The best winter experiences Toronto has to offer

There are hundreds of amazing things to do in Toronto during the winter: shop the Christmas Market, marvel at the Icefest sculptures, enjoy the Light Festival in the Distillery District, or cheer on the Maple Leafs!

All of those experiences should be on your winter to-do list! But this post is focusing on true bucket list items: once-in-a-lifetime winter experiences you can find in and around Toronto.

This is the Ultimate Toronto Winter Bucket List.

1. See the Northern Lights

Seeing the Northern Lights is a bucket list item for people all over the world. And there’s a perfect viewing spot just a two hour drive from Toronto. 

Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve is legally protected against light pollution, and with the lack of pollution, you can experience the night sky in all its glory. Not only can you see the Northern Lights under the right atmospheric conditions, but you can even see the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye from this magical location.

2. Go dog sledding

Riding a sled pulled by a team of huskies is something most of us only ever see in movies. But it’s a real thing, and there are places just outside Toronto that will take you dog sledding.

Like any sport involving animals, it’s important to consider how the animals are treated. There are several options for family-run businesses that take great care of their dogs and provide a thrilling experience. So don’t throw your money to unethical companies who overwork or mistreat the dogs.    

3. Try ice sculpting

You can always view the ice sculptures at Icefest, but how cool would it be to create your own ice sculpture?

Before you get too excited, you probably won’t find an instructor willing to hand you a chainsaw and point you toward a block of ice (not right away at least). But you can find local instructors willing to give you a beginner lesson with chisels.

Who knows, you may come away with a new hobby.     

4. Bust a move at a skate party

Add a whole new layer of fun to ice skating at the iconic Harbourfront Center! Most Saturday nights from mid-December to mid-February, the ice rink turns into a skate party, complete with local DJs spinning tracks.

DJ Skate Nights are the coolest winter parties in the city! And they’re free to everyone. 

5. Experience ice fishing

Nothing says “Winter in Canada” quite like ice fishing. And you can enjoy this hard-core outdoor activity surprisingly close to Toronto.  

Parts of Lake Simcoe are just an hour drive from the city. And if you’re new to ice fishing, you can hire a service to provide heated huts and on-ice transportation. Pre-drilled holes are even included in some packages, so you and your friends can just bring your food and drinks and enjoy a relaxing winter day on the lake.


Toronto Winter Bucket List Challenge: Can you cross all 5 items off your list this winter?