Fun in Toronto on a Rainy or Snowy Day

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Toronto has plenty of everything – including weather. Sure, it would be nice if every day were a beach day, but think of that stormy or swelteringly hot day as an opportunity to dig in and explore some nooks and crannies you might otherwise miss. By Cathy Riches

Take a Streetcar Tour

You can traverse the breadth of the city-above ground—on any number of streetcar lines. Yes, you’ll have to go through a bit of weather to catch one, but then you’ll be tucked inside and can watch the city glide past at your leisure and on your own agenda.

The Queen (501) streetcar goes from the quaint Beaches neighbourhood in the east through Riverside/Leslieville (where the Degrassi TV series was situated), the downtown core, on to trendy Queen West then all the way to the Roncesvalles neighbourhood in the west.

Although it’s a shorter route, the Harbourfront (509) streetcar is hands-down the most scenic as it glides along Queens Quay West and the waterfront past HTO Park and the Toronto Music Garden beach and the Music Garden then on to Exhibition Place with its collection of Beaux-Arts style buildings and striking Princes’ Gates. Take it from Union Station to the Exhibition Loop then back again and enjoy the view.

Also check out the Carlton/College (506) route for Little Italy, The Gay Village and Little India; Spadina (510) for Chinatown and Kensington Market and King Street (504) for the Design District, Financial Centre, Entertainment District and Liberty Village.

Inside the Eaton Centre
The Eaton Centre

Go Underground

Your best friend in foul weather is the 30-kilometre (19-mile) network that runs under the downtown core. According to the Guinness World Records, the PATH is the largest underground shopping complex in the world. The PATH stretches from Queens Quay in the south all the way up to the Eaton Centre, Eaton Centre, a mecca of retail. This warren of walkways is packed with stores of every stripe, eating opportunities from food courts to high-end dining, fitness centres, spas and entertainment.

Bad Axe Throwing

Play Some Games

Toronto has plenty of places for traditional games like pool and darts. For trendier activities like ping-pong, SPiN on King St. W. combines adult beverages with the back and forth. Or get edgy with axe throwing at several places including Bad Axe Toronto in the Junction neighbourhood. Add archery to your skills at Stryke Target Range.

Toronto Union Station Great Hall
Union Station Great Hall

Explore Union Station

Go traipse around Union Station. Although restoration work is still in progress, many stunning architectural details are viewable and as a hub of commuter and cross-country trains and buses – as well as some tempting new eateries – the place has a distinct buzz about it. The main floor with its massive high ceiling is especially historic and photogenic. (Connected to the PATH).

Inside the Bata Shoe Museum
The Bata Shoe Museum

Take in a Museum

Of course Toronto has grand art and artefact houses – the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are the biggies and should always be on your to-do list. But when the weather outside is frightful, the niche museums are also delightful. The Bata Shoe Museum, Gardiner (for ceramics) and Ryerson Image Centre all have collections worth delving into.

See the CBC

Especially dear to many Canadians’ hearts but interesting for any fan of broadcasting, the Canadian Broadcasting Centre’s building is a shrine to radio and TV personalities past and present. There is a sweeping atrium, a museum and archive and if your timing is right, TV tapings that need an audience. Don’t forget to pick up an iconic CBC logo t-shirt in the gift shop before you leave and take a selfie with the clever bronze Glenn Gould statue out front. (Connected to the PATH.)

The Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

Hear a Free Concert

A concert series regularly takes place in one of Toronto’s most breathtaking spaces – the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in the Four Seasons Centre. Most of the shows are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon or on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. They fill up quickly but if you can nab a spot, you’re in for a rare treat. (Connected to the PATH.)