Affordable Outdoor Winter Fun in T.O.

by Joanna Katchutas
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What to do in T.O in the Winter for under $35– Outdoor Edition

We’re in the midst of winter. It’s cold, the holidays are over and many people are in hibernation mode, spending much of their time tucked in at home under the blankets watching TV. It may be cold out and the holidays may be long over at this point but that’s no reason not to get out of your house to enjoy the great outdoors!  I challenge you to get up off your couch and enjoy what’s going on outside in our city. I challenge you to immerse yourself in what Toronto has to offer in terms of affordable, fun, outdoor winter activities. The winter months host some great events in the city that are fun and most importantly affordable!  Check out my top list of things to do outdoors in Toronto for under $35.

Go Snowboarding or Downhill Skiing

Got the Blues that you can’t drive up North to Blue? While places like Blue Mountain or Mount St Louis Moonstone may be on the list of Ontario’s choice mountains to visit for the ski/snowboard season, making the trip up there for a day in the snow could prove to be quite costly. Luckily there is a place in the city to go to satisfy a quick craving that is affordable and you can take the TTC! Earl Bales Park (on Bathurst just south of Sheppard) hosts three intermediate hills and you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding at an affordable day or hourly rate. For example, four hours of ski/snowboard time costs $27.50.  Hours of operation are Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. 
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. 
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. I suggest going on a weeknight for some night skiing/snowboarding – it’s not busy and a great way to end your workday and get some exercise! This city-run facility is equipped with a triple chairlift, snack bar and rental facility (equipment rental available at an additional cost of $25).

More information on Ski/Snowboarding at Earl Bales

 Affordable Outdoor Winter Fun in T.O. - Fresh Print Magazine

Skiing/Snowboarding at Earl Bales Park, Photo by Brian Clarke



Some of my best memories of high school are of heading to the local hills in my old neighbourhood with my friends on weeknights/weekends to go tobogganing, snow skating, snowblading, GT’ing and all that fun stuff. We’d build massive igloos, rails for us to ride and it was a heck of a lot of fun.  I’d do anything to be back in those days. Then I realize, hey, what says I can’t do it ten years later? I encourage everyone to get a group together, dig through your parent’s garage for your favourite downhill adventure tool of choice and head to the closest local hill after work or on the weekend for a great time – for free!


Skating is an awesome winter activity. There are so many indoor and outdoor facilities  to enjoy! Outdoor rinks like Nathan Phillips Square, North York Civic Center and the Ryerson rink on Gould Street are open to enjoy 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Other great rinks to enjoy in the city are the covered Greenwood Park rink, near Greenwood and Dundas East and the waterfront skating rink at the Harbourfront Center. All of the suggested rinks are available by subway access and are free to enjoy!


Want to enjoy a game of shinny hockey with your friends without having to worry about what’s going on at the rink? Why not organize a bunch of similar minded friends and rent a rink for an hour? I was introduced to the Canlan Ice Sports Facility at York University by my friend Dave, who over the holidays graciously picked up the tab for his family and a bunch of our friends to have a fun afternoon skate together as a holiday gift – it was really fun! Dave told me that some of his friends rent the ice twice a week at Canlan Ice Sport for an hour to play hockey on a regular basis.  The cost is $125 plus tax for one hour of private play. If you can split the cost 10 ways you can organize a fun private shinny game with your friends at $12.50 a person.

More information on Canlan Ice Sports Facility

 Affordable Outdoor Winter Fun in T.O. - Fresh Print Magazine

Playing Shinny Hockey at Canlan Ice Sports Facility at York University, Photo by Joanna Katchutas

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Do you really need a break from the city? Want to try a cool day-trip? Trakkers is a volunteer, non-profit, recreational cross-country ski club that welcomes members of all ages and skill levels, from novice to expert, to join in for weekly fun Sunday ski trips to Southern Ontario ski resorts. An example of a great day-trip, this Sunday, January 19 the group will be traveling to Wasaga Beach to the Wasaga Nordic Centre to go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. The trail pass for cross-country skiing is $9 and the snowshoe trail pass is $6. The bus ride up is a cash fare of $25 and Ski and snowshoe rental service is available on-site. They advise you to pack a hearty lunch, wear warm clothing and to bring your camera (there is a cool photo contest you can enter after trip!). Sounds like a fun adventure!

More information on Trakkers

Grab your Camera and take a Hike!

And I don’t mean that as an insult – I mean it to be literal. Go for a hike with friends in one of Toronto’s fabulous parks. There are so many to explore in the city. High Park, The Humber River and The Old Mill Trails in the west end of the city all the way to The Don Valley Trails, Buffer’s Park and the Cedarvale Ravine and Beltline Trail in the east end of the city.  Be sure to wear proper gear, stay on the walking paths and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Enjoy a Heated Patio

Not the outdoorsy type? That’s still not a good reason to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air. Why not enjoy a drink with friends on one of Toronto’s awesome heated/covered patios? I’ve tried out Hemmingway’s, the Cadillac Lounge and The Drake Sky Yard in the past and enjoyed my experience at all three of them.

The Drake Sky Yard - Fresh Print Magazine

The Drake Sky Yard, image sourced from

So that’s it for this week. Stay tuned for my next edition coming out next week – Affordable Indoor Winter Fun in T.O.

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