City of Toronto’s holiday activities and services

GTA Weekly
Photo: City of Toronto

The City of Toronto encourages residents and visitors to take advantage of City programs and attractions offered during the year-end holiday period. Most City of Toronto operations and all municipal offices will be closed on December 25 and 26, as well as January 1. City services that regularly operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week such as 311 Toronto and emergency services will be available. Information about curbside waste collection is provided later in this news release.

The City of Toronto Archives at 255 Spadina Rd., usually open on Saturdays, will be closed on December 23 and 30 as well as on the dates noted above for municipal offices. 

Winter recreation activities
Winter has arrived at Toronto’s parks, community centres and natural environments, as detailed below. 

Fitness, camps and recreation programs
The City offers fitness classes, weight rooms, camps and more, offering something for everyone. Community recreation centres will be open until 4 p.m. on December 24 and 31 (later for those with scheduled permits) and closed on December 25 and 26 and January 1. Some facilities may be closed during the holiday period for annual maintenance. More information and schedules are available at or by calling 311.

Drop-in swim programs at pools across the city make it convenient to make a splash this holiday season. Schedules vary by location and are available at 

The City offers a variety of free, leisure ice-skating programs for all ages and abilities at indoor arenas and outdoor rinks. Outdoor rinks that are open may be unsupervised. Indoor arenas will be closed on December 25 and 26 and January 1. Schedules vary by location. More information is available at 

Riverdale Farm
The City’s Riverdale Farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information is available at or by calling 416-392-6794.

High Park Zoo
The High Park Zoo is home to domestic and exotic animals, including Toronto’s famous capybaras, Bonnie and Clyde, and is open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission to the zoo is free. More information is available at 

Flower shows
Christmas flower shows at the City’s Allan Gardens and Centennial Park conservatories are a tradition during the holiday season. The flower shows are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until January 7 and admission is free. More information is available at

Toronto Zoo
The Toronto Zoo will be open throughout the holiday season except on December 25. More information is available at

St. Lawrence Market Complex 
To serve Toronto residents and visitors, the St. Lawrence Market Complex has modified hours over the winter holiday season, including extended Sunday hours for the South Market from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on December 24 and 31. The South Market will be closed on December 25 and 26 as well as January 1 and 2. Regular hours of operation will be observed on all other days throughout December and January.
The South Market features 64 merchants and is open five days a week, year-round. During the holiday season, the St. Lawrence Market will also offer a variety of paid classes and free drop-in cooking demonstrations and seminars on holiday meal ideas.

The St. Lawrence Market Saturday Farmers Market and Sunday Antique Market operate year-round in the temporary market at 125 The Esplanade. Both markets will be open during the winter holiday season. The Saturday Farmers Market will be open from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 23 and 30. The Sunday Antique Market will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 24 and 31. 
More information about the St. Lawrence Market Complex holiday hours and holiday-themed activities is available at

Toronto History Museums
Six of the City’s History Museums are offering holiday-themed events and tours for families and adults. Most of the museums are open daily except Mondays. All the museums will be closed on December 25 and 26 as well as January 1. Highlights for individual locations are noted below. Times and participant age details for activities vary by day and by location. Holiday season admission prices apply. More information is available at 

Colborne Lodge (11 Colborne Lodge Dr., High Park)
Through January 7, visitors to Colborne Lodge can enjoy a holiday themed tour of the historic site complemented by the new exhibit Innovation Circa 1867, which highlights Canadian inventions from the Confederation era.

Fort York National Historic Site (250 Fort York Blvd.)
During special programming from December 27 to 31, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily, children can join the cooks in the historic kitchen to help make gingerbread cookies. Upon arrival, sign up at the Museum Store for a tour of the fort – included with regular admission.

Gibson House Museum (5172 Yonge St.)
Visitors to Gibson House will experience the elegant traditions of the Scottish holiday season and learn how the Gibson family celebrated Hogmanay in the 19th century. On December 28 and 29, evening dinner events will celebrate the Scottish traditions of Hogmanay. Pre-registration with payment is required. Gibson House will be closed for maintenance from January 1 to 15. 

Mackenzie House (82 Bond St.)
Through January 7, visitors will learn the story of how families celebrated Christmas in 19th century Toronto. Until December 24, children are invited to write a letter to Santa Claus during their visit and select a card from the 1845 printing press. From December 27 to 31, children can make a New Year’s Eve noisemaker in the print shop. 

Market Gallery (95 Front St. E., second floor)
Building Toronto: Stories of the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood explores how the city’s first planned neighbourhood contributed to Toronto’s commercial, cultural, social and political history. This free exhibit is on display until February 24.

Montgomery’s Inn (4709 Dundas St. W.)
The inn will be open regular hours offering tours throughout the holiday season, though the weekly farmers market will not run December 27 and January 3.

Scarborough Museum (1007 Brimley Rd.)
On December 27 to 29 and January 2 to 5, the museum offers camps for children six to 11 years of age. Pre-registration is required online at or by calling 416-338-4FUN (4386). 

Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Rd.)
Through January 7, visitors can experience a 1920s holiday season on a guided tour of Spadina Museum. Holly wreaths, evergreen garlands and mistletoe adorn the house. In the re-created 1930s kitchen, visitors can have holiday treats including mulled cider. 

Todmorden Mills Heritage Site (67 Pottery Rd.)
Visitors can experience two different eras’ Christmas traditions – the 1890s and the 1940s – through January 7. The public can tour Todmorden Mills’ two historic houses, sample historic recipes and create a take-home craft.

Special events
In addition to the City’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration, tickets are now on sale for the Winterlicious 2018 Culinary Event Series (both highlighted below). More activities can be found on the City’s online Festivals and Events Calendar at

New Year’s Eve at Nathan Phillips Square
Toronto’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration will take place at Nathan Phillips Square on December 31 starting at 8 p.m., culminating with a spectacular fireworks display at midnight. Audiences will experience a DJ set by Hamilton’s internationally acclaimed electro-pop artist Jessy Lanza and live music from Toronto’s dancehall/soul sensations Bonjay alongside DJ sets from OBUXUM, Nino Brown and Classic Roots. Other activities will include a skating party sponsored by Tim Hortons and visuals by Roxanne Luchak. This event will be the finale of TO Canada with Love, the City’s year-long celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. Full program details are available at
Winterlicious Culinary Event Series tickets
Tickets are now on sale for the Culinary Event Series that will be part of Winterlicious 2018, running from January 26 to February 8. The series will feature seven unique cooking and dining experiences hosted by some of Toronto’s finest venues and chefs. Details are available at

Solid waste pickup
There will be no night collection on Monday, December 25. Those who receive Monday night collection will receive night collection on Tuesday, December 26. Collection will begin earlier than usual, so material should be placed out no later than 5 p.m. 

There will be no night collection on Monday, January 1 and all those who are on night collection that week will receive night collection one day after their regularly scheduled collection day. For the week of January 1, Monday night collection will be shifted to Tuesday night; Tuesday night collection will be shifted to Wednesday night; Wednesday night collection will be shifted to Thursday night; and Thursday night collection will be shifted to Friday night. Daytime collection will proceed as scheduled that week. 

All transfer stations and drop-off depots for residential drop-off of garbage, yard waste, recyclables, household hazardous waste and electronics will be closed on December 25 and on January 1. 

The City will not book any Toxic Taxi appointments to pick up household hazardous waste from residential properties from December 25 to 29.

More information is available at

Winter Operations
The City’s winter operations will continue as usual during the holidays. Local road plowing will begin when the snow stops falling and if the snow accumulation has reached at least eight centimetres. Residents are reminded that 311 will only take service requests for specific snow clearing after the crews have had a chance to clear the snow. Please don’t call 311 during the storm to ask when a street will be plowed. Residents can track where plows and salt trucks are and which roads have been serviced using the City’s real-time, online tracking map, available at

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