When winter feels like it is oppressively forcing you to sit on the couch and watch Game of Thrones, FIGHT BACK. Go visit your very own wall of ice at the ends of the earth - i.e., Dundas Valley Conservation Area.
I guess you can't really call going for a marathon an 'escape' but if you've ever had to run, watch, or attempt to get around during the Toronto Waterfront Marathon you will understand how much more desirable it is to be in the rolling countryside during peak colours than running along Lakeshore Drive whilst irate Sunday drivers openly curse your existence.
Every time I bike through the valley, I think simultaneously how great it is that we can access the Don River so easily, and how much more potential there is for this to become an even better public space.
When the days are grey and fading, you can still find some lovely places to visit. Interspersing your sight-seeing time with frequent visits to the pastelería for a tasty Portuguese pastry will help lift the mood.
If you think Lisbon in summer is nice, just wait until you see it in the full glory of a rainy winter. I guarantee you will have no problem finding a place to sit and cram either sardines or jam cookies into your mouth. Sometimes both at the same time. Hey - winter drives us to do crazy things.