When the temperature drops, we tend to make like bears and hibernate with our own little cubs. But a dip in the mercury doesn’t have to mean months indoors. There are lots of great winter activities across the GTA to keep everyone busy (just be sure to stay safe—bundle up and pay attention to the forecast. Sometimes it really is just too chilly, and you’re better off catching a movie or hitting a museum).
There’s no shortage of skating options, from Nathan Phillips Square in the heart of down- town Toronto, to a variety of indoor and outdoor rinks across the region. But if you’re looking for a truly unique skating experience, head to Brampton and the skating trail in Chinguacousy Park. This canal-style rink is accessible from a variety of admission points, and signs in the park will help guide you in the right direction (although with over 2000 square metres of ice, it will be hard to miss!). 9050 Bramalea Road, Brampton.
Halton Parks Conservation Area offers a range of opportu- nities for families looking to explore the beauty of nature— in the eight areas under the Conservation Halton umbrella, you can try your hand at hiking, snow shoeing and even hosting outdoor birthday parties (for more ideas on hosting a party outdoors this winter, check out page 17). They also have children and youth programs, including the chance to get up-close and personal (and a photo or two!) with birds of prey. conservationhalton.ca
No plans for a tropical getaway this winter? No problem! Get a little taste of the heat at the Toronto Zoo, by exploring the TK rainfor- ests and five indoor pavilions. For those who want to enjoy time outside, the Toronto Zoo also has over 10 kilometres of trails that will give you the chance to spot snowy owls, arctic wolves and snow leopards (including young cubs born in May 2018!). torontozoo.com
Maple syrup demonstrations, wagon rides, family-friendly activities (including carnival games and a maze!) are just a few of the fun options at the Maple Syrup Festival. Evening tours of the maple sugar bush and a chance to warm up by the campfire are also on offer. The festival runs from March 10 to April 8 and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Can’t make it to the Kortright Centre? No problem! Get your maple syrup fix at the Bruce’s Mill, Terra Cotta or Island Lake conserva- tion areas on weekends or during March Break while the festival runs. maplesyrupfest.com
From November 23 to March 17, check out Ontario Place’s Aurora Winter Light Exhibition. Ice sculptures and unique art installation pieces make up this unique event. After you’ve explored the sights and lights, head over to the bonfire and warm up with some yummy food and drink. ontarioplace.com/en/winterlightexhibition
Head to Toronto’s historical Distillery District for the Toronto Light Festival, running from January 18 to March 3. This free event features stunning light displays created by a variety of art- ists. Check out the festival’s Instagram feed for a sneak peak of what’s to come! torontolightfest.com
If you’re looking for change from your local tobogganing hill, check out Ski Lakeridge— your kids will think you’re the coolest ever when you suggest a day of tubing! You can buy individual tickets ($5.70 + tax) or a pack of 6 ($27.00 + tax) for guaranteed winter fun. ski-lakeridge.com/tubing/tubing-info
The beautiful grounds of Casa Loma take on a festive holiday theme for the month of December. Various indoor and outdoor perfor- mances, dazzling light displays, day and evening programs, and lots of delish food are on the schedule. Keep an eye on the landmark’s website, as more details will be available soon! casaloma.ca
Originally published in the Winter 2018 issue.