Plenty of recreational options for Toronto residents during the holidays

There is so much that residents and visitors can do in Toronto during the holidays – including a wide variety of indoor and outdoor recreational activities offered by the City of Toronto's Parks, Forestry and Recreation division. Details follow.

Skating
Skating activities include leisure skate and shinny hockey. Skating on outdoor artificial ice rinks is free for all ages. Drop-in skating for adults only at indoor rinks costs $3.50 for adults and $1.75 for seniors. On December 25, outdoor rinks are unsupervised and for use at your own risk. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/skating.

Skiing and snowboarding
Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre, located at 4169 Bathurst St., is scheduled to open on Saturday, December 14(weather permitting). Centennial Ski and Snowboard Centre, located at 256 Centennial Park Rd., is scheduled to open mid-December (weather permitting). Updated information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/skiing.

Swimming
A variety of leisure swim programs are available at pools throughout the city. Before making a splash at your local pool, check online at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/swimming. Schedules vary by location.

Riverdale Farm
Visit the cows, horses, sheep, goats, rabbits and farm cats at Riverdale Farm, 201 Winchester St. The farm offers indoor board games, sewing crafts with the Cabbagetown Quilters Guild, and activities with the Toronto Guild of Spinners and Weavers. The farm is open daily, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can call the farm at 416-392-6794 or check online at www.toronto.ca/parks/featured-parks for more information.

High Park Zoo
Located at 77 Deer Pen Rd. in High Park, the High Park Zoo houses both domestic and exotic animals, including bison, llamas, peacocks, reindeer, highland cattle and sheep. The zoo is open daily from dawn to dusk. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/zoo/.

Playground Paradise
Located at Flemingdon Park Community Centre at 150 Grenoble Dr., Playground Paradise offers family fun for children 12 and younger. Kids can play on a two-storey play structure, go down the spiral slide, swing on the track ride, climb the cargo elevator, talk to friends through the talk tube and play in a ball pit with over 8,000 balls.

The hours at the playground vary during the holiday season. More information is available at http://bit.ly/1aZjJ4T, select "Drop-in Programs" and then select "General Interest" to get the most up-to-date schedule or call 416-395-6014. Regular scheduling returns on Saturday, January 4, 2014. The daily rate is $2.50 per child.

Christmas flower shows at Allan Gardens and Centennial Park
The two Christmas flower shows at City conservatories are a tradition marking the official start of the holiday season. The flower shows are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until January 12. Admission to both conservatories is free. Donations to the Daily Bread Food Bank are welcome. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/conservatories/.

Walk Toronto's trails
The Shared Path, the newest of the City of Toronto's Discovery Walks, includes 15 kilometres of trails through a series of park areas along the banks of the Humber River. The Discovery Walks program is a series of 10 self-guided walks linking ravines, parks and neighbourhoods to showcase Toronto's outstanding natural features and cultural and historical attractions. You can discover the trails and download maps at http://www.toronto.ca/parks/trails/discover.htm.

Holiday scheduling for outdoor rinks, indoor skating, ski, snowboard and swim programs will be in effect from December 24 to January 6.

Generally, the holiday scheduling for community centres is as follows:
December 24 and 31 - Community centres close at 4 p.m. except those with previously scheduled permits or exceptions.
December 25 and 26 - Community centres are closed, except those offering special holiday drop-in programs.
January 1 - Community centres are closed.

For more information and program schedules, visit http://www.toronto.ca/parks or call 311.

City staff at community centres can also provide their centre's holiday schedules. Some centres may be closed for annual maintenance and repairs.

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