Toronto may sizzle with a lot of activity in the summer, but winter offers just as much fun with its Toronto winter festivals. Every year over 500,000 people attend WinterCity Festival

This Toronto winter festival is 14 days of action, music, food and entertainment. It runs from the end of January to the beginning of February.

The well publicized Winterlicious is part of this 14 day extravaganza, but WinterCity has 3 festivals in one. The other aspects are called Wild on Winter and Warm Up.


For those who love food and trying unique dishes, Winterlicious in Toronto is the highlight of the season. Here’s how it works: every year over one-hundred of the city’s restaurants offer a 3 course creative culinary meal at a special fixed price. 

Both lunch and dinner is served, but you should make a reservation ahead of time. In addition to the amazing meals and pricing, there are 14 food events in Toronto. These events do require tickets. 

When it gets close to Winterlicious, go to the city of Toronto web site www.toronto.ca and look for the special events section. A search bar will appear so that you can type in what kind of cuisine you are interested in then a list of participating restaurants will appear. You can reserve a spot by simply calling the restaurant and telling them you want a Winterlicious reservation. 

Warm Up

The Warm Up portion of the WinterCity Festival features a series of indoor entertainment. It allows you to come in from the cold and celebrate all the talent that Toronto has to offer. 

Every year new talent is brought to the forefront, but in past years it has included music, acrobatic performances, theatre productions and children’s entertainment. Warm Up will put you in the mood for outdoor winter fun.

Wild on Winter (WOW)

This is an outdoor feature that never fails to dazzle the crowd. Toronto’s WOW, is all about doing the kind of theatrical performances that most people wouldn’t even attempt in winter conditions. 

Award winning theatre troupes from around the world take to the elements to present shows that the audience will not forget. Normally WOW takes place at Nathan Phillips Square

During WinterCity a lot of popular venues such as the Science Centre, the CN Tower and the Toronto Zoo host special events to celebrate the season. 

Some of these events are directly tied to WinterCity, while others may not be. Either way, it is a great way to take in Toronto culture and creativity.

Careful planning by the city of Toronto has gone into this 14 day festival. City officials have turned to other countries around the world to educate themselves on the best ways to run an event like this. Festivals in Italy, Greece and France have influenced WinterCity.

The months of January and February may be cold, but WinterCity in Toronto will warm your soul with a wide variety of sights, sounds and tastes.

Other Winter Festivals

If you love winter, but can’t be in the city for the 14-day festival, you can still enjoy a number of other winter festivals in the Greater Toronto Area

The GTA consists of dozens of communities to the East, West and North of Toronto that are a short drive away. The regions of Durham, York and Peel all have winter festivals or carnivals as they are often called. 

Below is a sample of the communities that celebrate the winter season.


  • Ajax Winterfest
  • Uxbridge Winter Carnival
  • Claremont Winter Carnival
  • Cannington Dog Sled Races and Winter Carnival


  • Mississauga Winter Festival
  • Brampton Winter Festival


  • Richmond Hill Winter Carnival
  • Vaughan Winterfest
  • Markham Museum Winterfest

Many of the smaller winter festivals/carnivals are specifically designed for families so if you have children these events make for a great outing. Ice skating, amusement rides and local celebrity appearances are usually part of the festivities. 

In some cases the venues allow for participants to step inside a warm building when the weather is particularly cold. Hot chocolate, coffee and tea are in abundance. 

For more information on winter events in the GTA you can check out www.childslife.ca.

Whether you take in WinterCity in Toronto or venture a little outside the city to attend one of the smaller community festivals, you will experience all the wonders of winter and some delicious food at the same time.

You can learn more about great Toronto festivals through our website.