Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #15. The best festivals happen in winter
1 Long Winter
Once a month, the thrash-rock outfit Fucked Up throw the city’s hottest party at the Great Hall, featuring sets from bands like the Hidden Cameras and Bruce Peninsula, modern dance and performance art, and a live late-night talk show. Jan. 9, Feb. 13 and March 13. $11. The Great Hall.
2 Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival The winter edition of the cultish Roundhouse summer fest will feature more than 20 Ontario craft brewers—including Flying Monkeys, Black Oak and Beau’s—hawking their hops to thirsty beer obsessives. To soak up the suds, there are soft pretzels and a Pappas Greek on Wheels food truck. Jan. 31. $20, $25 at the door. Roundhouse Park, 416-362-2337.
3 IceFest It’s the closest you’ll get to Disney’s Frozen: dozens of chisel-wielding artisans carve and sculpt intricate icy creations—we’ve seen cars, Cinderella’s carriage and even city hall rendered in frozen form. Drop in throughout the weekend to watch the artists at work, or come by on Sunday night for a dazzling light show and the final judging. Feb. 21 and 22. Free. Village of Yorkville Park.
4 LunarFest Harbourfront Centre throws its annual Lunar New Year party, this time ringing in the year of the sheep. Highlights include dragon dancers, live drumming, fortune tellers and hundreds of lanterns shaped like sheep casting a shimmery glow over the water. And if that’s not enough to sell you, the concurrent dumpling fest will no doubt do the trick. Feb. 28. Free. Harbourfront Centre.
5 New Creations Festival Every winter, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra premieres a new repertoire of contemporary pieces. The highlights: George Benjamin’s A Mind of Winter; a violin concerto from the Canadian composer Vivian Fung; and Hans Abrahamsen’s Let Me Tell You, a song cycle inspired by Shakespeare’s Ophelia. Each one is surprising and beautifully bizarre. Feb. 28 to March 7. From $33. Roy Thomson Hall.