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Bittersweet weekend: Hello St. Patrick's Day; Goodbye pandas

Last Updated Mar 16, 2018 at 6:32 am EDT

A man rides past during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Toronto on March 13, 2011. Courtesy of Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla.

Although March break is coming to an end, there are two things to be happy about. For one thing, St. Patrick’s Day is on Saturday. And two, spring arrives on Tuesday. The birds are already chirping the good news.

And on a sad note, this is the last weekend for you to head to the Toronto Zoo to see the pandas.

Panda cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue play in an enclosure at the Toronto Zoo on March 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Panda cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue play in an enclosure at the Toronto Zoo on March 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young



Last weekend to see pandas
They’ve been a staple at the Toronto Zoo for the past five years with millions flocking to see them, but this weekend Da Mao, Er Shun, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue will say goodbye. Da Mao and Er Shun arrived at the zoo in 2013 as part of a global breeding program, which turned out to be a success thanks to the births of Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue in 2015. The family of pandas are now headed to the Calgary Zoo, where they will stay until 2023. The pandas are on loan from China as part of a 10-year partnership between China, Toronto and Calgary. Zoo officials are encouraging any one who visits to snap a picture with the panda farewell clock. The Giant Panda Experience closes at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Below is a retrospective video from the Toronto Zoo:

St. Paddy’s Day in ‘The 6ix’
It’s a green beer extravaganza. From a huge party at 11 Polson St., complete with fiddlers, Irish dancers and lots of Guinness, to events at Steam Whistle Brewery, the Gladstone Hotel and Liberty Grand, there’s no shortage of parties to mark St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday. Most of the parties are 19-plus so be sure to bring your ID, and remember much of the festivities are getting underway in the afternoon and are expected to last well into the the night. Tickets are still available for some of the events.


Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival
If you love maple syrup, then this is perfect time of year for you. Until April 8, you can enjoy the best of the maple syrup season at one of three conservation areas in the GTA. There will be maple syrup demonstrations, wagon rides, pancakes, tours, live entertainment and other activities. The festival takes place at Terra Cotta Conservation Area in Halton Hills (until April 8), Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area in Stouffville (until April 8), Kortright Centre for Conservation in Woodbridge (until April 8), and Island Lake Conservation Area in Orangeville (Friday to Saturday, and March 24).

YouTube video below via TRCA – The Living City TV:

Family Yoga and Drum Workshop
Time to get your zen on, and even your groove. This Saturday the first annual Family Yoga and Drum Workshop is taking over Smplfy Studio on Dundas West. The class is recommended for parents and children, who will be able to bond through creative exercises in yoga and drumming. The studio has partnered up with yoga instructor Donna Wilding and Raja Rhythmics for this light and fun class. You’re being asked to bring your own yoga mats. The class runs on Sunday from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for children 1-5, $10 for youth and $20 for Adults. Children under one years old are free.

Book sale at the library
Go figure, a library would have a book sale, what are the odds? Well, your odds are stacked in your favour if you are looking to buy books at extremely discounted prices. The book sale is taking place at the Toronto Reference Library (Beeton Hall) on Friday and Saturday. The prices for all items range from 10 cents to 50 cents — and payment is cash only. Money raised from the book sale goes to benefit library programs.

TTC service this weekend

St. Patrick’s Day special
Everyone loves to drink and party on St. Patrick’s Day, but police are reminding everyone not to drink and drive. You can either have a designated driver, take a cab home, or ride on the 501 Queen, 504 King, and 514 Cherry streetcar routes for free on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. TTC riders who are connecting to the subway or another route from the three streetcar routes must pay their fare at the transfer point.

Line 3 closure
If you are planning to use Line 3 this weekend, you will have to find another way to get around. Trains won’t be running between Kennedy and McCowan stations due to track and infrastructure work. Shuttle buses will be running, and Wheel-Trans buses will be provided upon request.