by Becky Dumais
It’s such a great city at any time of the year, but Toronto really hits its stride in the summer. There are so many exciting things to see and do, and the good news is Toronto is easily accessible from Aurora, Newmarket and Oak Ridges. So for a special treat, why not plan on a couple of day trips to Toronto with the kids this summer? We’ve highlighted a few places that your kids are sure to love, and where you will create lots of long-lasting memories for you and your family.
Toronto’s famous 1914 castle took three years and 300 men to construct. Filled with decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables, and beautiful five-acre estate gardens. Self-guided tours and special events throughout the summer.
City Sightseeing Bus Tour
Hop on (and off) the bus while you tour the city. Ticket includes a harbour and islands cruise, 21 stops, a souvenir map and the luxury of sitting on the double decker bus taking in the sights throughout the day.
A real ‘high point’ of visiting the city! Take the elevator up 112 stories and visit the observation deck, walk over the glass floor and look way down. Another 36 levels up is the SkyPod observation deck. Heights made you hungry? Restaurant options include The 360 for finer dining or Horizons for family-friendly crowds.
Explore a 19th Century military base right in downtown. This site was the location of a major battle during the War of 1812. Tour the buildings and view period artifacts, enjoy guided tours and guard re-enactments every hour on the half hour.
Food / Cultural Neighbourhoods
Adding food into the fun is easy, especially when the city is home to several cultural hubs: Little India (North America’s largest South Asian market), Chinatown (dim sum anyone?), Greektown (super souvlaki, spanakopita and more), Little Italy (pizza, pasta and lots of live music), Koreatown (kim chi and karaoke), Portugal Village (Brazilian drip coffee and tapas), and Little Poland (pierogies, please!). The St. Lawrence Market, home to 120 vendors, merchants and artisans, has been an authentic food destination for over 200 years.
Hockey Hall of Fame
Take a self-guided tour of the huge amount of memorabilia, participate in some skills competitions, see a replica Montreal Canadiens dressing room and of course: the Stanley Cup itself.
Rogers Centre Tour Experience and Toronto Blue Jays
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the stadium, which includes guided access to the press box, Blue Jays Hall of Fame, a luxury suite and more. Or, attend a Jays Saturdays game. These home games welcome the kids in fun activities on the 100, 200 and 500 levels, and also give them an opportunity to run the bases after the game.
Is this 11th Century Spain? Almost! Witness pageantry, jousting and knights in shining armor battle for your honour. Plus, you’ll be wined and dined, since your ticket includes a meal fit for a king, queen, prince and princess.
One of the city’s newer attractions, the aquarium is home to 16,000 aquarium species, six play zones for children, 10 galleries, and the longest underwater viewing tunnel, at 315 feet. Go beyond glass observation and explore the four touch exhibits featuring horseshoe crabs, sharks, and rays. Live dive shows daily.
Royal Ontario Museum
There are more than six million artifacts from all over the world and dating back thousands of years, but the kids especially love the dinosaur and prehistoric mammal exhibits and the Egyptian mummies. The CIBC Discovery Gallery offers activities for kids including digging for dinosaur bones, dressing up and more. The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity explores seven ecosystems and illustrates the planet’s diversity of life.