From skating to nature walks to museums, there’s lots to do locally over the Christmas Holidays

A young skater takes to the ice at the Greenwood Park Skating Trail in this Beach Metro News file photo. There's lots of activities to do in east Toronto over the Christmas Holidays, and skating is certainly one of them.

It’s the Christmas Holidays, and local residents are being encouraged to take full advantage of the many programs, events and activities taking place in Toronto over the next couple of weeks.

From outdoor winter recreational activities such as skating, to savouring seasonal hot cider and cookies at Toronto’s historic sites, there are numerous activities to enjoy and places to explore in the city.

According to a release from the City of Toronto, winter can be best experienced either in the city’s parks and natural spaces or in recreation centres where residents can warm up and stay active with fitness, art, swimming and more. Locally, there’s a nature walk set for the Glen Stewart Ravine on Dec. 27. More information on the walk can be had by emailing friendsofglenstewartravine@gmail.com

While dependent entirely on the weather, the city does operate two ski/snowboard centres. The season begins Jan. 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 at toronto.ca/ski.

East Toronto residents will have numerous opportunities to go skating this holiday season as the city has 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 Dec. 25 and 26 and Jan. 1. Schedules vary by location. More information is available at toronto.ca/skate.

Dependent on weather, there also lots of places to toboggan locally. Tobogganing hill locations and safety tips are available at toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/recreation/skating-winter-sports/tobogganing.

Toronto offers a variety of fitness classes and other drop-in recreation programming over the holidays. Community recreation centres will be open until 4 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 31 and closed on Dec. 25 and 26 and Jan. 1. Some facilities may be closed during the holiday period for annual maintenance. More information and schedules are available at toronto.ca/rec or by calling 311.

Drop-in swim programs are available at pools across the city. City indoor pools will offer both family-friendly leisure swims and fitness swims. Schedules vary by location and are available at toronto.ca/swim.

Riverdale Farm, which is home to a variety of domestic farm animals, including Tamworth pigs, goat kids and sheep, is a popular spot to visit over the holidays. These animals represent animals commonly found on a turn-of-the-century Ontario farm. Riverdale Farm is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. More information is available at toronto.ca/parks/zoo, or at riverdalefarmtoronto.ca or by calling 311.

City conservatories are also popular 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 Jan. 9. More information is available at toronto.ca/conservatories.

The Toronto Zoo will be open throughout the holidays except on Dec. 25. Admission on Boxing Day will be 50 per cent off. More information about the Zoo’s 12 Days of Enrichment event, operating hours and admission prices is available at torontozoo.com.

Eight of the city’s History Museums, including Todmorden Mills and the Scarborough Museum, 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 Dec. 25 and 26 as well as Jan. 1. Activities vary by day and by location. More information is available at toronto.ca/holidays.

Residents can also 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 fireworks display to usher in 2019. Full program details are available at toronto.ca/newyearseve.


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