Due to Toronto’s location north of the equator, its chilly winds, heavy amounts of snowfall, and long-lasting frigid temperatures, new students from warmer places are shocked at the climate upon their arrival, and students from Toronto are also daunted by the inclement weather.
While the fewer hours of sunlight may limit some outdoor activities more common in warmer months, the City of Toronto offers an abundance of venues, events, and endeavours that create a very enjoyable environment for people with diverse interests.
To all the students fearing the dreaded winter months of Toronto or who are simply looking for fun things to do in the city, here are some indoor and outdoor recommendations that will create a more bearable and gratifying experience for you.
Scotiabank Arena: Raptors and Maple Leafs games
If you are a student who enjoys sports, look no further than the Scotiabank Arena. Home to Toronto’s historic NHL team — the Toronto Maple Leafs — and NBA team — the Toronto Raptors — the arena sits adjacent to the CN Tower and is a perfect getaway from your busy class schedule to go cheer on some of your favourite players.
With Toronto being ranked as the third-best sports city in the world, you will encounter many passionate fans downtown before a game. Admission to the infamous Maple Leaf Square — which is called Jurassic Park when the Raptors play — is free should you want to watch the game on the big screen outside the arena.
Although tickets can be pricey, many U of T organizations and colleges, like Victoria College’s Athletic Association, offer discounted tickets to games throughout the year. This is not only a great way to save money to watch two historic franchises play, but also a way for first-year students to meet new friends and connect with fellow U of T community members beyond the classroom.
**Skating at Nathan Phillips Square **
Although the below-freezing temperatures in the winter limit the outdoor physical activities you can partake in, the body of water in Nathan Phillips Square freezes over every year, creating an outdoor rink for skaters of all skill levels to enjoy. With upbeat music and food and drink options surrounding it, the rink — which opens the last week of November and lasts until mid-March — creates a lively atmosphere for members of the Toronto community to come together.
If you don’t have skates, you can rent some — at $15 for two hours — along with helmets, should you want to use one. Though not required, I would highly recommend bringing your own winter gloves and beanie to counter the chilly weather and ensure you don’t injure your hands when you inevitably fall on the ice. All jokes aside, this is yet another space where you can bring friends and family to embrace the cold and partake in a classic Canadian activity.
Furthermore, the rink remains open until 10:00 pm, creating a picturesque environment where the iconic Toronto sign shines brightly over the rink. One of the staples of Toronto’s winter culture, Nathan Phillips Square invites fun and community amidst the gloomy days of the cold months of winter.
The Royal Ontario Museum
As the “Canada’slargest and most comprehensive museum,” according to its website, it’s crucial that I include a trip to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) as a recommendation. Located right off of Bloor Street and steps away from Museum Station, the ROM offers free admission for university students on Tuesdays, so bring your U of T student ID.
The ROM is a unique museum in that it displays various forms of art while incorporating aspects of nature and global culture to give visitors a well-rounded experience. From the T-Rex exhibit to portraits of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ROM is a great educational outlet for U of T students to learn about worldly cultures without the fear of having a related assignment or exam.
The exceptional location of the museum eliminates the need to use the unreliable TTC. No matter which college you are in, from UTSG’s campus, you can walk to the ROM in 20 minutes or less. Whether you want to check out a specific exhibit or wander through the modern halls for hours on end, the ROM is a great option to take a break from your studies and be out of the cold, letting you fully immerse yourself in one of the most magnificent museums in North America.