7 Things to do in Toronto to Get you Through Winter

February is almost gone, but here in Toronto that means Winter will still have a firm grip on the city until at least mid-April. With a Winter as long as ours it’s important to get out and enjoy it, whether through outdoor activities or indoor ones. Luckily, there’s so much going on in Toronto that there’s never a shortage of fun events, activities, exhibits and installations to keep you entertained until warm days are with us once again. Here are our top picks:


Keep it Local


Coming up this weekend – February 24-25, 2018 – is Bloor-Yorkville BIA’s annual Ice Fest  This annual festival takes place just around the corner in the Village of Yorkville Park along Cumberland St. Stop by for entertainment, refreshments and the main event: magnificent ice sculptures! Be sure to keep an eye out for Manulife Centre’s ice sculpture; this year’s theme is “Medieval Times” and we hear it will be the stuff of legend!


Beachside Art


Image via BlogTO 

Now in its 4th year, Winter Stations brings outdoor, interactive art to the Beaches (between Woodbine & Leuty), bringing to life the lifeguard towers that are dotted along the shoreline. Designed by international architecture and art students, these installations lend colour and interest to the otherwise quiet stretch of the beach along Lake Ontario in the dead of winter. These installations will remain in place until April 1st, so you have plenty of time to take them in before Spring comes along.


Digital Playground
TIFF digiPlaySpace 2017
With the city’s outdoor playgrounds encased in snow and ice, there’s nowhere better to take this kids this winter than to TIFF’s digiPlaySpace  This interactive playground works to explore our relationship with technology, empowering its visitors to see technology in a new light. This playground is open until April 22 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.


Celebrate Toronto
Toronto turns 184 this year and the city is celebrating in style  Head on down to Nathan Philips square from March 3-6 for four days of entertainment, skating, market stalls, food trucks and more. Don’t forget to snap a pic with the Toronto sign while you’re there!


Conceptual Collaboration
The nearby Gardiner’s Museum is host to Yoko Ono’s latest exhibit, The Riverbed, this winter/spring. From now until June 3, check out this exhibit for a uniquely interactive experience. This three-part installation allows visitors to lend a hand in creating the art, creating opportunities for reflection and meditation. The exhibit even culminates with a coffee bar where visitors can pause and connect.
Check out the Gardiner Museum website for tickets.


Sweet Escape
Want to get out of the city? Make the most of season with a trip to the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival. Taking place at four different locations near Toronto on varying dates throughout March, the Sugarbush Festival is bound to entertain the whole family.


Movie Magic
What’s Winter without multiple nights at the cinema? We’re lucky to have one of the city’s best right on our doorstep – you don’t even have to go outside! Catch up on this year’s Oscar nominees before the big event on March 10th or just catch one of this seasons’ blockbusters to pass the time until spring.

Get your Rio on

If you’ve been following the Olympics over the last few days, you know Canada’s doing better than most of us thought we’d do. All the more reason to whip up a bit of extra national pride.

That’s why we’re showing the games in the Manulife Centre atrium. Instead of cheering by yourself in your apartment, you can come downstairs and be part of a cheering section.

Even better are the conversations you’ll have with strangers about sports you don’t know but become an expert in every four years. Did she break her form during her third dive? Was the dressage as artistic as it could have been?

And our course, while you’re down in the Manulife Centre, you can pick up a few things to get you into the Olympic spirit.


Cachaça at the LCBO:

This is Brazilian rum, and the root ingredient of Brazil’s most famous cocktail, the Caipirinha. Here’s one of our favourite recipes, courtesy of Jamie Oliver:

  • 5 limes
  • 12 tablespoons golden caster sugar
  • 2 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 kg ice cubes, crushed
  • 70 cl Cachaça
  • 1 small bunch fresh mint, leaves picked

Cut the limes into wedges, squeeze the juice into a large jug, then toss in the wedges. Add the sugar and ginger then bash it up to get the flavours going. Half fill the jug with crushed ice and bash again. Then add the Cachaça, stir, taste and add more sugar you want. Top the jug up with mint leaves and enjoy!


Maple syrup at the Bloorstreet Market:

Here’s a new Canadian tradition: do a shot of syrup every time we medal.


A gym membership at GoodLife:

It’s easy to get inspired by the physical specimens on the screen. Should that inspiration translate into action, our GoodLife location is one of the best in town. Great instructors and trainers, flexible classes, a spin studio and even a pool if you want something more than what’s up on 51.

But first, the games. There’s still time to enjoy them with friends and neighbours in the atrium. So come downstairs, meet some people and show your pride.

Go Canada Go!

Spring Cooking

The birds have started chirping, the cyclist/car struggle has picked up right where it left off last fall and the first few sun-worshippers are back on the rooftop garden. Yup, spring is in the air, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with some delicious food that simply screams spring.

After much experimentation, several food-induced naps and a trip or two to the Bloor Street Market, we’ve picked our winners.

Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Brie
From The Kitchen Magpie

Bowl with Strawberry Quinoa salad

Refreshing, zesty and full of life, this is the perfect dish to welcome the warm weather. The salad is light and delicate, but the brie makes this dish filling enough to enjoy as a main. The spinach, chard and strawberries are all in-season, and the creamy brie conjures up visions of picnics in the grass. Insider’s tip: you can replace the recommended mustard with any grainy mustard.

Serves: 4


  • 4-5 cups of mixed kale, spinach and chard
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/3 cup of diced brie – rind off (this is personal preference)
  • Strawberries – as many as you like, cut in halves and quarters (I used 8)
  • Vinaigrette:
    • 2 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp brassica mustard
    • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar


  1. Combine the greens mixture, strawberries and the brie.
  2. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients completely, using either a lidded jar to shake the ingredients together or a fork to whisk it rapidly.
  3. Heat the vinaigrette and the quinoa up, the microwave works fast & easy for this.
  4. Combine the hot vinaigrette and the hot quinoa with the salad rapidly, wilting the greens slightly and softening the brie  further.
  5. Serve and enjoy!


Snap Pea and Avocado Pasta
From Martha Stewart

Avocado Pasta

The queen of the kitchen retains her crown with this pasta dish bursting with seasonal spring veggies. Filling you up without weighing you down, it can be served either hot or cold. It can be prepared in under 30 minutes – perfect for when you’re rushing out the door to meet friends for a potluck. For the herbs, they give you the choice of mint, parsley or basil — go with basil.

Serves: 6


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed
  • 1 pound bow-tie pasta (farfalle)
  •  4 tablespoons butter
  •  2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, plus more for serving, if desired


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook asparagus until bright green, about 2 minutes. Add snap peas; cook 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon or small sieve, scoop out vegetables; transfer to a bowl.
  • Return water to a boil; add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water; set pasta aside in colander.
  • In pasta pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add asparagus, snap peas, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, cooked pasta, avocado, herbs, cheese, and reserved pasta water. Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with additional cheese, if desired.


Herb Roasted Lamb Chops
From Epicurious

Image of lamb chops

If March comes in like a lion, it should go out with a healthy helping of lamb. The beauty of these chops is that you don’t have to marinate them for long to bring out a rich, herb-infused flavour. It’s delicious with a side of leafy spring greens, and makes for an unforgettable dinner party main course. Whether you’re trying to impress your partner, or just feel like rewarding yourself at the end of a long week, you can’t go wrong with these succulent spring chops.

Serves: 4


  • 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, lightly crushed
  •  1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, lightly crushed
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 1 1/4-inch-thick lamb loin chops


  • Mix first 4 ingredients and 1 tablespoon olive oil in large bowl.
  • Add lamb; turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over high heat.
  • Add lamb; cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and roast lamb chops to desired doneness, about 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to platter, cover, and let rest 5 minutes.

Bon Appétit!


Merry, Merry Manulife

It’s holiday party season around here and we can smell it on every floor. Every night, someone’s coming up something fabulous — the other day on 18, the aroma of shortbread was so magical that our security guard did two passes. If that was you and you’re reading this, please (please, please) tweet the recipe to @Explore_44.

Not to be left out, our friends downstairs at Manulife Centre are setting up a little party of their own called 12 Days of Bloor and Better. From December 11th through to the 22nd, the Bloor Street entrance will be transformed into a festive holiday lounge complete with holiday movies, cooking demos, gift ideas and a big comfy space to relax.

More and more of our residents are work-from-home kind of people. If that’s you and you feel the need for a break in the middle of the day, the holiday lounge will be a great place to hit up. First of all, it’s clear on the other side of the mall so you’ll get a bit of exercise in. And, if you time it right, you’ll be fed with holiday snacks and drinks to give you a bit of a boost. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed @Explore_44 for a schedule of events.

If you live at 44 Charles, you already know that you can get just about anywhere without going outside. But you could come down to the holiday lounge in your slippers if you wanted. But make sure they’re fun, funky holiday slippers that put smiles on faces.

How many people can say they have a professional gift wrapper in their building? You can if you live at 44 Charles. Starting December 5th, you can have anything you buy here wrapped perfectly and ready for placing under the tree, the bush or the Festivus pole. And if you have friends coming to visit you, let them know there’s free valet parking starting December 6th.

The perks of living here get better by the day, and the holiday lounge promises to be one of the best. Ho ho hope to see you there!