More than 300,000 students across the GTA were kept out of school on Tuesday as more than 20,000 teachers picketed. Employers said the day did not cause any major disruptions as parents had advance notice, and some had already begun their Christmas holidays. For parents who had to work, organizations across Toronto offered special programs that brought a bit of summer camp to December.
Second City Youth Improv Camp
The comedy institution offered a "day of laughter" with a one-day youth improv camp for pupils in Grades 1 to 8.
"It's just one day of that, improv, so learning to think on their feet, working as an ensemble, playing fun improv games, things similar that you would see on an episode of Who's Line Is It Anyway?" said Erin Conway, general manager of the training centre.
Any strike and/or school jokes during the camp? "A lot of kids are very happy that no math is being done right now, I can share that with you," Ms. Conway said.
MLSE Sports Clinics
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment gave 550 kids free hockey, skating, basketball and soccer clinics at Leafs, Marlies, Raptors and TFC practice facilities.
Former Raptor centre and Toronto native Jamaal Magloire taught kids to dribble at the Air Canada Centre, while TFC alums Danny Dichio and Jim Brennan helped with their footie skills at Downsview Park.
The Leafs did a learn-to-skate clinic at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence, where
the Marlies also did skills and drills.
ROM Kids Day
The Royal Ontario Museum offered activities relating to world cultures and natural history.
"They could be doing dinosaurs in the morning and ancient China in the afternoon," said Jovanna Scorsone, manager of children's and family programs. "They might start learning about ocean life and whales and stingrays and coral, and then in the afternoon they might spend their time learning about mythology and sea creatures so they can make those connections."
AGO Art Days
The Art Gallery of Ontario offered free general admission and had an Arts Days program for junior kindergarten to Grade 6. Kids in the full-day program got to make art, play games and explore the gallery.
Young People's Theatre Pop-up Drama School Workshops
This was the good kind of drama. YPT workshop programs for kids in JK to Grade 6 focused on family dynamics, realizing potential, storytelling and points of view, all tied to the mainstage show, Cinderella (a RATical retelling).
YMCA Day Camps
The YMCA of Greater Toronto offered day camps – swimming, games, crafts – at seven locations for children ages 4 to 12 on Tuesday. Programming included swimming, arts and crafts as well as sports and games.
With a report from Bertrand Marotte