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14 cool new things to do in and around Toronto this March

Travel might still be a ways away, but that just gives us more time to rediscover our own city. Here are the best things to do in Toronto this March.

Best Things to do in Toronto this March | Skating at Nathan Phillips Square

We're dreaming about travel as much as the next person, but with the current state of things, jet-setting remains a long ways away. Luckily, this city is ripe for rediscovery. Between outdoor activities and virtual events, there's an abundance of things to do in Toronto and the surrounding areas.

In the coming weeks, when lockdown lifts and spring has sprung, we'll be able to venture a little further outside of Toronto's borders. Just east of the city, Prince Edward County beckons, while to the west, Niagara is home to wineries worthy of wandering. There are attractions all around us, many just a mere day trip away.

Of course, while you're waiting you should take a deep dive into the rest of the Escapism website to kickstart your destination dreaming. Hankering for brilliant blue skies, swaying palm trees and Caribbean cooking? Get a tantalising taste of Barbados with our guide to where to eat on this idyllic isle.

Or maybe you want to combine beaches with booze on a wine-fuelled trip to Mexico's Valle de Guadelupe. Or wet your whistle for a trip to Italy with this photo essay showcasing the glorious landscapes of Umbria.

In the meantime, pretend you're a tourist and explore this city. We've got skating and crokinole (the most Canadian of sports) available to us, along with food festivals, virtual art exhibits and more.

Why go away when you have this lovely lot on your doorstep? 

14 things to do in Toronto this March

1. Enjoy prix fixe meals with Localicious

Available for takeout and delivery until March 7; Various locations 

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Canadian restaurant lobby group Save Hospitality has launched LocalLicious, a nationwide takeout food festival encouraging the support of local businesses. Participating Toronto restaurants are offering a three-course meal for takeaway, with $1 from each menu going to charity. Biff’s Bistro, La Palma, Bombay Snack Bar, Marben and Oretta are just a few of the restaurants included.

savehospitality.ca

2. Go skating

Open now; Various locations

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Throughout the lockdown, Toronto’s city skating rinks have remained open at reduced capacity. We all know about skating at Nathan Phillips Square, but there are local rinks all around the city that are worth discovering, each with their own draw. Book in advance to ensure your spot.

toronto.ca

3. Check out the Pomegranar virtual art gallery

March 20 – April 2; Online

Drawing on her Persian background, artist Yasaman Nouri’s Pomegranar art series follows the theme of togetherness while being apart, and features pomegranates, an important food in Winter Solstice celebrations. Starting on the Spring Equinox and culminating on the Winter Solstice later this year, the exhibit will take place in four parts. Pomegranar is a free (or pay what you can) online interactive art exhibit. Viewers can navigate through the gallery to view the art and videos created by Nouri.

pomegranar.com

4. Visit the Street Eats Market

Open now; 9350 Yonge St.

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The team behind several of Toronto’s summer food festivals is back with a new outdoor eating event at Hillcrest Mall. Upwards of seven food trucks have rolled up to the Street Eats Market pop-up to peddle their delicious bites. Tuck into a beef bulgogi poutine from Golden Grill; a fried chicken sandwich smothered with pesto aioli, three cheeses and garlic rosé sauce from 6 Spice Rack; or a mouthwatering jerk chicken burrito from the Jerk Brothers. Street Eats Market is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

@streeteatsmarket

5. Play crokicurl at Stackt Market

Open now until March 21; 28 Bathurst St.

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Part curling and part crokinole, crokicurl brings together the two classic sports that only true Canadians know how to play. Starting at $71, you'll get access to the rink at Stackt Market for 45 minutes of crokicurl gameplay with two to eight players (within your household). The Belgian Moon Warming Huts onsite will be available to help you stay toasty during your game. Afterwards grab takeout food and drinks from one of the vendors at Stackt.

stacktmarket.com

6. Walk through Toronto's immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

March 9 – April 11; 1 Yonge St.

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If you've been spending a lot of time indoors and the thought of one more Zoom hangout makes you want to throw your laptop, as of March 9th, you can step out of your home and into 600,000 cubic feet of Van Gogh’s art at Toronto’s Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit. This one-of-a-kind show lets you wander through giant projections of Van Gogh's works, allowing you to get acquainted with normally hard-to-see details, brush strokes and entire worlds of colour. From beautiful landscapes to mesmerizing self portraits, you won't be able to take your eyes off the displays.

vangoghexhibit.ca

7. Check into one of Toronto's top hotels for a staycation

Open now; Various locations

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Let's face it, leaving your home in 2021 is a big freakin' deal, so why not make it worth your while with a staycation at one of these top Toronto hotels. From boutique boudoirs to towers that kiss the sky, there's something special about staying in a home-away-from-home, even if you live just down the street. Also, working remotely feels way better when you're doing it in a plushy hotel robe and snacking on tiny pillow chocolates. Fact. These Toronto hotspots know a thing or two about style and superlative stays that will make you want to move in for good and fall in love with the city all over again. 

8. Explore the city via Toronto's best walking trails

Open now; Various locations

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Whether you're a hardened hiker or just simply like a stroll, we all know the power of a good walk. In fact, if there's anything the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it's the important of getting outside — and not just because we've been hitting the takeout pretty hard, you know what we're saying?

But you don't have to go far for a hike, because Toronto has plenty of walking trails right on its doorstep. We've got parks, paths, ravines, quays and waterfront aplenty, all just waiting for you to get out and explore. It might seem like the walls are closing in around you, but head out on one of these Toronto walks, get a good lungful of fresh air aaaaand relax.

9. Self-isolate at one of these cabins just outside the city

Open now; Various locations

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Don your plaid shirt, lace up your hiking boots and head out into the wilderness. Forests, lakes, hilltops and rivers await — all you need is a suitably 'gram-worthy crashpad to call basecamp. From tiny converted sheds with glass walls for stargazing, to secluded lakeside retreats perfect for canoeing (not to mention canoodling), we've scoured Ontario to bring you the coolest, cutest cabins and cottages to rent this spring. Sometimes life's too short to waste your time on a lengthy journey, so all these seriously special stays are within a four-hour drive of the city.

10. Take your tastebuds on a world tour

Available now for takeout and delivery; Various locations

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Tasting global cuisine on journeys abroad is our preferred portal to uncovering culture. So how do we check-in to the tastes and experiences around the world when international flights have been grounded? Luckily for Torontonians, we have access to an endless roster of international food. Whether you feel like crushing a curry or putting away perogies, the city's multicultural nature means that you'll never go hungry if you're seeking authentic global fare. Toronto's restaurants might have closed their doors for now, but plenty of them are still offering takeout and delivery, so you can get your fill of international grub.

11. Revamp your indoor routine and get cozy like the Danes

Available now; Online

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Staying in is less fun when it’s something you have to do. Every day feels like Tuesday and you can’t pet other people’s dogs because, you know, physical distance. Thankfully, our Nordic friends in Denmark can teach us a thing or two about thriving on the inside. Perhaps we should take a page from their book — a specific book, in fact, The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well written by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.

Denmark consistently ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world and Wiking thinks Hygge – "Hig-ee?" "High-guh?" – has something to do with it. (It's actually pronounced "who-gah," which we totally knew.) Hygge is a verb, a noun and an adjective, but mostly it's something you feel.

Hygge is a defining feature of Danish cultural identity, integrated into their DNA and daily life. It’s a slow Sunday morning with a warm cup of coffee, an afternoon curled up with your favourite book and a candlelit evening laughing with friends (virtually). In the most un-hygge, uncertain time, we still think there’s room to let some hygge in so we've rounded up some top tips from the book

12. Learn the history of Montreal's legendary bagels

Available now; Online

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The simplicity of Montreal bagels could be what has kept them alive and much-loved for nearly a century. Unlike trendy foods that garner line-ups out the door, or high-end restaurants that require reservations months in advance, the Montreal bagel is a simple, accessible item that's friendly on the wallet and available at any hour of the day. They're equally cherished by 20-something partygoers in need of a 3 a.m. carb-load before hitting the hay as they are by Jewish grandmothers. But in Montreal, there's a bit of controversy over the bagel's official origin in the city.

13. Get afternoon tea for takeout from the Four Seasons 

Available every weekend for pickup; 60 Yorkville Ave

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Scones, marmalade and clotted cream — afternoon tea is what our dainty dreams are made of. More than just a midday meal, traditional tea service is an experience. While the lockdown lingers on, Café Boulud is bundling up their afternoon tea service into a perfect parcel of joy to take home and tuck into at your leisure. For $55, you'll get an assortment of scrumptious scones, sandwiches and sweets alongside a selection of teas. Orders must be placed 24 hours in advance for pick up on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

cafeboulud.com

14. Visit a fully automated coffee shop

Open now; 1235 Bay St.

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It's the year of contactless everything so why should coffee be any different? Enter Canada's first automated café. Located on Bay Street just north of Cumberland, the robo-barista serves up Dark Horse coffee, lattes and more. There's a touch screen, but you can go completely contactless by scanning the QR code and ordering from your phone. The partnership between RC Coffee and Dark Horse is set to be the first of many.

darkhorseespresso.com/automat

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