Top Five Outdoor Activities in Toronto

Posted by Sophie Morgan on December 11, 2018

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It’s the perfect time of the year to get outdoors and enjoy the lovely Canadian winter weather! If you’re new to Toronto – welcome! You’ll find that the city is full of wonderful outdoor gems that can make your winter season an exciting one. For those of you who have called Toronto your home for a while now, you’re probably already familiar with many outdoor activities, but it’s always a good idea to freshen up on the city’s festivities.

As a Torontonian and fellow student, I’m sharing my top five outdoor activities to enjoy in Toronto this season, whether you’ve been here for as long as I have or have just arrived! For even more destinations, be sure to tune into next week’s post where I’ll go over my top five indoor activities, and check out our previous #YUBlog post, “All Aboard! A Student Guide for New Torontonians.”  Now let’s get to it!

Did you know? The York Federation of Students (YFS) offers a lot of student discounts for on and off-campus events, so be sure to check out the YFS events webpage.

Visit the Toronto Christmas Market

The Toronto Christmas Market is a great place to find unique gifts for your friends and family!

Located in the Distillery District, the Toronto Christmas Market is a great holiday market for shopping and festivities. You’ll also find fantastic food vendors and a variety of activities, like photoshoots and a Ferris wheel. I definitely recommend a trip here with your friends and family because it’ll get you in a festive mood! It’s also a good bang for your buck – admission is free on weekdays until 5pm. On weekends and after 5pm, the ticket price is only $6!

Go Ice Skating

An image of a woman ice skating outside.
Ice skating can help you stay active during the winter months!

Ice skating is the perfect outdoor activity to enjoy during the winter months, and it’s a great way to stay physically active. The most popular downtown outdoor ice rink is Nathan Phillips Square, located in the heart of Toronto, right in front of City Hall, where you can enjoy and explore the city. Other popular outdoor rinks are the Natrel Rink, which is right along the shoreline of Toronto at Harbourfront, and the Bentway Skate Trail, which is right beneath the Gardiner Expressway.

Attend a Festival

A photo of a woman looking up and smiling as snow falls from the sky.
There are festivals all across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for you to enjoy!

The winter months in Toronto are bustling with festivals nearly every day – a quick online search will take you a long way! One of the most beautiful festivals is the Toronto Light Festival, which is located in the Distillery District and runs from January 18 to March 3. This festival showcases light art pieces, and it’s definitely a breath-taking experience that’s great for photos!

Another amazing festival is Icefest, which takes place on February 24 and 25 at Bloor-Yorkville. Here you can watch ice carving competitions, enjoy amazing ice sculptures and visit the Icefest lounge.

Did you know? Both of these festivals have free admission!

Go Tobogganing

A photo of a large mountain covered in snow where two people are pulling their toboggan up the hill.
It’s always fun to go tobogganing with friends and family!

Tobogganing is a classic Canadian winter activity – all you need is some snow, a hill and a sled! I recommend taking a look at this list of tobogganing locations if you’re unsure where to go, but it’s always a good idea to consult with your city and local park.

Go on a Guided Walk

A photo of a group of friends hiking through an outdoor trail.
You can take in Canada’s natural winter beauty while on a guided walk.

Another great way to get active while enjoying Toronto’s beautiful scenery is to go on a guided walk through a national park. For Torontonians, this means a visit to the Rouge National Urban Park! It’s important to note that guided walks vary in difficulty, so you can choose ones that are suitable for you.

I hope that this list has inspired you to explore the city and take in all that Toronto has to offer! For more outdoor activities, I highly recommend visiting BlogTO’s post, “10 Fun Things to Do Outdoors in Toronto this Winter.” And don’t forget to stay tuned for next week’s #YUBlog post where I’ll go over our top five indoor activities in the city!

If you have any questions about any of the destinations mentioned above, please comment below or tweet us at @YorkUStudents!

Sophie Morgan
Sophie Morgan

Sophie Morgan is a second-year Professional Writing and French Studies double major at York U. She is an avid writer, a baking enthusiast and a full-time cat-sitter. She hopes that her posts will inform and inspire both prospective and current York U students!

See other posts by Sophie Morgan

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