The first thing that comes to mind when people think of engagement photo locations are often those cozy shoots at the cottage. However, there’s something so romantic and intimate about an outdoor winter engagement shoot!
Where do I start? I love winter… I mean magic is literally flying through the air in the form of snowflakes! But, of course, nobody really wants to stand outside freezing for too long while taking pictures, so I always see winter engagement shoots as a creative challenge for me.
I want my couples to have an engagement shoot location that is beautiful, creative and that makes them happy. So I hit the streets and racked my brain to come up with my Top 10 favorite winter engagement photo locations in Toronto and the GTA! Check them out!
Imagine this: a frozen lake, a warm fire crackling, a deer nibbling on a twig. Ok, I can’t promise you a deer, but the rest is all but guaranteed if your engagement photo location is in Muskoka! I’m convinced that the cottage country isn’t just for the summer months as it’s absolutely stunning during the winter. With its beautiful nature and serene views, Muskoka is the epitome of a winter wonderland. We can take a walk through a wintery forest with all its snow-capped pine trees for some romantic winter engagement photos. Whatever your vision, Muskoka engagement photos will be unique, romantic and very Canadian.
Features: Nature, forest, lakes, and cottages.
Best Time of the Day to Avoid Crowds: It’s off-season so you can take photos whenever you feel like it.
2. Dark Horse Espresso Bar, Front Street
Is there anything better than cozying up with your honey in a big sweater, in the warm corner of a cafe, a cup of hot chocolate in your hand? Exactly. Nothing! That’s what makes Dark Horse one of the best engagement photo locations for winter! It’s right downtown making it super easy to get to, too. I know, with winter there come those dreary and grey days that we all dread, but worry not! The Dark Horse cafe not only has massive windows that let in tons of natural light, but it also has beautiful white walls, making for bright and airy photos all year round! On a side note, they also make fantastic coffee!
Features: Large windows, lots of natural light, and lots of delicious coffee and treats!
Best Time of the Day to Avoid Crowds: Weekdays between 3PM-6PM
3. Kipling Gallery in Vaughan
Love inspires art, and art inspires love. There’s no better place to have your engagement photos taken than at an art gallery! The Kipling Gallery proudly devotes itself to showcasing incredible and original work of art from both local and international artists. They have THE most incredible collection of Inuit and Canadian Indigenous artwork. If you are looking for something a little more original, this location will definitely give you an artsy edge!
Features: Incredible paintings, statues, and sculptures from all over the world!
Best Time of the Day to Avoid Crowds: The gallery is open weekdays from 9:30am-3pm and Saturdays by appointment only.
4. Snowy Woodbine Beach
Being a beach bum doesn’t have to be reserved for summer! You get a very calm, serene feeling when you’re facing the frozen water, and depending on which way you look, it can end up looking as if you’re in the arctic tundra. A snowy beach has always been one of my favourite engagement photo locations, and I applaud to couples who brave the cold to get some stunning looking images.
Another special feature of this location is that it is one of the locations for the ‘Winter Stations International Design Competition’ during the winter, so keep your eyes peeled for some cool modern art that could be used in your photoshoot!
Features: Playground, boardwalk, beach house, and winter stations art!
Best Time of the Day to Avoid Crowds: It’s wintertime, so not a lot of people will be going to the beach so you should really be ok whenever!
5. Thompson Toronto
Hands down, the Thompson hotel is an urban landmark. From Toronto’s elite to A-List celebrities and social media influencers, this modern hotel is one of my favorite hangout spots. It’s a perfect place to relax, have a drink and cuddle up with your fiancé!
Situated on the ground floor of the hotel there’s a very photogenic spot that was formerly known as Colette Grand Cafe. The cafe has now moved on to another location, but the Thompson hotel will preserve the old interior design and open it under a new name.
I love shooting there because it instantly transports you to another country. Sourcing its inspiration from French interiors the restaurant features a lovely color palette in addition to killer furniture and design. The large windows, mirrors, and panes of glass both inside and outside of the restaurant result in the most beautiful light that refracts and reflects so beautifully. If you’re lucky, you can even catch a reflection of the iconic CN Tower on the windows. If you fancy trying out a few different photo locations, you can also check out the Thompsons’ lobby bar and the famous rooftop!
Features: Amazing color scheme, huge windows, and the bar on site.
Permit: A permit might be needed. Please contact the hotel for more details.
Best Time of the Day to Avoid Crowds: All yours once you book with the hotel!
6. Harbourfront Centre Natrel Rink
Go grab your ice skates, and let’s start shooting! I can’t really think of anything more Canadian than being on the ice as it is the quintessential winter pastime. The Natrel Rink is right on the water, and it has the most stunning view of the CN Tower. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and glide around the lake to grab a few cute shots. If you’re anything like me, you’ll fall on your butt lots, but that’s ok! It’s such a fun pastime, it’ll guarantee to make you and your fiancée laugh. Just don’t expect me to come on the ice with you because I will most likely fall flat on my face hehe.
Features: A skating rink!
Best Time of the Day to Avoid Crowds: Weekdays between 10am-3pm
Let’s be real. Knox College is basically the Toronto’s answer to Oxford University. Having been part of the University of Toronto since 1844, Knox College is bursting with history! If you’re a film buff, you probably know that it’s a popular filming location that has been used in The Incredible Hulk and Cocktail just to name a few.
Knox College is by far one of the most popular photography locations in Toronto, and it’s clear to see why. Having been built in the gothic style, this engagement location gives you a variety of options to work with. From the archways and gardens to the cloistered hallways, and vaulted ceilings, you can accomplish the perfect look, no matter what your style is. Cozy up in the garden, or make a dramatic entrance down the grand staircase – it’s a perfect fit for a winter engagement shoot!
Features: Cloistered walkways, cathedral-like ceilings, dramatic stairways, and beautiful windows.
Best Time of the Day to Avoid Crowds: As it is a functioning university campus, weekends and post-Christmas break period would be your best bet!
I LOVE Christmas markets! They always get me in the mood for the holiday season. Toronto Christmas Market is influenced by traditional German markets with their little gingerbread vendor huts, pretzels, glühwein, bratwurst, and waffles. Every year the Distillery district puts on an amazing display, with its giant Christmas trees dripping in baubles, carousels, and fairy lights. With such a romantic glow all around you, you will feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale!
Features: A giant Christmas tree, beautiful lights, buzzing atmosphere, food and shop vendors, amazing cobblestone streets, and rustic brick buildings.
Best Time of the Day to Avoid Crowds: Go as early as possible and avoid weekends.
Running out of engagement photo locations ideas? You are never going to be more comfortable and at ease than when you are at home. That is why it’s the perfect engagement photo location to take some naturally romantic and cozy engagement photos! You and your fiancée will feel warm snuggling up in your own bed or curled up on your couch. The best part? Your house is already designed with your taste in mind, and it will fit your personality perfectly.
Features: All of your own stuff!
Best Time of the Day to Avoid Crowds: ANYTIME!
Do you love architecture? If yes, then shooting your engagement photos at the Financial District is what you need to do! This little slice of downtown Toronto reads like a ‘make your own adventure’ story. With skyscrapers of all different colors and heights and some tons of glass, you can really get away with a variety of photos. One of my personal favorites is the Adelaide Hotel and its adjoining building with exposed beams! You’ll feel like you’ve flown into the heart of Manhattan, no airplane tickets needed!
Features: Some of Toronto’s most beautiful buildings
Best Time of the Day to Avoid Crowds: 10am- 3pm
Liked this post? Check out more winter engagement photo locations here.