City of Toronto offers free and affordable activities during March Break

Agincourt Community Recreation Centre offers a variety of registered and drop-in programs, including swimming programs. Photo credit: Richard Sunichura.
Agincourt Community Recreation Centre offers a variety of registered and drop-in programs, including swimming programs.

During March Break, March 16 to 20, the City of Toronto will offer free and low-cost activities at its community centres, parks and historic sites. Highlights of Parks, Forestry and Recreation division activities and attractions follow, in addition to information about Toronto’s historic sites/museums.

Camps: March Break recreational camps are a great opportunity for children and youth to enjoy a range of activities. Participants can enjoy specialty activities such as arts, crafts, music, drama, sports and games. More camp details are available at http://www.toronto.ca/camps or by calling 311.

Drop-in programs: City of Toronto community centres offer various free or low-cost programs for all ages. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks and by calling 311.

Skiing and snowboarding: The City’s Centennial Park and Earl Bales ski and snowboard centres will be open, weather permitting, for March Break. Hours:
– Centennial Park Ski and Snowboard Centre: March 16 to 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
– Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre: March 16 to 21 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and March 22 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Both centres will close for the season on the weekend of March 21 and 22 as scheduled.

The use of helmets is mandatory when participating in programs and lessons at both centres and the use of a recognized ski or snowboard helmet is strongly recommended for all other participants while on the slopes. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/ski.

Skating: Twenty-nine outdoor artificial ice rinks are open until the end of the day on March 22, weather permitting. Locations, hours and program details are available at http://www1.toronto.ca/parks/prd/skating/dropin/marchbreak/index.htm.

Indoor leisure skating programs, including caregiver and tot, family skate and shinny, are free for all ages. CSA-approved hockey helmets are mandatory for children under six years of age and all shinny hockey participants, and are recommended for skaters of all ages. Schedules and locations are available at http://www.toronto.ca/skate.

Skate at Ricoh Coliseum: Families are invited for free skating sessions March 16 to 19 from 12:30 to 4 p.m. You need your own skating gear, as Ricoh Coliseum does not rent equipment. Children 12 years and under are required to wear a CSA-approved helmet. Family skate sessions are first-come, first-served. No more than 250 people are permitted on the ice at any time. A liability waiver will be available at the Coliseum and must be signed upon entry by a parent or caregiver 18 years or older. The entrance is next to the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place, off Nunavut Road. More information is available by calling 311.

Swimming: City of Toronto pools offer free March Break swimming opportunities. More information is available at http://bit.ly/1hpO6rF.

Attractions

Riverdale Farm (201 Winchester St.)
Visitors can tour Riverdale Farm’s scenic grounds to see domestic farm animals such as cows, horses and geese. The farm’s Meeting House offers craft activities from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. Farming demonstrations are provided at 10:30 a.m. (goat), 12:30 p.m. (horse) and 1:30 p.m. (cow). The farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is accessible to all. Admission is free. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/featured-parks.

High Park Zoo (on Deer Pen Road)
Established 120 years ago, the High Park Zoo is home to domestic and exotic animals, including bison, llamas, peacocks, reindeer, highland cattle and yaks. Admission to the zoo is free and it’s open daily from dawn to dusk. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/zoo/.

Toronto Islands
Just minutes away from downtown by ferry, the Toronto Islands offer March Break fun for everyone. It’s a great place to walk, roll, cycle, explore and enjoy the city skyline. A list of ferry fees and the schedule are available at http://bit.ly/1bMBziB.

Playground Paradise (Flemingdon Park Community Centre, 150 Grenoble Dr.)
Playground Paradise offers fun for children aged 12 and under. Kids can play on a two-storey play structure, go down the spiral slide, swing on the track ride, climb the cargo elevator and more. Schedule during March Break:
March 16, 18 and 20 from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m., 4 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; March 17 and 19 from 10 a.m. to noon
A flat fee of $2.50 per child applies. More information is available by calling 416-395-6014.

Conservatories
The spring flower shows are in full bloom at Centennial Park Conservatory, 151 Elmcrest Rd. and Allan Gardens Conservatory, 19 Horticultural Ave. Both shows feature various spring flowering plants, including tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. The Easter flower shows, featuring lilies and hydrangeas, will open at both conservatories on March 29 and run to April 26. The conservatories are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and admission is free. More information is available by calling Centennial Park Conservatory at 416-394-8543 and Allan Gardens Conservatory at 416-392-7288.

Historic Sites
Eight of the City’s historic sites will offer events, activities and tours during March Break. Programming highlights for selected locations are listed below. Times, admission fees and participant details for activities will vary by location. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/museum-events .

Some of the historic sites will also have March break camps. For more information, visit http://www.toronto.ca/camps.

Colborne Lodge (in High Park, Colborne Lodge Dr.): The lodge will offer tours of the historic house as well as children’s activities.

Fort York National Historic Site (250 Fort York Blvd.): Families and other visitors can experience a daytime adventure at this War of 1812 site. Special children’s activities include soldiers’ drill classes, officers’ sword drill, costumes for children to try on and an activity book called Kids’ Guide to Fort York.

Gibson House Museum (5172 Yonge St.): In addition to regular tours of Gibson House, the museum will feature an exhibit from the Archives of Ontario called Dear Sadie: Love, Lives and Remembrance from Ontario’s First World War.

Mackenzie House (82 Bond St.): Family members visiting this Victorian house can typeset their names on the 1845 printing press, make a craft to take home and eat a cookie in the historic kitchen.

Montgomery’s Inn (4709 Dundas St. W.): In addition to regular tours, on Wednesday evenings Montgomery’s Inn presents an indoor farmers market. On March 17, visitors can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with tea-time specialties from the Emerald Isle.

Scarborough Museum (1007 Brimley Rd.): Torontonians looking for fresh air and exploration can visit Scarborough Museum’s historic buildings, make a simple craft and stroll through Thomson Memorial Park.

Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Rd.): The museum offers tours with games and hands-on fun in the historic kitchen.

Todmorden Mills Heritage Site (67 Pottery Rd.): Families can participate in March Break fun and games in the valley, with historic toys and parlour games popular with past generations. Outside, look for signs of spring in Todmorden’s wildflower preserve with a round of outdoor nature bingo.

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