Toronto’s gift to you this holiday season is a bunch of things to do!
From slipping your feet into a pair of skates to strolling through the streets with festive goodies in-hand, here are the activities to keep busy with on these chilly days.
Skiing and snowboarding
The city operates two ski/snowboard centres. The season begins January 1 and ends mid-March, dependent on weather and snowfall conditions. Ski and snowboard lessons are offered at both facilities. More information, including schedules, is available on the city’s site.
Residents can lace up a pair of skates and find their new favourite rink this holiday season, the City offers 113 indoor and outdoor ice pads, natural rinks and trails to choose from. A variety of free, leisure ice-skating programs for all ages and abilities is available this winter. Outdoor rinks that are open may be unsupervised. Indoor arenas will be closed on December 25 and 26 and January 1. Find the schedules for locations near you here.
This winter, get out and try tobogganing in your neighbourhood. Check out tobogganing hill locations near you… and safety tips, too
Fitness and recreation programs
The city offers a variety of fitness classes and other drop-in recreation programming over the holidays. Community recreation centres will be open until 4 pm on December 24 and 31 and closed on December 25 and 26 and January 1. Some facilities may be closed during the holiday period for annual maintenance. You can learn more about programming here.
Dive into the holiday season head first at a drop-in swim program. They’re available at pools across the city this holiday season. City indoor pools will offer both family-friendly leisure swims and fitness swims. Schedules vary by location.
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Riverdale Farm is home to a variety of domestic farm animals, including Tamworth pigs, goat kids and sheep. These represent animals commonly found on a turn-of-the-century Ontario farm. Riverdale Farm is open from 9 am to 5 pm and admission is free. You can learn more here or here.
High Park Zoo
Toronto’s oldest zoo has entertained people for over 120 years. The zoo houses domestic and exotic animals such as bison, llamas, highland cattle and reindeer. It’s open daily from 7 am to dusk and admission is free. Learn more here.
Winter flower shows
City conservatories are must-see winter destinations. Each year, city gardeners craft floral scenes with thousands of colourful blooms, vines and lush plants from around the world. The shows at Centennial Park Conservatory and the Allan Gardens Conservatory run until January 9. You can learn more about them here.
The Toronto Zoo will be open throughout the holiday season except on December 25, and admission on Boxing Day will be 50% off. More information about the Zoo’s 12 Days of Enrichment event, operating hours and admission prices, visit the website.
St. Lawrence Market Complex
To serve Toronto residents and visitors, the St. Lawrence Market Complex has modified hours over the winter holiday season, which you can find here. During the holiday season, the Market will offer a variety of paid classes and free drop-in cooking demonstrations and seminars on holiday meal ideas. Learn more about the offerings here.
Toronto History Museums
Eight of the City’s History Museums are offering holiday-themed events and tours for families and adults. Most of the museums are open daily except Mondays. All of the museums will be closed on December 25 and 26 as well as January 1. Highlights for individual locations are noted below. Times and participant age details for activities vary by day and by location. More information is available here.
Colborne Lodge (11 Colborne Lodge Dr.; south end of High Park)
Warm up by the hearth and take in the sights and aromas of a Victorian Christmas. Enjoy the natural greenery that decorates the house, toast the season with a glass of hot mulled cider by the wood stove and nibble on special holiday treats until Sunday, January 6, 2019. Note: the Museum Shop features historic games and decorations.
Fort York National Historic Site (250 Fort York Blvd.)
During special programming from December 27 to 31, at 11 am and 2 pm daily, children can join the cooks in the historic kitchen to help make gingerbread cookies. Upon arrival, sign up at the Museum Store to participate – included with regular admission.
Gibson House Museum (5172 Yonge St.)
Visitors will experience the elegant traditions of the Scottish holiday season and learn how the Gibson family celebrated Hogmanay in the 19th century. On December 29 and 30, evening dinner events will celebrate the Scottish traditions of Hogmanay. Pre-registration with payment is required.
Mackenzie House (82 Bond St.)
Through January 6, visitors will learn the story of how families celebrated Christmas in 19th century Toronto. Enjoy a cookie and cider, and print a seasonal card on the 1845 press. On December 28 and 29, evening events will celebrate the Scottish traditions of Hogmanay with live music and refreshments. Advanced tickets required for evening events.
Market Gallery (95 Front St. E., second floor)
Toronto Through the Eyes of Women Artists features works by Canadian artists such as Marion Long, Paraskeva Clark and Doris McCarthy. The exhibition highlights how women artists have depicted and engaged with Toronto over the past 160 years. On display until April 27.
Montgomery’s Inn (4709 Dundas St. W.)
Visitors can learn about traditions of light and warmth from around the world with the Montgomery’s Inn advent calendar.
Scarborough Museum (1007 Brimley Rd.)
During December weekends until December 23, visitors can experience the beautiful festive decorations, enjoy delicious winter treats and make a Victorian ornament or a traditional pop-up Christmas card. On Saturdays, the museum will stay open until 8 p.m. Visitors can witness the beauty of the site under sparkling lights, listen to stories by the fire, taste traditional treats in the historic kitchens and sing carols in the parlour.
Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Rd.)
Through January 6, visitors can experience a 1920s holiday season on a guided tour of Spadina Museum. Holly wreaths, evergreen garlands and mistletoe adorn the house. In the re-created 1930s kitchen, visitors can have holiday treats including mulled cider.
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site (67 Pottery Rd.)
Through January 6, experience the Christmas traditions of two different eras – the 1890s and the 1940s. Visitors can enjoy festive sips and treats in the historic homes decorated for the season, create a vintage take-home craft and enjoy a winter stroll through the Wildflower Preserve. A guided tour of Helliwell House explores the late Victorian fern craze that swept the nation.
New Year’s Eve at Nathan Phillips Square
Ring in the New Year at Nathan Phillips Square. The annual celebration takes place against the festive backdrop of Toronto’s official Christmas tree and the lights of Nathan Phillips Square. Audiences will experience live musical performances by LIZA, Cadence Weapon and DJ NDN. The evening includes a DJ skating party featuring DJ Money Jane and DJ MelBoogie, sponsored by Tim Hortons, and a stunning fireworks display to usher in 2019. Full program details are available here.
Winterlicious Culinary Event Series tickets
Tickets are now on sale for the Culinary Event Series that will be a part of Winterlicious 2019, running from January 25 to February 7. The series will feature 13 eclectic and exciting food experiences. Tickets make for a perfect holiday gift.
On certain days during the holiday season such as Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, the TTC will run on modified or holiday schedules. More information is available on the TTC’s website.
To find even more activities you can enjoy this season, check out the City’s event calendar.
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