Beat the chill at these top spots for indoor fun in Toronto

Okay weather gods, we get it. We’re Toronto, and we should expect extreme climates all year round, from record-breaking sub-zero Februaries to perpetually soppy Junes. Luckily, to combat the fun-sucking climate, Toronto has supplied a myriad of the indoor, the enclosed, and the sheltered for locavores to get fed, get romantic, and get cultured, even on a chilly day. [Feature Image: Allan Gardens Conservatory]

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

10365 Islington Ave RR 1, Kleinburg, ON L0J 1C0

Make the short drive to Kleinburg to experience the world’s largest collection of Group of Seven paintings at this 85,000 square-foot rustic stone lodge meets contemporary art gallery. Originally named Tapawingo by Robert and Signe McMichael, who built the beautiful pioneer-style estate in the 50s, the gallery now also includes substantial permanent collections featuring contemporary First Nations and Inuit art. Not to diss on our urban galleries, but with its vast sculpture garden and 10 acres of conservation land for the nature-seeking urbanite, when you’re at the McMichael, you’re just at a distinctly different ballgame.

Sonic Boom Music

215 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2C7

You’ll find yourself blindly passing the hours at Canada’s largest independent record store, where record aficionados and music lovers at large co-exist harmoniously and the oft pretentious airs of boutique record stores are thankfully banished. Bluegrass-loving grandpas stand side-by-side with Pitchfork-hungry indie fans, perusing the seemingly unending collection of new and used vinyl from across the ages. Open 364 days a year from 10 a.m. to midnight, the massive store is perfect for a noncommittal stroll and gander, or an intense shopping trip for new gems to add to your record collection.

The Ball Room

145 John St, Toronto, ON M5V 2E4

Conventionally understood as an evening and night-time party spot, this Entertainment District fun-for-adults bar, restaurant and interactive games centre actually starts serving up gourmet fare, cocktails, beer, and bowling games at 11a.m. sharp – making it a little-known daytime spot for fun without the sun. Complete with four bars, two patios, and Ping-Pong tables alongside lesser-seen activities like an Xbox corner and a fleet of 10-pin bowling lanes that can be booked by the hour, The Ballroom also regularly features dance-worthy tunes by local DJs and live bands to keep the party vibes running high all day long.

Dragon City Developments Inc

280 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 3A5

After enjoying a leisurely brunch at one of Toronto’s premier dim sum spots, Sky Dragon Restaurant, take a few hours to meander through Chinatown’s eccentric, multi-storey indoor Dragon City Mall. Filled with imported Asian goods from Chinese herbs and ginseng products, to home décor, to Hello Kitty trinkets, to Chinese New Year fun, the emporium hosts tastefully tacky knick-knacks and strangely delicious snacks that you won’t find anywhere else in the city.

Evergreen Brick Works Farmers Market

550 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4W 3X8

Simply put, this year-round, fully enclosed shopping spectacular is a farmer’s market on steroids – except they're all natural, locally sourced steroids. The stellar selection of produce from Ontario farms is well worth the short trip up the DVP on its own, while a myriad of one-of-a-kind goods from local merchants and mouth-watering breakfast and lunch fare at the Local Food Court round out the selection at this next-level market experience. Carless folk: dispel your woes and hop on the Evergreen Brick Works shuttle that runs 12 hours a day and every 30-45 minutes from Broadview Station.

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

231 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z4

You can see the literal smoke stack of Canada’s largest contemporary art gallery from across the city – because the Lakeshore-dwelling culture hub is literally housed in an abandoned power plant on the Toronto waterfront. Beyond its brick and glass exterior is a sprawling gallery of vast rooms and high ceilings, perfect for a few hours of uninterrupted exploration and discovery amidst weird, wild and outlandish exhibits that are sure to aesthetically delight and instruct.

The Revue Cinema

400 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2M9

Pass the hours watching new releases, beloved classics, foreign films and thought-provoking indies at Toronto’s sole not-for-profit and community-run cinema. This revamped Roncesvalles theatre is over a century old, lending an instant Mad-Men vibe to daytime flicks or evening premieres. The eclectic selection of movies changes regularly and is a healthy mix of A-List features that will keep you wide-eyed and entertained alongside choice documentaries and cult films of the past, allowing film-goers a choice for every mood, and an opportunity to engage in an undiscovered film genre on the big screen.

Royal Ontario Museum

100 Queen's Pk, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6

Listen, I know a day at the ROM has been on your productive fun to-do list for ages, so make it happen already! Whether you’re examining the bones of Toronto’s animal namesake the Torontoceros (an ancient deer species native only to our humble geographic abode), discovering 4.5 million year old specimens from the Moon, or experiencing the volcanic apocalypse of Pompeii, knowledge-hungry minds and epic-seeking eyes can experience it all at the museum’s travelling exhibitions as well as its eight permanent Centres of Discovery, which host scientific secrets and global curiosities for all tastes and disciplines.

Annex Billiards

507 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y2

Sharpen up your pool game and catch up with some pals over a couple of rounds of billiards at this Bloor and Bathurst institution. Open every day from 11a.m. until the wee hours of the morning, this casual second-storey pool hall has been graced with the good, the bad and the ugly of pool players, so don’t worry about being too amateur or too seasoned to have a good time. The decades-old spot also hosts a selection of cocktails and beers, as well as traditional pub fare, to keep you fed and watered while you get your game on.

Ripleys Aquarium of Canada

288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9

Stop reading this, get up, and go to one of the most magical spaces in Toronto for adults and kids alike. Whether you’re perusing the eerily quiet Planet Jellies gallery (which hosts dozens of variations of the gorgeous predators), stepping cautiously through the shark lagoon (don’t worry, they’re safely behind glass), or ogling over the hundreds of species co-existing in the Rainbow Reef, the downtown aquarium provides an adventure through the incredible worlds that exist under the sea. Couples note: for a romantic evening indoors, peruse the spectacular underwater universe after 7 p.m. for reduced entry AND lighting ;).

Three words: Pick. Your. Own. Whether you’re looking to come home with a bag of freshly plucked Ontario apples or frolic about the pumpkin patch with your pals, these Ontario farms are ready with all the essential autumnal activities. These close-to-the-city spots offer everything from a quintessential fall wagon ride through the field, to estate wineries, to weekend farmers markets. [Image credit:]
For many years, Toronto’s billiards scene was well, lacking. Elderly dives and pubs hosted rickety tables and a questionable clientele, while beloved brewpubs and craft cocktail spots remained mysteriously billiard-less. For a while there, it seemed there was nowhere in the city where you could enjoy some good company, delicious drinks and a few rounds of pool – that is, until these sweet bars stepped up.
If the first thing on your list of Canada Day 2016 celebrations is a hot seat at the fireworks, know that the city is hosting some next-level light shows from the Lakeshore to North York. Whether you’re in search of a comfy spot on the beach or a patio-side view of festivities, here are the top spots to catch the fireworks on July 1, 2016. [Image credit:]
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