It was a good one. Toronto does not disappoint in the what-to-do-with-the-kids department. This year we explored some of the newest destinations for families, plus discovered some new-to-us spots that will definitely be on our return list for next year.
Here they are – our favourite finds in 2017 for families in T.O.:
BEST PLAYGROUND: Hands down, one of the city’s best new places to play is Grange Park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario. The natural playground takes an artful play in its design with lots of fun ways to climb, slide and hideout for families.
Also awesome: the beautiful and whimsical Berczy Park – we call it the dog fountain – along Front St. E.
We can’t wait for: the opening of the new revamped Riverdale Park East playground.
BEST LIVE MUSIC: There are so many places to see live music with your kids (and for free!) in Toronto. But my hands down gave-me-chills experience was the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s performance of The Hockey Sweater.
Also awesome: Introducing my kid to E.T. at the Sony Centre with the music performed by a live orchestra. Joining voices with my fellow Torontonians in Nathan Phillips Square to pay tribute to the late Gord Downie with Choir!Choir!Choir! (Photo above.)
BEST LIVE SPORTS: Toronto has so many pro-teams but taking the whole family in TOw isn’t the easiest nor cheapest family outing. A sure win that’s not too hard on the wallet? Raptors 905 in Mississauga. Great basketball, no nosebleed sections and such a fun vibe.
Also awesome: Tailgating with kids in TOw at the Argos game.
BEST BIKE RIDE: One of the best ways to explore the city is on bike. Our favourite find is nestled in the ravines of the Don Valley. If you have little mountain- or BMX-biking kids in TOw, they will love the pump track in Crothers Woods.
Also awesome: The art along the newly opened Lower Don Trail and the views from the new Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail.
BEST WATERPARK: If you’re looking for an awesome place to spend a summer day, we highly recommend the new Wet ‘n Wild Waterpark with its splash pads, big kid and small kid sized waterslides, wave pool and rivers.
Also awesome: The open-year-round Fallsview Indoor Waterpark in Niagara
BEST BRUNCH: We finally headed out and down to the Dakota Tavern’s Bluegrass Brunch. The music is excellent, the food abundant and the vibe extremely family-friendly.
FAVOURITE ROAD TRIP: We did some Ontario exploring east and west. Top destination – the Bruce Peninsula.
Also awesome: The always easy and family-friendly city Ottawa. The National Capital is super walkable. Be sure to cross the bridge over into Gatineau for more exploring and français.
BEST MOM DATE: Nothing keeps this mama sane like hanging out in T.O. with girlfriends. Some of my best 2017 memories with friends in TOw were spent hula hooping, dirty dancing with Beyography and stand up paddle boarding on Toronto Island. (If you end up going to the island with kids in TOw, be sure to get lost in the Tree Maze after hitting up Centreville Amusement Park.)
Also awesome: Playing hipster tourist in the west end with one of my best friends in TOwn from Sask. Our circuit included lunch at the Drake Commissary, local craft beer at Henderson’s Brewery, black cone of charcoal icecream and a wander through graffiti alley.
BEST DATE NIGHT: That weekend in July. My husband and I had just over 24 hours without kids in TOw so we hopped on our bikes like the good ol days and hit up some of these awesome new places to hang out WITHOUT kids in TOw! The hit list: brunch on the patio at Café Cancan, the rooftop at The Broadview Hotel, tacos at Chula, drinks the east end’s newest craft breweries Rorschach Brewing (they’ve recently added family-friendly events) and Saulter Street Brewery.