Spending a winter break in Toronto

Ellie Swain

Senior Contributor

During the colder months, the cosmopolitan city of Toronto transforms into a snow-blanketed winter wonderland with plenty to do. Forget hibernating – here’s how to make the most of the chilly temperatures in style. Just don’t forget your parka, woolly hat, and gloves.

Admire Views of the Icy Harbour From the CN Tower

A trip up to the top of the CN Tower offers magical panoramic views of Toronto no matter what the season but come wintertime you’re in for a treat. Gaze across the sprawling city that sits beneath coated in gleaming white snow and admire the medley of shimmering blues of the icy Lake Ontario.

Feeling peckish? Head to 360 The Restaurant to feast on a three-course lunch in the clouds. One of Toronto’s trendiest dining experiences, tuck into gourmet fare at sky-high heights with revolving views of the dazzling landscape below. Don’t forget to toast the moment with a glass of wine – the restaurant has an impressive collection of over 500 international bottles.  

Ice Skate at Nathan Philips Square

What better way to embrace the chill of winter than by gliding across the ice of a scenic rink? While there are lots of options in Toronto for ice skating, Nathan Phillips Square in the heart of the city is the best-loved skating spot.

Zoom around on the ice – and try not to fall over – right in front of Toronto’s iconic City Hall. You can rent skates there, but you can also bring your own, as many Torontonians do.

Feeling the cold? Grab a warm cup of hot chocolate to cosy up with after a busy session on the ice.

Watch an Ice Hockey Match at the Scotiabank Arena

When it comes to sport, ice hockey is Canada’s beating heart. Invented and perfected in the country, it’s Canada’s national sport and it’s worth watching a game and cheering on the local team whether you’re a sports fan or not.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have played in the city’s Scotiabank Arena since 1999, and every game provides sporting entertainment at its best. Head to a match and be dazzled by the efficiency of the players soaring across the ice, the sheer size of the arena, and the uplifting cheer and morale of the supporters. 

Take a Day Trip to Niagara Falls

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the almighty Niagara Falls is best seen during the summer. Brave the freezing temperatures to visit Niagara Falls in the winter, and you’ll be rewarded with enchanting vistas that you couldn’t discover any other time of the year.

Surrounded by thick layers of snow, and framed with sparkling icicles, the Niagara Falls during the colder months looks like it could be straight out of a fairytale. If you’re lucky, it may even completely freeze over, offering a unique perspective of the falls. Don’t forget to take that all-important winter wonderland shot for Instagram – if you can handle taking your gloves off.

For the ultimate holiday highlight, why not go all out an take an exhilarating helicopter ride for birds-eye views of Niagara Falls? That way you can admire the vistas as you soar across the skies in warmth.

If you have the time, it’s also worth visiting the wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake which is close by to the falls. While you may not think of wine tasting as a typical winter activity, the region is renowned for producing delicious ice wines. These are sweet wines which are crafted from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine.

Indulge in a Plate of Poutine

With over 140 languages spoken across Toronto, it’s fair to say that the city is a melting pot of culture, and that’s reflected in the thriving food scene. Up there as one of the globe’s finest foodie destinations, in Toronto, you can feast on anything from delicate Japanese sushi to hearty Italian pizza and pasta.

But one dish you must try is Canada’s national dish of poutine. Traditionally, poutine consists of crispy French fries topped with rich gravy and tasty cheese curds. The result is a filling, cheesy, and scrumptious bowl of comfort – the perfect dish to warm your stomach during the winter months.

There are also many alternatives to the traditional plate, with many restaurants introducing a creative spin. Whether you want to try the classic style or a more unconventional approach (or both), Toronto is packed full of yummy eateries serving up the good stuff.

Head to Nom Nom Nom Poutine where you have the choice of a dozen options, including vegetarian and halal. The plates of poutine are as good as the name of the restaurant suggests.

Another top spot is Smoke’s Poutinerie. With several establishments dotted around the city, it means grabbing a piping hot plate of poutine is as easy as it comes. When it comes to choices, there are plenty. But as always, you can always keep it simple with the popular tradition of fries, curds, and gravy. 

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