Historically, Torontonians have been a resourceful crowd when it comes to winter activities, and many of these past times are still in practice today. It’s still common to see people tobogganing, ice skating or even skiing in search of entertainment when the winter months arrive. Just because snow has made its appearance doesn’t mean there aren’t heaps of things to do in our beautiful city.
The Polar Bear swim is a Canadian tradition starting the new year, and the mad dip into Lake Ontario at Sunnyside is Toronto’s chilly version of soul/hangover cleansing. All fundraising proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.
There are many ice rinks in Toronto and public skates are usually free. Most rinks have scheduled times for different age groups, so check for when you should come solo or bring the kids. Most notorious are the skating rink at Nathan Phillips Square and at the Harbourfront Centre.
Quite a few of our favourite farmers’ markets have indoor winter versions so we can continue to support local growers and keep a traditionally summertime activity alive during the winter months. The Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market heads for the shelter of the Dufferin Grove rink house, Saturdays the St. Lawrence North Market tucks all its vendors inside, or hit the Village Organic Farmers’ Market at the Toronto Waldorf School in Thornhill.
St Lawrence Market’s indoors farmer’s market is open year-round, and Market Street, that little street that runs along the Market, is set for a business boom with quaint little shops and restaurants.
Bloor-Yorkville’s annual ice sculpture festival is a weekend long event that showcases elaborate ice art work as well as hosting an ice carving contest, street performers and more. This year’s theme is “Heat Wave,” for those of us who don’t fly south each winter.
Starting January 31, Winterlicious, the annual discount dining event is back. A plethora of restaurants around the city will have special menus, and you can enjoy some decadent dishes like duck confit or venison at convenient prices.
Winterlicious - January 31 - February 13
Experience a mouthwatering extravaganza and indulge in creative cuisine from all corners of the world for great price with fan favorite Winterlicious. Try something new, try something bold, try a classic…. try it all!
Toronto Sportsmen’s Show - February 6 – 9
The Toronto Sportsmen’s Show has introduced many a generation to our country’s outdoor heritage during its 65-year of existence. Young and old alike can enjoy an exposure to fishing, archery and outdoor life at this fun-filled popular show.
41st Annual Canadian International Show - February 14 - 23
This year, experience the Total Automotive Experience with over 600,000 square feet of stunning displays, big prize giveaways and fabulous exhibits.
World Mastercard Fashion Week - March 17 - 21
Whether you’re a fashion lover or fashion designer; whether you’re looking to see or be seen, or just interested in the scene altogether, Toronto Fashion Week is the place to be as some of the biggest names in Canadian fashion (and from all over the world) gather to showcase their collections.
Hot Docs International Documentary Festival - April 24 - May 4
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market. Each year, the Festival presents a selection of more than 150 cutting-edge documentaries from Canada and around the globe.
Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival - May 1 – 31
CONTACT, the world’s largest annual photography event, is a month-long festival of photography with over 1000 local, national and international artists at more than 200 venues across the Greater Toronto Area in May.
Canadian Music Week - May 6 - 10
Canadian Music Week is one of the premier entertainment events in North America, and features Canadian Music Fest spanning 5 nights of performances, with 1,000 bands at more than 60 live music venues in downtown Toronto.
Doors Open Toronto
May 24 & 25
Toronto was the very first city to host Doors Open in North America! Over 130 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings open their doors for the weekend and highlight the people who built the city. All for free!
North by Northeast is all about rocking the city with 10 days of great music and the coolest music-related films from around the world. You’ll hear original music you’ve never heard before and get a first look at hand-selected music movies.
Brought to you by North America’s premiere jazz festival producers, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival delivers the sounds of the world’s greatest jazz musicians from the quaint and most intimate of venues to the large concert halls. Be sure to schedule this smooth festival into your summer calendar.
World Pride 2014 is happening in Toronto. And what better place to celebrate than in a city with one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the world? Join us, as we become the first North American city ever to host this ultimate celebration of Pride.
As the largest outdoor art exhibition in Canada, the TOAE offers a fresh-air and free alternative to conventional art shows and galleries. Approximately 500 artists participate and over 100,000 visitors attend the exhibition every year.
Fringe festival-goers measure the quality of the experience not by the script (or absence thereof), but rather, by the pure enthusiasm of the performance. It’s city’s liveliest grassroots theatre festival.
Enjoy mouth-watering fare offered by some of the city’s best restaurants. Three course, prix-fixe menus for lunch or dinner. Check out several of the over 150 participating restaurants and you will experience an excellent variety of some great cuisine. Bon Appetit!
Honda Indy Toronto is among the most respected motorsports events in North America and features a week-long festival-like atmosphere that includes the fastest racing series on the planet, celebrity athletes, live entertainment and interactive activities.
Feel the vibe at the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto (formerly Caribana) – an exciting cultural explosion of Caribbean music, cuisine, revelry and visual and performing arts. Over nearly fifty years, it has become a major international event and the largest cultural festival of its kind in North America.
Rogers Cup welcomed the best in women’s tennis in 2013. 32 of the Top 35 women competed in Toronto, including Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Vika Azarenka and 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli.
Greektown hosts the annual Pilaros Taste of the Danforth festival. This event brings the delectable cuisine out of local restaurants and into the streets. Listen to Greek bands while getting your fill of authentic souvlaki, stuffed grape leaves, grilled lamb and moussaka.
This annual fair is fun for the entire family. Midway rides bring chills and thrills. The National Trade Centre boasts an International Marketplace with goods spanning the globe along with innovative products. Horse shows and dog shows entertain both young and old.
Get the blues along with over 50,000 others at Port Credit’s Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle and also enjoy the great pick-me-upper jazz acts throughout the festival. Over 150 Canadian and international acts.
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is the world’s largest public film festival, screening more than 300 films from around the world in venues across the city. Visit the TIFF Bell Lightbox to get into the Festival spirit year-round.
Three days of music featuring some of Canada’s most popular and iconic performers. The Festival is held at a variety of venues in downtown Toronto and features over 100 performances, most of them free.
For one sleepless night experience Toronto transformed by hundreds of artists. One night only. All night long. Nuit Blanche is a contemporary art event that magically transforms Toronto’s streets and parks into an artistic playground with exhibitions, live performances and creative programs.
IFOA presents the finest international novelists, poets, playwrights, short story writers and biographers, and provides Canadian writers with an internationally recognized forum in which to present their work.
Once a year, the country comes to the city bringing along over 300 vendors, regal horse shows, entertaining dog shows and everything else in between. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the largest of its kind and truly is part of Canadian tradition.
The Santa Claus Parade has been a Toronto tradition since 1905. Fantastic animated floats leave the corner of Christie and Bloor Street in the company of two dozen marching bands and a couple of thousand costumed participants, cheered along by excited kids.
Toronto’s 48th annual Cavalcade of Lights presented by Great Gulf returns to Nathan Phillips Square with the first lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree, live performances and a spectacular fireworks display.
Inspired by the Old World and influenced by the New, this free annual event captures all of the tradition, heritage and charm of a European Christmas Market, while showcasing hundreds of unique and local handcrafted products.