Happy 2023! We hope that you and your family had a great winter break that involved at least some time to relax and recharge. Toronto in January is traditionally quieter when it comes to local events and attractions, which we completely understand. After the busy-ness of the holiday season, both our bodies and our bank accounts could do with a little chilling at home. But there is still plenty to do, including experiences that will let you make the most of the coldest month of the year. Below we round up 10 ways to keep your kids entertained this month.
And don’t forget that multiple events (some holiday-themed) are extending their run into January, thanks to the kids not heading back to school until the second week of the month. These events include theatrical productions of Snow White, on until January 7, and Peter’s Final Flight, on until January 7; the immersive outdoors Northern Lights experience, on until January 8; the indoor Winter Wonderland carnival, on until January 8, and the recently opened Disney Animation Immersive Experience, on until March 19 (we recently checked this one out and it’s pretty cool).
Family Fun Things to Do in Toronto in January
Bentway Skate Trail
250 Fort York Blvd., Toronto
Trail now open
January is the perfect time of year to check out the city’s many outdoor skating rinks and trails and at the top of that list should be the Bentway Skate Trail. Featuring 220 metres of ice shaped into a figure-eight, this trail features all kinds of fun extras. Enjoy free hot chocolate on Mondays, free skate rentals on Fridays and, with advance registration, free skating lessons on Tuesdays. The Bentway is continuing to host special events throughout the winter including a Lunar New Year celebration on January 22 that will feature lion dancers among other performers and vendors! Access to the trail is free and rentals are available for a fee.
City of Toronto Skating Pads & Trails
Want to lace up your skates but a trip to the Bentway doesn’t quite work for your family? That’s fine because the city of Toronto operates over two-dozen outdoor rinks across the city that offer drop-in hours, along with washrooms, benches, and heated change space. While most are accessible any day of the week, be sure to check your chosen rink’s online schedules as some have dedicated time for shinny and other events. For a deeper look at where to skate outdoors in Toronto, check out our roundup. Access to City-run rinks is free.
Toronto Zoo, 2000 Meadowvale Rd., Toronto
Bundle up the kids and head out to the Toronto Zoo where you can take in one of the area’s prettiest attractions. Designed as an immersive show, this unique experience will have your family walking along a 1.5km path that features custom sound, video, and light creations that bring to life a special story set in 2099. Since this show can only take place once it’s dark out, January is the perfect time to take younger kids who can’t stay up late. Tickets start at $24.99, with free admission for kids under three. Toronto Zoo members also get a $5 discount.
3291 Stouffville Rd., Whitchurch-Stouffville & 5050 Harrison Rd., Binbrook
Open Fridays-Sundays during the winter
Looking for somewhere where your little ones can burn off energy and take in fresh air? Then either of the Treetop Trekking locations, located inside Stouffville’s Bruce’s Mill Creek Conservation Area and Hamilton’s Bunbrook Conservation Area. While the larger aerial park (the thing with the zip lines) is closed until April, the Treetop Village is open for wintertime fun. With an elaborate combination of ramps, bridges, treehouses, and more, this place is perfect for kids ages three through seven (but is open to all ages). While the weather more than anything will likely decide how long you spend at the park, prepare to play for at least two hours. Pricing starts at $32 for one child and one adult.
The Giant Maze
Ancaster Fairgrounds, 630 Trinity Rd. S., Hamilton
December 26 – January 8
This attraction’s name is just the start of its fun. Yes, the Giant Maze is indeed a lengthy, twisting, turning pathway featuring seven-foot walls so even the tallest members of your group can’t peek over. But this event also features food trucks and a hot chocolate bar, DJs, and fire pits where your family can roast marshmallows and warm up (this is an outdoor experience). There are also games such as a scavenger hunt and even a train ride. The maze is located out in Ancaster, which is just over an hour drive from Toronto, but with another whole week of Christmas break ahead of us, we suspect you’ll be okay with driving for some entertainment. Tickets, which are timed and must be purchased in advance online, start at $9.99, and kids two and under are free.
The Little PINKO Hen: Or How The Cat Got RadiCATized
RED Sandcastle Theatre, 922 Queen St. E., Toronto
December 29 – January 7
Described as a “twisted version of The Little Red Hen,” this silly take features a pink cat from Leslieville that is destined to save the day; he just needs to have a few musical adventures first. Done up as a pantomime, The Little Pink-O Hen features an eclectic selection of musical choices including The Beatles, Katy Perry, and various TikTok hits. This show is suitable for kids as young as two and does have an intermission. Performances take place at 7pm, with additional 2pm shows on December 31 and January 7, and start at $15 a seat. There’s also a family fun pack, featuring four tickets, available for $60.
The Little Circus That Could
Wynchwood Theatre, 76 Wychwood Ave., Toronto
December 30 – January 8
Do your kids love clowns? Then this circus-themed show is perfect for them! Inspired by The Little Engine That Could, this literal clown show features silliness, acrobatics, and even a mystery: Where did the circus go? While this is an all-ages show, it’s best for kids ages five and up as total run time is 50 minutes, with no intermission. Two performances take place daily, one at 10am and one at noon. All seating is general admission and costs $25 per ticket.
City of Toronto Fireworks
Lake Ontario Waterfront
Okay, technically this is a December event but since it takes place during the final minutes of 2022, we think we’re fine to include it on our list. Celebrate the New Year with what the City of Toronto describes as, “two synchronized 15-minute, high-altitude fireworks displays.” This brilliant extravaganza of colour will explode into the sky at midnight and will be viewable along the waterfront from Etobicoke to Scarborough. In addition to watching the show down at the water, you can also watch it online, where it will be preceded by a variety of live musical performances. This event is free to attend.
Elephant & Piggie’s ‘We Are in a Play!”
Wychwood Theatre, 76 Wychwood Ave., Toronto
January 21-February 12, Saturdays & Sundays
Two of Mo Williams’ cutest characters, Elephant and Piggie, take to the stage in this live theatrical event that will see them, “…sing and dance through the joys and trials of everlasting friendship.” This show, which runs for 55 minutes, is best suited for kids who are four or older. Two performances are held each show day, one at noon and one at 3:30pm. Tickets start at $40 per person, with a four-seat family pack available that runs $35 per person.
The LEGO Movie
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., Toronto
To celebrate International LEGO Day (yes, that’s a real thing), Hot Docs is hosting a big screen showing of The LEGO Movie. This colourful film featuring voice work by Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, and Morgan Freeman, is fun for most ages (we recommend it for kids ages five and up) and is sure to get even the most serious adult laughing. It’s also the reason why we have one of the catchiest songs of the last decade, Tegan and Sara’s “Everything Is Awesome.” The show starts at 1pm and tickets start at $7.50.
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