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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday fun to bring in the New Year

   One Tank Trip published Dec. 24/25, 2011


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Looking for some fun over the holidays?
   Bring in the New Year at the “Honeymoon Capital of the World,” talk to the animals, check out Leonardo da Vinci’s Workshop or make gingerbread at the fort.
Colourful fireworks over Niagara Falls help to welcome 2012 at a free party at Queen Victoria Park.
   Lighting up the night sky
   Spectacular fireworks over the falls help to welcome 2012 in Niagara Falls.
   Some 40,000 people are expected for the free concert in Queen Victoria Park starting at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 31.

 
   There will be fireworks at 8:45 p.m. for the kids who need to go to bed early and then at midnight for everyone else.
   Called the “largest outdoor New Year's Eve party in Canada,” there are food and beverage vendors, as well as an outdoor licensed area.
   The evening kicks off with “emerging recording artist” Stephanie McIlroy, followed by the Sheepdogs, Saskatoon's rock phenomenon ,and JUNO award-winner Keshia Chante.
   Alt-rock legends Our Lady Peace keep the party rocking as the clock ticks down to midnight with pop/punk group Simple Plan, one of Canada's most prolific bands, taking to the stage for a rousing finish.
   There is ice skating at the Rink on the Brink adjacent to the Table Rock Welcome Centre overlooking the falls.
   Thousands will jam into Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls for a party to bring in 2012.
   New is Winter Wonderland through Jan. 8 with activities including an ice castle, Snowflake Honour Guard, Victorian Candy Land, winter carousel , hot chocolate and making s’mores over an open fire.
   The Floral Showhouse’s Christmas display is from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. with traditional red, white and pink poinsettias along with cyclamens, azaleas, Christmas cactus and paperwhite narcissus while tropical birds fly overhead. www.niagaraparks.com; 1-877-642-7275

   Talk to the animals
   Play Santa to the critters at the Toronto Zoo for the 36th Annual Christmas Treats Walk on Dec. 26.
   Join the Tundra Trek on Boxing Day from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. when animals such as Siberian tigers, polar bears, reindeer and others are given seasonal-themed goodies.
Keeping cool is this polar bear who is waiting for his Christmas treats on Boxing Day at the Toronto Zoo.
   The outside event includes strolling carollers and hot chocolate to warm up along with half-price admission (bring a food bank item).
   On New Year's Eve is the 2012 countdown, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with animal visits, zookeeper talks, entertainment including Abbamania, the WotWots and Majinx Magic Show, meeting Shrek and food. 361A Old Finch Avenue. www.torontozoo.com; (416) 392-5929

   Build like da Vinci
   Rediscover Leonardo da Vinci, one of history’s greatest inventors, in an exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto.
Discover the greatness of genius Leonardo da Vinci at the Ontario Science Centre with a model of his Mechanical Lion built according to his drawings.
   It features models of Leonardo’s inventions, technology that allows visitors to interact with his notebooks (codices) and digital versions of iconic pieces such as the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper.
   Special holiday shows through Jan. 8 include an interactive stage show to discover how da Vinci saw the world and using wooden blocks to come with inventions and structures.
   Other activities include “Van de Graaff generator,” also known as the ball that makes your hair stand up, cosmic journeys, sky gazing, science on fire and papermaking.
Visionary Leonardo da Vinci’s model of a Harpsichord-Viola instrument is on display at the Ontario Science Centre.
   Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Dec. 26 to Jan. 8. 770 Don Mills Rd. www.ontariosciencecentre.ca; 1-888-696-1110

   A mess of gingerbread
   While touring Fort York (250 Fort York Blvd.) in Toronto, children can join the cooks in the Officers' Mess kitchen to create old-fashioned gingerbread cookies.
   A “hands-on” workshop from Dec. 27 to 31 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. uses period cooking utensils and tools to sift flour, crush cinnamon, cloves or allspice and grate nutmeg and ginger following an 1800’s gingerbread recipe.
   Cookies will be baked over the open hearth fire and samples can be taken home – if they last that long.
   Also at the fort until Dec. 31 (except Dec. 25, 26) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays (5 p.m., weekends), visitors can experience winter from 1812 to see how troops coped with the cold.
   Military posts in Canada were considered the coldest, harshest posts in the British Empire and this tour includes sampling baking from the 1826 Officers' Mess kitchen and warming by a crackling wood fire.
   It’s among numerous seasonal events offered at City of Toronto Museums. www.toronto.ca/holidays

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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