Toronto’s waterfront is synonymous with summer, where you can wander the shops and markets, rent bikes and kayaks, go on a boat cruise, or just take a nice stroll on the promenade. BUT, winter on the waterfront is actually (almost) equally as fun, with lots of things to do.
Pizza is clearly the specialty of Pie Bar. Located in Queen’s Quay Terminal, inside a cool, industrial designed space, will you find waterfront dining with some traditional (and not) Neapolitan pizza. The pizza is cooked in a 450- pound dome and churns out in 90 seconds so you’re fed faster. There’s also gelato and custom Spritz’ in the summer (or all year round really).
155 – 207 Queens Quay West
Pie Bar website
A popular upscale hot-spot from the west coast, Miku is traditional Japanese flavours with local ingredients and a fresh culinary experience. Known for their Aburi Sushi (torched, pressed sushi), extensive raw bar and their traditional greeting every time you walk in. Find it in Water Park Place, conveniently attached to The Path.
105 – 10 Bay Street
Amsterdam Brew House
A brew house, brewery and retail store, fronted on the lake, making Amsterdam one of the busiest restaurants on the waterfront. With cozy vibes in the winter and patio vibes in the summer, it’s a place to meet, hang out and enjoy the area all year round. Known for their tongue-in-cheek (and tasty) beer, wood-fired oven and smoked brisket and fun events to let loose.
245 Queens Quay West, South Building
Amsterdam Brew House website
Much more than a coffee shop, Boxcar Social Harboufront is an experience in itself. From the ‘cool’ industrial décor with views of the Natrel pond (or skating rink) and the lake, to the coffee program (including coffee flights) and bar program (with unique craft cocktails). Whether you’re skating in the winter or chilling on the boardwalk in the summer, day or night, Boxcar is the place to relax and enjoy.
235 Queens Quay West
Boxcar Social website
Inside the restored 1917 Harbour Commission building, is one of the city’s top steakhouses. With upscale everything from the people to the furniture to the beautiful plates, you’ll feel opulent just being inside. Being famous for their steaks and quality of ingredients, you can also expect large portions that will fill you up.
60 Harbour Street
Harbour 60 website
An eclectic-chic hang out that’s something straight out of Marfa, Texas, the food at Joe Bird is equally as playful and fun as the atmosphere. Birds are their thing, so most of the menu has some variety of juicy chicken like classic Chicken and Waffles, Bao Buns and Popcorn Chicken-Poutine, as well as salads and sharing plates.
207 Queens Quay West
Joe Bird website
HARBOURFRONT CENTRE SHOP
Get some unique one-of-a-kind gifts for loved ones (or yourself) from the Shop at Harbourfront Centre. Created by the artists-in-residence (whom you can also see working on any given day), you can find everything from jewelry and home décor pieces, to gourmet edibles and kids’ toys.
235 Queens Quay West
Harbourfront Centre Shop website
Natrel Skate Rink
Arguably the most scenic rink in Toronto, the Natrel Skating Rink at Harbourfront Centre, is located right on the waterfront of Lake Ontario. The rink has heated indoor change rooms and Boxcar Social rink-side ready to serve drinks and snacks to warm up. Skating is free and you can rent skates on-site. On Saturday nights, they have a live DJ for DJ Skate Nights, where the coolest ice party happens.
235 Queens Quay West
Natrel Skate Rink website
The Power Plant
What once used to be an actual power plant, is now a leading public art gallery, devoted to contemporary art and public programs. At any given time, there are international and local exhibitions, educational programs and master classes and events and parties with the who’s who of the art world. Admission is free, other than special events.
231 Queens Quay West
The Power Plant website
The Nutcracker Ballet
A holiday favourite and tradition, the Nutcracker Ballet will keep your soul warm this winter. For kids and adults alike, the National Ballet of Canada will not disappoint with this classic version. There’s a show almost daily through the holidays.
December 12, 2019 – January 4, 2020
National Ballet of Canada, 470 Queens Quay West
National Ballet of Canada website
A popular winter festival by the waterfront, presented by Winter Stations, LOOP is a much-needed splash of colour and fun. LOOP is a public art exhibit that’s free, family friendly and interactive to enjoy the outdoors. This year’s installation is a retro-futuristic playground, that’s a cross between a music box, zoetrope, and a railway handcar. Visitors can hop two at a time into one of the six illuminated cylinders and pump a lever to activate the music and lit up animated fairy tales.
January 15 – February 9, 2020
York Street Park, corner of York Street & Queens Quay
Winter Stations website
Winterlicious is an annual food festival, in which participating restaurants offer a prix fixed promotion. It’s a great way to check out the culinary scene in the city try out new restaurants, without unknown expectations. You can search for restaurants by area, type or price and view the menu before hand, so all you have to do, is enjoy. Participating restaurants on the waterfront are Toula, Miku, Pie Bar and Watermark Restaurant.
January 31 – February 13, 2020
Torque: Mixed Repertory Program
Torque is this year’s international contemporary dance series at Harbourfront Centre. It explores the broad scope of contemporary dance by some of the most exciting choreographers in the world today. The Mixed Repertory piece showcases the US’ A.I.M’s virtuoso dancers. This mixed program includes five wildly different works that make up a truly rich, vibrant, satisfying evening, delving deep into personal identity, capturing your imagination with a touch of real life, infectious music and of course.. dance.
February 21 – 22, 2020
Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay West
Harbourfront Centre website
The sweetest festival dedicated to all things maple. Hosted at Sugar Beach, you can expect live music, ice activities like building blocks and snowball toss, delicious food including Beavertails and poutine and of course – maple syrup. Sugar shacks will be serving fresh maple taffy rolled on snow all weekend.
March 14 – 15, 2020
Sugar Beach, 11 Dockside Drive
Sugar Shack website
THE POWER PLANT WINTER 2020 OPENING PARTY
Celebrate the launch of The Power Plant’s Winter 2020 Exhibition Season with a free party. Be amongst the first to experience exhibitions by Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Dawit L. Petros, Naeem Mohaiemen and Rashid Johnson. Admission is free and the cash bar will be available all evening.
231 Queens Quay West
The Power Plant, 231 Queens Quay West
The Power Plant website
Men, get your hair cut, beards trimmed and face hot towel shaved in a time-warped, rustic barber shop. As canadiana and cozy as it gets, the space has a hunting lodge vibe, decked out with the antlers and everything. A space where men can feel old-school again.
207 Queens Quay West (inside Queens Quay Terminal)
The holidays are anything but nice on the waistline, but fitness studios like Tribe, are there to help. Known as more of a community of like-minded people, Tribe offers yoga, cycling and running classes (and groups) for all levels of fitness. They focus on not only the physical, but also the mental and social aspects that come with being part of a community.
100 – 10 Lower Spadina Avenue
Tribe Fitness website
Crossfit 416 is more than a gym, it’s a full, customized program of exercise and nutrition – to ensure everyone can meet their goals (and budget). They start you with a 20-min free intro session, to find out the best options for you and then come up with a game plan that works for you. Then they offer classes and open gym times – and even mommy and me classes.
112-390 Queens Quay West
Crossfit 416 website
National Ballet classes
Get fit among some of Canada’s best dancers, in their actual studios. The National Ballet also offers fitness classes for the public like Ballet for all levels, Pointe, Barre and Pilates. Anyone can drop in, even if you’re not a dancer in the slightest.
470 Queens Quay West
National Ballet website
Getting ready for warmer weather (elsewhere) or maybe you just don’t want to look like a ghost (it’s not a good look for anyone). Solace Tanning is a modern, upscale and professional tanning studio with state-of-the-art equipment for safe tanning and spray tans. And in case you forget a hair elastic or need to take your make up off, they have elastics and wipes (it’s the little things that count). For those with Seasonal Affective Disorder, there is also an Infrared Sauna to help beat those blues and warm you up.
464 Queens Quay Street
Solace Tanning website
Sculpture Nails and Spa
If you’re going to be indoors, might as well be primped and pampered. Known for their friendly staff, affordable prices and great results, Sculpture is a hidden gem on the waterfront. Always professional and always understanding of what you’re looking for, so you’re satisfied and relaxed when you leave with beautiful nails.
370 Queens Quay West