Toronto, Canada – Whether you are living in Toronto or just travelling through with kids, here are some ways to entertain them on the cheap.
† Toronto Public Library – If you are in Toronto, the more than 100 branches of the Toronto Public Library can be the best thing that happens to your family. It has never been this good at the library: membership is free for Torontonians; the computerized reservation system is super efficient; desktop computers with internet are available for members to use for free; children’s reading programs are available and free; and most importantly, wi-fi is free for all members and non-members (just bring your laptop)! It’s easy to spend a whole day in a library!
† Loblaw’s PC Cooking School – Canada’s largest food distributor offers cooking classes in select stores. There are different themes and cuisines to choose from, ranging from Little Hands (3-6 years old), Kids’ Classes (6-11), Teen Classes (11-16), and Adult Classes. Each Little Hands session is only CAD – that price is for you and your tiny tot both! That’s a superb deal for a cooking class, especially since you get to eat or take home your creations!
† Ontario Farm Visits – The Greater Toronto Area is surrounded by independently-owned farms, most of them with a bakery, market hall, and farm entertainment facilities. In spring and summer, you can pick your own berries, vegetables, and corn. In the fall, you can pick apples, squash, and pumpkins. In the winter, some farms sell christmas trees! But all year long, many farms have nature trails, corn mazes, petting zoos, wagon rides, and other kids’ activities that are available. Some farms do not charge an admission fee for farm entertainment (such as at Stonehaven Farms), but some do (such as Springridge Farm and Chudleigh’s), ranging from – per child. It’s always free to visit their in-house market, though.
† Toronto Parks and Recreations – The city has awesome parks and recreation facilities, most with free indoor / outdoor playgrounds, indoor / outdoor public swimming pools, skating rinks, reasonably-priced recreation programs, and children’s activities, such as the Fall Harvest Festival. During festivals, there are hay rides, nature walks, tree-planting sessions, and costumed plays. One of Toronto’s best downtown parks, High Park, partners with Canadian Stage every summer for “Dream in High Park“, a PWYC (pay what you can – although donations are accepted) theatre event every Sunday evening, featuring select Shakespeare works.
† Toronto Festivals and Events – Some festivals are free; some you have to pay for, but the free-admission events worth going to are: Woofstock, Luminato, Buskerfest, Santa Claus Parade, and weekly farmers’ market around the city.
So, turn off the TV and get your kids ready to go in Toronto! There’s a ton of things to do on the cheap!