Whether you’re here for a New Year’s trip or a kid-friendly weekend getaway, these classic Canadian winter activities are a must.
Bundle up and glide into outdoor fun mode at one of these public parks in Toronto. From tobogganing to animal tracking and even downhill skiing, your frosty adventure awaits.
BTW, leisure skating is free at all City of Toronto outdoor rinks and trails.
Jump on a sled for epic tobogganing
Whether you call it tobogganing, sledding or sledging, Toronto’s got a hill for you for this popular winter activity! The City of Toronto lists all of its tobogganing-approved city parks, including these three snow-day faves:
Bickford Park is the most central city-sanctioned toboggan hill, with slopes suitable for all ages and stages. Head to Sweetie Pie bakery at the corner for coffee and ’gram-worthy pies; it’s open daily.
Cedarvale Park is great for mix-and-match family winter sports, with winter birdwatching in the adjacent nature trail, an indoor and outdoor skating rink onsite, and sled hills ringing around a wide, safe ravine basin free of trees.
Riverdale Park East offers easy street parking and transit access via the 506 Carlton streetcar line, a Rooster Coffee House across the street to warm up with a cappuccino or hot cocoa and cookies, and, best of all, a steep incline for ultimate sledding thrills.
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Hit the slopes for downhill skiing and snowboarding
Beginner or advanced, you can hit the ski hills right inside the city. Head north to Earl Bales Park. Its Ski and Snowboard Centre rents all the downhill gear you need for as little as an hour. Brave its bunny hill—don’t feel shy, there are as many newbie adults as little kids!—or hop on the chairlifts to carve down the three-run main hill or the advanced racer hill.
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Warm up by the glow of a winter bonfire
Hang out by a crackling winter bonfire for an unforgettably Canadian experience. Bonus points if you grab the fixings for fireside S’mores.
Trillium Park’s rock-surround fire pit is your best bet to enjoy lakeside views next to a roaring winter bonfire. The park’s neighbour, Hotel X, has put together a Firewood Package and a S’mores Package to ease the logistics of your fire pit reservation.
Christie Pits is a ravine park on the edge of Koreatown (home to cozy waffles and some of the city’s best bubble tea). Book its cozy fire pit through the City of Toronto’s online reservation site for a memorable urban campfire experience.
Taylor Creek Park in the east end offers a tempting mix of winding walking trails, wide-open space and four fire pits at its creekside setting. Book these through the City of Toronto’s online reservation site. Bonus: there are four onsite parking lots and plenty of trails.
Catch a glimpse of wildlife in the snow
Winter is the best time to sharpen your animal tracking skills. Snow makes it easier to identify creatures’ little footprint patterns (here’s a beginner guide from Parks Ontario), a fun naturalist activity for any age.
High Park is home to 18 types of wildlife mammals and is a year-round birding hotspot with over 267 bird species spotted, even though it’s surrounded by urban neighbourhoods. Look out for coyote and chipmunk tracks among more common ones like squirrels and sparrows after a fresh snowfall.
Scarborough’s Rouge National Urban Park treats visitors to a mix of forests, creeks, farms, ancient Indigenous trails as well as marshland and a beach on Lake Ontario. Iconic Canadian wildlife abounds here, including beavers and loons, along with white-tailed deer and birds. Black bears have been spotted, so heed Rouge’s wildlife safety guidelines.
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Tommy Thompson Park is a long, car-free peninsula jutting out into Lake Ontario and one of Toronto’s best parks for birdwatching. Owing to its adjacent marshland and wetlands, you can track small aquatic mammals here, too, like mink, muskrats and beavers. Swing over to Leslieville for a bite nearby; Hastings Snack Bar is a hidden neighbourhood favourite for Polish comfort food.