Hiking events

Skating at Harbourfront, hiking in the GTA: 5 winter activities

“I’m not crazy about cold weather, but I do appreciate that we have snow, which can be quite magical,” says Jessica Lam of the popular blog Diary of a Toronto Girl. “Even with the cold, there are still plenty of ways to make the most of winter and tons of fun things to do in the GTA.”

Our dropping temperatures create lots of icy fun outdoors, she says, such as the Bloor-Yorkville IceFest and various hiking, sledding and ice skating options: “It makes the freezing weather a little more bearable.”

Bundle up and try out some of Lam’s suggestions for a winter wonderland win.

Skating at Harbourfront

“Nathan Phillips Square is the most popular place to skate downtown, but I love skating at Harbourfront. It’s a little less busy and you have a view of the CN Tower. They’ve temporarily moved the rink to the concert stage, and it’s now an ice loop. Then warm up with some of the best coffee in town at the Boxcar Social.

Tobogganing at Riverdale Park

“Riverdale Park East offers stunning views of the Toronto skyline, and it’s also a very popular spot for sledding, and can be fun for adults too. Once you’ve had your fill of slides and slides, grab a hot drink across the street at the Rooster Coffeehouse.

Instagram at Polson Pier

Port of Toronto at Polson Pier.

“Polson Pier is also one of the best places to see the Toronto skyline if you’re looking to snap an Instagram-worthy photo. I particularly like when the lake freezes: it’s even more beautiful.

Explore the Toronto Light Festival

The Toronto Light Festival at the Distillery District.

“This festival takes over the Distillery District from January to March, and it’s one of the winter events I’m most looking forward to. They have all kinds of cool light installations from local and international artists every year, and it’s always great fun to explore. Balzac’s is the perfect place to warm up afterwards, or if you’re looking for a place to eat, Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie is my favorite place in the Distillery District.”

Hiking in Durham Region

“It’s beautiful to explore all year round, but I especially like it when it’s covered in snow. My favorite trails are Heber Down Conservation Area in Whitby, Long Sault Conservation Area in Bowmanville and Orono Crown Land in Clarington. Be sure to bring ice cleats for your boots as the trails can get quite slippery.

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