The City of Toronto encourages residents to enjoy Family Day on Monday, February 19 by taking advantage of City-run recreation facilities and historic attractions. Eight of the City’s 10 historic sites will offer events, activities and tours on Family Day.
There are 52 outdoor rinks or skating trails to choose from across the city, weather permitting. Many indoor arenas will also be open. There is no charge for public skating at the City’s indoor arenas and outdoor rinks. CSA-approved hockey helmets are mandatory for children under the age of six and are recommended for skaters of all ages. Family Day schedules are available online at http://www.toronto.ca/familyday.
Nathan Phillips Square
Families can visit Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall, located at 100 Queen St. W., for a fun-filled outing, sponsored by Tim Hortons, featuring freestyle ice-skating demonstrations by the Toronto Ice Skate Group. The ice rink will be open for skating and skate rentals will be available. From 1 to 4 p.m., take part in special activities including games, face painting and informal skating instruction and enjoy hot beverages at the Tim’s House lounge.
Skiing and snowboarding
Earl Bales and Centennial Park Ski and Snowboard Centres will be open on Family Day, weather permitting. Updates and schedules are available at http://www.toronto.ca/ski.
Leisure swimming will be available at many indoor pools on Family Day. City-run leisure swims are free of charge for everyone. Family Day schedules are available at
http://www.toronto.ca/familyday or by calling 311.
Select recreation facilities will offer programming for the whole family. Children accompanied by an adult can enjoy swimming, indoor/outdoor skating, yoga, Zumba®, gymnastics, sports, arts and crafts and much more. Family Day schedules for each recreation centre are available at http://www.toronto.ca/familyday or by calling 311.
The City’s farm at 201 Winchester St., open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., features farm animals and offers various activities. Admission is free.
High Park Zoo
Toronto’s oldest zoo has been entertaining people for 120 years. The zoo, which houses domestic and exotic animals such as bison, llamas and reindeer, as well as the famous capybaras, Bonnie and Clyde, is located on Deer Pen Road and is open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk. Admission is free.
Conservatories and greenhouses
Residents and visitors can warm up and take in the sights and scents at Toronto’s conservatories. Both the Allan Gardens and Centennial Park conservatories will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Family Day. Admission is free and the conservatories are wheelchair-accessible.
Toronto History Museums
Programming highlights for the Toronto History Museums’ open sites are listed below. Regular admission fees apply except for the Historic Zion Schoolhouse. Times and activity details will vary by location. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/museum-events.
Colborne Lodge (11 Colborne Lodge Dr.)
The museum features an exhibit highlighting new and emerging Canadian inventions circa 1867. Discover Canadian inventors’ designs of new technologies and original patents. The exhibit also showcases architect and City Engineer John G. Howard designs of papers, books and tools. Howard and his family called Colborne Lodge home. Explore hands-on science and innovations activities throughout the museum.
Fort York National Historic Site (250 Fort York Blvd.)
Families can visit the fort’s historic kitchen and sample baking from the hearth. Hot chocolate and a roaring fire will make for a memorable visit. Kids can try an 1812 drill class, the officers’ sword drill, old-fashioned games and a fun-filled kids’ activity book.
Zion Schoolhouse (1091 Finch Ave. E.)
Explore this rare, one-room schoolhouse in North Toronto and take a step back in time with schoolmistress Miss Coulson. Visitors can learn how to write with a steel nib pen or on a slate and enjoy storytelling, craft making and other activities. Donations of new or gently used children’s books will help the Children’s Book Bank provide books and literacy support to children in need in Toronto. Admission is free.
Mackenzie House (82 Bond St.)
Visitors can celebrate Black History Month by learning about Black Victorian publishers and newspaper journalists. On Family Day, visitors can also enjoy performances at 1:30 and 3 p.m. by a Scottish dance troupe from the Guthrie School of Dance, who will share Scottish Highland and Scottish Country dances and the history and stories that inspired them.
Montgomery’s Inn (4709 Dundas St. W.)
The inn will feature Maureen O’Leary of Maureen’s Reel Irish Dancing, who will teach a dance workshop and then host a ceilidh at 2 and 3:30 p.m. There will also be a traditional French-Canadian lumberjack dancing man and visitors can learn to play the spoons with the inn’s resident fiddler at 1:30 and 3 p.m. In the afternoon, cooks in the historic kitchen will prepare tasty treats alongside historic games and crafts.
Scarborough Museum (1007 Brimley Rd.)
The museum will offer fun activities such as a scavenger hunt and a craft activity. Visitors will be able to sample baked goods and hot chocolate.
Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Rd.)
A family-friendly tour includes games and hands-on fun in the historic kitchen – all set in a beautifully restored 1920s environment.
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site (67 Pottery Rd.)
Visitors can make family crests and tour the historic homes while viewing the first ever retrospective by acclaimed Canadian painter Helen Lucas in the Papermill Gallery. Visitors can also play an outdoor nature bingo game for prizes.
The Toronto Zoo will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Family Day. More information about the zoo is available at http://www.torontozoo.com.
Other municipal facilities and services
All City of Toronto emergency and 24-hour services will operate normally on February 19. City administrative offices and service counters will be closed on Monday, re-opening on Tuesday, February 20. The major civic buildings including City Hall, Metro Hall and the civic centres will operate on a weekend schedule from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Family Day.
The TTC will operate on its Saturday schedule on Family Day. More TTC information is available at http://ttc.ca/Routes/index.jsp.
City-operated child care centres and Children’s Services district offices will be closed on Monday. Toronto Home Child Care Agency providers will offer service as usual.
All Toronto Public Library branches will be closed on Family Day. Archival Services at 255 Spadina Rd. will also be closed on Monday.
Some community recreation centres will be closed on Family Day. Residents can find the list of open centres online at http://www.toronto.ca/familyday or call their local centre ahead of time to check its schedule.
— Jaclyn Carlisle