Family January Fun in Toronto: Cold-Weather Delights!

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AshleyPugh | read

If you're looking for family-friendly activities to enjoy in Toronto during the chilly winter months, you're in luck! The city offers a wide range of affordable and enjoyable experiences that will keep the whole family entertained. From ice skating under the iconic Gardiner Expressway to exploring the vibrant street art scene, Toronto has something for everyone. So, bundle up and get ready to have a blast with these exciting and budget-friendly adventures!

Ice Skating In Toronto

Key Takeaways:

  • Toronto offers a variety of affordable and enjoyable activities for families in January.
  • Experience the unique thrill of ice skating under the Gardiner Expressway on the Bentway Trail.
  • Explore Toronto's vibrant street art scene, including Graffiti Alley and Queen Street West.
  • Enjoy ice skating and stunning city views at Nathan Phillips Square, right in front of City Hall.
  • Discover the beauty of winter hiking in Rouge Park, with accessible trails for all.

Ice Skating in Toronto: Skate Under the City Skyline

When it comes to winter activities in Toronto, ice skating is a must-do for families looking to embrace the chilly weather. And what better way to experience it than by gliding under the iconic Gardiner Expressway on the Bentway Trail?

The Bentway Trail offers a unique ice skating experience that allows you to skate under the towering skyscrapers of Toronto's city skyline. With a 220-meter figure-8 skate trail, there's plenty of space for families to enjoy this exciting activity together.

Accessibility is key, and the Bentway Trail ensures that everyone can participate. Skate rentals are available, making it convenient for those who don't have their own equipment. Whether you're a seasoned skater or a beginner, the Bentway Trail is a welcoming and inclusive place for all skill levels.

As you glide along the trail, you'll be surrounded by the urban beauty of Toronto. The vibrant cityscape creates a stunning backdrop, adding to the overall enchanting experience.

Skate Under the Gardiner Expressway

Skating under the Gardiner Expressway is a truly unique experience that combines the thrill of ice skating with the awe-inspiring architecture of the city. The Bentway Trail takes advantage of this urban space, transforming it into a winter wonderland for families to enjoy.

Imagine the excitement of skating under the massive concrete pillars and being surrounded by the bustling city. It's a one-of-a-kind adventure that captures the essence of Toronto's urban charm.

Skating under the Gardiner Expressway also offers protection from the elements, as the expressway provides some shielding from wind and snow. This makes it an ideal choice for families who want to enjoy ice skating without worrying about the winter weather.

So grab a pair of skates, bundle up, and head to the Bentway Trail for an unforgettable ice skating experience under the Gardiner Expressway.

Explore Toronto's Street Art: Graffiti Alley and Beyond

Toronto is renowned for its vibrant street art scene, and winter is the perfect time to explore it without the usual crowds. One of the city's iconic locations for street art is Graffiti Alley, nestled on Augusta Avenue and Rush Lane. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in a visual feast of incredible murals.

During the winter months, Graffiti Alley is less busy, allowing families to leisurely stroll along the alleyways, admiring the captivating street art. The murals showcase a range of styles, from breathtaking portraits to thought-provoking abstract designs. Each wall tells a unique story, making it a truly enriching experience.

Wander through Queen Street West:

  • As you continue your street art exploration, venture into the back alleys along Queen Street West, one of Toronto's trendiest neighborhoods.
  • Along this bustling stretch, you'll encounter a myriad of captivating murals created by local and international artists.
  • From large-scale, colorful pieces to intricate black-and-white designs, there's something to appeal to every artistic taste.
  • Don't forget to grab a warm drink from Jimmy's Coffee, a cozy café known for its delicious beverages, to keep you energized and warm as you explore the street art.

With its ever-evolving art scene, Toronto's street art offers an immersive experience that showcases creativity and reflects the city's vibrant culture. So bundle up, grab your camera, and embark on an adventure through the captivating world of Toronto street art.

Skate by City Hall: Winter Fun at Nathan Phillips Square

Nathan Phillips Square is a popular winter destination in Toronto, offering a picturesque ice skating rink right in front of City Hall. Families can glide on the ice while enjoying stunning views of the city skyline. Don't forget to snap a photo with the iconic "Toronto" sign in the background. Skate rentals are available, or you can bring your own.

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Nathan Phillips Square is a vibrant and bustling public space that transforms into a winter wonderland during the colder months. The outdoor ice skating rink provides hours of fun for all ages. Whether you're a seasoned skater or a beginner, the smooth ice surface invites you to glide effortlessly as you take in the breathtaking surroundings.

As you skate around the rink, you'll be treated to stunning views of Toronto's iconic City Hall. This architectural gem serves as the backdrop for your winter adventure, adding a touch of grandeur to the experience. The towering towers and modern design create a unique atmosphere that is both awe-inspiring and inviting.

While on the ice, don't miss the opportunity to capture a memorable photo with the famous "Toronto" sign in the background. This illuminated sign has become an iconic symbol of the city and makes for the perfect backdrop to showcase your skating skills to friends and family. It's a picture-perfect moment that captures the essence of your visit to Nathan Phillips Square.

Whether you bring your own skates or rent a pair on-site, the skating experience at Nathan Phillips Square promises endless fun and laughter. The rink is open to the public during designated hours, offering ample time for families to enjoy some quality time together on the ice. Skating at City Hall has become a cherished winter tradition for many Torontonians and visitors alike.

The combination of the stunning city skyline, the impressive City Hall, and the iconic "Toronto" sign creates a magical ambiance at Nathan Phillips Square. It's a place where families can bond, laughter fills the air, and cherished memories are made. Whether you're a local looking for some winter fun or a tourist seeking a unique Toronto experience, skating at City Hall is a must-do winter activity.

So, grab your skates, bundle up in warm winter gear, and head to Nathan Phillips Square for an unforgettable winter adventure. The joy of gliding on the ice, the beauty of the surroundings, and the sense of community all come together to create an experience you won't soon forget.

skating at City Hall

Winter Hiking in Rouge Park: Outdoor Adventure for All

Rouge National Urban Park is a hidden gem in Toronto, offering a variety of trails for winter hiking. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just starting out, there's something for everyone to enjoy in this scenic park. With its diverse landscapes, from farmland to lakeshores, Rouge Park provides a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts.

When it comes to winter hiking, Rouge Park offers 15 different trails to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a more challenging trek, you'll find a trail that suits your preferences. Families will be delighted to know that there are also wheelchair accessible trails available, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the beauty of the park.

As you explore the trails, you'll have the opportunity to connect with nature and experience the tranquility of the winter season. The park's serene atmosphere, combined with the fresh, crisp air, creates the perfect environment to rejuvenate both the mind and body. So put on your warmest winter gear, lace up your boots, and embark on an adventure through the stunning landscapes of Rouge Park.

Benefits of Winter Hiking in Rouge Park

  • Physical Health: Winter hiking is a fantastic way to stay active and engage in cardiovascular exercise. The challenging terrain and varying elevation levels in Rouge Park will keep you energized and help improve your overall fitness.
  • Mental Well-being: Spending time in nature has a calming effect on the mind and can reduce stress and anxiety. The peaceful surroundings of Rouge Park provide an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and find solace in nature.
  • Scenic Views: The scenic beauty of Rouge Park is unmatched, especially during winter. As you hike through the trails, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of snow-covered landscapes, frozen lakes, and majestic trees, creating picture-perfect moments along the way.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Rouge Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, and winter is an ideal time to spot them. Keep an eye out for deer, foxes, and various bird species that call the park their home. It's a great opportunity to teach children about the importance of conservation and respect for nature.

So, if you're looking for an exciting outdoor adventure this winter, head to Rouge Park and discover the wonders of winter hiking. Don't let the cold weather discourage you; embrace it and create unforgettable memories amidst the natural beauty of Toronto's hidden gem.

Discover the Evergreen Brick Works: Nature in the Heart of the City

The Evergreen Brick Works is a beautiful destination for families looking to experience nature in Toronto. This urban oasis offers a unique blend of green spaces, wooded trails, and captivating outdoor art installations.

One of the highlights of the Evergreen Brick Works is the picturesque ice skating rink, where families can enjoy free skating sessions. Glide across the ice surrounded by the scenic beauty of the park, creating unforgettable memories with your loved ones.

To add to the experience, the Evergreen Brick Works hosts a vibrant Saturday farmers' market. Explore the market's diverse stalls offering delicious treats and fresh produce. From artisanal bread to locally-sourced cheese, there's something to satisfy every palate.

Immerse yourself in the perfect balance of wilderness and urban charm at Evergreen Brick Works. Engage with the natural environment, admire outdoor art installations, and savor the flavors of the Saturday farmers' market. It's an opportunity for families to connect with nature while enjoying a fun-filled day in the heart of Toronto.

Why You Should Visit Evergreen Brick Works:

  • Experience the beauty of nature in an urban setting.
  • Enjoy free ice skating in a serene and picturesque environment.
  • Discover unique outdoor art installations that add a creative touch to the park.
  • Explore the Saturday farmers' market for a variety of delicious treats and local products.
  • Create lasting memories with your family while embracing the outdoors.

Plan a visit to Evergreen Brick Works and embark on a journey that combines natural beauty, outdoor art, and culinary delights. It's a destination that offers a different perspective on Toronto's urban landscape, providing families with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the wonders of nature.

FAQ: Toronto January Family Fun

Yes, skate rentals are available at the Bentway Trail, making it accessible to all visitors.

Graffiti Alley, located on Augusta Avenue and Rush Lane, is a popular spot to see incredible murals. Families can also explore the back alleys along Queen Street West for more captivating street art.

Skate rentals are available at Nathan Phillips Square, but you can also bring your own skates if you prefer.

Yes, Rouge National Urban Park offers some wheelchair-accessible trails among its 15 different options.

The Evergreen Brick Works is free to enter, allowing families to enjoy the park spaces and outdoor art installations.

Allan Gardens features the Palm House, Arid House, and Tropical Houses, each showcasing different plant species for visitors to explore.

The Art Gallery of Ontario offers free admission every Wednesday from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Winterlicious runs from January 26 to February 8, offering the opportunity to enjoy prix-fixe meals at over 200 participating restaurants.

Warm up in Allan Gardens: Escape to a Tropical Paradise

Allan Gardens, a downtown botanical garden, offers a warm and enchanting escape from the winter chill. As you step inside, you'll be greeted by lush greenery and a delightful array of exotic plants, creating a tropical paradise in the heart of the city.

The garden features various houses, each showcasing different plant species. Explore the Palm House and immerse yourself in a vibrant world of towering palm trees, fragrant flowers, and cascading waterfalls. Step into the Arid House and marvel at the unique beauty of desert plants, from cacti to succulents. For a truly enchanting experience, venture into the Tropical Houses, where you'll encounter a diverse collection of tropical flora that will transport you to far-off lands.

Whether you're seeking a quiet weekday getaway or a cozy retreat on a blustery day, Allan Gardens provides a tranquil and serene atmosphere that will rejuvenate your senses. Take in the sights, bask in the warmth, and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at its finest.

Allan Gardens

  1. Escape the winter chill and enter a tropical oasis in downtown Toronto.
  2. Explore the Palm House, Arid House, and Tropical Houses, each showcasing different plant species.
  3. Immerse yourself in lush greenery, towering palm trees, and fragrant flowers.
  4. Marvel at the unique beauty of desert plants in the Arid House.
  5. Journey into the Tropical Houses and discover a diverse collection of tropical flora.

Wednesday Nights at the AGO: Art Exploration for Free

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces, and the best part? You can explore it for free every Wednesday night! From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., families can immerse themselves in the rich collections of this renowned gallery, located in the heart of Toronto.

Step into a world of creativity as you wander through the halls of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Admire the impressive Canadian art, showcasing the works of iconic artists such as Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. Marvel at the modern and contemporary pieces that push boundaries and challenge perceptions. Experience the depth of European art, with stunning paintings and sculptures that span centuries. Discover the Indigenous art collection, rich with cultural significance and storytelling. And delve into the captivating world of photography, with captivating images that capture powerful moments in time.

Visiting the AGO on Wednesday nights provides an exceptional opportunity to introduce children to the wonders of art and culture. Wander hand in hand with your little ones as you explore the galleries and engage in thoughtful discussions about the artwork. Encourage their imagination and creativity to soar as they discover new artistic styles and expressions. With free admission, you can make this a regular family outing, nurturing a love for art in the younger generation.

Unleash your inner art aficionado as you immerse yourself in the world-class collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario. And the best part? It won't cost you a dime on Wednesday nights. So mark your calendars and make the most of this fantastic opportunity to explore the AGO, a true gem in the Canadian art scene.

Winterlicious: A Foodie's Delight in Toronto

If you're a food lover, you won't want to miss Winterlicious, a delightful culinary festival taking place in Toronto from January 26 to February 8. This annual event offers the perfect opportunity to indulge in exquisite prix-fixe meals at over 200 participating restaurants across the city.

During Winterlicious, foodies can savor three-course meals carefully crafted by some of Toronto's top chefs, all at a more affordable price. Whether you're in the mood for upscale dining or trendy hotspots, you'll find a wide variety of options to tantalize your taste buds.

From savory appetizers to delectable desserts, Winterlicious is a true celebration of Toronto's vibrant culinary scene. You can explore diverse cuisines, sample creative dishes, and discover new flavors, all in the cozy ambiance of some of the city's finest eateries.

So, mark your calendars and prepare your appetite for Winterlicious. It's a foodie's dream come true and the perfect opportunity to experience the culinary delights that Toronto has to offer.

Why Winterlicious is a Must-Try Event:

  • Wide variety of restaurants: With over 200 participating restaurants, you'll have plenty of options to choose from. Whether you're craving Italian, French, Asian, or something entirely different, Winterlicious has options to satisfy every craving.
  • Affordable prix-fixe meals: Winterlicious offers prix-fixe menus at a fraction of the regular price, making it an excellent opportunity to enjoy upscale dining at a more budget-friendly cost.
  • Chance to try new dishes: The festival allows you to step out of your comfort zone and try dishes you might not typically order. It's the perfect time to explore new flavors and expand your culinary horizons.
  • Support local restaurants: Winterlicious encourages diners to support local businesses and establishments, helping to sustain Toronto's thriving food industry.
  • Memorable dining experiences: Whether you're enjoying an intimate dinner with a loved one or celebrating a special occasion with friends, Winterlicious offers a memorable dining experience that combines exceptional food, cozy ambiance, and great company.


Toronto in January is the perfect destination for families seeking fun and memorable experiences. With a wide range of winter activities to choose from, there is something for everyone to enjoy. From ice skating under the Gardiner Expressway to exploring the vibrant street art scene, families can create cherished memories while embracing the cold weather.

Whether you prefer outdoor adventures or indoor entertainment, Toronto has it all. Take a spin on the ice at the Bentway Trail or skate by City Hall at Nathan Phillips Square. Explore the captivating street art in Graffiti Alley and wander through the back alleys of Queen Street West. For a quieter escape, warm up in the tropical oasis of Allan Gardens and discover the beauty of the Evergreen Brick Works.

Additionally, Toronto offers culinary delights during the Winterlicious festival, where you can indulge in prix-fixe meals at some of the city's finest restaurants. And don't forget to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario, which offers free admission on Wednesday nights, providing an enriching cultural experience for the whole family.

So bundle up, venture out, and make the most of the winter season in Toronto. With its diverse range of activities and attractions, this vibrant city guarantees a January filled with family fun, winter adventures, and unforgettable experiences.

AshleyPugh Written by

Ashley Pugh is one of the Co-Founders of and has been committed to writing family related content since 2008. There isn't much about family attractions that Ashley doesn't know, after visiting hundreds of them worldwide over the last 20 years.

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