Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

August 23, 2017

© Tourism BC

The Vancouver Art Gallery will offer hands-on workshops for all ages during the break.

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Kids gone wild!

Have a blast with your family for Spring Break without ever leaving the city

Calgary

MARCH 28 – APRIL 8
Public schools here actually go on Winter Break a week after Edmonton, but Calgarians make up for it in a hurry. Sitting on the doorstep of the Rockies, many people head straight to the fantastic snow sports within two hour’s drive: mountain resorts at Banff, Lake Louise, and the 1988 Olympics sites in the Kananaskis area are all international stars that offer Winter Break bargains.

In town, there’s public skating at the Olympic Oval’s (2500 University Drive Northwest; oval.ucalgary.ca) three ice surfaces, and comprehensive kids’ sports programming available at Calgary’s different leisure centres. A local website, CalgarysChild.com, lists many Winter Break ideas and excursions, along with info on eight day camps offering activities as diverse as drama, games on horseback, and motorized robotics. The Calgary Zoo (1300 Zoo Road Northeast; calgaryzoo.org) runs celebrated weeklong naturalist programs for kids, some involving hands-on experiences with the zoo’s animals. Indoor exhibits at the otherwise closed Heritage Park (1900 Heritage Drive Southwest; heritagepark.ca) are still open to visitors.

Ottawa

MARCH 8 – 18
Canada’s capital boasts skiing in the Gatineau Hills (448 Mont Cascades Road, Cantley, QC; montcascades.ca), skating on the world’s longest rink, the Rideau Canal, and sleigh-loads of culture. The city has 15 museums and the most restaurants per capita in the country, making it an ideal place to wander and idle.

Most museums offer kids’ holiday activities: past March Break fare has included beatboxing dj workshops at the Aviation Museum (11 Aviation Parkway; aviation.technomuses.ca), housed in a hanger; cooking with maple syrup at the Agriculture Museum (Prince of Wales Drive; agriculture.technomuses.ca); bacteria seminars at the Museum of Nature (240 McLeod Street; nature.ca); and art classes at the National Gallery (380 Sussex Drive; gallery.ca). The Diefenbunker (3911 Carp Road; diefenbunker.ca), a secret Cold War facility built by then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, is a big hit with the small fry: sign them up for the five-day Spy Camp.

To access all of Ottawa’s museums in one place go to OttawaTourism.ca. As well, Ottawa-Information-Guide.com lists 21 different local March Break day camps for kids, with activities ranging from drama and sports to robotics. Rock of Ages, a rock’n’roll musical, plays at the National Arts Centre (53 Elgin Street; nac-cna.ca) until March 10.

Montreal

MARCH 1 – 11
Canada’s earliest March Break always gets off to a rousing start in Montreal. Museums, boutiques, eateries and entertainment spots cater to visitors throughout the holiday, while outdoor fun is widely available: close to the city, Mont-Rigaud (321 rue des Erables; Rigaud; montrigaud.com) and Mont-St-Bruno (550 Rang des Vingt-cinq Est, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville; skisaintbruno.com) specialize in affordable skiing and lessons for kids. Two hours north lies Mont-Tremblant (1000 Chemin des Voyageurs
Mont-Tremblant; tremblant.ca), Eastern Canada’s signature ski destination. On the way is Glissades des Pays d’en Haut (440 Chemin Avila, Piedmont; glissades.ca), a large tubing centre (sliding with inner tubes). It’s a thrill, with 32 runs and five lifts.

One of Montreal’s newest seasonal attractions is the Snow Village (130 Chemin du tour de l’île, Parc Jean-Drapeau; snowvillage.canada.com) in Parc Jean-Drapeau. Built entirely of frozen white stuff, it features an Ice Hotel with igloo “chalets,” 25 rooms and a restaurant/bar: there’s a lot for kids to do. This year’s Village is also the site of an enormous replica of the Manhattan skyline, constructed (you guessed it) from nothing but ice.

Elsewhere, the east-end Biodôme (4777 Avenue Pierre-de Coubertin; espacepourlavie.ca), home to 4500 animals, and affiliated Insectarium (4101 Rue Sherbrooke Est) where you’ll find plenty of live bugs, offer day camps and events, while the Montreal Canadiens (tel: 514-925-2525; canadiens.nhl.com) run a co-ed hockey camp for ages 7 to 12 at McGill University from March 4 to 8. Two useful Montreal websites, the KidScoop.com and ISpyMontreal.com, contain scads of info on upcoming events and activities.

Quebec City

MARCH 1 – 11
A town that excels at winter, Québec City is the place to experience March Break outdoors. The city and surrounding area offer a wealth of seasonal attractions and holiday deals like the nearby Mont-Sainte-Anne (2000 Boulevard du Beau-Pré, Beaupré; mont-sainte-anne.com), where kids under 12 visit free if parents stay three nights and purchase lift passes. Le Massif (455 Route 138, Petite-Rivière-Saint-François; lemassif.com), the region’s other ski hill, also features many family-oriented activities, including GPS rallies, fun runs, treasure hunts, and games of skill.

Just outside the city, the adventurous can sleep just outside of town at the famous Ice Hotel (9530 rue de la Faune, Quebec; hoteldeglace-canada.com), made completely of ice. Or to get a feel for frost at five large skating venues (try Place D’Youville in the heart of the scenic Old City). Dog-sledding with huskies is available 10 minutes from the city centre at Plein-Air Inukshuk (39 Laurentienne, St-Etienne-de-Lauzon; aventureinukshuk.com), while sliding enthusiasts go straight to Village Vacances Valcartier (Route 371, St-Gabriel-de-Valcartier; valcartier.com), 20 minutes out. It’s the place for “snow rafting” down mile-long trails bedecked with sound effects, light shows and theme attractions.

Halifax

MARCH 8 – 18
Halifax hits the ground running during March Break, partly because of an influx of visitors from neighbouring New Brunswick, which starts its break earlier. Kids and grownups alike will be entertained at the downtown Discovery Centre (1593 Barrington Street; discoverycentre.ns.ca), a hands-on science museum with many interactive exhibits: themed day-camps for kids operate through the break.

The city’s libraries (halifaxpubliclibraries.ca) also offer day-camps and activities for children under age 14: simple cooking classes, arts and crafts workshops, and Lego “block parties” all feature over the break. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (1723 Hollis Street; artgalleryofnovascotia.ca) gives art classes for adults and children, tips from pro artists included. If you like skating or swimming, the capacious Dartmouth Sportsplex (Wyse Road, Dartmouth; darmouthsportsplex.com) schedules extended public sessions until March 18th.

St. John’s

MARCH 28 – APRIL 8
Newfoundlanders celebrate Easter Break, a spring holiday that invariably comes with a healthy snow pack and great skiing. In St. John’s, the local ski resort, White Hills (100 White Hills Road, Clarenville; discoverwhitehills.com), features both excellent alpine ski terrain and wilderness cross-country trails. The resort gets a whopping two and a half metres of snow annually.

Back in St. John’s, activities are in full swing, whether it’s extended skating hours at the Mile One Centre (50 New Gower Street; mileonecentre.com), special events at St. John’s newest history and art museum, The Rooms (9 Bonaventure Avenue; therooms.ca), or buzzing day camps for bored kids at the Insectarium (2 Bonne Bay Road, Reidville; nfinsectarium.com). The Johnson GEO CENTRE (175 Signal Hill Road; geocentre.ca) is the place for fossil exhibits, science demos and 3D movies, and from April 1 to 5 they’ll be running a science camp. Smaller family members will get a kick out of the kids’ castle and teddy stuffing station (245 Major’s Path; tel: 709-754-5437) in town.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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