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A Dog Day Afternoon

Did you know that owning a pet may reduce blood pressure as effectively as maintaining a low-salt diet? Fido and Fluffy bring both health and happiness to their proud owners, and now there's a place to give a little something back in return. PawsWay, located at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre, is Canada's first and only pet-discovery centre. Owners and their four-legged friends can play in the interactive exhibits and learn some new tricks courtesy of the centre's educational activities. Admission to the 16,000-square-foot centre is free, though some programs may charge a small fee. Past pet programs have shown owners how to read dog and cat body language, offered tips on pet-proofing before bringing home a puppy or kitten, and presented canine freestyle "dancing." The centre also houses the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, which honours Canadian pets and service animals for savings human life. 416-360-PAWS (7297), 245 Queen's Quay West.

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On the slopes

Not a big boarder or skiing superstar? Ontario's ski resorts offer outdoor fun beyond the run-of-the-mill runs. For a wild ride this winter, check out Thunder Valley Tube Park at Horseshoe Resort near Barrie. See www.horseshoeresort.com or call 1-800-461-5627 for details.For a slightly slower pace, try snowshoeing at Sir Sam's Ski Area near Haliburton. The resort has expanded its trails for the 2009 season, so visitors can now traverse up to three kilometres of snow-covered terrain. Check out www.sirsams.com or phone 705-754-2298 for info. To get out of the cold, visit Plunge! Aquatic Centre at the base of Blue Mountain Ski Resort near Collingwood. Go for a dip in the indoor water playground or enjoy a soothing soak in one of the hot tubs. To learn more, visit www.plungebluemountain.ca or call 705-444-8705.