Embrace chill mornings and starry nights as you run, tube, snowshoe or ski Toronto’s scenic parks, multi-use trails and beautifully illuminated city streets.
Working out at dusk or dawn has added benefits during Toronto’s winter season. Take advantage of early nights and later sunrises to enjoy the amazing light show as you chase endorphins in the winter chill. From winter light installations to sparkling windows and the city’s iconic skyline, everything seems brighter this time of year.
These five outdoor winter activities will take you to pass views so delightful, you might even forget you’re getting in a great workout!
Go ice skating
Hit the ice at any one of the lovely rinks around the city. Nathan Phillips Square is an urban wonderland with lights, lights and more lights. With its backdrop of fairy lights arching overtop the rink, and the iconic TORONTO sign, a skate date here makes for a quintessential Instagram moment.
Uptown at Evergreen Brick Works, Koerner Gardens is transformed into an open-air rink that feels quaint and rustic thanks to the exposed beams overhead, art displays and lush evergreens in the centre.
Finally, down at the Bentway, the glowing illumination around the curving skate trail, along with the imposing concrete pillars of the Gardiner Expressway overhead, creates a moody, industrial-chic vibe.
Popular in the summer as a picnic spot, the hill leading down into Riverdale Park East serves up the same spectacular sunset views in the winter. Gather your friends and bring a snow tube or two (did you know tubing can burn upward of 200 calories in 30 minutes?) and barrel down that steep hill just before dusk as you drink in a stunning skyline view of the Financial District.
TIP: Canadian Tire carries cheap and cheerful tubes and sleds.
With every big snowfall, Tommy Thompson Park and High Park are transformed into winter wonderlands and outdoor gyms. With the branches of trees in High Park weighed down with fluffy, reflective snow, you’ll feel enveloped in a natural glow as you snowshoe the trails here alongside dog walkers and other hardy souls.
For potential owl-spotting opportunities and amazing views of downtown, head to Tommy Thompson Park’s 10+ km (6+ miles) of trails. Stick to the pedestrian and nature trails, as the multi-use trail may be cleared of snow.
TIP: Try MEC for snowshoe purchases (the rental department is currently on pause), or find a rental at sportrentals.ca.
Run the city
Yorkville offers some of the city’s most impressive window displays — and they get even more elaborately decked out for the winter season. For your run workout, make your way through this upscale neighbourhood and along Mink Mile to take in the bright and exuberant displays of stores such as Holt Renfrew, Prada and Dior.
Ski some trails
Seeking superb skyline views of Toronto? One of the best vantage points to enjoy the twinkling swath of downtown office and condo tower lights is from the Toronto Islands. Grab your cross-country skis (try sportrentals.ca) and ferry over through slushy Lake Ontario in the morning.
Once on Ward’s Island (the only landing during winter months), kick and glide your way along the trails as the sun rises, including one that takes you to Centre Island — a summer hotspot turned silent and peaceful in winter.