Even with the weather changes and cooler temperatures making way for stunning fall colors and the holiday season, there are still plenty of things to do outdoors. Here are our top picks around Toronto — just don’t forget to bundle up.
If Toronto had a version of Central Park, it would be High Park. Just west of the downtown core (and a mere four miles from Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Park Hyatt Toronto), the expansive space comes complete with a zoo; paths for hikers, cyclists and runners; playgrounds; and dog parks — all right by the waterfront. The largest public park in the city, High Park starts its high season with cherry blossoms in May and carries through October’s incredible fall foliage. On October 30, make your own lantern before celebrating the things that go bump in the night with the Halloween Howl hike.
On November 15, get bundled up for one of Canada’s largest holiday events, the Toronto Santa Claus Parade. A tradition since 1905, the parade travels through downtown to the delight of children and families alike, with dazzling floats, glittering costumes, two dozen marching bands, entertainers and, of course, the big man himself.
By the time the Toronto Christmas Market comes to town, the city will be in full celebratory mode. From November 27 through December 20, the Distillery District’s European-style holiday market will feature charming, traditional activities (see: caroling to horse-drawn carriage rides), booths of artisanal crafts and lots of hot cider and hot chocolate to keep you warm.
Come December, the average high temperature in Toronto falls somewhere between 35 and 40 degrees, meaning it will be perfect outdoor skating conditions. Over at Harbourfront Centre, the Natrel Rink has been a local favorite for 30 years — and who could deny it? With peeks of the Toronto islands and Lake Ontario to the south, a view of the city skyline and the CN Tower to the north and Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto only a 15-minute walk away, its placement couldn’t be more ideal. Tip: Warm up after skating with some tea in the hotel’s Lobby Lounge — its tea library offers 68 piping-hot varieties.
Equally as iconic, Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square — home to city hall — features an ice rink with picturesque arches that light up at night for skates sessions. On weekends leading up to the holidays, the square will also play host to Cavalcade of Lights, a fireworks show and lighting of a massive 60-foot Christmas tree. Nearby, duck into the city’s famous Eaton Center shopping mall and browse the Christmas windows at beloved Hudson’s Bay department store.