Winter break is that blissful time around Christmas and New Year’s where schools are closed and most people have some time off work. There are lots of things to occupy your time in between holiday parties and family visits, and here are 10 of the free and cheap things to do in Brampton.
1. Ice Skating
Brampton has a bunch of indoor and outdoor rinks. The city’s scenic outdoor trails are free to use and the rinks at Gage Park and Chinguacousy Park are open for the season. Indoor rinks usually cost a few dollars, including the newly minted covered outdoor rink at Gore Meadows.
2. Downtown Lights Tour
During winter, downtown Brampton is always decorated with hundreds of thousands of twinkle lights and it’s kind of the perfect place for selfies. Park the car and take a walk from Church Street and Main Street all the way down to Gage Park to see the full display. It will cost you absolutely nothing, and if you’re stopping by on a weekday after 7 p.m. or a weekend, parking is free.
3. Peel Art Gallery
PAMA is open throughout winter break offering different activities every day. Their exhibits are also open. Explore Murray Laufer’s ‘More Than Skin Deep’ exhibit, photojournalism over the past 5 decades and more. Visiting PAMA’s art gallery and exhibits won’t break the bank, its just $5 for individuals or $12 for families (two adults and up to 5 kids). It can be free if you have a Brampton Library card though: you can get into PAMA at no charge by borrowing day passes.
4. MakerSpace at Brampton Library
Some Brampton Library branches, including Four Corners, Chinguacousy and Springdale, have free 3D printers and vinyl cutters you can access for free with your Brampton library card. Chinguacousy Library also has a recording studio and you can now borrow GoPros with your card, so basically you can spend winter break doing all sorts of creative stuff.
5. NYE Celebrations
On New Year’s Eve the city is hosting a dance party at 9 p.m. inside the Brampton City Hall atrium, as well as two sets of fireworks displays: one at 9 p.m. and at one right at midnight. A bunch of talented local artists are lined up to perform, and Juno-nominated Canadian artist Shawn Hook is headlining the show.
6. Virtual Reality Arcade
Brampton’s very first virtual reality arcade, Ctrl V, just opened to the public and it’s pretty epic. The arcade offers 50 different virtual reality games and experiences to which you get full access with every booking. They offer semi-private booths by the hour that you can book online. Every Thursday Ctrl V has buy one, get one 50 per cent off on all bookings, and on January 2 they are offering free demos at the arcade so you can get to know what the experience is all about. Ctrl V is located at 239 Queen Street East.
7. Roller Skating
Brampton got a new retro roller skating rink, Rollerplex, earlier this year complete with vintage skates and a disco ball. $15 gets you skating rink access and skate rental. The price is a little cheaper for people under 18, and for anyone under 4 years old it’s free.
8. Unlimited Board Games
Wildcard just opened in downtown Brampton and the board game cafe carries hundreds of games you can play for hours. It will only cost you a few dollars for unlimited play, and they even have munchies like nachos and sandwiches at an affordable price.
Mount Chinguacousy’s tubing hill is open as of December 27 and for less than $20 you can enjoy some winter fun. For $13.50 you get six rides down the hill. During the holiday season, December 27 until January 6, tubing operates every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. but is closed on New Year’s Day. There’s a minimum height requirement of 42 inches to ride the tubes.
10. Winter Hikes
Brampton has a ton of beautiful places to hike in the winter including Clairville and Heart Lake conservation areas. The Etobicoke Creek trail is also a great place to explore.