Don’t get cold feet about winter.
With the semester wrapping up, there is only one question on every student’s mind: what are you going to do this winter break? You can hibernate like a bear, order UberEats and watch The Office on re-run. Or you can throw on an extra layer and head out to see what this great city has to offer. There is only one right choice.
To get you started, here are 5 things to do this winter in and around the GTA:
1. Casa Loma’s Nut Cracker Christmas
What is the first thing every Torontonian thinks of when they hear the word ‘winter’? Why, Casa Loma, of course. Okay, you probably didn’t think that, but you should, because The Nut Cracker at Casa Loma is magical. If you want to explore a festively decorated castle or the snowy grounds, this is the place to visit. There are many fun activities held throughout the day, including illusionists, figure skating, and art workshops. This event is very family-friendly so feel free to bring the whole crew.
2. Hot Chocolate at Peace Treats
It’s the time of year where people start to have cravings for chocolate mixed with extra warm milk. It sounds gross when you say it like that, but that’s literally what it is, and you need to come to terms with that reality. Peace Treats will give you two gifts for the price of one—an amazing chocolaty beverage and an incredible pic for the gram. These are no ordinary hot chocolates; stacked high with sprinkles, whipped cream, marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers, these decadent treats are the best way to battle those chilly winter blues.
3. Aurora Winter Festival
Another incredibly Instagram-able activity. The Aurora Christmas Festival is located on the Ontario Place grounds. For years, people have complained about this vacant sprawl of land. It now serves as the perfect location for the winter festival. You can skate and walk around an array of beautiful light installments. There is also food and games. Part of the event—including the light installments—is free. If you want to go on the tubing slide or any of the amusement rides you’ll have to pay a small fee.
4. The Christmas Market
We get it, the Christmas Market is the bread and butter of holiday events—it’s basic, but it’s a staple. Whether it’s your first time or your 50th time at the Christmas Market, there is something beautiful about the atmosphere. It feels like you are at the North Pole in the Disney movie, The Santa Clause 2, but it’s even better because Tim Allen won’t be there. There are plenty of things to munch on too, like potato spirals, pretzels, and raclette. You can buy ornaments and other festive decorations. If you want the real Christmas Market experience, go to Europe, but in a pinch, the Toronto Christmas Market will do just fine. They are always adding new experiences as well, so if you haven’t been this year, you’re in for a surprise.
Is it too childish to go tobogganing? No. Who doesn’t want to fly down a hill at a super-fast speed? It’s pretty much the lazy person’s skiing, and it’s fantastic. If anything will bring you back to a childhood sense of wonder and holiday spirit, it’s this. There are some great hills around the city, including Riverdale Park, Christie Pits, and Trinity Bellwoods. I haven’t tested the toboggan scene at any of them but check out this round-up of the top 7 places to sled in Toronto.
If you need to think warm thoughts, check out what your favourite soup says about your personality.