Things to do in Toronto with children

Toronto seemed like a really family-friendly city from what we could tell. Although busy, it was not the shoulder to shoulder busy that you find in so many cities around the world. It felt safe, people were friendly, there was lots of inner city parking available and once in the city it was easy to navigate.

The hardest part was navigating the road system coming into the city. The highways were all so busy and the traffic moved so fast, that combined with the way the road system intertwined meant it was easy to miss you exit or take a wrong turn.

We really enjoyed our time in Toronto. We were prepared for everything to be very busy and crowded and we expected to queue extensively for everything and that just wasn’t the case. We were very pleasantly surprised.

One of the things we did discover is that all the food places close really early! This through us a bit, but seems the case all over Canada. Loads of food places were closed by 9pm, some by 8pm. This seemed strange for a city. So make sure you eat early!

So what are some of the family-friendly things to do in Toronto? I’ve put together a list:

Visit the CN Tower 

CN Tower

The CN Tower is located in the heart of downtown Toronto, and within easy reach of many other attractions, you can check out what else is nearby here.

There are a few options for your visit, the CN Tower is considered to be the most iconic place to visit in Toronto. There’s a range of experiences for everyone, whether you’re a sightseer, a thrill-seeker, or a total foodie. If you are just there to sightsee, you will need the general admission ticket. If you are feeling like a challenge, grab yourself the Edge Walk tickets – the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk and the first of its kind in North America! If food is your thing, book yourself a table at the 360 degree restaurant and dine with an incredible view.

You can read more about our visit here.

Enjoy a ride on a pirate ship

One of the first things we did on our trip was to board a pirate ship for some live action theatre. A few years ago we went to see the Medieval Times live action theatre show in Florida and the children loved it, so we were pretty confident that the pirate ship would be a hit.

Pirate Life Toronto

Pirate Life, Toronto invites families and school groups to imagine, play and create outdoors on a pirate ship while sailing the sea. This is a boat trip with a twist! A one-hour immersive theatre program aboard the pirate ship! Pirate Life is produced by Art & Water Cultural Group, a registered not for profit. Find out more on their Facebook page.

I would say age wise this is best suited to ages 3-10. However, our teens also enjoyed the show and the water cannons, so it really is a family trip. Adults can marvel at the gorgeous scenery and also test out their accuracy with the water cannons, so it’s a win/win for all family members I think.

You can read more about our pirate adventure here.

Potter around the marina

Toronto Marina is a lovely place to just potter around. There is an indoor precinct with a few shops and immaculate bathrooms. There are some lovely ships and boats to look at, a cool swing, nice walkways (perfect for a stroll, skate or run), lovely views and a few places to eat and drink.

If you have some free time or are killing time between attractions, get away from it all and head to the marina for a decompress!

Take a ferry to Centre Island

If you have time to relax in Toronto, take a ferry over to Centre Island, take your picnic and enjoy the tranquillity of the island. There are swings, refreshments and fairground rides. Alternatively, just enjoy a walk around. 

It’s lovely to be able to look back at the Toronto skyline and there is lots going on on the waterways, so plenty to see for the children.

You can also get a water taxi over to the island but it was about four times the price. The prices for the ferry at the time we travelled are above.

Considering you are in a large city, it really doesn’t feel like it. Our youngest loved the open space and talking to the wildlife. It feels like you are in a huge open park. There are tons of trees and it’s really gorgeous. Well worth your time!

Visit Sunnyside Beach

Sunnyside Beach is an absolute urban gem! We were so glad we made the time to stop off at Sunnyside Beach. It’s a great place for families. There is a playground, splash pad, toilets, refreshments, volleyball, a beach and area for swimming. 

We went early evening and the children loved it. The swimming area was ideal, the water was warm and the views of the city spectacular.

There was plenty to see and do and the children loved watching people in canoes and rowing boats whilst they were splashing around in the water.

Play at Jamie Bell Adventure Playground

One of the the things I did when planning our Canadian trip was to look for parks in each of the places we travelled to. When you are travelling with children, you will always have those times when you just need somewhere for the children to run and blow off some steam – a park is a great way to do this, and there are tons on wonderful parks in Canada. You will be spoilt for choice.

Jamie Bell Adventure Playground

This was a lovely play park just a few minutes from Sunnyside Beach. The park is designed like a castle and caters for children from toddlers to teens. There is plenty of parking and picnic tables. Once inside you don’t feel as if you are in a city. It’s a really wonderful urban park and well worth a stop if you have children.

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