These days, it can be challenging to find COVID-friendly activities that entertain the little ones, especially with big events being cancelled and recreational locations closing their doors. Once in a while, it is essential to leave the house to exercise, experience something new or just to get some fresh air. isure gathered a comprehensive list to use as a starting point for new COVID-friendly activities, even in the time of social distancing.
1. Go to an outdoor skating rink
One of the easiest COVID-friendly activities is to engage in some winter-specific activities. One of the most popular options is going to an outdoor skating rink. Across Toronto, there are various outdoor rinks that are still open or will be reopening soon. All outdoor skating rinks owned by the City of Toronto are still up and running during the current lockdown jurisdictions. A slight inconvenience is that there will be no access to lockers or indoor change rooms. Masks or face coverings are mandatory throughout your time at the skating rink, including while on the ice. To ensure your spot at a skating rink nearest you, we recommend reserving your timeslot on the City of Toronto website at toronto.ca. You can book your spot up to seven days in advance with the option to cancel by contacting the Recreation Customer Service Line between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday at toronto.ca.
2. Explore hiking trails in your area
One of Toronto’s best-kept secrets is the various hiking trails and paths that are easily accessible from the heart of the city. Getting outside and exercising is extremely important for your mental health and wellbeing, now more than ever. Luckily for you, Toronto boasts a variety of COVID-friendly activities and locations to do just that. Starting in the east end of the city, the Doris McCarthy trail off of Kingston Road is a fantastic spot for views of the Scarborough Bluffs and Lake Ontario. The trail is named after Calgary-based landscape painter Doris McCarthy, who is most known for her paintings of the views accessible on the trail. There are a variety of trails and lookout points to explore, but one of the most interesting aspects of this trail is an art piece entitled Passage, by Canadian sculptor Marlene Hilton Moore. The sculpture represents both the rib cage of a fish and the shape of a canoe and was dedicated to Doris McCarthy. If you are interested in staying closer to the centre of Toronto, High Park is a fantastic location for either a hike or a leisurely stroll. Featuring a large variety of wildlife, High Park boasts almost 5 kilometres of hiking trails to explore. Another spot closer to the heart of the city is Evergreen Brick Works. With a 2.4 kilometre trail, this is a fantastic and secluded spot to get some fresh air and witness a unique view of the beautiful downtown Toronto skyline.
3. Visit art installations
The new reality we are all faced with has proven to be challenging but has also paved the way for new and exciting projects in the arts. One of the most fascinating artistic developments in Toronto is an installation at Harbourfront Centre, called “Portraits in COVID Times: Documenting a Nation in Change.” Created and curated by a collection of Canadian photographers, the Canada COVID online project was formed in April 2020. Through the format of open online posting, the project collected over 5,000 photographs from across Canada depicting how Canadians are living within the confines of COVID-19. The photographs depict every aspect of life in lockdown, including family time at home, working/socializing remotely, political engagement and more. The photos have been shared on the front of the Harbourfront Centre’s main building (located at 235 Queens Quay West) since November 2020, and as of now will continue to be shared until May 1st, 2021. Additional images are also on display in the Rees Street parking lot at 318 Queens Quay West. These COVID-friendly activities are completely free to experience for you and your family. More information can be found on the Harbourfront Centre’s official website at harbourfrontcentre.com.
4. Participate in outdoor events
Given the cold winter temperatures in Toronto, it can be difficult to find outdoor activities to participate in, regardless of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. One outdoor activity that is still permitted by the City of Toronto is called “Crokicurl.” This event is run by a company called stackt who, with a multi-functional space in the heart of King West, feature unique and engaging activities all year round. Combining two Canadian winter sports (crokinole and curling,) this fun activity is a great opportunity to spend time with those in your household while getting some fresh air. There is food and drink available, along with all the necessary social distancing safety precautions. Below are the rules and regulations of the event from the official stackt website:
- 2-10 players (must be within the same social bubble)
- All food or drink must be consumed while seated
- Maximum of 4 people per table
- Contact information is required upon arrival for contact tracing
- Masks must be worn if going indoors or interacting with serving staff
- Full rules and regulations will be updated based on Toronto Public Health guidelines and will be given upon arrival
- Please check in with the host at the Brewery when you arrive 10 minutes in advance of your reservation.
- Please be advised that stackt may close the rink due to extreme weather conditions.
stackt reserves the right to open your time slot if you have not arrived 10 minutes after your scheduled start time. This event runs until February 28th, 2021, and is still running under the current lockdown restrictions. Additionally, there is also a stackt market that is typically open for you and your family to enjoy.
To purchase tickets or to learn more, visit: stacktmarket.com.
5. Participate in classic Toronto winter activities
Even in these strenuous times, the City of Toronto is still finding new and innovative ways to present COVID-friendly activities and events. One that is still projected to run this year is the Bloor-Yorkville Icefest. Updated with social distancing guidelines, you and the kiddos can take a trip to the heart of the city to witness incredible ice sculptures and displays. Over 50 different sculptures will be exhibited during the themed festival, titled “A Trip Around the World.” You can expect to see the Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Sydney Opera House, to name a few. The Bloor-Yorkville Icefest will run from February 26–28. Admission is free. More details and information can be found on the event’s official website: bloor-yorkville.com/icefest.
We hope that this list of fun, COVID-friendly activities brings some joy to you and your loved ones during these uncertain times.