The Active & Outdoor Guide for Torontonians

Don’t let winter scare you away from outdoor fitness and recreation in the city


Staying active in the winter, whether for fitness or recreational purposes, can be hard to manage in the city. Between the slush and salt, the streets of Toronto aren’t exactly enticing for those seeking an outdoor adventure.

Ro Leitner, a student in Brock University’s Recreation and Leisure Studies program with a focus on the outdoors, shared her tips with On the Danforth readers.


"When I graduate I will be applying to companies to become an outdoor guide in my personal fields of paddleboarding, snowboarding, snowshoeing and hiking with other outdoor sports in mind," Rosanna Leitner
“When I graduate I will be applying to companies to become an outdoor guide in . . . paddle-boarding, snowboarding, snowshoeing and hiking with other outdoor sports in mind”

What are your favourite outdoor winter activities?

If time allows, snowshoeing and snowboarding; however, winter hikes/walks, runs and indoor spin classes are my go-to.

For Torontonians hoping to stay fit outdoors, what places an activities do you recommend?

Walk [in] High Park, cross-country ski, snowshoeing and [utilizing] stairs in public areas for a killer legs and cardio workout.

OTD TIP: Cottonwood Flats and Crothers Woods offer trails for walking or running in a natural setting, just northwest of East York.

If you’re short on time and want to plan a running route in your neighborhood, click here to help you customize an urban trail. You can choose a starting and ending point, and the website will let you know how many kilometers you’ve tracked.

For those braving the winter chill, what exercise clothing is best?

No cotton! Focus on a layering system, as you will get warm. I like Arteryx, Marmot and Roxy. Good shoes like trail runners from Salomon are key for good grip as well.

OTD TIP: Try these affordable grips for running in icy conditions.

Even the most hardcore city slickers need a break from the urban vibe now and then. What’s the best day-trip destination for Torontonians?

Personally I stick to the Bruce Trail and prefer to go up north for real adventures. Provincial parks have great areas for families, groups and dogs.


OTD TIP: These places are perfect for a day with family, friends or on your own, and they are all within an hour drive of the city.

Albion Hills Conservation Area 

Enjoy cross-country skiing on groomed trails, snowshoeing, tobogganing or ice skating in forested Caledon. See website for hours of operation, equipment and park entry costs.

Dagmar Resorts

Great for groups and families, Dagmar offers downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as snowboarding options.

Kortright Trail

This area is un-groomed with a shorter trail, and does not offer rental equipment, making it perfect for those craving a more natural and organic atmosphere.

Rouge Park

Looking for walking trails within a half hour from downtown? Check out Rouge Park, a winter wonderland just northeast of Scarborough.


All photos provided by Ro Leitner

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