Toronto is one of Canada’s major cities, known for its modern and dynamic vibe - mixing both towering skyscrapers with an abundance of green space in one city! However, it is also known for its biting winters, with temperatures that can reach lows of -9.8°C (or 14.36°F) on an average in February! Planning to visit Toronto during the winter? Although it could be difficult to get around - not to mention, very tempting to just bundle up and sleep in - there are plenty of things that you wouldn’t want to miss out on in the winter! Here are just some of the best things to do in winter in Toronto, Canada! If you’re planning a trip here soon, check out the best themed hotels and aparthotels for your accommodation needs.
Kensington Market is one of Toronto’s most colorful neighborhoods and one of the most historically relevant, having been designated as a “National Historic Site of Canada” in 2006. With such a culturally-diverse population, there is plenty that one can enjoy at Kensington Market - particularly, the wide variety of food! You can easily channel your inner foodie by booking an exciting food tour of Kensington Market. From Toronto, you and your tour group will be brought to Kensington Market, where you can skip the notoriously long queues to try cuisine from at least six different cultures! If you are a vegetarian, no need to worry - there are vegetarian options available, as well!
Toronto's Kensington Market International Food-Tasting Tour
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
With winter comes lots of opportunities to enjoy fun outdoor activities! Some of the most popular winter activities that include. Are you a first-timer or don’t know where to get started? You can try booking a tour! These tours can take you from Toronto to North Ontario, where you can try your hand at dog sledding, snow tubing, and snowshoeing! The tour is also capped off with some good eats - a chili lunch, hot chocolate, and some roasted marshmallows over a cozy fire, to keep you nice and warm!
Dog Sledding and Snowshoeing Tour from Toronto
Duration: 12 hours
3. Visit the holiday markets
During the holidays, there are a good number of markets that you can check out in Toronto! Some of these include the Trinity Bellwoods Flea Christmas is Coming Market held in November, the Etsy Holiday Market, and the Holiday Fair in the Square - both held in December. There is also the Swedish Fair, a two-day holiday market where you can enjoy traditional Swedish carols, food, and crafts! Of course, the city’s largest and most popular holiday market by far is the Toronto Christmas Market, which is held at the Distillery Historic District from mid-November to just a few days before Christmas day.
Toronto Christmas Market
Address: 55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4, Canada
Website: Toronto Christmas Market
Opening hours: Tuesday - Thursday 12 pm - 9 pm; Friday 12 pm - 10 pm; Saturday 10 am - 10 pm; Sunday 10 am - 9 pm
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4. Pop by the Winterlicious food festival
Typically held in the first two weeks of February, the Winterlicious food festival is one of Toronto’s largest celebrations of local cuisine! Winterlicious is one of two major food fairs organized by the city’s local special events department, every year - the other being Summerlicious, held in July. Winterlicious features select major local restaurants, who then offer their meals at discounted prices! There are over 200 participants in the Winterlicious Food Festival, serving lunch and dinner meals that you can enjoy for just USD 23 to USD 53.
Address: Across 220 restaurants in Toronto
5. Stroll through historic Distillery District
Set amongst 19th-century buildings, the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery was once the largest distillery, producing a staggering 2 million gallons (7,600,000 L) worth of whiskey, per year! Today, it is known as Toronto’s historic Distillery District, which is home to numerous restaurants, cafes, shops, and even art galleries! If you are a fan of architecture and history, you are sure to love the beautifully-preserved heritage buildings and streets - in fact, the area is known to be one of the largest collections of Victorian-era industrial architecture in North America! Of course, you can still enjoy some delicious cocktails or a good, old-fashioned pint of beer here!
Address: Toronto, Ontario
Website: Distillery District
6. Head to Yorkville for ice sculptures
Another one of the most anticipated events in Toronto during the winter months is the annual Bloor-Yorkville Icefest ice-carving contest! Usually held in February, the Icefest fills Yorkville with beautiful ice sculptures that are carved by talented locals, according to the theme assigned for the year. Visitors are free to pose alongside these sculptures for pictures and vote for their favorite ones! In addition to the ice carving competition, guests can also enjoy carving demonstrations and even participate in events, like scavenger hunts! Not to mention, there are plenty of great eats to enjoy - perfect for spending quality time with family and friends!
Address: Village of Yorkville Park (Cumberland St. & Bellair St.)
Website: Bloor-Yorkville Icefest
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Whether you prefer the sweetness of white chocolate or the bittersweet kick of dark chocolate, you’re sure to have a great time at an immersive chocolate making workshop! By booking one of these classes, you can learn more about the history of this sweet treat and even try your hand at making some of your own! If you are a vegan, there are classes offered in making vegan chocolates, as well. Many of these workshops not only let you bring home your own sweet creations but also give you the choose some of the best chocolates to bring home for your friends and family, as well!
Chocolate Making Workshop - Make chocolate happiness ! (Toronto location)
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Ice wines are a great way to keep warm during the cold winter months! This delectable drink gets its name from its primary ingredient: grapes, which have been frozen while still on the vine. This also gives ice wines a more concentrated than usual flavor. Ice wines are a big part of the winter months in Canada, as the country is one of the largest producers of ice wine in the world! There are plenty of places where you can try ice wine in Toronto during the winter months. For the full experience, you can even go on a wine-tasting and food-pairing tour, where you will be able to take part in the annual ice wine festival and visit three different wineries!
Full-Day Niagara Ice Wine Festival Tour with Lunch and Winery Visits
Ice hockey is, without a doubt, Canada’s favorite past-time! The sport is immensely popular there, and no trip to Toronto in the winter would be complete without seeing the sport for yourself! Want to try your hand at it, but don’t know where to begin? Fortunately, you can easily find some local tours that can give you the opportunity to try it out or catch the local team, in action! These tours, usually held in small groups, are led by a knowledgeable guide that takes you through the history of hockey and the basics of the game! Afterward, you and your group will be treated to some timbits, to really give you the full Canadian experience!
Hockey in Toronto Small Group Tour
Nestled along the international border between Ontario and New York are the famous Niagara Falls - one of the most popular attractions in the world! Although the Niagara Falls are undoubtedly beautiful, they are truly breathtaking in the wintertime - the flawlessly white snow against the bright blue skies make the falls look like a winter wonderland! At night, there are free light shows that add some brilliant colors to the falls! From Toronto, you can book a tour to the breathtaking Niagara Falls which will allow you to explore not just the falls, but also the fascinating historical town of Niagara on the Lake. You can enjoy a complimentary wine-tasting on the tour, as well - the perfect way to cap it off!
Weekday Special: Niagara Falls Tour from Toronto
Duration: 9 hours
Wonders to enjoy in the winter
Though it can be a little tougher to get around Toronto during the winter months, don’t let the cold get you down! There are plenty of wonders that you can still enjoy, including wine tours and boat tours. With so much going on in Toronto, you’re sure to find warmth and joy, even in the coldest time of the year!
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