The general grey monotony of colder months can be enough to give anyone the winter blues. Staying home, cocooned in blankets and sleeping in sounds delightful in theory, but after a certain point of sleeping away the weekends, it can be easy to get restless. So we have put together a list for all those who wish to escape the general dreariness of winter, without needing to book an international flight. There are so many things to do in Toronto but here are our top 7 ways to escape the winter blues.
Visit a Local Greenhouse | Allan Gardens Conservatory
Spending the day at Allan Gardens in the winter can be like spending the day outdoors, without having to brace yourself against Toronto’s biting cold weather. The gardens are entirely free of charge, and boast 16,000 square feet of land, along with six large greenhouses which contain plants from across the globe. They include all manner of tropical plants, from orchids to palm trees to cacti. During colder months this tropical oasis blossoms into something of an indoor winter wonderland, with botanical displays specifically designed to reflect the season. But as beautiful as the conservatory is in the winter, one of the best things about Allan Gardens is that it has plenty to see and do all year round. Outside the greenhouses visitors can find off-leash dog areas to exercise their pets, along with playgrounds and sand pits for children to play in. This lush little haven absolutely makes our list of Ways to Escape the Winter Blues, because no matter how cold the weather outside gets, it is always summer at Allan Gardens.
Visit a Museum | Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
The Royal Ontario Museum is one of Toronto’s most famous attractions, and the very largest museum in Canada. It spans an incredibly diverse array of exhibits, from natural history to modern art and so very much more. In addition to its standard, the museum offers a special rotation of featured exhibits to diversify its displays even further. The ROM makes our list of Ways to Beat the Winter Blues largely because of the sheer volume of objects, images, and displays offered by the museum to ensure that there is something of interest for everyone.
Conveniently located in the city’s downtown core, the ROM is easily accessible by public transit, and even has a uniquely stylized subway station, just steps away from the building’s main entrance. Though the museum offers its own food, beverage and gift shop, the prime location means visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to places they can go to for refreshment after a day at the museum. While you are in the area, you can go for a walk and start to discover some of the trendy neighbourhoods in Toronto nearby.
Visit the Aquarium | Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Since opening to the public in 2013, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has quickly grown into one of the most popular attractions in the city. Ten main sections make up the aquarium, offering visitors a breathtaking chance to come inches from tiger sharks, jelly fish, green sea turtles, sting rays and much more. The aptly named “Dangerous Lagoon,” is one of the most famous parts of the aquarium, because of the abundance of large sharks that inhabit its waters. Viewers get the unique chance to hop on board a moving sidewalk that takes them through a winding underwater tunnel, with spectacular views of the shark’s enclosure. The selection of educational, and often interactive, exhibits makes Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada an easy addition to our list of Ways to Escape the Winter Blues. However, it is important to note that because of how popular this attraction can be – especially on weekends and holidays – it is advisable to buy your tickets well in advance.
Catch the Game | Air Canada Centre
Two of the city’s biggest Major League sports teams call the Air Canada Centre their home. The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors host games at this massive stadium. Both are truly iconic Canadian teams, so if you happen to be a fan of either hockey or basketball, then checking out a game might be one of the best ways for you to spend a winter day. Basketball was in fact invented in Canada, and hockey is about as patriotic a past time as it gets in the “Great White North,” so it would be remiss of us to not include the home of two of the country’s most famous sports teams on our list of Ways to Escape the Winter Blues.
Located in the very centre of downtown Toronto, the Air Canada Centre is most easily accessible by public transit and is it is linked to one of the busiest transit stations in the country, Union Station. Visitors can also find all manner of restaurants, and sports bars just steps from the stadium – assuming they have room for more food after filling up from the stadium’s snack bars.
Check Out a Trade Show | Canadian International Auto Show
Every February, car buffs gather in Toronto to learn more about and appreciate the latest innovations in the automobile industry. Thousands upon thousands of the newest vehicles from every car maker imaginable line the halls of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The event lasts for ten days and includes a series of prize giveaways, as well as the opportunity to test drive some of the cars seen on display. In addition to the more conventional vehicles exhibited here, the convention includes thousands of trucks, vintage cars, and high tech concept vehicles for viewers to learn about – and potentially buy.
Whether you happen to be a hard-core car enthusiast, or just a casual visitor, the Auto Show has something for everyone, and for that reason, it makes our list of Ways to Escape the Winter Blues.
Visit a Board Game Café | Snakes and Lattes
In recent years, unique restaurants and cafes of all kinds have sprung up across the globe. Each one caters to a slightly different audience, but Snakes and Lattes is a place where almost anyone can relax and have fun. North America’s very first board game café began in a renovated coffee shop in 2010. It has since grown into a massively popular attraction, with three separate locations across Toronto, and has served as the inspiration for other similar venues the world over. Snakes and Lattes makes our list of Ways to Escape the Winter Blues because it is the perfect place to spend time with friends, while being warm and well fed. The café has a full menu of food and drink options for customers to try, in addition to its vast collection of board games. However, as with some of the other items on this list, the popularity of Snakes and Lattes means customers can face a considerable wait time to get in. We recommend getting there in the morning or early afternoon – especially if you plan to visit on a weekend.
Try an Escape Room | Casa Loma
For those looking for a unique challenge, one of Toronto’s most famous historic sites just so happens to double as a series of escape rooms. Casa Loma is best known as an unusual tourist attraction, being a castle within a major city. However, the castle grounds have recently come to include a series of interactive games for visitors to play through. Live actors offer the players clues, and serve to progress the storyline of their particular games. Solve all the clues within your allotted time in order to successfully move through the course. Casa Loma rounds off our list of Ways to Escape the Winter Blues because the building and grounds provide a truly unique setting for visitors to explore, while lending themselves beautifully to the overall story of each escape room.
Cold weather can make it difficult to get out of one’s house and explore the city, but there really are plenty of ways to spend the winter without having to stay cooped up at home all weekend long. For more ideas on beating the winter blues, check out the top things to do in Winter happening now near you..
Kaizad is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, as well as a free-lance editor and graphic designer.