Find unique attractions, zany restaurants and memorable activities for families of all ages and sizes.
The allure of big city life for us as a Toronto family is that there’s always something fun happening and there’s no reason parents should ever hear the words “I’m bored”. Whether you live in Toronto, have visited the city many times or if it’s your first time, here are some fun ways to explore the city as a family.
Escape into the medieval world of fairytales at Casa Loma
Medieval characters await your visit at Casa Loma’s Imagine Dragons-Light Forest. This summer, kids and adults are invited to explore the castle’s grounds, stables and tunnels in search of dragons, knights, fairies, fair maidens and other medieval characters.
There’s also a light and laser show throughout the gardens and the 2 km walking trail. Not to worry, there’s nothing overly spooky and all the characters are very friendly, especially compared to the annual Halloween event hosted here.
Tease your senses at High Park
An entire day can be spent at High Park and I speak from experience that your senses are in for a treat. Young kids will love the wooden fairytale castle that is the Adventure Park playground while older kids will be content swimming at the community pool or getting dunked at the splash pad.
No visit is ever complete without saying hello to the animals at the High Park Zoo or taking a train ride through the massive park. Bring a picnic or take a break to enjoy tacos at Aztec’s Mine across the street because before you know it, the sun will set and you might be able to enjoy pop-up performances by local artists who tend to visit High Park at dusk.
Alternatively, catch a ticketed performance at Dream in High Park which features a diverse array of work including theatre, dance, comedy, contemporary and baroque music, and so much more.
Dive into whale facts at the ROM
If your kid has dragged you to the Royal Ontario Museum to see the dinosaur bones too many times, now’s your chance to teach them about the incredible great whales of Canada's east coast.
The Great Whales exhibition is a follow-up to the highly successful ROM-original exhibition which told the story of nine blue whales that died tragically in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2014. The current exhibition takes the story further and features whale skeletons in addition to teaching us about their diet, intelligence and evolution.
Oh, and yes, the kids will definitely take you to see the dinosaurs after visiting the Great Whales.
Roast marshmallows and pedalboat at Ontario Place
If you haven’t visited Ontario Place before, now’s the time to explore the 155 acres of this breathtaking waterfront property in Toronto. There are plenty of ways to be active as a family at Ontario Place.
Whether you’re attempting spins at the skatepark, shooting hoops under the guidance of professional coaches or playing outdoor table tennis, get ready to break a sweat. Something on my bucket list is to take the family for a leisurely evening pedal boat excursion around the island and close out the day roasting marshmallows at the Lakeside fire pits come sunset.
Set sail towards the Toronto Islands
No matter the season or the mood your family is in, the Toronto Islands is the perfect day trip. Centreville park is now open for young thrill-seekers and the Toronto Island BBQ and Beer Co. is offering up the best city views and serving up delicious eats and drinks for all.
Looking for a lazy day by the beach? You have quite a few options when visiting the islands! Feeling active? You can run, hike, kayak, paddle and bike your way through the islands.
Fight pirates on the water
Those with young kids will want to head towards Toronto’s waterfront for a Pirate Life adventure. Get the family decked out in costume and come up with your pirate names because you’re about to go on an adventure!
Kids will be part of the ship’s crew firing water cannons to prevent the bad pirates from capturing the boat, hauling loot and going on a scavenger hunt as the boat sails on the Toronto waterfront for an hour.
Ride the TTC in search of treats
Have you ever hopped on the TTC with no agenda? Neither have I but my kids often demand an unplanned day. The thrill of watching the city whiz by while you’re in the streetcar is thrilling enough for kids and teens but give them the chance to call the stops and you’re in for an epic adventure!
Toronto has many delicious neighbourhoods and riding the streetcar along College Street through Little Italy, Gerrard Street through Little India or Queen Street towards The Beaches, gives you plenty of opportunities to take your taste buds on a trip around the world via the many bakeries, restaurants and cafés that make up these neighbourhoods.
Go stand-up paddleboarding and enjoy the city views
Taking in the city views from the water is one of my favourite activities. Until recently our family had never experienced stand-up paddleboarding but even our six-year-old got the hang of it!
Let me tell you, your family on SUPs with the CN Tower in the backdrop makes for an epic family photo! Whether you’re on the Toronto Islands, down by the Harbourfront or down by Sunnyside or Balmy beach, your family can easily rent the gear you need to get on a board.