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In the Women’s Web ‘Travel The World With Kids’ series, we talk to mums from all over the globe who are interested in exploring their backyard attractions with their tiny tots! We hope you find them useful, if someday you choose to visit their part of the world. Presented in Q&A format, this one is with Diana Mancuso who blogs about Toronto life, kid-friendly products and more at Toronto Teacher Mom.
Near the shores of Lake Ontario is Toronto, Canada’s largest and most populous city. Big, beautiful and bustling, what does Toronto have in store for families with kids?
Hi Diana! Tell us about yourself.
I am an elementary school teacher and a multi-tasking mother of two children aged six and four.
What are some of your suggestions for parents visiting with young kids to do in Toronto?
When visiting in the summer, there are many fun places to take the kids while enjoying the sunshine. Take a ferry ride to Centre Island and bring a picnic basket with you. Not only are there plenty of rides for the kids to enjoy at Centreville Amusement Park such as a carousel, pony rides and wading pools, there is also plenty of green space which is ideal for a stroll, a bike ride or a casual picnic. A family all-day ride pass for 4 can cost about $91 plus the cost of the ferry ride.
For those who love animals, check out Riverdale Farm. With more than 7 acres of greenland located in downtown Toronto, it is accessible via public transit and there is no cost for admission. Children will enjoy exploring the trails, munching on homemade treats at the historic Simpson House and seeing the horses, cows, sheep, goats, chickens and more.
If museums are more up your alley, then the Royal Ontario Museum is a definite must-see. Open seven days a week, the ROM is home to one of Canada’s largest permanent collections of dinosaurs. It also houses a super cool bat cave simulation and their fabulous Food Studio Café which offers several delicious meals made from fresh organic and seasonal ingredients. To make admission more affordable for families, the ROM has recently reduced their prices and infants 3 and under still get in for free.
The CN Tower is also a great place to bring the kids. Take a ride up in a glass elevator and enjoy an incredible 360-degree view of the city or stand on the glass floor as you stare 1,815 feet below.
What have been some of your favourite outings in Toronto with your kids?
Some of our favourite outings in Toronto include the Ontario Science Centre that is not only educational but tonnes of fun. Enjoy a movie at the IMAX theatre or take the kids to the Kidspark for hands-on workshops. There is so much to see and do!
We also enjoy visiting the Toronto Zoo, especially in the warmer months when you can go for a ride on the Zoomobile, visit the Kids Zoo or hang out at the splash pad. One of my personal favourites is Casa Loma, an amazingly large historic castle located near the downtown core. The gardens here are beautiful!
For tourists visiting Toronto for the first time, do you have any particular tips?
If you plan on visiting Toronto for more than a few days, I highly suggest purchasing a Toronto CityPASS which will save you 42%, giving you admission to the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma, the Toronto Zoo and the Ontario Science Centre. Also, I suggest bringing a backpack filled with water bottles and snacks for the kids. Concession stands in tourist areas can be quite expensive. Further, do some research before you plan your trip as there are often weekend street closures during the warmer months, making it difficult if you plan on driving into town.
Are there any particular restaurants in Toronto that you think kids will enjoy?
Dining with the little ones is always an adventure. My kids and I recently had a chance to try the Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Toronto and the kids loved it. But beware, the portions are very large! Another favourite is Jack Astor’s where they will happily provide you with a DVD player to keep the kids entertained while they wait for their food.
Are there any particular shopping areas in Toronto that you think kids will enjoy?
One of my favourite places to take the kids shopping is the newly built Shops at Don Mills, Toronto’s first open-air mall. The kids love wading in the fountain and running around in Town Square.
Any kid-friendly day trips out from Toronto?
If you’re willing to make the trek, check out Canada’s Wonderland located just outside Toronto in the city of Vaughn. They have an entire area dedicated to kids along with a large outdoor water park.
Thanks a lot Diana!
*Photo credit: Diana Mancuso
Previous Interviews In The ‘Travel With Kids’ Series:
Brooke from Hong Kong
Ellen Schmidt from New York
Anusha from Seattle
Neera from Chicago
Jo-Lynne from Philadelphia
Tiffany from Frankfurt
Subha from Zurich
Shalini from Norway
Nora from Morocco
Laylah from Riyadh
Lisa from Dubai
Sarah from New Zealand
Toni from Manila
Maid In Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur
Uma from Chennai
The Mad Momma from Delhi
Lakshmi from Hyderabad
Sunayana from Kolkata
Sunita from Pune
Anuradha from Mumbai
Artnavy from Bengaluru
Leonny from Singapore
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