When you live in a region known for long, cold winters, you can either hide out inside until the snow melts or learn to love all that the great outdoors has to offer during winter in Toronto. Whether you’re the adventurous type or prefer to be a spectator to the winter fun, Toronto has something to offer.
Perhaps you dread winter sports because kids and pets track snow, salt and grime onto floors and carpeting. Avoid the mess in the house by making your garage the launch pad for all winter activities. Maximize winter fun by first making sure everyone stays safe.
Attend to Safety First
While there are lots of fun things to do in the Greater Toronto Area during winter, it’s important to put safety first. That means wearing proper gear like helmets, mouth guards, and knee and elbow pads during sports like hockey or snowboarding. However, keeping yourself and others safe during snowy, icy winter weather begins by making sure the driveway and sidewalks outside of your home and garage are properly maintained.
Per Toronto Municipal Code 719-2, property owners have twelve hours after the snowfall, rain or hail ends to remove snow and ice from sidewalks surrounding their property. If the removal of snow or ice leaves the surface slippery, the property owner must put down sand, salt or ashes to cover the surface. Failing to comply with this code could lead to fines or slip-and-fall lawsuits, so stay vigilant about preventing ice and snow from building on sidewalks, driveways and around your garage.
Storing Winter Equipment and Gear
Create a zone in your garage where winter weather supplies and equipment are kept. The snow blower will likely fit best along a back wall, so it won’t interfere with parking your vehicles in the garage. However, shovels, salt and ashes should be stored near the garage door for convenient access.
A slatwall organization system, like slatwall, with its corresponding shelves, hooks and baskets, is ideal for storing winter weather items near the garage door. Garage storage cabinets offer another excellent option for storage.
A good wall organization system will allow you to easily configure hooks, baskets and shelves to accommodate your storage needs during the changing seasons. Hockey sticks, pucks, ice skates and other winter sports equipment can be accommodated during winter. Larger items, like skis, snowboards, sleds and toboggans can be stored using specialty hooks and shelves or on larger, made-to-measure shelving or platforms. When spring arrives, the wall organization system can be reconfigured to store summer sporting goods.
Toronto Outdoor Winter Activities
Now that you’re prepared for winter fun with the family, let’s look at a few fun outdoor winter activities:
- Ice skating: Enjoy free ice skating at Harbourfront Centre’s scenic Natrel Rink, set on the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Skating is free and rental skates and helmets are available. New to ice skating? Child and adult skating lessons are available. Turn the fun up a notch with another free event, DJ Skate Nights on Saturday nights through February 20th.
- Tobogganing: Ready to head down the slopes? Grab your sled (makeshift or store-bought) and head for one of the various toboggan hills located in neighbourhoods all over the Greater Toronto Area. See the downtown skyline from Riverdale Park East or check out Christie Pits Park where the hills come in different sizes to accommodate daredevils and more reserved sled enthusiasts.
- Snowshoeing on Toronto Islands: Who says the beach is only a summertime destination? Enjoy the peace and quiet of the Toronto Islands without the busy summer crowds. Snowshoe or cross-country ski, then build a snowman with the kids.
- Icefest on February 21 – 22: Head over to Bloor-Yorkville for the 2016 Icefest. This year’s theme is Frozen in Time. See magnificent ice sculptures inspired by Ancient Egypt and check out live ice carving competitions.
- Bonus: Winterlicious on January 29 – Feb 11, 2016: This isn’t an outdoor event, but after all that ice skating and tobogganing, you’ll work up an appetite. Winterlicious offers a great opportunity to sample some of Toronto’s finest cuisine without breaking the bank. Try prix fixe, 3-course meals at more than 200 restaurants all over the city or take a cooking class during this yummy winter event.
Regardless of which Toronto outdoor winter activity you and your family enjoy, your garage can serve as the perfect launch and landing pad for your adventures. An organized garage with a wall organization system, cabinets or bins for specific sports or individual family members makes it easy to store and retrieve everyone’s gear. When you return home, you can clean toys, skis and sleds so they’ll be ready for the next adventure.
If your garage can’t accommodate all of your winter adventures, discover how a few renovations can make winter safe for you and your neighbours while making it easy to enjoy all the fun of the season. With a little help from Garage Tailors Garage, planning and renovation during the spring and summer months can improve the layout and function of even the smallest of garages.