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New Year’s in Toronto: What’s open and closed, freezing temperatures and how to get around

Winter blast cools off New Year’s Eve festivities across southern Ontario
WATCH ABOVE: The City of Toronto says it will have a much shortened version of their New Year's Eve party. It's the first time in the event's history at Nathan Phillips Square that almost all the events are cancelled because of the cold. Public parties in Mississauga and Niagara Falls are also keeping a close eye on the freezing temperatures.

The first thing you need to know if you’re heading out to celebrate on New Year’s Eve? You’ll need to bundle up, as temperatures could reach -20 C. The city has issued an extreme cold warning for the weekend. With the wind chill it could feel like -30 C.

Here’s our guide to what’s open, what’s closed, and getting around as Toronto rings in 2018:

New Year’s Eve

Getting around

    • TTC service is free after 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and the subway is running late, with the last trains departing between about 3:30 and 4 a.m. depending on the route. (Check here for times). The Queen streetcar is diverting (via King Street and Spadina) after 11 p.m. Most surface routes with late-evening service on Sundays will operate until 4 a.m.
    • Other transit services in the Greater Toronto Area are also free in the evening, including MiWay, HSR, YRT/Viva, Brampton Transit and Durham Region Transit. Many are also operating on extended schedules
    • GO Transit is running on a Sunday schedule with special late-night service. Check the schedules for details. All GO rides are free after 7 p.m.
    • And, if you’re travelling between Union Station and Toronto Pearson International Airport, UP Express trains are free from 7 p.m. onward
    • Taxis will be on the roads (the main companies in Toronto are BeckDiamondRoyalCo-op and Crown) and ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are also available. (Uber says peak times are between midnight and 3 a.m.)

WATCH: New Year’s Eve: How to get around Toronto

New Year’s Eve: How to get around Toronto
New Year’s Eve: How to get around Toronto

Road closures:

  • Queen Street West from Yonge Street to University Avenue
  • Bay Street from Richmond Street West to Dundas Street Weest
  • York Street from Richmond Street West to Queen Street West
  • Hagerman Street from Elizabeth Street to Bay Street
  • Elizabeth Street from Foster Place to Hagerman Street
  • Albert Street from Bay Street to James Street
  • James Street from Queen Street West to Albert Street

Road closures for both vehicles and pedestrians will be in effect from 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

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What’s open and closed

  • The city’s New Year’s Eve concert and skating party scheduled for 8 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square has been cut short due to the cold. City officials said Friday the event will begin shortly before midnight with a DJ set followed by fireworks.
  • LCBO stores will close at 6 p.m.
  • Many retail stores and malls are closing early on Dec. 31. Best to call ahead
  • Community recreation centres are closing at 4 p.m.
  • Toronto Public Library locations are closed

READ MORE: New Year’s in Hamilton and Burlington: What’s open and closed

New Year’s Day

What’s open

  • Some shopping malls in the GTA, including Square One, Eaton Centre, Vaughan Mills, Pacific Mall and Upper Canada Mall
  • Tourist destinations such as Ripley’s Aquarium, the CN Tower, Toronto Zoo, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Royal Ontario Museum, Legoland, The Ontario Science Centre and Casa Loma
  • Restaurants and bars, small retail stores and gas stations have the option to stay open on civic holidays as per bylaw. Retail businesses in designated tourist areas such as Yorkville, downtown Yonge, Queen’s Quay West and the Distillery District can also stay open if they choose
  • Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo
  • Centennial Park Conservatory and Allan Gardens Conservatory are open for Christmas Flower Shows
  • Rabba Fine Foods locations are open 24 hours
  • Major movie theatres
  • TTC is on Sunday service, with most routes starting at 8 a.m.
  • Outdoor rinks

What’s closed

  • Federal, provincial and municipal government offices
  • LCBO and Beer Stores
  • All civic museums and indoor arenas
  • Banks, many malls and other retail stores
  • Canada Post
  • City of Toronto waste collection is largely unaffected. Night collection scheduled for Jan. 1 will go ahead the following day. (For others on night collection routes, your pickup will be a day later for the rest of the week)
  • Toronto Public Library branches
  • St. Lawrence Market (closed Jan. 1 and 2)
  • Toronto Public Library