From a booming food scene, to top-notch shopping and premium entertainment, all with the back drop of a winter wonderland filled with outdoor skating rinks, festive window displays, and sparkling lights, Toronto is a great winter getaway destination.
Here are some of our favourite ways to warm up the winter months in Toronto...
1. Amimal Magic
Closing out its 40th anniversary season, the Toronto Zoo has something for every kind of animal lover. Visit the newly opened Tundra Trek, the giant Pandas and polar bears! From lions, tigers and bears, the Zoo allows visitors to get up-close-and-personal with wildlife from all corners of the world. The holiday season also brings a number of camps, and events for families and adults alike.
2. Dizzy Heights
A visit to Toronto wouldn’t be complete without checking out the view from the CN Tower. A Family Pass is available and offers general admission access to the LookOut Level, the world famous Glass Floor, and outdoor SkyTerrace. Visitors should also stop by 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower. It offers a sumptuous sit-down lunch or dinner with seasonal themed menu options and pricing, sophisticated ambiance and a gently revolving view overlooking the city of Toronto more than 1,000 feet below.
3. Grey Matter
Travellers can step into the amazing, changing brain, with BRAIN: The Inside Story at the Ontario Science Centre. Take an unprecedented journey through the essential bundle of neurons that is the human brain, the control centre for our thoughts, senses and feelings. Walk through a forest of tangled wires and flashing lights that evokes trillions of firing synapses inside the brain. Learn about the surprising ways the brain continually rewires itself through different stages of life and discover how new knowledge about the brain's inner workings may help scientists repair and improve brain function.
4. Get Artsy
With artifacts dating from the 8th century through to the 19th century and covering a broad geography from Spain to Southeast Asia, the newly opened Aga Khan Museum’s collection encompasses many renowned works of art. Selected works from the Museum’s unparalleled manuscripts, drawings, paintings, decorated ceramics, metalwork, and architectural ornamentation are on display in permanent gallery spaces to inform, educate, and inspire audiences about the arts of Islamic civilizations.
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) fall/winter exhibits are a must-see! With more than 100 works by Canadian icon Alex Colville on display, this exhibit marks the largest exhibition of the late artist’s work to date. Curated by Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s curator of Canadian art, the exhibition honours Colville’s legacy and explores the continuing impact of his work from the perspectives of several prominent popular culture figures from film, literature and music. Concurrently, Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the world’s most celebrated artists, pays a visit to Toronto in Michelangelo: Quest for Genius. Despite his enduring fame, Michelangelo was dogged by relentless struggle, disappointment and even defeat throughout his 77-year career. Due to the fickle demands of important patrons, many of his most ambitious projects remained unfinished. The exhibition centres on a loan of 29 drawings from the Casa Buonarroti, Florence, whose collection is formed from Michelangelo’s own. Both exhibits run until January 2015.
5. Fashion and Fish
Until January 15, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is presenting Fashion Follows Form: Designs for Sitting. This exhibit invites you to think critically about the relationship between function and fashion in our daily lives. The history of western fashion is a sequence of changing shapes that often favours form over function and comfort. Fish lovers can see That’s a LOT of Fish! A unique exploration of one of the ROM’s founding collections, as we catalogue and add the 100,000th lot of fish to the museum’s Ichthyology collection to celebrate their Centennial year. This exhibit is a close examination of how and why museums have collections. It explores what fish specimens can tell us, and how we use cutting-edge research and new technologies to re-examine specimens collected decades ago, finding out things we didn't think were possible when we first started collecting.
6. Big Screen Beauties
To accompany Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century the Bata Shoe Museum is celebrating launching a new film series - Nineteenth Century Literature in Classic Film. Comprised of classic Hollywood films made in the first half of the 20th century, the BSM is excited to present a film series based on some of the greatest works of literature of the 19th century. Visit on the third Thursday of each month as we celebrate the romance, mystery and adventure of 19th century literature in film! Special rendition of the 1951 A Christmas Carol will take place on December 19 at 6 pm.
7. Terrific Tunnels
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is the newest attraction in the heart of downtown Toronto! It is Canada’s largest indoor aquarium and features North America’s longest underwater viewing tunnel, and more than 5.7 million litres of water. Check out its new Stingray Experience, a one of a kind experience for guests to be in Ray Bay with their Cownose and Southern Stingrays. For music lovers, stop by the second Friday of the month for the Friday Night Jazz event.
8. Hit the Markets
From November 28 to December 21 Toronto will once again celebrate the romance and magic of a traditional Christmas at the Toronto Christmas Market in the historic Distillery District. 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 locally handcrafted products. Family friendly entertainment includes musicians, carolers and children's choirs.
9. Hit the Ice
The Harbourfront Centre has a jam-packed 2014/15 winter season, featuring a diverse offering of arts, culture and recreational programming for visitors of all ages and interests – all made easier to access by the return of the 509 Harbourfront streetcar from Union Station. The Natrel Rink is opening for another season of FREE skating on November 15. Tucked away behind the Bill Boyle Artoport and set against the beautiful shoreline of Lake Ontario, the city's most scenic rink awaits. It has a heated indoor change room with lockers and washrooms. Lace up and get down at Toronto’s only Saturday night music and skating event where premier DJs turn the city’s most scenic outdoor rink into a dance party on ice.
10. Treasure Hunting
Since 1975, the One of a Kind Show & Sale has been the flagship destination to shop handmade. Stop by between November 27 and December 7 at the Direct Energy Centre to meet and shop from makers, artisans and designers across Canada.
11. The Ballet Beautiful
From December 13 to January 3, 2015, experience The National Ballet’s spellbinding version of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Christmas Tale. James Kudelka’s glorious re-imagination of the evergreen Christmas classic is pure pleasure to experience, both for children and adults. Bursting with humour, surprise, emotion and, best of all, brilliant choreography, the ballet glides effortlessly from whimsy to bumptious comedy to awe-inspiring extravaganza to touching sentiment.
12. Follow the Yellow Brick Road
From November 21 to January 4, 2015, the Elgin Theatre has CBC star Danielle Wade slipping out of Dorothy’s red slippers in the recent Mirvish production of The Wizard of Oz, and becoming a glass-slippered heroine. Patty Sullivan will show her dark side as Cinderella’s evil stepsister, while the evil quotient is enhanced by Ross Petty’s nasty stepmother, squeezing his generous figure into a femme-fatale evening gown. Dan Chameroy’s iconic character of Plumbum is joined by pumpkin-haired favourite Eddie Glen to lead an extraordinary cast in Cinderella – the gags to riches family musical!
13. The Light Fantastic
November 29 will mark the official start to the holiday season in Toronto with the celebration of the 48th annual Cavalcade of Lights. Featuring the illumination of Toronto’s official Christmas Tree, performances by some of Canada’s top musical talent, a brilliant fireworks show and a skating party. The festive event is a holiday tradition in Toronto lighting up the city's Nathan Phillips Square with more than 525,000 twinkling lights.
14. Shop at the Pop-Up
A new pop-up is coming to Toronto for a winter wonderland of shopping including clothing, jewelry, foods, cards, and all manner of gift-ready goods under a heated tent. The new marketplace located at Yonge & Dundas, dubbed #localTOmrkt, will allow local designers and artisans to showcase their wares to holiday shopping crowds between November 28 and December 24.
15. Culinary Magic
Winterlicious, running January 30-February 12, 2015, is one of Toronto's favourite culinary celebrations, and the perfect opportunity to explore the great variety of delicious cuisine that the city has to offer. The popular prix fixe program offers three course menus for exceptional value. The culinary event series offers a variety of programming including cooking classes and demonstrations, dinner theatre, tastings and pairings, intimate chef dinners and more!
16. Ice, Ice Baby
Bloor-Yorkville will celebrate winter in the heart of the city at Bloor-Yorkville's 10th Annual IceFest. Taking place on February 21 and 22nd, 2015, Toronto’s premier cultural district will celebrate this landmark year by transforming into a showcase of incredible ice sculptures and live ice carving demonstrations for the entire family to enjoy. Open to the public, Bloor-Yorkville will be fundraising with participating partners and sponsors in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation as February is Heart Month.
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