Like every other Torontonian, I despise the months of January through March. Okay, there are always those sickos who “can’t wait” until winter because it’s so “super cozy” but those people are not to be trusted. You and I know that Q1 of any year is a recipe for boredom and sadness.
This year I decided I wasn’t going down without a fight. I refuse to have my mental health state dictated by a meteorological event, so I made a pledge that once the distraction that is the holidays subsided I was going to find a way to beat the winter blues.
I present to you a collection of the funnest, weirdest, most wonderful ways to pass these last few months of winter without perishing from boredom, sadness or a fatal dose of the blurghs.
Reptilia is, much like it sounds, a place filled with reptiles. It’s the perfect place to spend a sub-zero afternoon because the mean temperature in there is about twenty-five degrees and it’s humid as hell. They have literally hundreds of lizards, snakes, alligators and other reptiles for you to ogle.
I ended up at Reptilia one snowy afternoon after being turned away from nearby Legoland. (Apparently you can’t enter this Lego wonderland without the accompaniment of a child. I find this extremely discriminatory and just another harsh reminder of the sickening ageism which persists in our society—but enough about me). I was lucky enough to be at Reptilia for the crocodile’s monthly feeding. And by lucky, I mean, scarred for life: there is literally nothing in this world that can eradicate the mental image of a half-eaten bunny rabbit bobbing in the croc’s little lake. Still, my screams were drowned out by cheerful cries of joy from the school-age children around me, so perhaps I’m overly sensitive.
Reptilia is located in Vaughan and is open every day except Christmas.
Dogsledding in Rural Ontario
Sometimes to get through the winter, you just gotta embrace the winter. And nothing spells Canadian winter like dogsledding. The questionable ethics of making an animal pull you around for no real purpose other than leisure notwithstanding, it’s a fun way to pass an afternoon. And apparently sled dogs actually love their jobs. Who knew? You can take it in turns to drive (or “mush”) the sled through snow-covered woods or sit in the toboggan like a queen and be driven around. Just make sure you wear long johns.
Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve is about three hours from the city and features introductory tours, half-day tours and full day tours.
Do you remember laser tag? I do, because I went last month and It. Was. AWESOME! Granted, the venue was overrun with children so cracked out on candy and sugary drinks that it was approaching an epidemic and there was a pervasive stench of children’s vomit (those kids know how to party), but there is literally nothing more fun than donning a high-tech vest that makes you look like a robot from the eighties and shooting all of your friends with lasers. Pew pew! I gathered around twenty buddies so we were able to have the whole laser tag assault course to ourselves. Plus we also got a party room. It was like celebrating a first communion or bat mitzvah all over again, except this time with sanctioned alcohol and cigarette breaks.
RINX is accessible by TTC and is open seven days a week.
Mr. Anderson’s House
If you fancy getting out of the city for a night or two, I know the perfect spot. Nestled in the picturesque surrounds of Prince Edward Country is the loveliest and most unique Airbnb. It’s a Wes Anderson-themed house. I’ll just say that again: IT IS A WES ANDERSON-THEMED HOUSE. Lovingly curated by owner Dayna Winter, the house is a love letter to Anderson’s best films. There’s The Life Aquatic-inspired living room, a Moonrise Kingdom-inspired den, and a bedroom inspired by The Royal Tenenbaums’ most beloved character, Margot. Every corner of this beautiful hundred-year-old house is a lovingly curated, ever-evolving design project.
Mr. Anderson’s House is located in the town of Picton (population: 4,000) in Prince Edward Country and available to rent all year round.