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    Let your kids get into the spirit of the season with Free Activities and Crafts. From tracking Santa's whereabouts, to elfing yourself, to creating their very own personalized Christmas storybook, there are a number of websites to keep kids busy and entertained this holiday season.

    NORAD

    NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) is the official Santa Tracker. By using high-tech systems, this site follows Santa's whereabouts as he delivers presents to children around the world. You can find out about Santa's whereabouts, every 5 minutes, starting on December 1st. Kids will enjoy watching where Santa goes to deliver gifts, and will learn facts about each country along the way.

    www.noradsanta.org

    North Pole

    Enjoy Christmas with Santa Claus at the North Pole, an award-winning Christmas web site. Send a letter to Santa Clause or a Christmas card to a friend. Enjoy the joy and magic of Christmas in Santa's Secret Village! Enjoy Karaoke, send e-cards, find recipes, play games and puzzles, print stories to color - you can even put your child in a personalized story! Children can fill out a naughty or nice questionnaire to see where they stand on Santa's list.

    www.northpole.com

    Claus.com

    Santa Claus has the Village full of new fun this year for both kids and parents. Check your Naughty or Nice rating on the new Nice-O-Meter. Visit the new Toy Workshop to choose your personal Elf Buddy and see the most incredible Toy Making Machine yet. At Santa's House, see him playing basketball and having snowball fights on the The Santa Show. You can even listen to original Claus.com Christmas songs and see a fully animated cartoon!

    www.claus.com

    Elf Yourself

    This is a fun site where families can upload pictures of their faces on the bodies of animated elves. Put yourself in crazy dances and funny pics. Everyone will get a good laugh at elfing themselves. This free holiday experience, brought to you by OfficeMax, returns for fourth season to spread cheer and goodwill around the world!

    www.elfyourself.com

    Kwanzaa

    DLTK's Crafts for Kids website features Kwanzaa Activities for Children. You'll find crafts, activities, puzzles, colouring pages, recipes and other activities for kids.

    www.dltk-holidays.com/kwanzaa.

    HanuKat

    This award-winning site offers a playful, interactive way for children, parents, grandparents and friends - both Jewish and non-Jewish - to celebrate Hanukkah. Read holiday stories, explore creative activities, print and send HanuKat cards, indulge in holiday recipes, and more!

    www.hanukat.com

    Hanukkah Craft ideas

    Visit Enchanged Learning for Hanukkah Craft ideas for kids.

    www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/hanukkah/

    or check out Tora Tots - a fun website for kids with games and puzzles, stories, coloring pages. You can send cards to your friends.

    www.torahtots.com/holidays/chanuka/chanuk.htm



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    Frugal Winter Fun:

    Are finances a bit tight after the holidays? If you’re looking for cheap ways to keep the kids from getting cabin fever over the long winter weeks ahead, here’s a list of fun activities that will keep kids entertained without breaking your budget.

    Attend a Winter Festival!

    Many don’t charge admission and offer free outdoor activities and concerts (even in the chilly months of winter). The City of Vaughan’s Winterfest is presenting a free concert with The Backyardigans. Some carnivals will ask you to pay a small nominal fee for additional food and activities in which you participate such as face paining, wagon rides or pony rides. Scout out the larger Attractions who may be offering reduced admission rates during winter festivals. For example, during Winter City in Toronto, the CN Tower is offering 2 free children’s admissions per paying adult while the Toronto Zoo is offering 1 free child’s admission per paying adult. More>>

    Go Skating!

    Many arenas offer family or public skating times for a reasonable price -- and offer rentals for those who don't have their own equipment handy. To keep costs even lower, look for outdoor rinks at parks, schoolyards or neighborhood rinks. Free skating is available at City Hall, Mel Lastman Square or at the Natrel Rink, Harbourfront. Rentals are also available at a nominal cost for those who don't have their own equipment. More>>

    Head for the hills!

    Tobogganing a cheap and fun way to spend the day with the kids. Scout out your favourite hill. There's certainly no shortage of snow this year! More>>

    Visit your local park or conservation authority

    Check their websites to find local trails that are ideal for winter hikes. They will also keep you informed about special events and programs. Explore the trails: many local parks and conservation areas maintain winter trails for hiking, skiing or snowshoeing, and you can even rent equipment for the day if you don't have your own. These activities don't require much instruction or lengthy lessons to enjoy, and they afford some sightseeing and photo opportunities. Pack a lunch and thermoses with hot chocolate. Find out if you can sign up for a winter bird watching tour and bring your binoculars. See lots of interesting birds in the winter like chickadees, cardinals and snowy owls. It's a great chance to learn about the nature while staying active outside. More>>

    Visit a museum or gallery

    Watch for special promotions such as family discount days, and free or reduced admission times. Some children's museums even offer free days for grandparents and group rates for families. Many museums, historic sites and libraries offer low-cost or free children's activities. Activities aren't just for the little ones -- many places offer tween and teen activities such as crafts and workshops. Parents and grandparents can often tag along for free. A word of warning: many of these activities require pre-registration and spots fill up quickly.

    Check out your local library

    For a frugal way to beat the cold, go to your local library. Admission is free and libraries offer hours of perusing your favourite books and magazines. And you can take books, videos, CDs, or DVDs home with you at no cost. Most libraries now offer low-cost or free children's activities or educational workshops, as well as story-time for toddlers. Find out when these are posted and register as soon as you can as these sessions fill up rapidly.

    A Day at the Rec Centre

    Check out your local Recreation Centre for some inexpensive (even free) activities. Your city website will post admission rates and activities. Find out which pools are open for free family swims, which arenas have free family-skating days and where to find the indoor walking tracks.

    Winter activities don't need to be expensive. And with the right planning, it doesn’t have to be a long boring winter.

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    Winter Carnivals in the Greater Toronto Area


    There's certainly no shortage of things to do in the long winter months in the Greater Toronto Area. During February, you'll find a long list of winter carnivals in our great city & surroundings, where we can celebrate the joys and magic of winter. Everyone can come out to play in the ice and snow. The weather may be cold and icy, but the fun experience of a winter carnival will keep spirits warm.

    Fabulous snow and ice sculptures, ice hockey, skating, skiing, snowshoeing, and dogsled pulls are just some of the ways to have fun during a winter carnival. Many events are Free with nominal charges for activities. Check out the following winter carnivals and festivals taking place in and around the Greater Toronto Area:

    WinterCity Festival Toronto

    14 Days of Big City Fun! The award-winning WinterCity Festival returns for its 6th year, offering a city-wide celebration of culture, creativity and cuisine. The WinterCity Festival is 3 festivals in 1: the WOW! Series at Nathan Phillips Square, the Warm Up Series at Toronto's cultural and tourist attractions, and the ever-popular restaurant promotion, Winterlicious.
    Various locations
    January 30, 2009 to February 12, 2009
    416-395-0490
    More info

    Ajax Winterfest

    The Town's Winterfest will be heaps of fun, so bundle up and enjoy frosty festivities for the whole family! A the McLean Community Centre. Activities include: professional ice carving demonstrations, ice skating, dog sled rides, horse drawn wagon rides, snow painting, childrens games, arts and crafts, and more!
    McLean Community Centre, 95 Magill Dr., Ajax
    February 8, 2009
    905-619-2529, ext. 7243
    More Info

    Arctic Adventure - Aurora

    Bundle up and take in some great outdoor activities such as dog sled rides, snowshoeing, skating, live entertainment and so much more.
    Aurora Town Park.
    February 16, 2009
    More info

    Barrie's annual Winterfest & Festival of Ice

    The City of Barrie presents Winterfest & Festival of Ice! Named one of the Top 100 Festivals in Ontario, Winterfest is a great way to celebrate the winter season with adventures the whole family will enjoy. Outdoor activities include a polar bear dip, horse-drawn wagon rides, dogsled rides, mini-tube run, lumberjack shows, and more. Winterfest also features a giant snow slide and ice maze. The Festival of Ice features a 300 pound blocks of ice carved into spectacular, themed sculptures.
    Heritage Park, Memorial Square.
    February 7, 2009 to February 8, 2009
    705-739-4285
    More info

    Brampton's Winter Festival

    Enjoy a winter day with us skiing, snowboarding, tubing, paint the maze, dog sleds, skating, games, fire pits and marshmallows, live entertainment and other fun family things to do outdoors. Weather and conditions permitting. At Donald M. Gordon Chinguacousy Park
    February 8, 2009
    905-458-6555 x124
    More info

    Burlington Winter Carnival

    Family Fun Since 1967! Celebrate winter by participating in the many great activities coordinated by the 2009 Winter Carnival Committee. Held over two weekends, there is something for everyone, from outdoor sports to indoor fun.
    Various locations
    January 2nd - February 7th, 2009
    905-335-7704
    More info

    Discover Winter Science During the WinterCity Festival

    Experience WinterScience inside and out! Enjoy the whimsical creations of Rowland Emett and don't miss an interactive demonstration with everything you ever wanted to know about snow, ice and the science of surviving the cold. On our outdoor exploration plaza, TELUSCAPE, discover more about animal tracks, learn winter camping survival tips and witness the creation of beautiful ice sculptures (weather permitting).
    Ontario Science Center
    January 31, 2009 to February 8, 2009
    416-696-3127
    More info

    Lady Mary Pellatt Has Lost Her Jewels! at Casa Loma

    Part of Toronto's WinterCity Festival. Come to Casa Loma and help find the lost jewels of Lady Mary Pellatt-mistress of Casa Loma. A bumbling servant will guide visitors through the secret passages, tower and tunnels in search of the misplaced items. At the end of the "treasure hunt", children can reach into the treasure chest for a prize of their own. A fun way to see Casa Loma! Price: Treasure Hunt is included with admission.
    January 31, 2009 to February 8, 2009
    Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace
    416-923-1171
    More info

    Newmarket WinterFest 2009

    Pancake Breakfast, Family Bingo, Face Painting, Hair Wraps, Craft Sale & Door Prize, Pizza, Popcorn, Cotton Candy, Kids Valentine's Crafts, Indoor Inflatable, Balloon Creations by Harv-O the Clown, Children's Entertainment, Amusement Rides, Dog Sled Rides, Little Sleuth Mystery Hunt, Pony Rides with Pictures, Novelty Photo Boards, Children's Games, Hot Dogs, Hot Chocolate, Ice Fish Pond Game, Ring Toss Course, Horse Drawn Wagon Rides, Scavenger Hunt, Winterfest Mini Putt, Snowperson Building (weather permitting), Hockey Shoot and more! Free admission, nominal fee for some activities.
    Various Locations
    February 7, 2009 to February 8, 2009
    More info

    Richmond Hill Winter Carnival 2009

    The Richmond Hill Winter Carnival is a weekend of affordable fun and entertainment organized by volunteers to celebrate the community of Richmond Hill in a welcoming atmosphere.
    Mill Pond, Richmond Hill.
    February 6, 2009 to February 8, 2009
    905-771-5478
    More info

    Vaughan Winterfest

    The City of Vaughan's 20th annual Winterfest presented by TD Canada Trust will thrill families with The Backyardigans - V.I.P. Appearance performing FREE on the outdoor stage brought to you by CIBC.
    Vellore Village Community Centre, 1 Villa Royal Ave, Woodbridge.
    February 8, 2009
    905-832-8585 x8200
    More info

    WinterCity Weekend at the CN Tower

    Special Admission Offer, Activities, plus Nickelodeon™ Characters! Explore all the CN Tower has to offer during WinterCity with a special admission offer, activities, chances to win prize packs, plus meet and greets with special Nickelodeon™ characters Dora & Diego! (January 31, 11am to 2pm) and Wonder Pets! ™ (February 1, 11am to 2pm) - fun for kids of all ages.
    CN Tower
    January 31, 2009 to February 1, 2009
    416-868-6937
    More info

    Winter Fun Festival, featuring Dog Sled Races

    A truly Canadian winter adventure for the whole family! Enjoy outdoor and indoor activities for all ages, including our main feature, the amazing Dog Sled Races. Watch as members of the Siberian Husky Club of Canada race the trails of Kortright. Appropriate snow conditions are necessary.
    Kortright Centre for Conservation
    January 31, 2009 to February 1, 2009
    905-832-2289
    More info

    Zoo Animal Fun & Games Skating Party - Toronto Zoo

    City of Toronto's WinterCity - Zoo Animal Fun & Games Skating Party with the Toronto Zoo. It's WILD family fun on ice with the Toronto Zoo! Skate around Nathan Philips Square dressed like an animal, and visit with some of your favourite animal friends from the Toronto Zoo. The Toronto Zoo is also offering a coupon in the WinterCity Passport which is a discount of: One FREE child's admission when accompanied by a paying adult. Save $10 FREE child admission with paying adult.
    Toronto Zoo
    January 31, 2009 to February 1, 2009
    416-392-5929
    More info

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    Winter Carnivals & Festivals across Canada

    Canadians don't just endure winter-they celebrate it! As the mercury dips, it's time to bundle up the kids and have fun in the snow, ice, and enjoy all things winter at a Winter Carnival! Be awed by Snow sculpturing contests, snowmobile races, concerts, dog sled races, sleigh rides, rallies, and all the entertainment that can only to be found at a Winter Festival.

    Traveling this winter? Canada offers many Winter Carnivals to warm your heart, each providing a ton of exciting events and activities. Don't miss the friendly hospitality and excitement of winter festivals throughout Canada.

    Here’s a list of some Canada’s top Winter Festivals:

    Quebec Winter Carnival
    Quebec City, Quebec
    January 30 to February 15, 2009
    www.carnaval.qc.ca

    During the first two weeks of February, the entire city of Quebec celebrates the world's largest winter carnival with the giant snowman Bonhomme Carnaval. As the event's number one celebrity, Bonhomme plays a central role in all Carnival activities. This year, the Carnaval will be offering visitors a unique winter experience with an all-new theme - the Carnival leads you into the Masquerade! Be sure to sport the traditional iconic ceinture fléchée or "arrow sash." Don't miss the La Baie Snow Bath, the Canoe Race on the icy waters of the St. Lawrence River, the dogsledding race, the Calgary Stampede Western Breakfast, shimmering night parades and fireworks, the international snow-sculpture competition and more!

    Winterlude

    Ottawa – Gatineau, Ontario
    February 6 to 22, 2009
    www.winterlude.gc.ca - www.baldeneige.gc.ca

    Every February, Canada’s Capital Region is host to Winterlude, Canada's winter celebration. Three fun-filled weekends of excitement and activity await the whole family! From spectacular ice carvings to an amazing playground made of snow, Winterlude is a great way to take in the best of our Canadian winter. Skate on the world’s largest skating rink — right in the heart of Ottawa! Marvel at majestic snow sculptures and glittering ice sculptures or groove to energetic rhythms at the American Express Snowbowl.

    Festival du Voyageur
    St-Boniface, Manitoba
    February 13 to 22, 2009
    www.festivalvoyageur.mb.ca

    The Festival du Voyageur is Western Canada's largest winter festival. A 10-day province-wide celebration of sights, sounds, snow and spirit. Snow sculptures, dog-sledding, skating and plenty of delicious food and drink highlight the week-long February festival. Dubbed “The World’s Largest Kitchen Party”, Festival du Voyageur celebrates the joie de vivre of the fur traders, who established the Red River Colony and the ever-growing French-Canadian community in Western Canada. The spirit and culture of the Voyageur is present in the vibrant community that comes together to celebrate, every February, their history through this event. In honor of the Voyageur spirit, the Festival du Voyageur’s emphasis is on the beauty of winter, with numerous historical, educational and entertaining activities – truly something for every age and every taste!

    WinterCity
    Toronto, Ontario
    January 30 to February 12, 2009
    www.toronto.ca/special_events/wintercity/

    Forget the weather and join the party in the world’s coolest winter city! During the coldest months of the year, Toronto celebrates the urban winter experience with FREE Wild on Winter (WOW!) programming. Toronto sizzles as revellers enjoy two weekends of open-air spectacle shows, fantastic outdoor concerts, skating parties and family entertainment in the heart of the city. Winter is the perfect time to travel to Toronto as the award-winning WinterCity Festival offers a city-wide celebration of culture, creativity and cuisine. A fourteen-day festival of big city fun, WinterCity is 3 festivals in 1: the WOW! Series at Nathan Phillips Square, the Warm Up Series at Toronto's cultural and tourist attractions, and the ever-popular restaurant promotion, Winterlicious.

    La Fête des Neiges de Montréal
    Montreal, Quebec
    Weekend January 24 and 25
    Weekend January 31 and February 1st 2009
    www.fetedesneiges.com

    For this grand occasion, Parc Jean-Drapeau will be transformed into a vast snow-and-ice playground where the young and less young can indulge in the wintry pleasures offered by the most magical outdoor event you can experience with family or friends. Everyone is invited to get their blood pumping, their smiles flashing, and their legs moving at Parc Jean-Drapeau, the city’s biggest winter playground!

    Corner Brook Winter Carnival
    Corner Brook, Newfoundland
    Friday, February 20 to March 1, 2009
    www.cornerbrookwintercarnival.ca

    More than a hundred activities are offered in town and around the Marble Mountain ski resort. You’ll find horse races, snow sculptures and spectacular ice carvings. Enjoy a unique experience in sports, recreation, entertainment and culture within a ‘snowfunland’ theme. “Leif the Lucky”, their Carnival Mascot, reflects Newfoundland’s heritage and the fun and games of carnival time.

    Jack Frost Children's WinterFest
    Charlottetown, PEI
    February 13-15, 2009
    www.walkandseacharlottetown.com

    Get ready to celebrate winter in Charlottetown at the 5th Annual Jack Frost Children’s WinterFest. Stay “cool” outside at the Aliant Snow Kingdom, the home of Jack Frost, made from 70 tons of compacted snow. This year’s theme, “Enchanted Kingdom” will bring snow to life in a whimsical world of fairies, dragons, wizards and magical creatures of all kinds.





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    Snow Tubing in the Greater Toronto Area

    Tubing is a wintertime activity that is similar to sledding, though a snow tube is a bit more high tech than a traditional sled! Snow tubes can spin in both directions making the slide more thrilling, as opposed to going downhill in a straight line. The rider also slides down a special snow tubing slope. Snow tubing is fast becoming a fun and super-trendy leisure activity for young and old. It's a good alternative for people who don't ski or snow board. Sliding down a hill is winter excitement at its best!

    Snow Tubing rides are usually a nominal charge for one slide or you can purchase hour slots for unlimited rides. An adult must usually accompany children, and venues will enforce age and height restrictions. However, many parks are now introducing gentler slopes, which are family-friendly and allow younger and shorter children to ride. You should check at individual locations for specific policies.

    Check out the following parks that offer snow tubing in the GTA. Information is subject to change and snow tubing is weather dependent, so call the park ahead of time before heading out!

    Snow tubing parks and locations:

    Arrowhead Provincial Park

    451 Arrowhead Park Rd.
    Huntsville, ON P1H 2J4
    705-789-5105
    The park provides inner tubes and plastic carpets for those who want to try the tubing hill. More info.

    Chicopee Tube Park

    1600 River Road East, Kitchener, Ontario, N2A 4K8
    519-895-2322 or 1-877-SNO-TUBE / 1-877-766-8823
    Chicopee Tube Park has constructed specially made chutes that have a snow barrier to guide Tubes safely along the full length of the chute. Once you completed the feel of gravity and speed the Tube Park Lift system will return you and Tube to the summit for another run. More info.

    Deerhurst Resort

    1235 Deerhurst Drive, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada, P1H 2E8
    705-789-6411
    One of the most popular spots for families during the winter is the tubing hill, located at the Lakeside 10th tee. Use of snow-tubes is complimentary for guests. More info.

    Glen Eden's Tube Park

    5234 Kelso Road, Milton, ON L9T 2X7
    905-878-5011 ext. 221
    If skiing or snowboarding is not up your alley then join us for A Slidin' Good Time! at Glen Eden's Tube Park. More info.

    Lakeridge Resort

    790 Chalk Lake Road
    (Off Lakeridge Road, Durham 23)
    RR#4, Uxbridge, ON L9P 1R4 CANADA
    905-686-3607 (TORONTO)
    905-649-2058 (UXBRIDGE)
    Snow Tube is available at Lakeridge Resort - nestled in the beautiful Oak Ridge Moraine. Lakeridge is an exciting and safe place for you and your child to develop skills and passion for Snow Sports. More info.

    Rock Ridge Recreation Park

    200 Yonge Street S. Huntsville ON, P1H 1T8
    705-788-7275
    Muskoka's exclusive snow tubing park. 6 snowtubing runs. Lift to tow you & your tube to the top. Plenty of tubes on site
    Fully staffed at all times. Fun for ALL AGES. More info.

    Snow Valley Barrie

    705-721-SNOW or 1-877-404-4744
    Ski Snow Valley in Barrie offers the best snow tubing terrain in Ontario. With a snow tube rope tow and lots of chutes with large lanes so you can go down along with your group of friends or your family, Snow Valley is the place for snow tubing. More info.

    Thunder Valley Tube Park at Horseshoe Resort

    1101 Horseshoe Valley Road - Comp. 10
    R.R.#1 Barrie, Ontario L4M 4Y8
    Toronto: 416-283-2988
    Barrie, Orillia, Midland: 705-835-2790
    Toll Free: 1-800-461-5627
    The ultimate in snow tubing adventures. More runs recently opened and a super fast magic carpet lift. More info.

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    Family Snowshoeing: A Wonderful Winter Activity


    Snowshoeing in the Greater Toronto Area

    This winter, why not give snowshoeing a try? It's a fun family activity and one that guarantees your kids can just step out into the snow and be natural experts. There isn't much of a technique required and only a minimum of specialized gear is required. In other words, if you can walk, you can snowshoe! This spells freedom for kids who can basically step out anywhere it's white!

    Most of the major snowshoe companies now make kid-sized snowshoes. Look for snowshoes that are roughly 7" x 18" for kids and that are lightweight, so that kids have the leg strength to walk in them for a while. Specialized ski stores can advise you! You can also check when you're heading out to Nature Centres or Conservation Areas to see if rentals are available. Kids should wear their warmest, most comfortable snow boots when snowshoeing. Kids will get a kick out of wearing these strange contraptions on their feet and will be in awe at the ease in which they can travel on the snow!

    As a family activity, snowshoeing has a variety of advantages over other winter sports. For one, it's much more affordable! Family snowshoeing is a great, inexpensive alternative to standing in line at your local ski resort and it can be more than just a walk in the woods for a few hours.

    So give snowshoeing a try and explore the backcountry this the winter! You may even find various elusive animals. It's an excellent winter recreation choice for families.

    Ontario has more than its share of winter outdoor space. Check out the following sites for snowshoeing activities….

    Scenic Caves Nordic Centre

    Scenic Caves Nature Adventures in Collingwood boasts 22 kilometers of groomed beginner and intermediate cross country ski and snowshoe trails winding through a 200 year old forest rich with wildlife. Winter owls and a wide variety of other birds will beckon to you from the 100 feet maple; beech and oak canopy while deer and many other animals can be seen in the forest. A warm-up hut and future log cabin located in the forest offer a place to pause and enjoy the beauty. Snowshoe equipment rentals are available. You can also snowshoe across the longest suspension bridge in Ontario. 705-446-0256. More info.

    Wye Marsh EcoTours

    The Wye Marsh also offers a new program and a unique opportunity to explore winter at the marsh - WINTER ECOTOURS. This is your chance to go behind the scenes into the world of woodland and wetland research by getting into the thick of things during the winter months. One of our qualified and knowledgeable naturalist guides will lead you on a three hour snowshoe experience that will take you deep into the wooded areas of the 3000 acre Wye Marsh. This adventure could bring you face to face with forest creatures from Beavers to Deer, and Chickadees that eat right out of your hand. Snowshoes provided. Cost: $50.00 per person. Saturdays and Sundays 10:00 am to 1:00 pm (Approximately from December to March). 705- 526 7809. More info.

    Snowshoeing Adventures Humber Arboretum, Toronto (Humber Nature Centre)

    Snowshoeing events start in January and February, and are usually held on Saturdays and Sundays. Join their nature interpreters to learn a thing or two about the history of snowshoeing before trying it for yourself in their 250 acre park. Events are weather permitting. You can also organize your own group outing providing you have 15 parcipants. They provide the snowshoes. Last year this event cost $21.00 per family (Subject to change). 705-526-7809. More info.

    Albion Hills Conservation Area

    The Albion Hills Conservation Area, located 40 minutes northwest of Toronto, offers Snowshoeing (depending on snow conditions). Usually in the months of January and February. There are groomed trails, both easy and challenging. Limited snowshoe rentals are available for an additional fee - call ahead to inquire. Members are admitted free, but trail fees apply. 905-880-0227. More info.

    Haliburton County

    Haliburton County offers hundreds of miles of groomed trails for snowshoeing. Haliburton County will definitely wow you with the many Wonders of Winter. Visit their website for Winter Packages and Snowshoeing sites. 705-286-1777 or 1-800-461-7677. More info.

    Algonquin Park

    Algonquin Park has as much to offer the visitor in the winter. Highway 60 is ploughed and sanded all winter and many trails are available for the winter visitor. The Algonquin Visitor Centre is open on winter weekends and daily during the March break. A valid permit is required to use the park. Snowshoeing enthusiasts can go virtually anywhere within the park except on cross-country ski trails. 705-633-5572. More info.

    Hardwood hills nordic ski centre

    Hardwood hills nordic ski centre Located north of Barrie off Hwy 11, this facility offers classic cross-country, skating, back-country skiing and snowshoeing. Rentals are available. 1-705-487-3775 or 1-800-387-3775. More info.

    Conservation Halton - Crawford Lake

    The Crawford Lake Conservation Area includes 19 km of spectacular hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails on Ontario's scenic Niagara Escarpment. The popular Visitors Centre and newly renovated Gathering Place feature a variety of services to enhance the visitor's park experience. Snowshoeing rentals available. Check their special events as Moonlight Snowshoe Tours are organized in January and February. 905-854-0234. More info.

    Snow Valley Barrie

    Would you like to escape into the beautiful scenery of Ontario in winter? With a good pair of snowshoes, you can enjoy the white trees, the soft landscape, and all the fun of playing in the snow. With lots of trails accessible to beginners and more challenging ones, there is something for everybody in snowshoeing. Equipment rentals available. 705-721-SNOW or 1-877-404-4744. More info.

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    Tobogganing in the Greater Toronto Area

    Tobogganing is one of our great Canadian traditions! Pack up the family and head out to one of your favourite tobogganing hills. These snowy hills are some of the best in the Greater Toronto Area and will surely thrill both the young and young at heart.

    Tobogganing can be an excellent way for children to stay active and enjoy the outdoors during the long winter months however they must obey Tobogganing Safety Rules. Review these the rules to ensure your kids are safe when out tobogganing.

    TORONTO

    Adams Park - Northwest of Lawson and Port Union

    Bickford Park - Harbord St., south of Bloor

    Cedarbrook Park - Markham south of Lawrence

    Christie Pits - Bloor and Christie

    Don Valley Ravines

    Earl Bales Park (North York)

    Fairmount Park, Gerrard Street East, Toronto
    416-392-7060

    Greenwood Park, Greenwood Avenue, Toronto
    416-392-0750

    High Park - Bloor and High Park

    Moore Park, in Rosedale, near the Brickworks

    Riverdale Farm - In Cabbagetown, just beside the farm

    Riverdale Park East

    Thomson Memorial Park - Brimley and Lawrence

    Trinity-Bellwoods Park - Between Queen St. W. and Dundas St. at Crawford St.

    Withrow Park - Carlaw south of Danforth

    Willesden Park (North York)

    AJAX

    Greenwood Conservation Area

    End of Lake Driveway (east end). End of Harwood & left on Lake Drive

    ASHBURN/PICKERING

    Hy Hope Farm

    BOWMANVILLE

    Darlington Provincial Park

    MARKHAM

    Milliken Mills Parks, Kennedy Rd and 14th Avenue

    Milliken Park - McCowan and Steeles

    Milne Damn Conservation Park, McPhillips Ave, just west of Milne Lane

    Paramount Park, Parkway Ave and Paramount Drive

    OAKVILLE

    Bronte Creek Provincial Park

    SCARBOROUGH

    Adams Park - Scarborough (Port Union)

    UXBRIDGE

    Uxbridge Arena Hill (291 Brock Street West, Uxbridge)
    905 852-3081

    WHITBY


    At the back field of Henry Street High School at 600 Henry Street - small hill for younger kids.

    At the end of Annes Street South - small hill for younger kids.

    Otter Creek Park

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    Holiday Baking with Kids

    Baking Christmas cookies is a much anticipated family tradition and it's a great activity to do with your kids. Besides being fun - it's also a good way to introduce some simple math concepts to your children. If you have a few up and coming chefs in your home, here are a few tips to make some outstanding holiday cookies.

    Tips and Rules for kids in the Kitchen:

    • Make sure your child understands that they need permission to use the kitchen and that you should be present to assist/supervise.
    • Teach them to wash their hands before starting all kitchen preparations.
    • Help them read or review the recipe several times to make sure they understand it.
    • Have them check that you have all of the necessary ingredients and put them out on the counter.
    • Have them prepare your equipment like pans and measuring cups.
    • Help them measure all your ingredients ahead of time.
    • Teach them to use oven mitts or pot holders when taking food in and out of the oven, or have an adult assist with this task, if they are too young.
    • Teach kids to clean up as they go along.
    • Most of all, watch for hot surfaces and sharp objects, and give your kids a safe space to work in.

    Sugar Cookies

    Making Sugar Cookies is the most versatile recipe to use with kids. With Seasonal cookie cutters and lots of decorations from the candy store, you can end up with many beautiful cookies on a festive plate. A Sugar Cookie dough is great to use with kids as it can accommodate any level baker. Younger children can decorate the unbaked dough with coloured sugar or seasonal sprinkles or they can embellish baked cookies with coloured royal icing or frostings and ornamental candy. Most kids can handle rolling out this type of dough and cutting the dough with cookie cutters. Older kids can probably handle the entire recipe. Let your kids be artists and encourage creativity!

    A fool proof Sugar Cookie Dough Recipe

    Margarine (or butter), softened 3/4 cup
    Granulated sugar 3/4 cup
    Large egg 1
    Vanilla 1 tsp.
    All-purpose flour 2 cups
    Baking soda 1 tsp
    Cream of tartar 1 tsp
    Salt 1/4 tsp
    Ground cardamom or cinammon (optional) 1/4 tsp

    Cream margarine and sugar in large bowl. Add egg. Beat well. Add vanilla. Beat until smooth. Combine remaining 5 ingredients in small bowl. Add to margarine/butter mixture in 2 additions, mixing well after each addition until no dry flour remains. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Shape each portion into flattened disc. Wrap each with waxed paper. Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Discard waxed paper from 1 disc. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch (3 mm) thickness. Cut out shapes with lightly floured seasonal cookie cutters. Roll out dough scraps to cut more shapes. Place cookies about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake in 350ºF (175ºC) oven for about 10 minutes until edges are just golden - do not overcook. Let stand on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool. Repeat with remaining disc. Makes about 7 dozens or 84 cookies.

    The best part of this activity is sharing your wonderful holiday cookies with your friends and family!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Santa's post office is ready!


    Since the Canada Post began delivering Santa's mail to his special postal code - H0H 0H0 - the North Pole post office has received more than 27 million letters.

    Santa's post office is now open and ready to receive letters and those precious wish lists from children all around the world.

    Children can write to Santa at:

    Santa Claus
    North Pole H0H 0H0
    CANADA

    When sending a letter, please be sure to include a return address to receive a reply from Santa. Did you know that Santa will respond to your letter in any language in which the letter was written, including Braille?

    And, you can also EMAIL him! Visit the Canada Post Website at www.canadapost.ca for complete instructions. Emails are only answered in English or French.

    And this year, you can also download your own Holiday Notepaper from the Canada Post website. While you're visiting, check out some Holiday Fun and Games, and read all about Life at the North Pole. Check out the Santacast to see what's new with Santa and catch his favourite cartoon.





    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Stress-Free Holidays

    Getting through the Holiday Crunch! It can become challenging to get through the holidays without stress. Here are some tips on getting you through the holidays without feeling overwhelmed.

    Holiday Planning Tips

    Be organized…

    Make your lists ahead of time! Pencil in everything you need to get done in your agenda or calendar along with your deadlines. Keep things simple! Create checklists for the following: Cards to send, Grocery Shopping, Holiday Menu Items, Decorations to purchase, Party Guest Lists & Invitations, Gifts and Wrapping.

    Keep things simple…

    Embellish your house with simple decorations rather than over-crowding your rooms with all kinds of odds and ends. When planning your Holiday menu, don't be too elaborate. Choose recipes that are simple and have been tested, to avoid the stress of your recipes' outcome. Since most people complain about overeating during the holidays, a small selection of quality foods is more than appropriate!

    Stock up on necessities now…

    Now is the time to stock up on things you will need during the holidays: film, batteries, candles. Stock your pantry with lots of snack for unexpected drop-in guests. You don't want to be running out for these items at the last minute.

    Gift-wrapping strategy…

    Set up one central gift-wrapping station with all your supplies. Commit to wrapping a certain number of presents each day!

    Party Planning Tips

    Try potlucks and catering for parties…

    If you're cooking for large crowds, it can be very time-consuming and it can become quite expensive. Organize a potluck and have everyone contribute a dish. Alternatively, you can look into catering services. A caterer may cost the same as buying all the ingredients. And, even if it's a bit more expensive, it may be worth the time and effort you save.

    Co-host a party…

    Since the holidays are all about parties, co-host a party with a friend or family. Co-hosting parties solves those conflicts in peoples' schedules. If it's one party for your friends or family instead of two, and it will cut your stress and work in half.

    Cook ahead of time…

    Find Holiday menu items and recipes that can made ahead of time, and that you can freeze until you need them. This will drastically cut down on what you need to do on the day of your big event.

    Gift Giving Tips

    Have a budget and don't overspend…

    Design a budget that is right for your family. There are many ways to make this holiday special without adding stress to your budget. How can you show people you appreciate them? Letting people know what is special about them in a card, letter, video or a scrapbooking page is a great gift. Use your imagination and have fun!

    Shop online…

    Avoid the frenzy of the shopping malls (let alone battling it out for a parking spot). Many companies now offer secured shopping online. During the holiday period, you'll find great incentives and many offer Free Shipping (with a minimum purchase). No traffic and no waiting in line!

    Family gift giving…

    Join with other family members to shop for big gifts, or give a family gift rather than individual gifts. A special meal for the entire family or an electronic toy that both adults and children might just be on Santa's list!

    Draw names…

    If you are part of a large family or have lots of friends, suggest drawing names so that each person only has to buy one gift. Or, agree only to give gifts to the children in the family.

    All-purpose gifts…

    Always keep a stock of all-purpose gifts on hand such a picture frames, decorative dishes, candles, seasonal decorations, non-perishable gift baskets, or ornaments for unexpected guests or holiday party invitations, so you won't have to dash out and buy last-minute expensive gifts.

    Prepare for next year right after the holidays…

    To save some time for next year, and to take advantage of year-end bargains, buy all of your decorations, gift wrap, and cards for next year at this year's post-holiday sales.

    Throughout the Holiday Season, remember to enlist the help of your little elves.

    Kids can be a big help at this time of the year. Get them to help and turn some time-consuming holiday chores into fun family activities. Kids can help with holiday cards (envelopes & stamps), decorating holiday cookies, cooking, gift-wrapping and decorating your home.

    Following these tips can be just what you need to be able to experience a saner more enjoyable holiday season and really focus on the true meaning of the season… Happy Holidays!!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





    The Santa Photo Shoot

    It's to be expected... You've waited hours in line to capture that perfect photo op with Santa, and when the moment arrives, Junior has a melt down. It's Christmas holiday photo season again! Time for blurry pictures of kids crying and squirming out of Santa's lap… Wrong! Your Santa photos don't need to be a disaster this year! Here are some tips to capture a great Christmas memory of your child and Santa Claus.

    How to prepare for a Santa Photo Shoot

    · Don't go see Santa near naptime. Make sure your child is well rested.

    • Feed your child before you go see Santa (just don't feed her in her fancy duds; you want to avoid any kind of spillage just before heading out).

    • Pick a day and time when there won't be a long wait time. The week before Christmas is insane. Try to go as soon as Santa hits the mall to avoid disappointment. Consider a weekday if your child is not in school. Avoid weekends.

    • If your child never seen Santa before, make sure you introduce him a few times before photo day. Drop by the mall early when they are no line-ups to point Santa out and say "Hi". If you don't have time, wear a Santa hat around the house, yelling ho-ho-ho (even if your child thinks you're weird!). Watch DVDs with Santa. Familiarity is the key. Children are comfy with what they know. The more they "know" Santa from the costume and words you expose them to, the more relaxed they will be when they see the real thing.

    • If your child refuses to sit on Santa's lap, try having him stand next to Santa. If things get out of hand, consider having a family portrait with Santa and jump in the photo!

    • Have your child make a list and bring it to tell Santa. This might help ease any tensions.

    If your child is still upset, don't push it. So you miss a photo for one year? Better to have a picture of her smiling by your tree in the comfort of your own home, than to spend all that money on one of your child looking miserable. Your child may resent or remain fearful of Santa if you force the issue. Allow your child to accept Santa on her own terms.
    This thread is currently associated with: ATMOSPHERE Sports, Canada Post, Toronto Zoo
    Last edited by FreebieChick; Wed, Nov 24th, 2010 at 11:18 AM.
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  2. #2
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    WOW thanks!

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    Wow is right! What a great list! Thank You

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    Lynden Park Mall (Brantford) http://lyndenparkmall.shopping.ca/ca...jsp?mallid=lyn
    and Burlington Mall have free Santa Photos-the images are sent to your email account.
    http://burlingtonmall.shopping.ca/ca...SantaHours.pdf
    FREE Santa Photos!
    Burlington Mall is pleased to be able to offer Free Santa photos again this year. This was very popular with families last year so we have extended the photo hours to make it easier to fit your visit in. Visit us and take home a memory that will last forever.

    November Photo Hours
    Sat Nov 13, 20 & 27 - 10am to 6pm
    Sun Nov 14, 21 & 28 - noon to 5pm

    Fri Nov 19 & 26 - 10am to 8pm
    December Photo Hours

    Mon to Sat - 10am to 8pm
    Sun - 10am to 6pm
    Christmas Eve, Nov 24 - 10am to 4pm
    Last edited by Ciel; Wed, Dec 1st, 2010 at 03:38 PM.
    Rooster (2017) about to be chased by a Dog (2018)-Feb.16 Lunar New Year

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    We are Quebec’s most affordable traffic contesting service. Our lawyers treats each ticket case by case. We explore every possible defense and strategy based on your version of the events so you may benefit from a reasonable doubt.

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    Last edited by andoson15; Sun, Dec 7th, 2014 at 01:24 AM.

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