Winter Guide : Outdoors

Drink Up Rating: NNNNNWinterCity Festival.


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WinterCity Festival & Winterlicious

Bundle up for a city-wide cultural celebration featuring outdoor spectacles, concerts and arts performances plus special prix-fixe menus at top restaurants. January 26 to February 8. Free (dinners $25-$35, lunches $15-$20). 416-338-0338, www. toronto. ca/special_events.

DJ skate night

Skate outdoors to the beat of the city’s best undergound DJs, and warm up with hot chocolate at Harbourfront Centres ice rink (235 Queens Quay West, 416-973-4000, www.harbourfrontentre.com) February 9 from 8 to 11 pm. Free (skate rentals available).

Wince away the winter

Hit an outdoor rink for some shinny, the Canuck version of Americans playing pickup on inner city hoops courts and Europeans booting the ball around a soccer pitch. It’s totally democratic: whoever comes plays – at the same time. There are no goalies, no checking and no whistles. And there are all-ages and all-women games as well. www.toronto.ca/parks.

Toronto Zoo

Open 364 days a year, the Toronto Zoo ‘s perfect for a winter day trip (361A Old Finch, 416-392-5900, www.torontozoo. com). There’s plenty of action in the indoor pavilions, and the amazing polar bears always make a visit worthwhile.

Take a trip to the Islands

It’s not the Caribbean, but the Toronto Islands offer their own idyllic charms, like visiting some cozy northern village. Besides, deserted beaches look pretty cool! www.toronto.ca/parks/island.

Cheap skate

Lace ’em up at City Hall or Harbourfront Centre or Ramsden Park or Grenadier Pond in High Park or on the outdoor rink in your neighbourhood.

Bay watch

There’s omething otherworldly about bundling up and walking along the beach at Ashbridge’s Bay as a low-lying fog blankets the waves and the frozen sand.

Pedal power

Biking to work, especially this year, is one of the best things about winter in Toronto. Even when there’s snow, the bike lanes are usually cleared (eventually). Nothing beats the feeling of telling people you bike year round. And the first day it’s warm enough to throw your bike shorts back on feels that much better after biking under three layers of clothing.

Hot stove

Every Thursday from 3 pm, the two outdoor bread ovens at Dufferin Grove Park (Dufferin between Bloor and College, 416-392-0913) are fired up so ice skaters and farmers market shoppers can bake their own bread. Sourdough starter is provided, and first-timers are welcome to show up early to watch the markets bakers to get the hang of the equipment.

Visit the gorilla of your dreams

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Enjoy a wild birthday celebration as Shalia, the Toronto Zoo ‘s female western lowland gorilla, celebrates her fifth birthday February 4 at 11 am at the Gorilla Rainforest. Bring your camera to catch her reaction to her special birthday cake, then stick around for a keeper talk and sign Shalia’s giant birthday card.

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