The Top 6 Things To Do In Winter In Scarborough
Quite a few people think that you need a car in Scarborough to get away during winter, as there is pretty much nothing to do once the colder season rolls in. Thankfully, that isn’t the reality.
We explore the many indoor entertainment options in the city, plus some which feature some outdoor components. No matter if you’re looking for a chill night out, some wild fun, or a family-friendly excursion, we provide options which will cater to your likes.
You’ll get a nice overview of the top six winter activities in Scarborough. What you do with those options, and what other things they help you to uncover, is entirely up to you.
From a past of a few villages and farms to an urban environment, Scarborough has quite the history. While you might know of any number of activities to do in the warmer months, winter can present more of a challenge to get out and be active. If you know where to look, there’s no problem staying entertained while snow is on the ground.
Following are the top six things you can do during the winter months in Scarborough.
1. Scarborough Town Centre
This popular shopping centre is a favorite of quite a few locals, having served the community since 1973. Back in the day it was full of bored teenagers, which sometimes could be a problem, but lately things have transformed. A big renovation came with plenty of attractive stores, plus better security, transforming the mall into a place where anyone can go and feel comfortable. Plus, you can spend the day there, avoiding the chill when going from your car into a store, at least until you leave. If you prefer, there’s a whole variety of indoor activities in and nearby the mall, so you can drive to one location and make a day out of the trip, or even make multiple weekends out of going to the area repeatedly.
If you feel like seeing some of the latest movies, Cineplex Cinemas Scarborough is a great place to relax and enjoy. Not only are the seats comfortable, there’s a nice array of treats, plus a large arcade where you can play before your movie starts. All the big movies, and a fair amount of the more obscure titles, pass through this location.
For something more active, several escape room locations are scattered in the area, like BreakOut Team Adventures and Omescape Scarborough. They provide a nice change from the stress of everyday life, allowing you and some friends to work together on a fun problem and reap the rewards.
Of course, you can also peruse the many stores located in the mall. There’s a big variety, from gift shops to clothing stores, footwear, jewelry, and more.
When you get hungry, it’s a great time to sit back and relax at one of many dining options. Not only are there fine restaurants and bars, the food court features plenty of quick, affordable, and even healthy food options if you so desire. There’s always something within a short drive so just hop in your car in Scarborough and be there in no time!
2. Urban Wilderness
You’ve probably heard the term “urban wilderness” before, but sometimes people use it loosely. But in Scarborough, there really are some areas in the city where it feels like you’ve been transported far away from civilization.
Perhaps the best place for that kind of an experience is the pathways which meander through the trees along the Rouge River. While that at first might seem like an odd winter activity, the trails are actually perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Instead of always huddling inside, trying to keep warm throughout the winter, you can get outdoors and exercise. You just might find that you prefer the area in the winter, especially since you can see animal tracks in the snow and everything just feels more peaceful.
While perhaps not for everyone, if you’re adventurous, you could try your hand at camping in the winter at Glen Rouge Campground. It’s nearby Scarborough and sits by quite a few trails you can explore with snowshoes or skis.
Just remember to dress appropriately for the season. Wear layers which you can remove as you get warm, or buy a coat and snow pants which have zippered vents which allow air to flow in and cool you off. Taking some water and food along for your wintertime adventures is also a wise idea. Aside from that, enjoy the break from the busy streets and stress of everyday life.
3. Scarborough Civic Centre
If you want to take in some culture during the winter, one of the best options in the city is to check out the Scarborough Civic Centre. The building itself is inspirational, thanks to a dramatic design by architect Raymond Moriyama. In fact, it was so fantastic that the building was originally the city hall back in 1973.
As you can probably guess, there are all kinds of events going at the centre throughout the year, including the wintertime. Every Sunday there’s a free concert held, where you can take in all kinds of live music for a variety of entertainment.
For more options, the centre sits near the Scarborough Town Centre shopping mall, Scarborough Centre station, and Albert Campbell Square.
4. Dine Out
One of the best things about living in Scarborough is all the great restaurants in the area. No matter what kind of cuisine you like, the city has pretty much everything imaginable. Many of the eateries are quite famous, drawing in visitors from both near and far.
A whole range of excellent Asian restaurants are established in Scarborough. One of the more popular options, Zen Japanese, serves super fresh sushi which draws in the crowds. If you have a big appetite, there are multiple all-you-can eat options like Matsuda and Ten-Ichi. The choices keep going from there, so you can explore for months or longer.
If you like spicy food, Scarborough has several restaurants which should hit the spot. One is Federick, a Hakka Chinese spot that might not look like much, but serves up some excellent food.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, it’s well-known that Scarborough hosts some great pasty options. Patisserie Royale and 0109 Dessert & Chocolate are both well-known and excellent options, especially for the tasty flavoured crème brulee at 0109 Dessert & Chocolate and the flaky baklava at Patisserie Royale.
In the morning you have a whole lineup of breakfast options to choose from in Scarborough. One that many locals have come to love in Panagio’s, which is located on McCowan Road. While it’s a greasy spoon, the food is delicious and comes in large portions, so you won’t leave feeling unsatisfied. During the winter the patio isn’t usable, but you can still go inside for a nice, warm plate of excellent food. If you’re more in the mood for light fare, Francesca Bakery and Gerhard’s Café are both solid choices. Not only do they carry a nice variety of baked goods, you can get pretty much any kind of coffee desired, all made to perfection.
Of course, one of the best options for food in Scarborough is Johnny’s Hamburgers. The burger joint has been around since the 1970s, providing a great alternative to the chain burger restaurants which are everywhere. The food is a throwback to times past, and the prices are wonderfully affordable, so you don’t have to worry about spending your whole budget there.
There is a local chain which is also excellent, called Retro Burger. One location in Scarborough is by Kennedy Station. The charbroiled burgers are famous, but this restaurant’s real claim to fame is the deep fried Mars bars served on a stick, which is wildly unique. If you haven’t tried one, now’s the time to take the plunge and get one.
For a taste of the islands, Mainsha at Birchmount and Finch in Scarborough serves up a fine selection of Caribbean food. The flavours are strong and wonderful, while the prices are shockingly low. Plus, the restaurant makes custom juice mixes using tropic fruit and other elements.
For around-the-clock eats, there are a few places you can check out in Scarborough. One is T-Bones, which is greasy but good, especially the poutine doused in gravy. You can get a steak or sandwich at Markham Station, or opt for a super cheap breakfast at any time.
Sometimes you just need a drink and some socialization, especially when staying indoors is so compelling during the cold. As you might already know, nightlife in Scarborough isn’t exactly lively, but there are some chill spots where you can get a nice drink or two. One is Twilight, which gets especially busy on Thursday nights, transforming the atmosphere into almost one of a club. The Queen’s Head is another popular option, especially where there’s a big sports game playing on the televisions. If you want something with a run-down look but good service and a respectable crowd, Alexandria, which is located on Lawrence, is a good bet.
5. Scarborough Museum
Located on Brimley Road in Thomson Memorial Park, the Scarborough Museum is something you can definitely enjoy on a snowy, winter day. This living museum isn’t just full of dusty displays and boring write-ups about the area’s history. Instead, you get to immerse yourself in an experience of what life was like in Scarborough up to two hundred years ago.
While the gardens won’t be in bloom, you can still meander through the museum buildings where workers labor to recreate different elements of pioneer life. For example, you might be lucky enough to sample some food made with traditional ingredients and methods.
Inside the various buildings are all kinds of artifacts from the Scarborough area. Some are 150 to 200 years old, including furniture and household items, adding to the genuine nature of the experience. The staff all wear clothing which matches the period, so you get the full effect.
What most people don’t realize is that the houses and barns at the museum weren’t built onsite. Instead, they’re historic buildings which were actually transported to the park to make the Scarborough Museum. That means you’re literally walking through history as you take a tour. What’s more, the buildings are warm and cozy, which is perfect for the winter.
Every February, the museum holds something called Cupid’s scavenger hunt. It’s a fun way to celebrate the holiday of love in an unusual way. After battling the cold, you can warm up and refuel with some freshly baked bread which has just left the old cast-iron wood stove.
Everyone who visits this museum gains a better appreciation for what life was like before Scarborough became a bustling urban area.
6. Toronto Zoo
Even when temperatures dip, the fun doesn’t stop at the Toronto Zoo. Located in the picturesque Rouge Valley, you can drive to the zoo or take public transportation, if you don’t want to deal with the roads. There are over 5,000 animals from over 450 species at the zoo, so you get to see plenty of variety. Chances are just about everyone will see animals which delight, fascinate, and educate them. If you’re lucky, you could be at the different exhibits when the animals are being fed, engaging in breeding activities, or playing.
With over 10 km of walking trails, which workers keep clear in the winter, you’ll get plenty of exercise. They wind through 287 hectares of land, making this one of the largest zoos in the entire world. That means you can come back again and again, because there’s so much to explore.
Seven zoogeographic regions are set in different sections of the zoo, providing a flavor of various parts of the world. They are Indo-Malaya, Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Canadian Domain, Eurasia, and the Tundra Trek. Species which are from areas similar to Ontario have outdoor enclosures, so you can see them playing in the snow, which is completely different from what you observe in the summer months. Animals from tropical areas are located inside, so you can spend time in there to warm up.
Some of the really popular animals include hippos, gorillas, owls, polar bears, and the endangered Amur tigers.
For younger visitors, there’s a special Discovery Zone where everything is more hands-on. It features the Kids Zoo, where cute animals live. There’s also an interactive children’s wildlife experience for learning more about animals and what makes them unique.
Sometimes you want something to help you remember the experience. There are plenty of opportunities to get just that, thanks to seven gift shops and kiosks placed strategically throughout the zoo. You’ll find all kinds of clever and useful items featuring some of the most popular animals.
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