We’re about half way through the summer vacation and the first month has been a bit of a washout. But with better weather ahead of us (hopefully!), there is plenty for us to enjoy before the kids return to school. Here’s our rundown of the best summer activities with kids in Toronto and the GTA.
Enjoy One of the Many Festivals
We are fortunate to have a huge variety of festivals throughout the summer – enough to suit everyone’s tastes. There are too many to list but some of the highlights in the Greater Toronto Area include:
- Caribana, 3-7 August – The famous parade on Sunday brings a dazzling array of colours to Toronto.
- Taste of Danforth, 11-13 August – One of Toronto’s tastiest distractions!
- Canadian National Exhibition, 18 August–4 September – Culminating in the famous air show on Labour Day weekend.
- Buskerfest, 1-4 September – The largest street performers’ festival in Ontario, with some spectacular sights.
Of course, there are many more festivals in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario that can provide hours or even days of distraction for you and your family – and they are always among the most enjoyable summer activities with kids.
Head to a National Park
Why not indulge your kids in some of the natural beauty that surrounds us or with some of the history of this great country? All without even paying a penny!
We wrote about this in our Easter guide but it’s worth mentioning again: to celebrate Canada 150, there is free entry to all national parks this year. You need to get a Discovery Pass first but these can be easily obtained from the Parks Canada website or at CIBC branches and MEC stores.
Once you have the pass, you can access any of the wonderful national parks in Canada for free. That means you can visit any number of national historic sites in Ontario as well as national parks such as Thousand Islands National Park, Georgian Bay Islands National Park, Point Pelee National Park, and Fathom Five National Marine Park.
Have Fun at Farm
Regardless of where you live in the GTA, you probably have a farm nearby that you can visit. Many of them have excellent play areas for children, including petting zoos, wagon rides, horseback riding, pick-your-own fruits and veggies, and other fun activities.
Even if you can’t do all these things in one place, it is a fun way to spend a large part of the day and it’s definitely one of the best summer activities with kids as they almost always have smiles on their faces.
Ok, maybe you’ve had enough of getting wet this summer and if that’s the case, you can move on to the next item in the list. If not, an hour or two (or more!) at one of the many splash pads in the GTA is always fun and definitely one of the best summer activities with kids.
If you don’t know where your nearest splash pad or outdoor pool is, you can usually find information online, such as these listings for splash pads in Toronto, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham and Mississauga.
Check Out Some of the Big Attractions
The Toronto area has some major tourist spots that attract people from around the world and they are great fun for locals as well – with many people considering them among the best summer activities with kids.
Toronto Zoo has so much to see and do that you can easily fill up an entire day. In addition to the large number of animals in regular exhibits, there is a special “Kids Zoo” for the little ones to enjoy. Meanwhile, for those warm summer days, it also has a great splash pad and water play area.
In Vaughan, there is Canada’s Wonderland, which describes itself as “Canada’s premier amusement park”. It might not be wrong because there are fun rides for adults and kids of all ages, plus Splash Works – which is arguably the best waterpark in the Toronto area.
Watch Some Sports
The Blue Jays might not be having the best year but a trip to Rogers Stadium is still a fun event – especially for kids. The sights, the sounds, and the hot dogs all make it a fun day out. It’s particularly enjoyable when it’s a warm, sunny day and the roof is open – baseball at its finest.
If you don’t fancy watching baseball then you can head a little bit west to BMO Field and catch Toronto FC in the MLS. Currently Canada’s champion soccer team after defeating Montreal Impact in the Canadian Championship Final in June, TFC reached the MLS Cup final in 2016 and are on course for another good year in 2017.
Also based at BMO Field, the Toronto Argonauts are approaching the midpoint of their season and still have hopes of reaching the Grey Cup championship game for the first time in five years. Elsewhere in Toronto, the newly-created Toronto Wolfpack rugby league team are enjoying a successful inaugural season in the UK’s Kingstone Press League 1. They are thrilling crowds at Lamport Stadium with some high-scoring performances and look set for a strong end to the season.
Things to do with Kids in Toronto on a Rainy Day
If we have learned anything from the last few months, it’s that 2017 is a wet year. The next month may bless us with a few more days of rain as well, but fortunately, there are lots to see and do on rainy days in Toronto. Here are just a few of the best indoor ideas:
Close to the waterfront, you have Toronto’s biggest attraction (quite literally) in the CN Tower and next door is Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Both of them can be reached via a walkway from Union Station, which means you only have to step outside for a brief moment (perfect for winter as well!). Once you get there, both are great ways to spend a few hours and will keep the kids well entertained.
The Toronto Zoo has plenty of indoor exhibits and can be much quieter on rainy days so it’s even worth checking out the outdoor exhibits if you have a big umbrella. As an alternative, Reptilia in Vaughan is completely indoors and gives you the chance to get up close and personal with snakes, lizards and crocodiles, among other things.
If you want to do something a bit more active, there are indoor swimming pools and playgrounds throughout the GTA that can offer hours of fun. Similarly, there are attractions like trampoline parks and rock climbing centres that offer a different experience for your little ones.
Finally, if you are feeling brave, you can slip on a pair of rain boots and go jump in some puddles – the kids will love it!