Once you've put your frustrating Friday commute behind you, there’s no more need to burrow indoors. With around 25 centimetres of snow in the GTA and forecasts predicting temperatures are going to rise a bit on Sunday, it’s time to put on your boots and parkas and embrace the winter wonderland. Here’s a few suggestions for how to enjoy a some sunny snow days with your family.
In its 24th year, organizers are expecting 4,000 to 5,000 people will attend the Sunday event at the North Thornhill Community Centre, which offers a midway zone, inter-active Ice Zone, pizza making, and the chance to get an autograph from Luke Bilyk from the popular teen show Degrassi. Everything – except food – is free of charge.
Etobicoke’s Colonel Samuel Smith Skating Trail
Toronto’s first and only outdoor skating trail opened in 2010. It’s 250 metres long and follows a figure-eight shape overlooking the lake. (There’s also a cordoned-off section for beginners learning to skate).
DJ Skate Nights at Harbourfront Centre
Held from 8 to 11 p.m., Toronto’s hottest DJs urge the crowd to skate to the beat of everything from reggae, electronica, and dubstep.
If you’re a family that likes to snowshoe, visit the Humber Arboretum at 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. to learn how to snowshoe and find out how they’re made and how they were used. Snowshoe enthusiasts can also meet at 10 a.m. at Morningside Park to explore the wonders of winter wildlife.
Kortright Centre for Conservation
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can introduce kids to cross-country skiing on groomed and ungroomed trails. It also features aboriginal-themed winter activities, including classes on hunting skills, storytelling and hikes to track winter wildlife. On Sunday, the conservation area is also celebrating the Chinese New Year with a snake exhibit from Scales Nature Park.
Ontario Science Centre
If you love all things white, fluffy and cold, then take the kids to the Arctic IMAX film at the Ontario Science Centre. Narrated by Meryl Streep, the film features spectacular footage as it follows the lives of a mother polar bear and her cubs struggling to survive in the changing Arctic wilderness.
High Park Zoo
Established in the 1890s for deer, the park’s animal paddocks have always been a must-see treat. Now the zoo’s nine paddocks feature more than just deer – you’ll find animal species from around the world including bison, llamas, peacocks, highland cattle and sheep. After leaving the paddocks, grab a toboggan as the park offers great sleigh runs.
Take a walk with a camera
Richard Ubbens, the city’s parks director, urges people to get out and snap some photos. “There are great light conditions, day and night,” said Mr. Ubbens, who is also a big fan of building snow forts.
Centennial Park (Etobicoke) and Earl Bales Park (North York)
Both ski and snowboard parks expect great conditions this weekend. Earl Bales also boasts a new ski lift.
African Penguins return to the zoo. After wandering around the exhibits and animal quarters, grab your cross country skis and admire the rural countryside.
Children’s Farm and Playbarn at Bronte Creek Provincial Park
Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., this 150-year-old barn has been transformed into a huge children’s play loft for climbing, jumping and having fun. Visit animals in the stalls below the loft.