You have two weeks off of school. You relax, you sleep, you relax some more, you make some pizza, you eat the pizza, you watch all six seasons of Modern Family and now you’re utterly bored. You even did your homework- okay, we all know you didn’t do your homework. If you’re like me, you’re going to quickly run out of things to do, and three days into the holidays, you’ll be staring at your ceiling, wondering why you’re so boring. Fortunately for me, this year will be different, this year I did some extensive research and found the best things to do during the break in the big city. And all of these things are free, so bring your mentor and as many friends as you want.
Ice Skating. Nathan Phillips Square is located in front of City hall; the beautiful setting is enjoyed by people all year long. But in the winter, the Christmas lights go up, and the reflecting pool becomes a skating rink. The best time to go would be the evening, when you can skate underneath the decorated arches, and enjoy the Christmas lights. Remember, that the rink can get very crowded so avoid peak hours. For a less crowded venue, try the Natrel Skating Rink at Harbourfront, which offers a great view of the C.N Tower, and is set right by the waterfront of Lake Ontario. The great thing about the Harbourfront Center is that it is a 10-acre site that has something for everyone.
Home Ground. The Aga Kahn Museum is holding an exhibition that will only remain open till January 3, 2016. The exhibition in collaboration with the Barjeel Art Foundation, features 12 Arab contemporary artists. The theme is focusing on how politics in the Middle East and North Africa intersect with the inherent struggle of being an artist. Free on Wednesdays from 4:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m.
City of Toronto Christmas Concert. The annual concert features three choirs and runs from 11:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m on December 24. Features All the King’s Voices, Toronto Beaches Children’s Chorus, Toronto Mass Choir. Is a great place to take younger siblings to as a visit from Santa is expected to make an appearance.
Sledding. No matter how old you are, if it snows you might as well take advantage of it and go sledding- even if you do end up with a face full of snow. Centennial Park, offers a very steep, and thrilling hill for sledding. The steep angle, guarantees fast sledding. If you’d rather go with something a little bit smaller, but still steep, and smooth, try the hills at Withrow Park. It’s safe enough to take children on, but still thrilling, and the plus side of Withrow Park, is that they offer steps to climb up, so you don’t have to trudge up the hill. For more variety, go to Christie Pits Park which offers hills of different sizes and steepness.
The Bay Windows. Every year, Hudson’s Bay goes all out for their holiday window displays. The beautifully decorated and masterfully crafted holiday displays run the length of the windows, with their train sets, moving Santas, and mechanical mice. The nostalgic displays take you right into all the good Christmas stories. (176 Yonge Street (Yonge and Queen)
Make the best of your vacation, and remember to spend time with your family, and catch up with friends you haven’t seen in awhile. Happy Holidays.
Tabassum Lakhi is a Creative Writing Intern at GEM and also a GEMgirl.