Canada’s largest city doesn’t do seasons by halves – sweltering in summer, positively Arctic in winter. And the Torontonians know just how to make the most of the season. Set on the north shore of Lake Ontario, the city offers a slew of indoor winter entertainment and lots of ways to enjoy its great, often snowy outdoors. Ice Breakers, anew arts initiative, will enliven Toronto’s waterfront this month with installations including glowing geodesic diamonds and giant hands. It joins public-art competition Winter Stations, whose winners will be exhibited at lifeguard stations at the city’s East End beaches.
Just a 10-minute ferry ride offshore, the Toronto Islands are the place to head for more pulse-raising winter pursuits; hike or cross-country ski on the trails that trace its forests and lakes, or skate on inland lagoons as the locals do. Best of all is the backdrop to all this, just across the harbor – the Toronto skyline, its Gotham-esque skyscrapers crowned by the spindly icon of the CN Tower. When you’re done with winter sports, warm up at Winterlicious, an annual celebration of the city’s food scene. More than 200 of the city’s best restaurants serve three-course prix fixe menus, while culinary events abound, including classes, demos, tastings and special meals. Highlights include a paired sampling of 19th-century cocktails in a speakeasy and a five-course feast of Canadian food, such as bison filet and Nova Scotian seafood, in honour of the nation’s 150th anniversary.