10 ways to beat the winter blues in Toronto

Winter is here, and you might be tempted to stay in bed and wallow in the winter blues, but there are places all around this great city that can help lift your spirit. Take a look and find your happy place!

Te Aro Coffee Inc

1
983 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1K2

Caffeinate: A daily dose of caffeine can help reduce stress and the added energy can help you start your day off on the right foot. Try sipping on some steamy happiness at Te Aro where coffee is an art-form. Located in Leslieville, Te Aro is all about providing dreary commuters with their daily perk. The coffee shop serves a double-shot of beautiful and delicious espresso-based mocktails in a welcoming atmosphere that’s almost guaranteed to put you in a good mood for the rest of the morning.

Agi's Tanning

2
454 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X8

Get Some Vitamin D: When it’s dark and dreary outside and you can’t afford to fly off to Cuba for a week, the tanning bed can be your new best friend. Exposure to UVB causes your body to produce vitamin D which improves mood. So try Angi’s Tanning in the Annex. This hidden gem offers walk-in appointments and is one of the few tanning salons to offer UVB tanning beds, rather than the more common UVA beds. Get ready to close your eyes and let the happiness soak into your skin.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park

3
45 Esandar Dr, Toronto, ON M4G 4C5

Sweat: Everyone knows that as little as 30 minutes of exercise can radically boost your mood, but who wants to toil at the gym in front of strangers when Netflix and pjs are waiting at home? Luckily, TO offers lots of fun ways to get in a workout – and Sky Zone’s trampoline fitness classes are among my favourite. That’s right, the trampoline park’s Skyrobics classes are low-impact so anyone can join in. While you’re having a blast literally bouncing off the walls, you’ll also be burning hundreds of calories and having the time of your life.

Art Gallery of Ontario

4
317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4

Release your inner creative genius: The act of creative expression is a wonderful way to improve mental health, and you don’t need to be an accomplished or even a talented artist to enroll in the art courses offered by the AGO. The introductory courses offered include drawing, painting, sculpture, and “everything” (if you feel like dabbling in a bit of each!) as well as more off-the-wall subjects such as experimental comics and make-your-own-puppet classes. Classes are held once a week for four to eight weeks, depending on the subject. Try it out – you might surprise yourself!

City Hall

5
100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Socialize: When your idea of hanging out with a pal means picking up your favourite book, you might be in need of some social therapy. But not to worry – meeting people doesn’t have to mean leaving your old friends behind. The City Hall Brown Bag Book Club will welcome you with open arms. The group meets once a month at City Hall Toronto Public Library to talk about a chosen title, and everyone is welcome. Even if you’re the definition of an introvert, you’ll be sure to have a good time.

Fresh on Crawford

6
894 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G3

Eat Healthy: Now, don’t think I’m suggesting an entire dietary overhaul. We all love our pizza and cheesecake. But making healthy choices as often as possible will up your overall health and your mood. And let's face it, it's much easier to choose the healthier option when that option is delicious, and trust us, Fresh definitely fits the bill. With multiple locations throughout the city, Fresh has an out-of-this-world vegan menu that even meat lovers will drool over. Their chipotle bacon burger takes you back to the real deal minus the spare tire. Come hungry and leave happy.

Comedy Bar

7
945 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1L5

Laugh: Comedy Bar is an affordable indie comedy club that offers it all: stand-up, improv, music, puppets, and perogies! Once you’ve discovered this Bloorcourt gem, you’ll be hooked. Their comfort-inspiring pub fare and a relaxed atmosphere alone will lift your spirits, while the performers – ranging from up-and-coming comedians to big names like Eddie Izzard and Russell Howard – will push you over the edge into sheer hilarity.

Stillwater Spa

8
4 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 2E8

Pamper Yourself: Taking the time to take care of yourself is a great way of resetting your mood by refreshing your body. The Stillwater Spa in the Annex’s Park Hyatt Hotel offers everything you need to get back to your happy place, including massages, facials, mani-pedis, waxing, haircuts – even prosecco! You can go for a single service or spend the day and treat yourself from head to toe.

TOT The Cat Cafe

9
298 College St, Toronto, ON M5T 1R9

Cuddle: Did you know that cuddling increases oxytocin, reduces stress and improves mood? Well, not all of us have that special someone to cling to, and asking a stranger to hold you might not be the best idea. Luckily, TOT The Cat Café hosts a cat room where you can provide the staff with ample belly rubs (the non-human ones at least). Visits are limited to 30 minutes – and although you might arrive alone and in need of a cuddle, you could end up leaving with a new friend; the cats are all available for adoption.

The Music Hall

10
147 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1N2

Rock Out! A good live music show can make your pulse race and your heart soar. The Danforth Music Hall is known for its great acoustics and amazing acts. Musicians like Rufus Wainwright have been known to perform sans mic here, just because they can. What most people really love about the Danforth Music Hall is the intimate atmosphere that comes hand-in-hand with its old-school architecture and up-close experience with the performers. If you’ve never been to a show here you need to grab yourself some tickets, head out to Greektown, and prepare to experience nirvana.

So you’ve finally gotten up the nerve to ask your crush out for a drink, but you don’t want this to be just like any other first date. You need the best pub experience Toronto has to offer and we’re here to help. [Feature image: Amsterdam Brewhouse]
One thing’s for sure: Torontonians love their dogs. With an array of leash-free parks and the dog-friendly TTC, us urbanites can explore the entire city with our four-legged companions. But if you want to do more than just walk, we know where you can go. Here are some of the best dog-friendly activities in the city. [Image credit: iStock.com/vgajic]
We all love our dogs and want to keep them happy and healthy, but it can be hard to find time to give them the exercise they need, especially for city-dwellers. Not to worry; Toronto has plenty of certified and reliable dog-walking services ready to take up the reins and make sure your pooch is thoroughly pooped! [Image credit: iStock.com/andykatz]
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