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What to do with your kids on Easter

Egg-painting workshops at Todmorden Mills are one way to have fun this Easter. 

Of all the feast days in the calendar, Easter is the most interesting, with its many layers of ancient pagan and early Christian symbolism. The name Easter itself is taken from an Anglo-Saxon goddess (Eostre), and today this important date in the Christian calendar is rich with the imagery of death and rebirth, light and dark, fertility and nature’s reawakening. Even the date when we celebrate Easter is linked to the moon, adding to its mystery. Since the year 325, when Constantine was emperor of Rome, the date of Easter has been determined to be the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, reckoned according to the Gregorian Calendar in the West, the Julian Calendar in the Orthodox Church. This explains why the date changes every year, unlike Christmas, say, or Hallowe’en, and why the Orthodox and Western dates differ as well.

This year, Easter falls on April 8, mid-way through the possible range of dates. The earliest it can be is March 23: the latest is April 23.

Here are a few activities you can take part in during the coming days leading up to Easter Sunday.

Puck’s Farm Easter Egg Hunt is billed as the “world’s largest 8-day Easter Egg Hunt” and is now underway. Presided over by the Easter Bunny himself, this event runs all day long. Kids can hunt for eggs all over the farm, and pet the animals as well. There are pony rides too. Great way to introduce kids to the animals.

Downey’s Farm has an Easterfest this weekend and next, with magic tricks, puppets, Easter Egg hunts, face and egg painting and more.

You can learn something about the ancient Ukrainian art of painting Easter Eggs at Todmorden Mills where they are running a workshop this Saturday and Sunday. It costs $10 for adults, $5 for kids, and you have to pre-register (416-396-2819).

More Easter Egg fun is to be had at Colborne Lodge in High Park this Sunday, April 1, from noon to 3 pm. Call this number to find out more: 416 392 6916.

The Toronto Zoo puts on its annual Easter “Egg” Stravaganza from April 6 to 9, 9:30 am–3:30 pm. Games, puzzles, a parade, Easter Eggs and of course plenty of animals.

Let’s not forget the Easter Parade. Toronto Beaches Lions Club presents its 2012 version of the popular parade on Easter Sunday, April 8, at 2 pm. It moves west from Munro Park to Woodbine, on Queen Street East.

Casa Loma has a  couple of events for Easter weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, April 7 and 8, is the Bunny Hop. Kids are encouraged to dress in bunny costumes and hunt for Easter eggs in the castle. On Easter Sunday, the Casa Loma Royal Brunch Buffet is served in the stately library of the castle. Following brunch, explore the place.

If sitting down to brunch in a castle isn’t your thing, Kensington Market has a Sweets Tour going on. You stroll the market and sample sweets from various places, starting at the Butterfly Bakery at 492 Dundas St. W. April 8 at 11:30 am and 2pm. You have to book in advance, so call 416 871 7133

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