Thursday, February 16, 2017

Family Day Weekend in Toronto

Family Day 2017 is here, and there are tons of events planned around the province. The first Family Day holiday in 2008 had a smattering of activities on offer, but that quickly grew, and there are now many options for families to enjoy, according to their interests. Here are a few that have caught my eye, happening in and around Toronto.

Art Gallery of Ontario

On Monday, from 10:30am-4:00pm, the AGO transforms into the Kids’ Gallery of Ontario (KGO), with a great line up of artful activities inspired by the ongoing exhibition Francis Alÿs: A Story of Negotiation. Programming highlights include kite-making and bubble wrap-bursting, Gallery tours, family yoga, exciting interactive performances by the SOAR children’s skipping team, and a screening of Small Cave, Big Cave, a new short film written by two Toronto seven-year-olds.
Visit for the full schedule. Plus, on the site, you can get a special Family Pass for just $39 (a $10 savings) when you purchase in advance.

Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is open all weekend, from 9:30am-4:30pm daily. They invite you to bring your family to meet their families, including Canada's only Giant Panda cubs, who can be seen with their mom, Er Shun. From 10:00am-2:00pm, can experience "Connecting with Wildlife Conservation - Big and Small Wild Families" through interactive Interpretive Stations at Polar Bears, African Rainforest and Indo-Malaya Pavilions. And be sure to check out the schedule of Keeper Talks and feedings.

The Drake Hotel

On Sunday and Monday, The Drake is hosting children's entertainers, The Monkey Bunch, at the Drake Underground. The Monkey Bunch gives a show the whole family will love, with music, humour, and a message of caring for the planet.  The show starts at 3:00pm, and tickets are $10 each, or $30 for a pack of four. Why not consider grabbing brunch in the Lounge before you head to the show?

TIFF DigiPlaySpace

The digiPlaySpace opens this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. This curated, interactive exhibit is designed for kids ages 3-13, and provides a broad array of playful 21st century innovations. This year's offerings include 23 installations from 8 countries, including multi-player installations and learning-centric videogames, robotics, mobile apps, green screen escapades and hands-on activities from acclaimed Canadian and international new media artists. . Kids can learn to code, operate robots via an iPad to craft original creations, explore electrical circuits, experience virtual reality stories, and so much more. Boo and I have really enjoyed this event over the years. Weekend admission is $13.

Casa Loma

Fans of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" will want to check this one out. Walt Disney Studios Canada invites you to visit this special exhibit at Casa Loma, running from Feb. 17-20. The exhibit includes the display of nine costumes from the film, as well as a variety of themed activities and special performances over the course of the weekend. All of these costumes were designed by Academy Award-winning costume designer, Jacqueline Durran. Guests will also see a replica of the iconic rose and bell jar. Among the activities being offered are arts and crafts, face painting and story time, plus performances by ballroom dancers and an aerialist. The exhibit is included in admission; use the promo code “Be Our Guest” at the box office to receive a 20% discount on your ticket purchase. Casa Loma will be open extended hours this weekend, from 9:30am-9:00pm.

Harbourfront Centre

On Monday, from 11:00am-5:00pm, come experience Family Day with HarbourKIDS: North! Harbourfront Centre will be celebrating the northern winter landscape with free family activities, where you can discover, examine and explore the mighty expanse of the North and its ever-changing terrain while considering conservation and respect for the environment. Interactive fun includes skating, theatre, LEGO, arts & crafts, science, musical entertainment, and a special installation "Discover the Night," where four artists have transformed the Brigantine Room into a one time only interactive play space emulating the Northern night sky through art, light and sound. Best of all? It's all free!

These are all larger events, but check in your local community as well. For instance, the Holy Trinity Guildwood Anglican Church in Scarborough is holding a Family Day Winter Fair on Monday, from 1:00-4:00pm. The event includes games - ring toss, tic tac toe, mini golf; crafts; snacks; and a special magic show. Admission is free.

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