50 things to do this winter in Toronto

Things to do in Toronto for winter 2023 include both indoor and outdoor events and activities.

The cold snowy season brings back winter favourites like light festivals, skating trails and art along the beach. Hamilton is back in the city after its short stint back in 2020 or grab your sled and hit the city’s newest tobogganing hill.

Here are some things to look forward to this winter in Toronto.

New this year

Immerse yourself in the world of Disney

Relive your favourite childhood memories and check out this one-of-a-kind Disney animation immersive experience. The celebration takes you inside Walt Disney Animation Studios’ greatest films, with classic and modern movies. The experience runs from December 21 through March 19.

Head out to a candlelit concert

If you want to listen to music from some of your favourite artists or film scores in a unique setting then make sure to grab tickets to this new global candlelight series. Musicians will be paying tribute to popular artists, film scores, plays and more in some of Toronto’s iconic venues until March 7.

candle light concert

Head out to one of these intimate concerts that will be paying tribute to some of your favourite artists, plays, films and more. Photo by candlelight.concerts.

Catch a comedy show at a new comedy club

Second City opened a new location and there are a ton of themed shows, with no shortage of comedians to see. You can find tickets as low as $35 and shows are run almost every day.

Learn about Canadian music legend Leonard Cohen

Make your way to the AGO for a world-exclusive exhibit of Leonard Cohen. Discover the different parts of Cohen’s creative life including rare concert footage and digital art created by the musician. The exhibit runs until April 10.

Grab tickets to the most sought out musical

The award-winning Broadway musical Hamilton is back in the city after its short 3 weeks run in 2020. Hamilton is set to return to Toronto from February 22 through May 14 at the Princes of Wales Theatre.

Explore a new lights festival

Formerly known as the Winter Light Exhibition, Lumière: The Art of Light is set to transform Trillium Park with illuminating displays. The free exhibition will be open every night from March 10 through May 7.

Marquee Events

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

On display now until April 23, the ROM will be home to some of the best wildlife photographs in the world. The exhibition will showcase almost 100 striking images from the international competition. 

Long Winter

From art installations to live performances, check out all the different works of art by local artists around the city. Most events are free or PWYC with events on until March 4.

Winter Solstice Festival

Head out to the streets of Kensington Market and celebrate the start of the cold season with a ton of performances and a parade. Mark the longest night of the year on December 21.

winter solstice festival

Celebrate the longest night of the year with a street parade and a ton of performances. Photo by Christian Bobak.

Solaris

Why go shopping when you can spend the day at a rave on Boxing Day? This year John Summit will be heading the annual rave with a ton of special guests. Shuffle your way to the dancefloor at Rebel on December 26.

Light Up The Dark

The Aga Khan Museum is set to come to life with massive light projects created by OCADU students that will be accompanied by an original score from December 27 through December 29. 

What’s In The Box

The Drake Underground hosts its annual mini-music festival for five days from December 26 through December 30. Tickets start at $5 or are $10 at the door.

Polar Bear Skate

If you’re brave enough, strip down to your underwear or bathing suit as you skate at The Bentway. The annual event is both a clothing drive and a wild way to end the year. The Polar Bear Skate is on December 31 from 12:00 p.m. through 2:00 p.m.

Polar Bear Dip

Spend the first day of 2023 by dipping into the freezing waters of Lake Ontario all for a good cause. Bring a towel, toque, and bathing suit and take the plunge at Sunnyside Beach at noon.

polar bear dip

Plunge into the freezing waters of Lake Ontario for a good cause. Photo by Christian Bobak.

Dave Chappelle

Ring in 2023 with some laughs as the comedian is back in the city to take over Scotiabank Arena for his In Your Dreams Tour. Chappelle will be taking the stage on January 1.

Doc Soup

Celebrate the festival’s 30th year by binge-watching some of the most buzzed-about documentaries. Check out screenings from January 11 through April 5.

Class of 2023

For seven days in January, catch live music at different iconic music venues across the city to celebrate live music and the talent of local musicians. Check it out on select nights from January 7 through January 28.

Something Strange Circus Sideshow Festival

Run away to the circus on January 23 where a live freakshow festival will take over Revival for the night.

Interior Design Show

Find inspiration for your next home project at this show that features the work of both Canadian and international designers over four days from January 19 through January 22.

Top Ten Film Festival

Head to the TIFF Bell Lightbox where you can check out the annual film festival’s top films of last year from January 29 to January 29.

DesignTO

Public spaces across the city will be transformed into exhibition sites for 9 days from January 20 through January 29 with some installations using augmented reality.

Toronto Tea Festival

Sample hundreds of tea at the annual festival that will also feature talks and presentations. You’ll also be able to shop teaware, teas and other related products on January 28 and January 29.

Winterlicious

Head out for the annual city-wide food experience from January 27 through February 9 with hundreds of restaurants and bars participating to feature new menus and specials.

winterlicious

Try out some of the city’s top restaurants or bears that are serving up prix fixe meals. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

Bikini Bottom Rave

Shuffle your way to the bottom of the seas as a SpongeBob SquarePants-themed rave is set to take over the Opera House on February 3.

Rhubarb Fest

The 44th annual Rhubarb Fest is back at Buddies for a fun night out. From February 8 through February 11, watch artists explore new possibilities in theatre, dance, music and performance art.

Toronto Black Film Festival

Celebrate Black creators at the annual film festival that will be held online this year from February 15 through February 20.

Canadian International AutoShow

 Check out some of the hottest new cars on the market from February 17 through February 26 where you can get up close and personal with cars that aren’t on the roads yet.

Ice Fest

The annual ice festival in Yorkville is back to fill the ritzy neighbourhood with ice sculptures that are set to transport you around the world on February 18 and February 19.

icefest

The ritzy neighbourhood is set to be filled with ice sculptures, live carvings and a ton of activities. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

Winter Stations

The annual outdoor arts festival invites artists to transform the lifeguard station along Toronto’s beaches for the winter. The theme for this winter is Radiance. You can check out the installations starting February 20 through March 31.

SZA

American singer-songwriter SZA is set to go on her first arena tour this winter and is set to take over the Scotiabank Arena on February 23. 

Celebrate Toronto

Head out to Nathan Phillips Square on March 6 to celebrate Toronto’s 189th anniversary. The square will be filled with vendors, food trucks, skating and a ton more activities.

Sugar Shack TO

Celebrate all things maple syrup as the annual sugar shack festival returns for the weekend on March 11 through March 12 at Sugar Beach.

International Anime Music Festival

Grab tickets for this immersive concert rave that features anime pop stars on stage for the first time. It all goes down on March 12.

Comicon

Celebrate all things fandom at the annual fan festival with a weekend full of exhibitions, special guests, workshops, meet-ups, and events happening from March 17 through March 19.

Outdoor Activities

Go tobogganing

Grab your sled and hit one of the 29 city parks that have designated tobogganing hills. Centennial Park just got two designated hills for you to run up and slide down the slippery slope.

Skate at an outdoor rink

The city has a ton of outdoor skating rinks and trails that are open all season long until March 19. Before heading out, make sure to check the status of the outdoor rink to see if they’re open or not since rinks may be closed due to weather.

outdoor skating

Lace up your skates and glide on ice at one of the many outdoor rinks across the city. Hector Vasquez.

Go on a winter hike

Strap on your hiking boots and explore the many trails the city has that will take you through forests, wetlands, boardwalks, sandbanks, and ravines. See if you can spot any wildlife along the way.

Cozy up by an outdoor firepit

Escape the frigid temperatures and warm up at one of the 24 firepits throughout the city. Step up your game and book one of the three fire pits at Ontario Place with unmatched views of Lake Ontario. Bring marshmallows for roasting and to make some necessary smores.

Try your hand at a Crokicurl

If you’ve never heard of Crokicurl, it’s a blend of curling and crokinole. Head to Stackt Market with your friends and try to win to get your rock closest to the target.

Go cross-country skiing

You don’t have to leave the city to go cross-country skiing. There are a ton of trails around the city where you can do this low-impact winter activity.

Out of town
Dine in an ice cave

Dine in your own personal snow globe with breathtaking views of a lake at Muskoka Ice Caves. The transparent geodesic domes are gently lit, heated and decked out in Muskokan decor overlooking Lake Rosseau.

Skate on a glowing ice trail

Make your way to Arrowhead Provincial Park where you can skate through a forest lit up by tiki torches. The skating trail normally opens in early January.

Go winter camping

Whether you want to go glamping in a dome or pitch a tent at a provincial park, go on a winter camping adventure surrounded by trails, trees and a ton of outdoor activities. 

Hit the slopes

Dust off your ski and snowboard gear as ski hills in Ontario are open for the season. Although Toronto has one ski hill, it doesn’t open until the new year so if you want to hit the slopes this holiday season, check out Blue Mountain near Collingwood or Horseshoe Resort in Barrie.

skiing ontario

Grab your snowboard gear and head up north to glide down one of the many ski hills across Ontario. Photo by bluemtnresort.

Unwind at a Nordic spa

Head out to Oro-Medonte to check out Vettä Nordic Spa to get pampered and relax. The Nordic spa has different relaxation methods to help you unwind including steam rooms, saunas, hot stone rooms and much more.

Go snow tubing

Throw on your snowsuit and head to Chicopee Tube Park in Kitchener where you’ll find 6 chutes that descend 250 feet over a 900-foot run. The park doesn’t offer late-night tubing anymore however they’re open until 9:30.

Snowshoe with an epic view

Located in Collingwood, Scenic Caves Nature Adventure is home to Ontario’s longest suspension footbridge, measuring 420 feet. Buckle up in your snowshoes and walk across the bridge with 360-degree views of the snowy forest that streets across Georgian Bay, Penetanguishene Penisula and Blue Mountain.

snowshoe ontario

Strap on your snowshoes and walk across the suspension bridge that has epic views of the forest. Photo by Scenic Caves Nature Adventure.

Explore an ice cave

Manitoulin Island is home to Bridal Veil Falls which turns into a frozen waterfall once winter hits. The main trail leads directly to the foot of the falls but it’s good to know it can be a challenging hike through deep snow.

Go ice fishing

Fishing isn’t just for the summer months. There are a ton of ice fishing spots in Ontario that are close to Toronto and is quite popular again. You can even rent a heated hut to keep you warm.

Head to a resort for a winter weekend getaway

There are a ton of winter resorts across Ontario where you can have outdoor fun and unwind from your busy schedule for the ultimate cozy escape. 

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