Your Guide to Getting Out of the House in Winter
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Your Guide to Getting Out of the House in Winter

We find an activity for everyone, so now you have no excuses.

It’s halfway through January, it’s really cold, and most of us could use a little help sustaining—or getting started on—those ambitious New Years’ resolutions and goals. Don’t fret, your friends at Torontoist are here to help.

We’ve researched the best workshops, lessons, and generally nifty things to do in Toronto. Whether you aim to get fit, learn a new skill, find a hobby, or just get out and meet people, we’ve got you covered!

Since shedding holiday weight tops a lot of lists, we’ll start with the active stuff (none of which includes going full-hamster on the treadmill).

Dancing is a great way to get fit, and it also prepares you for all the weddings you’ll have to attend this summer. Harness your inner Shakira and drop in at the Arabesque Academy, or Dragonfly Bellydance—both of which offer classes for every skill level. Spice up your life with a variety of Latin dances at Steps Dance Studio, and Ritmo Flamenco, or build your club cred at City Dance Corps, which has a huge roster of classes including House, Hip Hop, and Afro-Fusion. If Swan Lake is more your pace, check out In Studio, run by The National Ballet of Canada. For those who prefer the support of a partner, there’s the Bee’s Knees swing dance society, and the Arthur Murray Dance Studios which offers fancy stuff like Tango and Foxtrot.


The Arabesque Dance Company doing their stuff. Photo by Samira Hafezi, courtesy of Arabesque.

If putting a little sass in your step is a requirement, check out the buttload of body-beautiful bootcamps at Elle Fitness. Brass Vixens runs in the same vein, focusing on pole dance workouts. Feeling brave? Take the plunge and become a Virgin Vixen at the Toronto School of Burlesque. More than just a training school for wannabe showgirls, they also offer a variety of “regular” drop-in dance classes including retro go-go, ballet (with a drag queen instructor), flexibility, and more.

Some say that everything’s better down where it’s wetter—and you can find out for yourself at AquaMermaid. Seriously, it’s a legit mermaid school where you can flounder about, donning a human-sized fish tail.

If high-flying feats are more your taste, go join the circus. Acrobatics, trapeze, aerials and trampoline are on the schedule at The Toronto Circus School, while The Circus Academy has the added bonus of courses on clowning, Vaudeville, and improv. Should this all seem too overwhelming, pick up where your seven year-old self left off and rediscover the hula hoop at Sugar Hoops.

By now, you’ve probably heard about how awesome axe throwing is, since BATL has become the coolest place to throw a party or team building event in the last couple of years. If you’ve mastered that skill already, take a stab at knife throwing with the The TKTO. Further sharpen those survival skills—or prepare for the Hunger Games—with archery lessons at Battle Sports, or up the ante with archery tag (picture dodgeball with foam darts). Indulge your inner child at Pursuit OCR, an adult playground and obstacle course, or take out your frustrations on some inanimate objects in a Rage Room. Team sports are not only a great way to get active, but having a whole group of people relying on you helps with the follow-through. Check out the plethora of activities the Toronto Sport and Social Club has to offer for singles and groups at parks and indoor facilities across the city, including their very own brand-new complex.

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Throwing knives to see just where they land. Photo courtesy of TKTO Toronto Knife Throwing.

Maybe you prefer creativity to physicality, and that’s totally cool. Want to to try out a musical instrument? Pay a visit to the Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Musicwhere you can learn to play everything from banjo to saxophone. Even if you’re not a U of T student, you can partake in a variety of photography, theatre, and film courses at Hart House. An even broader range of filmmaking workshops can be found at LIFT. Envision yourself in front of the camera, on stage, or just want to work on those public speaking skills? Check out what Second City’s training school has to offer.

Knowing how to make something with your own two hands is something anyone would be proud of (especially your mom). Learn how to make jewellery—maybe even your own wedding band—at The Den, or The Devil’s Workshop. Taught in Toronto offers regular workshops on things like ceramics and leather work, or you can drop into your local Michael’s store for a bevy of crafting classes. Have some morbid curiosities to quench? Try your hand at Casual Taxidermy.

While it won’t really help with your dieting goals, you can learn to make tasty treats at both Chocolate Tales Academy, and Purdy’s. Pair it with some wine (or beer) that you made yourself at Fermentations, and you’re set! Since you should probably learn to make yourself proper meals too, sign up for one of Marni Wasserman’s health-conscious cooking classes.

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Surely there’s a diet loophole stating you get to eat any chocolate you make yourself. Image courtesy of Chocolate Tales.

If there’s travel in your future, or you just want to speak the many languages of our city, The Hansa Language School is a great place to start. With courses and private lessons in over twenty languages, you’ll have a trained tongue in no time! Alternatively, learn to communicate with the deaf community with American Sign Language training at the Canadian Hearing Society.

There’s so much to do out there, it can be overwhelming! Not sure where to start, or struggling with commitment issues? Peruse the event calendars at the Toronto Public Library, Harbourfront Centre, and the Centre for Social Innovation who all offer ongoing drop-in workshops, classes, and seminars on pretty much every topic imaginable.

Happy learning!