winter activities toronto

10 family-friendly activities in Toronto this winter

There's no shortage of exciting family-friendly activities in Toronto to make the harsh winter more bearable. Whether you love to embrace the frigid winter air, or you prefer to spend your holiday indoors, you're sure to find something on this list that sparks your imagination.

Here are some family-friendly activities to do in Toronto this winter. 

Skate on one of Toronto's many free outdoor skating trails 

Ice skating is a classic Canadian winter activity, and what better way to embrace the cold temperatures than to spend your day at one of Toronto's many outdoor skating rinks. Several city-run outdoor rinks will open for the season on Nov. 26, with remaining locations opening on Dec. 3. 

Rediscover the music of Leonard Cohen at the AGO 

Check out the work of Canadian novelist, poet, and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen in this world-exclusive exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario all winter long.

You can discover the many facets of Cohen's creative life, including the opportunity to view rare concert footage and digital art created by the artist himself. General admission to the exhibit begins on Dec. 13 and runs until April 10.

Make some s'mores over a roaring fire pit at Ontario Place 

Spend a cozy night with your loved ones and friends by Lake Ontario, at one of Ontario Place's three fire pit locations. Make sure to bring your own wood and fluffy marshmallows for toasting.

Neighbouring Hotel X is also offering Firewood and S'mores Packages to those who have made fire pit rentals, in case you don't want to go through the hassle of collecting all the necessary supplies. Fire pit rentals run for $44. 25 plus tax, and can accommodate up to 25 people. 

Explore art on the beach next to Toronto's waterfront 

Launched in 2014, Winter Stations invites artists to reimagine the lifeguard stations along Toronto's beaches for the winter. The theme for Winter Stations 2023 is Radiance, and opens on Feb. 20 for six weeks.

Toronto beaches aren't typically visited during colder seasons, but Winter Stations' magnificient installations are one reason make the icy trip down to Woodbine beach this winter. 

Laugh at a comedy show at the newly opened Second City 

Beloved comedy factory  Second City is opening a new location in Toronto on Nov. 30, and there's already a variety of hilarious holiday-themed shows to book. From Jingle Bell Ruckus, to Improv Holiday Brunch, there's no shortage of knee-slapping entertainment to see.

Everyone above 13 are welcomed, with all minors required to be accompanied by an adult. You can find tickets as low as $35, and shows run almost every single day. 

Get in the holiday spirit by watching the Nutcracker on stage

The National Ballet of Canada is presenting a special take on Marius Petipa's beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker, all December long. With shows on almost every day, you can tune into the magnificent show full of non-stop dancing, mesmerizing sets, and intricate costumes.

Seats are filling up fast, so make sure to grab your tickets for an entertaining day indoors. The Nutcracker will play at the Four Seasons Centre from Dec. 10-31. 

See some free art at MOCA every Friday night 

If you would rather spend your holidays indoors, MOCA Free Friday Nights should be at the top of your list. With free admission to the museum every Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., you can expect captivating live performances, installations, pop-ups and activations.

Make sure to book in advance to guarantee entry or drop in on the day of your visit, as the beloved free event typically sees a lot of foot traffic. 

Discover miniature worlds at the Gardiner Museum 

On now at the Gardiner Museum until May 7, a special exhibition by Montreal-based artist Karine Giboulo invites you into an immersive reimagining of her home.

The exhibition, titled, Karine Giboulo: Housewarming, is Giboulo's response to lockdowns that began in 2020, and the waves of isolation that followed.

The exhibition also amplifies themes of climate crisis, food insecurity and housing instability. Entry to the special exhibition is included with general admission. 

Reach top speed at one of Toronto's many tobogganing hills 

Tobogganing is yet another classic winter activity, and with plenty of steep inclines around the city, you've got lots of options for a thrilling chilly ride.

Whether you're in search of a gentle slope or fast, steep hills, this list will help you find the perfect tobogganing hill. With snow already making an appearance in the city, you're sure to get your fair share of tobogganing this winter. 

Immerse yourselves in the world of Disney 

Spend a cozy day indoors at this one-of-a-kind Disney animation immersive experience. The innovative celebration takes you inside the greatest films of Walt Disney Animation Studios, from classics to modern day hits.

Whether it's witnessing Rafiki present Simba at Pride Rock, or taking a magic carpet with Aladdin and Jasmine, you can expect lots of opportunities to surround yourself in the worlds, music, and stories of Disney animation. Individual and group tickets, as well as family packages are on sale now. 

Lead photo by

Jack Landau 

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