the magazines. Take the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping or stare at the famous window displays.
Become a Christmas cliché by visiting the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and ice skating in the plaza or booking a seat at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. There are also festive markets to visit at Bryant Park, Dyker Heights and Union Square.
The famous Times Square New Years' Eve Party takes place every year, featuring celebrity performances, the legendary ball drop and TV specials broadcasted worldwide.
For something more low-key, Lower East Side Orchard Street has art galleries, museums, and eclectic shops to browse. To round off the day, take in a Broadway show!
Bonus: The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is lit on Dec 1 with over 50,000 lights.
Our travel tips: Get your Broadway tickets in advance or try your luck at the red TKTS booths for same-day tickets.
13. Trois Rivières and Quebec City, QC
8 hours from Toronto (810 km)
Why you should visit: Quebec is the farthest Canadian city from Toronto by distance but is a charming destination for exploring the heart of French-Canadian culture.
Quebec City's old town is particularly charming in the winter, when it is covered in snow and festooned with Christmas lights and decorations.
How to get there: Take ON-401 E toward Montreal. Continue East on A 20 through Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada and onto Quebec City.
Our highlights: Celebrate at the Quebec Winter Carnival from Jan-Feb each year, with drinks, games, shows and shopping - make sure to visit the sugar shacks and eat maple syrup rolled on top of the snow!
Spend the night at the Hôtel de Glace, a hotel constructed fully from ice every January to March. You can also drop by for a visit and have a drink in the ice bar or explore the surrounding park.
The Quebec City Christmas Market is a German-inspired outdoor market from November up until Christmas. German meets French culture in the food and drink on offer - sample a glühwein and a vin chaud!
Trois-Rivieres is the oldest city in Quebec and offers a historical display of 17th-century architecture. Named for its three rivers, this town is filled with picturesque streets, manors, prisons, churches and museums to visit.
Bonus: Quebec City's toboggan run is one of the oldest attractions in the city, built in 1884. Old doesn't mean slow - you can reach speeds of up to 70km/hr as you slide down the luge track!
Our travel tips: If you want to get out of the city and into nature, you can cross the St Lawrence River to access the Lac-Saint-Pierre Biosphere Reserve.
14. New Orleans, LA
22 hours 10 minutes from Toronto (2,240 km)
Why you should visit: Avoid the crowds by visiting New Orleans in the winter months when they still have warmer weather compared to chilly Toronto.
The winter months in New Orleans play host to festive celebrations, and you can still get fresh seafood no matter what time of the year!
How to get there: Take ON-403 and ON-401 west out of the city towards Detroit, MI. Take I-75 S to Cincinnati, and take I-71 S to Louisville, KY. Take I-65 S to Nashville, TN and follow I-40 west to Memphis, TN, then head south on I-55 to New Orleans, LA.
Our highlights: On the way to New Orleans , make sure to stop in Nashville or Memphis, TN, both home to live music and great southern food.
Once you arrive, hit the Christmas Market in Jackson Square, or the Deutsches Haus Christkindlmarkt for a German-inspired festive shopping experience.
If you're in New Orleans for New Year's Eve, head to Bourbon Street or any of the private parties and galas throughout the city, including on the riverboats!
The famous Mardi Gras celebrations take place in February, but in the weeks leading up to the official event there are countless parties and parades to get into the spirit of things!
Bonus: Mardi Gras means ‘Fat Tuesday', and usually takes place in early February, 40 days before the start of Easter.
Our travel tips: Along the way, you could stop in Louisville, KY to sample and shop for their famous bourbons.
15. Orlando and Miami, FL
23 hours 20 minutes from Toronto (2,400 km)
Why you should visit: Escape the cold weather for good and drive in a straight line south - all the way to Florida !
Florida boasts warm weather all year round - it's possible to swim in the ocean even in December. Orlando's famous theme parks are specially decorated for the festive season, and they play host to a range of holiday events.
How to get there: Take Queen Elizabeth Way, ON-403 W to Buffalo. From there take I-90 S to I-79 S towards Pittsburg, PA. Take I-77 S (via state highway 19 in Virginia) to Columbia NC. Take I-26 Southeast to meet I-95 S to Jacksonville, FL.
Follow I-95 South to Miami, or detour via I-4 and the Florida Turnpike through Orlando.
Our highlights: En route, make sure to take a break in the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains to experience the fantastic hiking trails and dramatic scenery. There are plenty of other cities worth a stop, including Pittsburg, PN, Charlotte, NC and Savannah, GA.
In Florida, visit the rocket launch pad at Cape Canaveral, or visit the Kennedy Space Center, home of NASA. Get your fill of nightclubs, food and beaches in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami, or go surfing at Cocoa Beach.
Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios are especially festive during the holidays, particularly if you want to experience Christmas at Hogwarts. You could easily spend a few days here before continuing to Miami.
Bonus: Florida is actually home to one million wintertime residents, people who only stay during winter and migrate back north for other seasons.
Our travel tips: This drive has many different route options, so we'd recommend taking at least 3 days to complete the drive - more if you want time to explore more places on the way!
You could also add detours onto the route to visit other destinations such as Asheville, NC, Charleston, SC, Hilton Head Island and Jekyll Island.
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Guide: 10 gorgeous day trips near Toronto to take this winter
It may not feel like it outside right now, but it's almost winter time in Toronto. Which means we're on the hunt…
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It may not feel like it outside right now, but it’s almost winter time in Toronto. Which means we’re on the hunt for all the best easy day trips to fill our snowy days. Just because it’s not summer anymore, doesn’t mean we won’t be making the most of every second of free time! We’ve already packed the car and we’re raring to go to any and all of these fabulous spots.
Here are 10 gorgeous day trips to take near Toronto this winter.
This adorable little spot is known as Ontario’s most beautiful village, so it’s no surprise it makes our list. Elora, Ontario is a sight to see any time of the year, but when it’s decked out with Christmas lights it’s even better. With just a short drive from the city, you can spend the day roaming the old-timey streets, enjoying the gorgeous natural landscape, and sampling all the cute little coffee shops.
Distance from Toronto: 114 km (1.5-hour drive)
PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, ONTARIO
There’s no end to the spectacular activities you’ll encounter with a trip to Prince Edward County. For starters, the area is simply adorable. There are loads of beautiful parks, delicious restaurants, and incredible hikes to explore. But on top of all that, it’s wine country. So whether you hit up the whole town, or just stick to one vineyard, you’re sure to be in for a grand old time.
Distance from Toronto: 203 km (2 hours and 15-minute drive)
SAND LAKE ICE CAVES
You can take a hike like no other at this incredible day trip destination. Snowmobile or snowshoe into the winter wonderland that is the Sand Lake Ice Caves. Once you’re there, you can tuck away into actual caves made of ice! As if the incredible photo op isn’t enough, being surrounded by all the snow is sure to make you feel in touch with the Canadian in you.
Where: Sand Lake, Kearny, Ontario Distance from Toronto: 265 km (2.5-hour drive)
Of all the day trips on our list, this one might be our favourite. You can head to Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve to catch a beautiful display of Northern Lights. The area is made up of 4,700 acres of Crown Land, that’s uninterrupted by any light pollution. Because of this, you’ll be staring into incredibly clear star gazing views. There are also loads of snowshoeing trails to keep you occupied before the sun goes down, making this spot a number one choice for a winter date.
Where: Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve, Southwood Rd, Gravenhurst, Ontario Distance from Toronto: 181 km (2 hour drive)
SCENIC CAVES NATURE ADVENTURES
Speaking of outdoor nature adventures, head to the Scenic Caves for the ultimate winter fun. This beautiful nordic centre is nestled in a unique mountaintop location. You can explore the 12 km of trails on cross country skis or by snow shoe. They’ve even got a 420-foot suspension bridge, for all the thrill-seekers out there.
Where: 260 Scenic Caves Rd, The Blue Mountains, Ontario Distance from Toronto: 161 km (2 hour drive)
SKIING AT BLUE MOUNTAIN
Where: Blue Mountain Resort, 190 Good Canning Dr, The Blue Mountains, Ontario Distance from Toronto: 160 km (2-hour drive)
SCANDINAVE SPA AT BLUE MOUNTAIN
Not into all these outdoor winter spots? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered too. Head over to the Scandinave Spa for a gorgeous outdoor relaxing experience. They have pools, massage packages, and more that are tailor-made for your R&R. This day trip is perfect if you’re looking to treat yourself or if you’re in the mood for a girl’s trip.
Where: 152 Grey Rd 21, The Blue Mountains, Ontario Distance from Toronto: 160 km (2-hour drive)
WINTER LIGHTS IN NIAGARA
This winter, Niagara Falls is being transformed into a gorgeous outdoor light display. As per usual, you can hit up the spot to explore their famous 8 km trail of twinkling lights. They’ll have sculptures, art pieces, the iconic Zimmerman Fountain, and more. Even the falls will be lit up! But the best part is you have the option to enjoy it on foot or from the comfort and COVID-19 safety of your own car.
Where: Queen Victoria Park, 6075 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, Ontario Distance from Toronto: 128 km (1 hour 20-minute drive)
Related Posts: Toronto’s Miracle pop-up bar returns as a boozy outdoor winter wonderland this month This ‘polar bear lodge on wheels’ may be the most unique hotel in Canada
GIFT OF LIGHTS
Speaking of gorgeous holiday lights, you can also take a day trip over to Kitchener to explore the annual Gift of Lights display. This drive-through exhibit contains multiple light tunnels, 300 animated and static display, and, of course, loads of holiday tunes. We think the best way to enjoy it is with a cup of hot cocoa in your hand.
Where: Bingemans, 425 Bingemans Centre Dr, Kitchener, Ontario Distance from Toronto: 109 km (1 hour 10-minute drive)
Last, but most certainly not least, is the Winter Wonders display at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. This gorgeous outdoor oasis is packed with the magic of nature and light. You can take a day trip here to explore picturesque pathways, magical displays, and loads of delicious on-site eats. They’ve even got a seasonal Winter Wonderland menu full of tasty treats like assorted cookies, a candy cane bundle, and more.
Where: Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Rd W, Burlington, Ontario Distance from Toronto: 62 km (45-minute drive)
Enjoy your winter day trips, everyone! With amazing spots like these ones, not having fun is simply not an option.
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8 Day Trips A Few Hours From Toronto That Are A Perfect Winter Escape
With the leaves falling to the ground and the weather officially getting colder, it seems that winter is finally on its way. While it's sad to think of losing this stunning, vibrant season, there are so many magical adventures ahead! Winter is another gorgeous season in Ontario, and while it can be tempting to hibernate under a blanket all day, these activities will get you out of the house. You don't have to travel far for these winter day trips near Toronto .
Make sure you've got all your warmest winter essentials ready because you'll want to spend the whole season outdoors checking out some of these awesome activities. These places are so close to the city that you can easily visit them in one day, which means there's no need to take time off work to enjoy yourself.
Take some time away from the city and explore the incredible winter wonderland Ontario becomes. From stunning winter hikes to magical skating rinks and twinkling lights, these adventures will have you living the snowy season to the fullest.
Pull-on some mittens, wrap yourself in a scarf, grab some friends, and head into the great outdoors for some frosty fun this winter.
Wintry Suspension Bridge
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Price: $17.50 - $21.50 per adult
When: Nov. 15, 2019 - late March 2020
Address: 260 Scenic Caves Rd., Blue Mountains, ON
Why You Need To Go: Take a two-hour drive and snowshoe across Southern Ontario's longest suspension bridge this season in the Blue Mountains. You'll be able to see ten thousand square kilometers of winter beauty.
Visit Downtown Kingston
Address: 216 Ontario St., Kingston, ON
Why You Need To Go: A little under three hours from Toronto, historic Kingston is even more charming in the winter. Skate for free in Market Square, and grab a decadent hot chocolate at Sipp's Cafe. There are often horse-drawn buggy rides being offered at certain times as well.
Niagara Ice Wine Fest
When: Jan. 10, 2020 - Jan. 26, 2020
Address: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
Why You Need To Go: What better way to celebrate the frosty season than sipping ice wine? Take part in all sorts of boozy events during this magical festival which takes place in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The festival is only an hour and forty minutes from the city.
Take a Walk to a Frozen Waterfall
Price: $3 fee from May - October
Address: Georgian Bluffs, ON
Why You Need To Go: Wander through a stunning winter wonderland to Inglis Falls . The frozen eighteen-meter waterfall is truly something to see. The two and a half-hour drive there will take you through the frosty countryside.
Go on a Dog-Sledding Adventure
Price: $135 - $205 per person
Address: 1823 Williamsport Rd., Huntsville, ON
Why You Need To Go: Embark on a wintery forest adventure on the back of a dogsled at North Ridge Ranch. Located two hours and forty minutes from Toronto, this enchanting tour will take you through the wintry wilderness and is complete with hot chocolate.
Skate Along a Frozen Cranberry Trail Beneath the Stars
Price: $10 per adult
When: Dec. 27, 2019 - TBD
Address: Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery, 1074 Cranberry Rd.,Bala, ON
Why You Need To Go: This two hour and twenty-minute drive to Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery is well worth it for the most magical winter experience. This 1.2 km trail is surrounded by frozen cranberry bushes and each Saturday night it is lit with over four hundred torches! Don't leave without enjoying warm mulled wine.
Address: Bayfield, ON
Why You Need To Go: This charming little village is a popular summer destination, but it becomes even more magical in the winter. Stroll the snow-covered streets and explore sweet local shops and cafes. The village is located two hours and forty minutes from Toronto.
Drive Through a Magical Light Tunnel
Price: $15 per vehicle
When: Nov. 16, 2019 - Jan. 4, 2020
Address: 425 Bingemans Centre Dr., Kitchener, ON
Why You Need To Go: Located an hour and a half from Toronto, this twinkling lights installation is a winter must-see. Drive through a glimmering tunnel and pass massive installations this season at Bingeman's Gift Of Lights.
No matter which event you choose, these day trips are sure to put you in the winter spirit.
There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram .
6 Amazing Ontario Spots To Travel To From Toronto This Winter If You Don't Have A Car
9 romantic winter destinations in ontario, from snowy small towns to dreamy spas, this winter park in ontario has a suspension bridge & you can snowshoe over trees, 11 incredible ontario road trips that aren’t another day at the beach, this stunning national park in ontario has snowy trails that lead past frozen caves.
The top 10 winter day trips from Toronto
Winter day trips from Toronto will let you escape big city life for a little time in Ontario's beautiful, snow-covered landscape. You can get outside and do something active or cozy up indoors at a swanky spa. Whatever you choose, at least you won't be hibernating in your apartment.
Here are my picks for the top winter day trips from Toronto.
Trek across a suspension bridge
Snowshoe or cross country ski across a 420 foot suspension bridge , which offers panoramic views from the Niagara Escarpment. You can grab full or half day passes to a variety of trails from Scenic Caves Nature Adventures . The views after a fresh snowfall are sublime.
Try your luck at ice fishing
Lake Simcoe is a super popular ice fishing destination, partially because it's so close to the city. You can get started at Casey's Fish Hut or check out one of these other ice fishing spots in Ontario .
Fulfill your need for speed while snow tubing
Snow tubing is like souped up tobogganing and it's likely a lot safer too. There are plenty of great hills right near the city, so put on your snowsuit and feel like a kid again as you hit speeds in excess of 50kph.
Hop on the Parkbus and let someone drive for you
Not having a car doesn't mean you're out of luck when it comes to winter day trips. Join a Parkbus trip and head outside of the city. This winter, the company has a slew of excursions to Arrowhead Park planned, which will let you skate, tube, and cross country ski.
Soak up the season on a skating trail
Instead of skating around in circles at a public rink in the city, you can make a short drive to the Credit Valley Conservation Area and skate a one kilometre trail there. If you're feeling more adventurous, there are plenty of other trail skating options to explore further afield.
Cozy up at a spa
If you need a break and a little bit of R&R, why not spend a day at the spa? There are lots of good options near Toronto , including the winter friendly Scandinave at Blue Mountain.
Explore the quaint beauty of small town Ontario
You don't have to spend the entire day in the car to get a dose of the picturesque small towns that dot this province. There's tons to do in towns like Creemore , Cambridge , and Elora , all of which are just over an hour's derive from the city in light traffic.
Throw on your skis
The Toronto area might not have any true mountains to ski down, but you can still race down the hills at nearby places like Hockley Valley and Dagmar if you don't want to travel too far. There are also plenty of other hills a little further away.
Get your fill of ice wine
The Niagara Ice Wine Festival runs for three weekends in a row starting on January 12. But throughout the rest of the winter, you can still visit most area wineries , which is ideal because the crowds are pretty thin and you can taste and learn more.
Head across the border to the Queen City
Buffalo's a quick drive away and you can spend a day indoors enjoying the fabulous Albright-Knox and nearby Burchfield Penney galleries before heading to neighbourhoods like Elmwood Village and Allentown to check out the city's burgeoning restaurant scene .
Park Bus . With files from Amy Grief.
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30 Amazing Things to Do in Toronto in Winter – the Ultimate Guide
- October 20, 2023 October 20, 2023
There are plenty of things to do in Toronto in the winter like going sledding, visiting Christmas markets, hiking through snowy ravines, or skating at one of its numerous rinks. This Canadian city might be a bit chilly and frosty this time of year, but I love it and I’m sure you will love it too!
Toronto is my home and I’m so excited to tell you all about the city. So here is your ultimate guide to winter activities in Toronto.
❄️ What’s winter like in Toronto
How to get to toronto, how to get around toronto, where to stay in toronto, 1. take in the views from the cn tower, 2. eat your way through st. lawrence market, 3. hockey hall of fame, 4. shop at the toronto eaton centre, 5. casa loma, 6. kensington market, 7. visit little canada, 8. explore the street arts at graffiti alley, 9. go skating at the bentway trail, 10. barbara ann scott ice trail at college park, 11. enjoy the views from toronto island, 12. go sledding at riverdale park, 13. stroll through a snowy ravine, 14. go skating at habourfront centre, 15. see the winter light show at ontario place, 16. go skating at nathan phillips square, 17. nathan phillips square holiday fair, 18. visit the toronto christmas market, 19. experience bloor-yorkville holiday magic, 20. experience the terra lumina, 21. royal ontario museum (rom), 22. art gallery of ontario (ago), 23. ripley’s aquarium of canada, 24. get your mind bent at the museum of illusions, 25. ontario science centre, 26. go cafe hopping, 27. catch a maple leafs game at scotiabank arena, 28. catch a concert, 29. aga khan museum, 30. go to an escape room, should you get a toronto city pass, take away – things to do in toronto in winter.
- ✈️ Find the cheapest flights to Toronto using Kiwi , Expedia , or Skyscanner
- 🏠 Use Booking.com or Expedia to find the best accommodations
- 🚍 This Hop-on Hop-off Bus Sightseeing Tour is a great way to explore the city, while this Helicopter Tour lets you see it from above!
- 🚗 Use RentalCars to find the best car deals and reserve your vehicle in advance
- 📄 Travel insurance will cover for your unexpected expenses. I never travel without World Nomads Travel Insurance
- 🧳 Wondering what to pack for Canada? Check out my 4-season packing list here
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While Toronto isn’t known for its extreme temperatures, winter in Toronto is no joke. It’s definitely cold, but the winter season here has its own charm. From outdoor skating rinks and Christmas markets to winter festivals and unique attractions, there are lots of things to do.
The temperature is below the freezing point most of the time from December to March. It usually hovers around -3°C (25°F) this time of year, which I think is pretty manageable. Having said that, it can certainly drop down to -15°C (5°F) all of the sudden so you better be prepared.
The first snow usually happens in late October to early November. You can expect it to last until the end of March for most years. I personally think winter is a great time to visit Toronto because you get to see a totally different side of the city.
🗺️ Where is Toronto located
Toronto, the largest city in Canada and also the capital of Ontario, is situated on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario.
There are two airports located within the city. The Toronto Pearson International Airport is a major airport of Canada, having flights connected to every continent. If you are flying to Toronto from abroad, this is the one you will most likely land at.
From here, you can take the UP Express to Union Station (downtown Toronto) in under 30 minutes. The price for a one-way adult ticket is $12.35. Alternatively, you can also take the city bus and subway. This option is quite a bit cheaper at $3.25, but it will take you over an hour.
The second airport in the city is the Billy Bishop Airport . It is located on Toronto Island near downtown, so you will need to take a short ferry ride or the pedestrian tunnel.
Toronto is a metropolis so you can drive here from pretty much anywhere. It is connected to the surrounding suburbs and cities through the 400 series highways.
The public transit system in Toronto is referred to as “ the TTC ” (which stands for Toronto Transit Commission). The city is connected by 4 subway lines, as well as numerous other bus and streetcar routes. I have come to love the TTC because it doesn’t cost much, and is often reliable.
The fare is $3.25 for an adult and you can pay in cash, pay for tokens, or get a Presto card so you can tap each time. Although the TTC isn’t the most luxurious way to travel around, it is pretty clean and safe. Prepared to be crammed during rush hour though; fun times 🙂
Other options to get around include biking, taking an Uber, or driving. Toronto has this very cool Bikeshare system where you can basically rent a bike for 30-45 minutes. There are tons of “bike stations” across the city so you can easily rent one, get to where you need to go, and return it at another station later. Having lived here for several years, I can say that Toronto is a very bicycle-friendly city.
Most visitors choose to stay in the downtown area of Toronto because it is close to the public subway stations and many of the city’s top attractions. There are accommodation options for every kind of traveler, whether you’re a backpacker on a budget or someone who’s looking for a luxurious stay.
🏠 Fairmont Royal York Hotel
A night at this iconic hotel is definitely on the pricier side, but it does have all the luxury amenities as well as great location. There’s a skylit indoor pool and 2 on-site restaurants.
🏠 Kimpton St George Hotel
A lovely hotel that is located minutes away from the Royal Ontario Museum, subway station, Bata Shoe Museum, and Yorkville’s renowned high-end shops and restaurants.
🏠 Kensington College Backpackers
Located in the Kensington neighborhood of Toronto, this hostel is an excellent option for budget travelers. It offers private rooms, mixed dorms, as well as all-female dorms.
🏠 Radisson Blu Downtown Toronto
Situated right on the harborfront in downtown Toronto, this charming hotel features an on-site restaurant as well as a rooftop patio with a seasonal pool.
Things to do in Toronto in winter – the bucket list
You can’t visit Toronto and not see the CN Tower since it dominates the city’s landscape. Standing at 553 m high, the CN Tower is the 2nd tallest free-standing structure in the world! It is a symbol of Toronto and is also the city’s most iconic attraction. No wonder why it has been designated as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World!
Most people go up to the main lookout level at 346 m high to take in the aerial views of the city. On a clear day, you can even see Niagara Falls from here. If you are looking for a thrilling experience, come walk on the glass floor of the observation deck to feel like you’re walking on air. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart.
For an additional fee, visitors can take the elevator up to the SkyPod at 447 m high (it’s one of the highest observation decks in the world). The views from here, as you would have guessed, are spectacular. Then, consider dining in the iconic revolving 360 Restaurant which offers very good food and even better views.
If extreme thrills are your thing and you’re want to really get your adrenaline pumping, then the Edgewalk might interest you. It’s a guided, hands-free walk around the outer ledge of the tower.
- Hours : 9 am – 5 pm (Tuesday – Friday) | 9 am – 4 pm (Saturday)
- Address : 93 Front St E
St. Lawrence Market started in 1803 as a temporary weekly market, but it has blossomed since then into one of the world’s best food markets (by National Geographic ).
Visiting St. Lawrence Market is hands down one of the best things to do in Toronto in winter. Come check out over 120 local vendors who sell everything from fresh produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, spices, cheese, and lots of other unique products.
And the food here is to die for. Be sure to make a stop at Carousel Bakery to try the famous Peameal Bacon Sandwich , which is essentially cured back bacon rolled in cornmeal (but it’s surprisingly delicious). Then, pop over to Buster’s Sea Cove to get a taste of their signature lobster roll!
- Hours : 10 am – 4 pm (everyday)
- Address : 30 Yonge St
The Hockey Hall of Fame is where you can learn all about Canada’s most beloved sport. It is the permanent home of the Stanley Cup, which was last won in 1967 by the Toronto Maple Leafs . You will also get to check out its massive collection of hockey jerseys and face off against famous hockey players in a shoot-out simulation.
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Eaton Centre rivals the CN Tower as the city’s top tourist attraction. This shopping center spans two blocks, features more than 250 retail stores, and holds the title of the busiest mall in North America ! You really can shop ’til you drop.
The Eaton Centre was modeled after the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy, boasting vaulted glass ceilings and multi-level walkways. Hanging from the ceiling is the flock of geese sculpture created by the Canadian artist Michael Snow . And during the Christmas season, the mall is decorated with twinkling reindeer sculptures and a fully-decked 108 foot high Christmas tree (the highest in Canada).
Here’s a final tip from me: come hungry . The Eaton Centre’s food court offers a wide array of excellent places to eat. There are fast food places, steakhouses, Thai noodles, Japanese ramen, donut shops, sushi, and so many other delicious things to fill your stomach with.
Know before you go : you should try to walk or take public transit to avoid the expensive parking fees. Not to mention the hassle of having to navigate through the busy streets and look for a parking spot.
- Hours : 9:30 am – 5 pm (everyday)
- Address : 1 Austin Terrace
Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival styled mansion/ castle in mid-town Toronto. It was built as a private home at the turn of the 20th century by Sir Henry Pellatt but it has since been transformed into a museum/ tourist attraction.
You can tour the castle and check out exhibits that have been preserved from way back then. Come explore all the beautiful rooms, secret passageways, sweeping staircases, and lookout towers. The castle’s impressive architecture, along with its very pretty estate gardens, makes it a popular spot for television filming, photoshoots, weddings, and private events.
Every year near Christmas time, the castle and its gardens turn into a winter wonderland. All the dazzling decorations and light displays are even more spectacular when everything is covered by a blanket of snow. The Casa Loma holiday light tour , which takes place annually, is something definitely worth checking out.
This neighborhood of Toronto is my favorite. It is home to lots of little cafes, decades-old vintage stores, bars, charming boutique shops, record shops, and authentic Mexican restaurants. Kensington has long been the artists’ hub of Toronto . It’s also where lots of the city’s hipsters hang out so if these are your thing, Kensington has to be on your bucket list.
I love Kensington for its eclectic and bohemian vibe. If it is your first time here, I recommend joining a guided food tour through the market to get a taste of one of the most diverse food scenes in Toronto.
Some of the best places to check out include Seven Lives Tacos Y Mariscos , known for their authentic tacos, and FIKA Cafe , known for their delicious coffee. If you are a beer lover, then consider stopping by the Kensington Brewing Company to sample their hand-crafted beers.
During the winter months in Toronto, one of the best things to do is to visit Little Canada . This new attraction is a celebration of all things Canadian!
This experience is exactly what it sounds like. It showcases the best of Canada through detailed, miniature exhibits. You can see some of the country’s most famous landmarks like the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, and Parliament Hills in Ottawa .
Little Canada is constantly expanding to include more regions like the East Coast, the prairie, and more! Check out their official website for more information.
Outdoor things to do in Toronto in winter
Toronto is so beautiful when it’s covered in a sheet of snow. And as long as you dress in layers, you should have no problem with the weather. Below are some of my favorite outdoor winter activities in Toronto so let’s dive right in!
This kilometer-long alley is truly spectacular. The Graffiti Alley , located between Spadina Ave and Portland St, is home to some of the city’s greatest and most iconic street arts . Strolling through it makes you feel like you’ve been transported into a different world, with an explosion of color and creativity in all shapes in forms.
Winter is a nice time to visit this alley because it gets quite busy during peak season. Go early in the day and you may be the only one there! You can explore it on your own and take some cool photos, but you can also join this free street art tour , offered by Tour Guys . They will walk you through the history of some of the more notable pieces of art, and I think it’s fascinating.
- Hours : 5 am – 9 pm (Monday – Friday) | 12 pm – 9 pm (Saturday & Sunday)
- Address : 250 Fort York Blvd
While skating under a highway may not seem like the most amazing thing to do, trust me, this one is worth checking out. The Bentway is a 1.5 km figure-eight skating trail that runs under the Gardiner Expressway . It is very popular with skaters of all ages and experience levels, and for good reasons!
There is an on-site village that offers both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for everyone to enjoyy (hot chocolate anyone?). You should dress for the weather but if it ever gets too chilly, stop at one of the warming stations to warm up before returning to the ice.
Know before you go : don’t have skates? You can rent them here for free every Thursday. If you’re visiting at some other time then the rental price is $10 for adults and $5 for kids.
Nestled in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail at College Park is a beloved winter destination. Named in honor of the iconic figure skater Barbara Ann Scott, this charming ice trail offers a great skating experience for all.
Open typically from December to March, it’s the perfect place to lace up your skates and enjoy the cityscape. It’s a pretty small ice skating loop trail; is unsupervised; and has no rental.
But I love skating here because it’s usually not too busy. The light displays are quite spectacular as well. College Park is definitely a hidden gem when it comes to the best things to do in Toronto in winter.
Toronto Islands are a local favorite in the summer, offering visitors a break from the bustling downtown core. When the weather is warm, there are tons of outdoor activities to do like hiking, biking, kayaking, or swimming. But don’t sleep on the Toronto Islands during winter because they take on a whole new look. With frozen lagoons , scenic waterfront walks , beautiful skyline views (especially at sunset), and way fewer crowds, they make for an amazing winter day trip!
You can take a 15-min ferry ride from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal near downtown to Ward’s Island . This is the only ferry route that runs this time of year.
One of the best things to do on the Toronto Islands in winter is cross country skiing, with its open terrains and beautiful natural settings. You can easily rent a pair of skis from Mountain Equipment Company and bring them over with you on the ferry. If you want to further explore the islands and go off trails, then bring a pair of snowshoes instead.
If you have ever tried sledding (or tobogganing) before, you would know that satisfying feeling of gliding through the snow. This activity is usually associated with little kids, but I cannot disagree more.
One of the best places in Toronto for sledding is Riverdale Park , near Danforth and Broadview Ave. With its steep slopes, convenient location, and epic skyline views, it’s not hard to see why this park is so popular with sledders of all ages. There’s also a skating trail and a little farm to visit nearby!
If you prefer to have a quieter time, then head to Trinity Bellwoods Park . You can’t see the skyline from here but its natural setting is just as pretty.
One of the hidden gems of Toronto East, the Glen Stewart Ravine is a must-visit for all nature lovers. It makes for a lovely walk in the summer, but when the snow starts falling, the ravine turns into a magical wonderland . If you haven’t been here, then your Toronto outdoor adventures are definitely lacking.
Just a few steps into the ravine and you will quickly forget that you’re still in Toronto. The trail itself is about 1.5 long and consisted of wooden boardwalks, dirt paths, and staircases. You can expect them to be covered in snow but the staircases are well-maintained.
The photos above were taken after the first snow in November 2021 and let me tell you: this ravine and its snowy landscape are stunning. I made sure to spend some time wandering around and take it all in. I even made a little heart from the snow!
Read next : 17 Best Hiking Trails in and near Toronto Read next : 17 Awesome Places to Visit in Ontario – Winter Edition
- Hours : 10 am – 10 pm (Sunday – Thursday) | 10 am – 11 pm (Friday – Saturday)
- Address : 235 Queens Quay W
Situated along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Ontario, Habourfront Centre’s skating rink is an awesome place to skate. It is pretty spacious for an urban rink, and it usually doesn’t get very crowded. Not to mention the views of the CN Tower and the waterfront all around! Come check out their DJ Skatenights that takes place every Saturday to enjoy live music and stunning light displays.
Don’t have skates or helmets? Rentals are available at Harbourfront Centre .
Things to do in Toronto in winter – Christmas lights
One of the most unique things to do in Toronto in the winter season is driving through the Snow Magic trail at Ontario Place. It’s a short drive-thru route that weaves around 17 art installations by well-known Canadian artists. There’s a Northern Light exhibit, a castle exhibit, and a car-sized angler fish exhibit, just to name a few.
Advertised as “ a wonder-filled adventure inspired by fire, ice, and light “, this drive-thru trail is a great way to enjoy the festivities and holiday spirit, but from the comfort of your car.
Know before you go : the trail runs from early November to mid-January. Tickets must be purchased in advance (online). They range from $45 to $65 per vehicle, depending on your visiting time.
Nathan Phillips Square needs no introduction. Located in the heart of Toronto, it is arguably the city’s second most well-known landmark only after the CN Tower. It has hosted many of the city’s events, concerts, special displays, and farmers’ markets throughout the years.
Winter is especially a great time to visit because the central water fountain freezes beautifully into an outdoor skating rink. The city hall in the backdrop , the brightly lit archways above , as well as the skyscrapers all around make for a stunning setting. I try to go skating here every year and I have to say that this one is among the best urban skating rinks I have been to .
The skating rink is awesome but it’s not the only thing you can do at Nathan Phillips Square. The square gets a complete holiday makeover every year near Christmas time, featuring a 60 foot high Christmas tree and over 525,000 twinkling lights . It doesn’t get much more festive than this.
The Holiday Fair here is like a Christmas market and a carnival coming together. You can find stalls of local craftspeople and artists selling all sorts of unique products ranging from ceramic sculptures to The Beatles-themed coasters. There are also holiday-themed rides, games, and a photo booth with Santa!
Occasionally, the fair gets visits from food trucks, carnival performers, local bands, and street musicians. It is usually loud, lively, and festive. If you ever need a break, Nathan Phillips Square is steps away from the Eaton Center and Young-Dundas Square , where you can find numerous places to hang out. There are restaurants, bars, shopping centers, and everything in between.
- Hours : 10 am – 10 pm (Friday & Saturday) | 10 am – 7 pm (Monday) | 10 am – 9 pm (all other days)
The Christmas Market takes place in the Distillery District of Toronto , usually from around mid-November to December on an annual basis. Having been consistently ranked among the best Christmas markets in the world, this is a must-visit if you happen to be in the city this time of year.
The Distillery District is gorgeous year-round with its cobblestone paths and historic brick buildings , but it receives a complete holiday make-over near Christmas time. You can expect to see festive light canopies, cute decorations, live entertainments, and a 50 foot high, fully decked Christmas tree !
Whether you’re looking for a cute souvenir or to go on a full shopping spree, the Toronto Christmas Market has something for you. It is home to numerous specialty shops that feature products you didn’t know existed.
They have decorating ornaments, stocking stuffers, clothes, postcards, candles, potteries, spices, handmade jewelry, baked goods, and everything in between. Even if shopping is not your jam, you will certainly enjoy the energetic and festive atmosphere.
Finally, don’t forget to grab a bite from one (or several) of the food stalls they have at the market. There are poutine, pretzels, beer, schnitzel, raclette, chicken and waffle, fruit pies, you name it. Then, warm up with a cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate; nothing can beat those on a cold winter day.
Being one of Toronto’s most high-end and elegant neighborhoods, Bloor-Yorkville transforms into a winter wonderland during the Christmas season every year.
Everything gets decked out with Christmas decorations, from the houses to the streets. Be sure to check out the dazzling display of lights at Yorkville Village.
Go for a stroll to grab some gifts or a hot chocolate. There are various holiday markets and pop-up shops that spring up in the neighborhood.
- Hours : hours vary based on sunset times; check here for more information
- Address : 2000 Meadowvale Road
Terra Luminata is a 1.5 km walking path that was created to be an immersive experience. The walk takes you forward to the year 2099, when humankind has learned to live in harmony with the natural world. It brilliantly utilizes multimedia effects, light displays, and animated projections to put on a show and tell an inspiring story.
If you are looking for a lovely night walk in Toronto, then this is certainly one of the best you can find.
Things to do in Toronto in winter – indoor attractions
For days where the weather is just not ideal to go outside, there are still lots of indoor places to explore: museums, art galleries, aquariums, and even coffee shops! Let’s talk about some of the best indoor things to do in Toronto in the winter.
- Hours : 10 am – 5:30 pm (Wednesday – Sunday)
- Address : 100 Queens Park
When it’s snowing like crazy outside during winter, one of the best things to do in Toronto is to visit a museum! And the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) , is arguably the best one in town. It has everything you can imagine from mineral specimens, rare gems, ancient fossils, Roman antique items, and Indigenous artworks.
The ROM houses over six million artifacts , which makes it the largest museum in Canada. I love everything about this place and would recommend at least half a day to explore everything. Its massive collection is truly impressive.
- Hours : 10:30 am – 5 pm (Tuesday & Thursday) | 10:30 am – 9 pm (Wednesdsay & Friday) | 10:30 am – 5:30 pm (Saturday & Sunday)
- Address : 317 Dundas St W
Established in 1900, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is currently home to more than 95,000 works from artists all around the world. You can spend hours wandering through this 4,100 square m (45,000 square ft) complex admiring beautiful paintings, contemporary artworks, interactive exhibits, and intricate sculptures. It is definitely a must-visit attraction for all art lovers.
I took advantage of the Free Wednesday Nights admissions to visit this gallery when the Picasso: Painting the Blue Period exhibit was on display. It was so surreal getting to see his paintings in person. The exhibits are rotated throughout the year so be sure to check the official website for more information before your visit.
- Hours : 10 am – 8 pm (everyday)
- Address : 288 Bremner Blvd
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada , located at the base of the CN Tower, is among the city’s top attractions. Its underwater exhibits house more than 20,000 aquatic specimens from over 450 species, making it the largest indoor aquarium in Canada.
Fun fact : the aquarium holds a total of 5.7 million liters (or 1.24 million gallons) of water.
Read next : 85 Fun & Interesting Facts About Ontario Read next : 33 Best Day Trips from Toronto + How to Get There
- Hours : 11 am – 7 pm (Monday – Thursday) | 11 am – 8 pm (Friday) | 10 am – 8 pm (Saturday) | 11 am – 8 pm (Sunday)
- Address : 132 Front St E
The Museum of Illusions is a place where nothing is as it seems; a place where the unbelievable is indeed reality. I got to visit this museum on a school trip for my Psychology class in high school and I absolutely loved it.
The museum has over 100 rooms and exhibits that will amaze you. From holograms and optical illusions to infinity tunnels and upside-down rooms, this place will bend your mind. If you’re looking to be bewildered and broaden your knowledge on perspective, then the Museum of Illusions is the perfect place to visit. You will certainly leave with some new insights and lots of cool photos.
- Hours : 10 am – 4 pm (Wednesday – Friday) | 10 am – 5 pm (Saturday & Sunday)
- Address : 770 Don Mills Rd
The Ontario Science Centre is pretty fascinating I have to say. It houses several hundred permanent exhibits, featuring geology, astronomical science, anatomy, music, and technology. In addition to those, it also hosts a number of traveling exhibits like China: 7,000 Years of Discovery and Leonardo da Vinci’s Workshop .
Who doesn’t love a cute and cozy cafe? Especially on a cold winter day. If you are looking for a place to relax, study, or just hang out with a loved one, then you’re in luck because there are so many excellent coffee shops in Toronto. Below are some of my favorite:
- Dineen Coffee Co. – they make coffee that tastes good and sometimes, that’s all you need.
- Fika Coffee – lots of seating options, cool wall arts, and Swedish baked goods!
- Neo Coffee Bar – minimalistic interior design and an open food preparation station where you can watch their in-house pastries being made.
- Sam James Coffee Bar – delicious coffee, made with their own roasted beans!
- Address : 40 Bay St
For a truly iconic Toronto winter experience, head to the Scotiabank Arena and catch a Maple Leafs game. Canadians love their hockey games so this is a great way to enjoy the national sport of Canada while meeting new people and making friends.
If you can’t get tickets to the game, you can still enjoy it at Maple Leaf Square where the game is broadcast live.
Toronto, being the entertainment hub of Canada, has numerous venues and no shortage of live performances for everyone to enjoy. It is the hosting site many many concerts, theater productions, and musical acts. You can catch a concert from pop icons at the Scotiabank Arena , a ballet performance at the Four Seasons Centre , or your favorite opera at the Danforth Music Hall .
I like to use Ticketmaster to keep track of coming up concerts in the Toronto area.
- Hours : 10 am – 5:30 pm (every day except Monday)
- Address : 77 Wynford Dr
The Aga Khan Museum is one of Toronto’s best museums to visit not just in the winter, but year-round. Dedicated to Islamic, Persian, and Muslim art and culture, this museum is home to a diverse collection of artifacts from various civilizations, spanning over a thousand years!
There are special exhibits/events being hosted here regularly, often featuring contemporary Islamic art. Be sure to check their website for details on current and upcoming exhibitions.
I also love the stunning architecture, with reflecting pools, well-manicured gardens, and spiral staircases.
Although Aga Khan is located farther away from Toronto’s downtown, it’s definitely worth the trip.
Escape rooms have become a popular and engaging activity in Toronto, especially during the winter months. Not super into museums? Try visiting one of these escape rooms.
- Casa Loma Escape Series: Located within the historic Casa Loma, these escape rooms offer a unique blend of mystery, history, and stunning architecture. Solve puzzles in the grand surroundings of this iconic castle.
- Escape Games Canada: This facility offers a wide variety of escape room experiences, from horror themes to science fiction adventures. With multiple rooms, you can choose your preferred challenge.
- Roundabout Canada: Located in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District, Roundabout Canada offers escape rooms with a Canadian twist. Explore the country’s history and culture while solving puzzles.
- Trapped! Escape Room: With multiple locations in Toronto, Trapped! Escape Room offers diverse themes and levels of difficulty, making it accessible for both beginners and experienced players.
The Toronto City PASS lets you visit up to 5 of Toronto’s most popular attractions and save 40% on admission prices. The pass stays valid for 9 days after being activated, giving you plenty of time to explore. It’s a great option for those who are looking to do lots of sightseeing in the city.
- Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
- Royal Ontario Museum
- Toronto Zoo or Ontario Science Centre
So those are a few of my favorite things to do in Toronto in the winter. If you have never been to the city during this time of year, you’ll definitely be surprised by how beautiful and lively it is. Don’t forget to dress in layers, and enjoy! I hope you will love Toronto as much as I do!
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24 Fun Things to Do in Toronto in the Winter
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As Canada’s largest city, there are lots of things to do in Toronto in the winter months. From sledding down hills and shopping at Christmas markets to skating outdoors or visiting a world-class museum, there’s no reason to be bored during a Toronto winter.
There is reason to be cold, however. After all, this is Canada, and from December to March, temperatures are almost guaranteed to be below zero, with the lowest temperatures reaching -30. So, make sure you pack some warm clothes and dress appropriately so you can enjoy one of the many things to do in Toronto in the winter.
Please note that some links contained in this article and throughout our website are affiliate links. By purchasing something through these links, we earn a very small commission that helps to keep this website alive.
1. See Toronto from the CN Tower
Since the CN Tower dominates the Toronto skyline and is one of the most iconic attractions in the country, your first visit to Toronto just isn’t complete without a trip to the top. Standing 553 metres in height, the CN Tower is still the second tallest free-standing structure in the world and offers spectacular views of the city and Lake Ontario from the main lookout point at 346 metres. However, you can also walk on the glass floor or pay extra for a trip to the SkyPod, which sits at 447 metres. If you’d rather sit down for a meal, you can enjoy revolving views from the 360 Restaurant.
Last but not least, those looking for extra thrills will want to consider the EdgeWalk, the highest external walk in the world. At 116 Storeys above Toronto, strapped into a cable system, you can walk hands-free around the CN Tower.
2. Go Skating
As with most Canadian cities, outdoor skating is one of the top things to do in the winter. Whether you go skating on a neighbourhood rink or on a frozen pond, it’s an iconic way to enjoy the winter in Canada . In Toronto, there are many places to enjoy a skate, and one of the most popular options is to go skating at the Bentway Trail, which is a 1.5 km figure-eight skating trail that runs under the Gardiner Expressway. It is very popular with skaters of all ages and experience levels and features an on-site village that offers both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for everyone to enjoy. For those without skates, you can rent them for free on Thursdays or on other days for $5-$10.
Another popular place to go skating in Toronto is Nathan Phillips Square. Located in the heart of Toronto, it is almost as iconic as the CN Tower. It has hosted many of the city’s events, concerts, special displays, and farmers’ markets throughout the years, and during the winter in Toronto, it also features an outdoor skating rink surrounded by skyscrapers.
Last but not least, if you want iconic views to go along with your outdoor skating experience, try the Harbourfront Centre’s skating rink, which features views of the CN Tower, and the lake, and is home to live music and stunning light displays on Saturdays. They also offer skate rentals.
3. Go Sledding
Another popular Canadian winter activity is sledding. All you do is get a sled, climb to the top of a hill, and slide down. It can be a lot of fun, but keep in mind that it is not without its risk and you really should start off with small hills void of obstacles.
One of the most popular places to go sledding in Toronto is Riverdale Park, which is near Danforth and Broadview Ave. With its steep slopes, convenient location, and stunning skyline views, this hill is popular with people of all ages. If you want fewer crowds, another option is Trinity Bellwoods Park.
4. Go for a Wintery Walk
Another wonderful thing to do during the winter months is to simply go for a stroll, preferably somewhere with snow-covered trees. That might seem hard in a place like Toronto, but it can be done. One of the most popular places to go for a winter walk is Glen Stewart Ravine. The trail is only 1.5 kilometres in length and consists of wooden boardwalks, dirt paths, and staircases, many of which are covered in snow during the winter months.
5. Visit the Toronto Christmas Market
When it comes to the Christmas season, people seem to love Christmas markets, and when it comes to Toronto, it’s hard to beat the Toronto Christmas Market located in the Distillery District of Toronto. Not only is this one of the most beautiful destinations within the city, but it’s also ranked as one of the top Christmas markets in the world. Admire the festive light canopies, decorations, and 50-foot Christmas tree from the cobblestone streets of this historic neighbourhood.
This area is also home to many restaurants and pubs, so it doubles as a great place to have lunch or dinner as well.
6. Nathan Phillips Square Holiday Fair
While Nathan Phillips Square is known for its outdoor ice skating (we mentioned it above), it’s also known for the Holiday Fair, which takes place in December. This fair features a 60-foot-high Christmas tree with more than 500,000 twinkling lights as well as many stalls featuring local craftspeople and artists selling a wide range of unique products, holiday-themed rides, games, and a photo booth with Santa. It’s right in the heart of downtown Toronto, making it easy for both visitors and locals to take part.
7. Experience Terra Lumina at the Toronto Zoo
Terra Lumina is an experience that takes place at night at the Toronto Zoo, featuring a 1.5 km walking path that travels into the future and back. Your journey begins when a portal carries you into the luminescent wonders of the year 2099, a time when humans and nature have learned to live in harmony.
You’ll be transported into an inspiring story featuring vibrant lighting, multimedia effects, breathtaking video projections and an original score to an enchanted world filled with possibility. This is a year-round activity.
8. Eat your way through St. Lawrence Market
Known as one of the best food markets in the world, St. Lawrence Market is a great place to chow down. Created in 1803, it’s one of the oldest markets in Canada and features more than 120 local vendors who sell everything from fresh produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, spices, cheese, and lots of other unique products.
9. Go Shopping at the Toronto Eaton Centre
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Eaton Centre is one of the top attractions in Toronto, as well as the busiest mall in North America, spanning two blocks and featuring more than 250 retail stores.
The Eaton Centre was modelled after the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy, boasting vaulted glass ceilings, multi-level walkways, and a beautiful sculpture of a flock of geese created by the Canadian artist Michael Snow hanging from the ceiling. During the Christmas season, the mall is also decorated with twinkling reindeer sculptures and a stunning 108-foot-tall Christmas tree, which also happens to be the highest in Canada.
Lastly, the mall is a great place to get a bite to eat, featuring a wide array of food, such as steakhouses, fast food restaurants, Japanese, Thai, and more.
10. Casa Loma in the Winter
If you love castles, Casa Loma should be high on your list. This Gothic Revival-Styled mansion is located in mid-town Toronto and is a very popular attraction year-round. It was built as a private home at the turn of the 20th century by Sir Henry Pellatt but has since been transformed into a museum that you can tour around.
Explore all the beautiful rooms, secret passageways, sweeping staircases, and lookout towers, while admiring the architecture that has been featured in many photo shoots, TV shows, and of course, fancy weddings. However, during the Christmas season, Casa Loma turns its gardens into a winter wonderland with dazzling decorations and light displays.
11. Kensington Market
One of the coolest neighbourhoods in Toronto is Kensington Market, which is home to loads of little cafes, decades-old vintage stores, bars, charming boutique shops, record shops, and authentic ethnic restaurants. Kensington has long been the artists’ hub of Toronto, so it’s quite an eclectic and lively place to be.
Perhaps the main reason to visit Kensington Market, besides people-watching, is for the food. If you want to truly get a taste of it, you might want to join a guided food tour , but if you’d rather be on your own and enjoy full-size meals, some popular options include Seven Lives Tacos Y Mariscos (Mexican), Pow Wow Cafe (Native American), and the Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles, just to name a few. There’s also FIKA Cafe if you’re looking for coffee, Kensington Brewing Company for beer, and Moo Frites if you’re looking for the best French fries that money can buy.
12. Explore the street arts at Graffiti Alley
Graffiti has come a long way these days and is now often a tourist attraction in and of itself. If you like street art as much as we do, you’ll want to head to Graffiti Alley, a kilometre-long alley located between Spadina Ave and Portland Street, which is known for its beautiful and iconic street art. Full of colour and creativity, this alley normally attracts crowds. In the winter, however, you’ll see far fewer people, making it a great winter activity. If you’d rather learn more about the area and the art, you can also join a tour with the Tour Guys.
13. Toronto Island in the Winter
If you make it up to the top of the CN Tower, you’ll notice a big island in Lake Ontario. This is Toronto Island and it’s accessible by ferry, even during the winter in Toronto. In the summer months, it’s a popular place to go boating, hiking, biking, kayaking, and even swimming. In the winter, however, it’s a wonderful place for scenic winter walks and cross-country skiing, offering beautiful trails with views of the city. It’s also a great place to snap winter photos, with beautiful frozen lagoons and amazing skyline views, especially during sunset.
If you’re looking to go during the winter, you’ll want to take the 15-minute ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal as this is the only route running during the cold months. If you need to rent skis, you’ll want to do so before you get to the Toronto Islands. One good place to rent skis is Mountain Equipment Company.
14. Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame
If you’re a hockey fan, you definitely don’t want to miss a visit to the stunning Hockey Hall of Fame , which features exhibits about players, teams, National Hockey League (NHL) records, memorabilia and NHL trophies, including being the permanent home of the Stanley Cup. Housed inside the beautiful historic Bank of Montreal building, visitors can admire memorabilia from their favourite players, get a photo with the Stanley Cup, or enjoy many interactive activities, such as facing off against famous hockey players in a shoot-out simulation.
15. Visit the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
As much as we love outdoor winter activities, sometimes you just want to be somewhere warm. If you’re looking for somewhere warm and interesting, visit the Royal Ontario Museum , the largest museum in Canada. Explore both the natural world and humankind’s cultural past through world-renowned collections and innovative programs and galleries.
With more than six million items and 40 galleries, the museum’s diverse collections of world culture and natural history amuse and educate more than one million visitors each year. The museum contains a collection of dinosaurs, minerals and meteorites, including the world’s largest collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale with more than 150,000 specimens. It also houses an extensive art collection, including Canadian, African, Near Eastern, East Asian, and European, and also features a collection of design and fine art, including clothing, interior, and product design, especially Art Deco.
We would recommend spending a half day here at minimum.
16. Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
For those into art, escape the cold and enter the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to see more than 95,000 works from artists all around the world. This massive 45,000-square-foot complex features beautiful paintings, contemporary artworks, interactive exhibits, and intricate sculptures. If you happen to be there on a Wednesday, admission is free in the evening.
17. Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
If you’re into aquatic life, you’ll probably want to check out Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, which is super close to the CN Tower. While we’re always hesitant to promote aquariums, we didn’t want to leave out one of Toronto’s top attractions, which features more than 20,000 aquatic specimens from over 450 species, making it the largest indoor aquarium in Canada.
Want more facts? Check out our guide to the best Toronto Facts !
18. Visit the Museum of Illusions
This unique attraction is a place where nothing is as it seems and where the unbelievable is indeed reality. It might sound surreal but the Museum of Illusions fuses fun and entertainment with education and learning, featuring over 80 illusions, holograms, installations and exhibits.
Test your sense of balance while navigating their Vortex tunnel, unleash your inner Einstein while solving games, and experience the laws of gravity and size ratio through their Tilted and even upside-down rooms. Whether you’re looking to broaden your knowledge and perspective, or simply looking for a fun indoor adventure, this museum has something for everyone.
19. Ontario Science Centre
For those looking for even more fascination, check out the Ontario Science Centre , a science museum that houses more than 500 interactive exhibits, featuring geology, astronomical science, anatomy, music, and technology. The Science Centre is a space where visitors of all ages can learn through play and discover ways to think like a scientist every day.
Guided by the belief that science, technology and innovation will help us shape a better future, the Ontario Science Centre and its team of scientists, educators and exhibition creators conceive, develop, design and build world-class exhibitions, award-winning educational programs and innovative science learning experiences.
In addition to the incredible exhibits, the Ontario Science Centre also houses Toronto’s only public planetarium and Ontario’s only IMAX® Dome theatre (film tickets sold separately).
20. Take a Tour
With so much tourism taking place in Toronto, there are so many Toronto tours to choose from. Whether you’re visiting the city or even living in the city, perhaps you’d like to learn more about the city while trying out different food on a walking food tour. Maybe you’d like to skip out to Niagara Falls to see them during the winter months.
21. Warm Up in a Cafe
Where there are lots of people, you’ll find lots of coffee shops. After all, everyone loves their java jolt, especially on winter days when few things compare to holding a warm mug. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of amazing Toronto coffee shops and cafes. Whether you’re looking for a latte, a hot chocolate, or just a great cup of coffee, there’s something for everyone.
Where you go will depend on where you are but some options to consider include The Library Specialty Coffee (highly ranked and flavourful), Balzac’s Coffee (inspired by authentic cafes in Paris), and FIKA Cafe (cozy, cute, and lots of art).
22. Watch the Toronto Maple Leafs
For a truly iconic Toronto winter experience, watch the historic Toronto Maple Leafs play hockey at the Scotiabank Arena. As one of the original size NHL teams, there’s lots of history with this team, even though they haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967.
However, watching a game in Toronto is certainly not cheap. If you use a marketplace app like GameTime, you can usually score tickets in the highest part of the arena for under $100.
23. Enjoy a Concert or Show
Like most major cities, another great thing to do in the winter is to go inside and watch a concert or a show. As the entertainment capital of Canada, Toronto has many venues and loads of live performances throughout the year. Whether you’re looking to see a concert, a theatre production, a ballet or a musical act, there’s something for everyone in Toronto. Some of the big venues include the Scotiabank Arena, Four Seasons Centre, Budweiser Stage at Ontario Place, and Danforth Music Hall.
24. Take a Day Trip to Niagara Falls
Although Niagara Falls is not in Toronto, it’s only 130 kilometres away. In less than two hours, you can drive (or take a bus) to one of the most iconic natural attractions in the entire country. Home to one of the world’s largest waterfalls, Niagara Falls is an incredible site to see in the winter months and has MUCH fewer crowds. There are many different ways to get the best views of Niagara Falls , but even if you want to spend more time, there are lots of things to do in Niagara Falls , including the Bird Kingdom, the Butterfly Conservatory, and so much more.
Don’t have a car? No problem! Join one of the many guided day trips to Niagara Falls !
Save Money with the Toronto City PASS !
If any of these attractions are on your bucket list, you might want to consider purchasing the Toronto City PASS , which lets you visit up to five of Toronto’s most popular attractions and save 40% on admission prices. The pass stays valid for nine days after being activated, giving you plenty of time to explore, and includes the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Casa Loma, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Toronto Zoo or Ontario Science Centre.
Want More Canadian Travel Guides ?
While Toronto has enough to keep you busy for weeks, there’s much more to the second-largest country on Earth. For more things to do in Canada, check out these travel guides below:
- Things to Do in Ottawa
- Things to Do in Sudbury
- Things to Do in Hamilton
- Things to Do in Mississauga
- Things to Do in London, Ontario
- Experience The Canadian Canoe Route
About Matthew G. Bailey
Matthew G. Bailey is the founder and editor-in-chief of Must Do Canada. Growing up in Alberta to a mother from Quebec and a father from Newfoundland, Matt spent his childhood playing hockey under the Northern Lights and hanging out in the forest before moving to Calgary and travelling to more than 250 cities spanning 42 countries and 6 continents. He loves travel, learning new things, playing sports, writing, making videos, photography, and scuba diving. You can also find him at LiveLimitless.net .
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17 Things to Do in Toronto in Winter: Full Guide to the City
last Updated: April 24, 2023 canada toronto
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Headed to Canada soon and hoping to check out all the things to do in Toronto in the winter? Grab your snow boots and get on reading – this Toronto winter guide will have you bundling up and getting ready to explore in no time!
Toronto, sometimes referred to as “The 6” (thanks, Drake), is the ultimate year-round destination, but can be particularly pretty (albeit chilly) during the winter time.
But don’t fret – if your plans have you visiting Toronto in the winter, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this beautiful city, both out in the frigid temps as well as inside to stay warm.
Regardless of the season, if this is your first time visiting Toronto, plan to check out the top city spots (trust me – they’re even more beautiful with a fresh coating of the powdery white stuff… we’re talking about snow here).
I’ve visited Canada quite a few times during the warmer summer months ( Montreal , Quebec City, Banff , Whistler , Jasper, Vancouver , Niagara Falls, and even Toronto), but have never dared to step foot in the winter wonderland that is Canada once the air’s turned frigid. Well, besides a snowy few days in Banff , and I have to say it’s my newest obsession.
But lucky us, we have Diana (a native Torontonian) from Diana’s Healthy Living to share with us her favorite things to do in Toronto in winter, from exploring nearby islands (yes, even in winter) to indulging in peameal bacon sandwiches . Take it away, Diana!
Psst – looking for more Canadian wintery fun? Go check out Banff in winter , I just visited last year and it’s one of my new favorite snowy spots!
And psst – you may hear Torontonians referring to our beautiful city as Toronno . If you pronounce it ToronTo, you’re screaming tourist from the top of your lungs. Just FYI if you wanna blend in with the locals a bit more.
Weather in Toronto during the Winter Months
It’s always a good time to travel to Toronto (although I may be biased- I’m from the city!), but a winter visit really shows off the extra magical flair you’ll see showcased around the area. From Christmas markets, ice skating, and other holiday festivities, don’t forget about winter in Toronto just because of the cold weather!
And while Toronto is known for its chilly temps, it’s not aaaassss cold as one may think. Average January temperatures (the coldest month of the year) hover around 30 degrees F, which, while slightly below freezing, isn’t allll that bad if you bundle if correctly!
However, do note that temperatures may reach 14 degrees F on occasion, with night time temps below -4 degrees F (especially in the northern suburbs). And let me tell ya, that wind chill will kill you – making it feel like -22 degrees (and no, that — is a not a typo).
Plan your indoor activities once the sun sets in order to keep your outside exploring when the sun’s high in the sky.
As far as snow goes, expect the first snowfall to occur around November, but don’t be alarmed if it’s snowing in October (this happens more frequently than not). Snow lasts up until around March or April. With all this being said, you can expect a winter wonderful full of fluffy white snow between the months of October through April. Be sure to pack and dress appropriately! More on that below.
→ Want to expand your winter trip to Canada? Have a few more days? Read this next: Things to do in Montreal in the Winter (tons of maple everything involved)
Important things to pack for a Toronto Winter:
As you probably suspected, if you’re traveling to Toronto in the winter there’s a few clothing items that come highly recommended.
If you haven’t heard (or read the weather report up above), Toronto gets a decent amount of snow and thus can be fairly cold; however, don’t let the cold scare you away. Dress warmly in a winter coat, tuque (that’s Canadian for winter hat), gloves, and winter boots, and you’re all set to explore the city with hot chocolate in hand!
Thankfully with the right stuff, you can stay warm and dry even when it’s wet and chilly outside! No one likes wet feet – that’s the absolute worst! After going on quite a few snowy weather winter getaways, I’ve kinda perfected the ultimate packing list. But first, a few tips:
Piece of advice #1: Invest in warm and waterproof snow boots with a proper grip . When ordering, opt for a size slightly larger than normal, as you want to allow for thick socks and toe warmers. If your boots are too tight (and your toes are crammed together), your feet will never stay warm enough.
Piece of advice #2: HOT HANDS . Enough said. But in all honesty, hot hands saved our frosty fingers on more than one occasion. What are they, you ask? They’re these magical dry packets filled with iron (among other scientific things) that intensify in heat once activated. Basically – super technological hand warmers that stay warm for up to 10 hours. And they are a godsend. You’ll want at least 1 pair a day. Buy on amazon here .
Here’s my winter weather recommendations for what to pack for Toronto in the winter:
- Warm Winter Coat : For those frigid winter days, you’ll really wanna invest in an insulated parka. I’ve got my eye on this North Face parka (I currently wear one from 10+ years ago – it’s about time for a new jacket). Looking for one a bit less expensive? This one’s crazy popular on social media, and with the length and sherpa-lined hood, I can totally see why. However note that it’s only water resistant, not waterproof, so not the best choice for those crazy snowy days.
- Packable Puffer Jacket : I wear this one – it’s lightweight and water resistant, plus comes in a bunch of fun colors and the pockets are super deep (perfect for storing your phone). It packs down to almost nothing in the little included pouch – perfect for travel!
- Fleece Zip-Up : On those absolutely frigid days when you need a little something between your sweater and warm winter coat, a fleece zip-up (like this Columbia full-zip ) will come in handy. There’s a reason it’s got 45k positive reviews!
- Base Layers : I’ve been wearing heat tech long sleeve tees ever since I went to Banff a few years back, and they’ve saved me from those frigid temps! They’re super lightweight and perfect to wear under a sweater, and leave you feeling dry and warm without the bulk!
- Fleece-lined leggings : I used to layer two pairs of regular leggings, but now that fleece-lined leggings are a thing, I only wear those! They’re just as comfy as regular leggings, but keep your legs staying warm and toasty. I’ve worn these pairs a few times and they’ve been great, and come in a bunch of fun colors! If you’re looking for something to wear under jeans or snow pants, these come highly recommended (although too thin to wear on their own; more like a base layer).
- Chapstick : Cold and dry air make your lips susceptible to chapping super easily. Ugh, the worst! I’m low-key obsessed with this cocoa butter swivel stick – it makes your lips so super soft and it smells a tad like chocolate! My favorite! It also works wonders on dry, chapped skin. You’ll wanna reapply multiple times throughout the day. Psst – not all chapsticks are created equal, and some will even make your chapped lips worse (true story). Avoid any containing ingredients like phenol, menthol, and/or salicylic acid; these actually make your lips drier. I always stick to Vaseline ( these mini pots are small enough to throw in your purse ) or a cocoa butter stick .
- Thick Moisturizing Lotion : My skin gets crazy dry in the cold weather, and this thick moisturizing lotion always does the trick! Great for cracked, dry skin.
- Power Bank : After relying on friends’ spare batteries for far too long (thx friends), I finally invested in power banks of my own, haha. Batteries die out faster in the cold, so come prepared with a power bank to recharge your stuff on the go. This compact power bank gives up to 10 full charges! I always throw this tiny one in my bag also, just in case, as a backup. My phone is my life-line (especially when traveling solo ), so I like to be extra prepared!
- Beanies : I’ve got this fleece-lined beanie (pom pom included) in a few colors, and always bring a thick headband along too for when I want to put my hair up.
- Warm Gloves : I like to take a few pairs of gloves with me – loving these wool-blend mittens and this pair that’s super lightweight and waterproof (good enough to go skiing in).
- Scarves : I tend to bring a few, since they’re so easy to accessorize with! This blanket scarf is one of my faves (a great neutral option that matches everything), and chunky-knit infinity scarves are oh so cozy!
- Waterproof Snow Boots : Gotta keep your feet warm and dry! And THESE Sorel waterproof boots are easily the best ones out there – they’re 100% waterproof, seam-sealed, and actually look pretty cute (unlike most snow boots out there).
- High Socks : Choose wool ones that wicker moisture and keep your feet dry all day long. Synthetics are a no-go, especially in winter. These merino wool socks are super warm and so incredibly soft (and nope, not itchy at all contrary to popular belief) and perfect under snow boots. You’ll never wanna take them off… just buy a few pairs! I recommend layering your socks and actually wearing 2 pairs at all times (I typically do one shorter, ankle length merino wool sock underneath, and a longer, mid-calf merino wool pair on top).
- Polarized sunglasses : Since the sun reflects off the snow, you’ll need some polarized sunglasses – I’ve been wearing these exact ones for years and I just love ‘em!
How to Get Around
If you are traveling from the airport there is the UP Express that leaves from Toronto Pearson Terminal 1 every 15 minutes and takes you directly to Union Station. You can also take an airport limousine, taxi, Uber, or Lyft.
A great way to get around the city and take in some of the famous sights is a Hop on Hop Off Bus as it will help you see the highlights quickly especially if you are on a time constraint.
The TTC (subway- the bullet) isn’t the most luxurious way to travel and you may be crammed during rush hour but it is clean (most of the time) and safe. Fares cost $3.25. You can also buy tokens for a Presto Card.
If you’re driving in the city I would recommend that you pack your patience and budget for the fairly expensive city parking. Be sure to watch out for the bikers as they are pedaling on the roads year round. Yes, even in winter. The cold’s got nothin’ on the locals.
Where to stay:
Hotels in Toronto
There’s an abundance of hotel choices in Toronto. If you are looking to stay in the heart of the city and cost is not an issue, then I would recommend the new St. Regis Hotel. If you want a hotel with a magnificent view of Lake Ontario, then I would recommend the new Hotel X Toronto . Can’t go wrong with either choice!
Check out prices and reviews of hotels in Toronto here.
Useful Phrases while in Toronto
Just like we pronounce Toronto “Toronno” you may hear some other odd phrases. To help you fit right in.
- Eh?: this word is used to indicate that you don’t understand something, can’t believe something is true or if you want the person to respond or we generally say this at the end of every sentence.
- A Loonie : a $1 Canadian coin.
- A Toonie: a $2 Canadian coin.
- Double-Double: refers to a coffee (often from Tim Hortons) with two creams and two sugars.
- Timmies: it refers to the much-loved fast-food coffee chain, Tim Horton’s. If you don’t know or love Timmies, you’re not a true Canadian.
- The 6ix: Toronto’s nickname.
- Two-Four: commonly used to refer to a case of 24 beers.
- Pop: commonly used to refer to soda
- Canuck: a slang term for Canadians.
- Caker : another slack term for Canadian
Extra Tips For Your Visit to Toronto:
- Language : English or Canadian
- Electricity : 110V (same as the USA)
- Currency : The Canadian currency is the Canadian Dollar. Canadian currency is colorful – the five dollar bill is blue, ten dollar bill is purple, fifty dollar bill is red, and the one hundred dollar bill is brown. We also have Loonies (one dollar coin) and toonies (two dollar coin).
- Tax : When buying anything in Toronto, including food, drink, clothes, anything really, you have tax on top. This is 13% and the price you see of items on the shelves, in menus etc, will normally be before tax.
Things to do in Toronto in Winter
Toronto’s most prominent attraction is the CN Tower , the tallest free-standing structure in the western hemisphere and it now includes EdgeWalk (seasonal), a thrilling hands-free walk around the outside ledge of the tower.
Standing at 1,815 feet tall and designated as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, it is a must visit as it’s a Canadian icon and a symbol of Toronto.
You can eat dinner at the revolving restaurant, walk on the glass floor, take in the 360 degree views of Toronto from inside and out, enjoy a virtual reality ride, learn about the making of the CN Tower and for a real thrill, head outside and lean over the edge of the tower on the exciting Edge Walk. If you are brave enough to dangle off the CN Tower double check the dates of operation.
Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
If you are a history buff then visiting the Royal Ontario Museum is a must as it is Canada’s largest museum of world cultures and natural history. There are extensive galleries and interactive exhibits from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt located right in the heart of Toronto.
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
The Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. View the works of the Group of Seven to masterpieces of European art.
St. Lawrence Market
St. Lawrence Market has been ranked by National Geographic as the world’s best food market. It is located in Old Town Toronto where you can taste your way through the food stalls, and restaurants. Make sure to try the famous peameal bacon sandwich at Carousel Bakery. I would drive into the city just to sink my teeth into this sandwich.
Hockey Hall of Fame
I’m sure when you think of Canada the first thing that comes to mind is Hockey. Hockey is more than a game to Canadians. Hockey is a symbol of Canada, and even a way of life.
The Hockey Hall of Fame features the most elaborate collection of hockey memorabilia and gear from across the globe, as well as interactive games, multimedia stations and exhibits on the game’s greatest players, there’s something for everyone at the Hockey Hall of Fame .
Toronto Eaton Centre
The Toronto Eaton Centre is one of the city’s most popular attractions located in the heart of downtown Toronto. There are over 250 retailers so you are sure to find something to satisfy your shopping addiction.
Betcha didn’t think you’d have the opportunity to visit a castle while in Toronto. Casa Loma was built as a private home by Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt in 1914 that features elegant rooms, secret passageways, sweeping staircases, stables and lush gardens. Casa Loma is Spanish for “Hill House,” and attracts guests from all over the world to view the beautiful grounds.
Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre is home to more than 500 interactive experiences, spread across eight exhibit halls. It also boasts Ontario’s only IMAX® Dome theatre, a state-of-the-art planetarium, an authentic rainforest environment and a discovery area just for kids eight and under.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Located at the base of the CN Tower in the heart of the entertainment district, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is 135,000 square feet of interactive, underwater exhibits, the country’s largest indoor aquarium. This is especially a popular spot for families over the weekend and holidays.
Take the scenic ferry ride over to the Toronto Islands, which provides a wonderful view and photo opportunity of the city skyline. It is only a 10-minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto. It makes for a great winter excursion if you love outdoor activities. Only the Ward’s Island ferry operates during the winter season and will take you to the eastern part of the islands.
See a winter light show at Ontario Place
Part of Ontario Place’s recent rejuvenation movement includes an impressive and free winter light exhibition that’s coupled with skating fire pits, and food vendors. It’s open all winter long.
Go for a skate
Skating seems to be Toronto’s favourite winter activity, and there are plenty of magical skate trails to explore throughout the city along with a long list of public skating rinks . Some rinks are even open late into the night . Be sure to bundle up – you will find outdoor skating a lot more pleasurable if dressed warmly.
Visit the Distillery District for more lights
The Distillery District is great to visit over the Christmas holidays as it Toronto’s Christmas Market. The Toronto Light Festival will start on January 19 that will transform the Distillery District back into a magical exhibit of light and art.
The Toronto Sign
The TORONTO sign, originally installed as part of the Pan American Games in 2015, was such a hit with residents and visitors that it’s stayed. See it in Nathan Phillips Square in front of City Hall that is lit up at night.
Road Trips From Toronto in Winter
If you are still looking for things to do in Toronto in the winter then there are some great road tips.
Niagara Falls, Ontario, is a Canadian city at the famous waterfalls of the same name, linked with the U.S. by the Rainbow Bridge. You can make it to Niagara Falls from Toronto in under two hours making this a great destination for a day trip or stay the night to enjoy the nightly light show.
The Falls are beautiful but even more so during the winter as some sections freeze up. A great way to see the falls is through the nightly free illumination. Every year the Winter Festival of Lights takes place from early November continuing until the end of January. The festival boasts over two million lights and over 125 animated light displays along the Niagara Parkway.
It is free and great for the entire family. Make sure to bundle up as it can be fairly cold during the winter months.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a town in southern Ontario. It’s known for its wineries and the summer Shaw Festival, a series of theatre productions. You can make it to Niagara-on-the-Lake in under two hours from Toronto. There are also helicopter packages from Toronto with Flygta. It is wonderful day trip or weekend trip from Toronto.
During the winter months you can enjoy some of the various winter events such as the Niagara Icewine Festival that runs from January 18 – 28.
If you love the outdoors then I would recommend heading up North to the Blue Mountains region , about a two hour drive from Toronto, where you can ski, snowshoe, go caving, skating. The activities are endless and there is something for everyone.
So there ya have it, a whole slew of things to do in Toronto in winter time! What are you most excited about?!
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August 22, 2019 at 2:07 am
I'm planning a trip to Canada in Dec. 2019 and intend to visit Niagara Falls + Niagara On The Lake. Hope to get some directions getting there from Downtown area. (Eaton Metro); using public transport.
Would greyhound bus be possible and where's their ticketing station?
December 10, 2020 at 7:25 pm
Hi Jess, Thank you for your inclusion of Carousel Bakery. Great article and hopefully when we get past co vid many readers will visit. Anytime you are down at the market, please introduce yourself, would be a pleasure to meet you. Thanks again, Co-owner Robert
December 11, 2020 at 12:17 am
I can't wait to travel to Toronto (and Canada in general) again once this is all over! One of my favorite countries! I'll definitely say hi when I'm in town.
September 20, 2021 at 11:19 pm
Hi, Stoica I am planing to visit Toronto for Christmas season, please recommend me the places that can be explored in winter. Plus how much would be expenses per day just a roughly idea i need. Where to stay in Toronto? Regards. Wilson John
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