July 24, 2018

Exploring Toronto’s Must-Visit Family-Friendly Hidden Gems

Like every city, Toronto has its share of hidden gems. No two city adventures need to be the same. Toronto’s diverse populations and characteristic neighbourhoods make it a gold mine for unique places and experiences.

Looking for some new places and spaces to explore in Toronto this summer with your family? As we enter the last month of summer break (sigh), be sure to add these to your must-visit list.

Toronto downtown skyline

We love exploring new places, especially those that are outdoors. Getting the entire family out into nature is extremely important to us, but living in a city [affectionately] known as “the concrete jungle”, it can also be somewhat difficult.

One of my favourite places to explore this summer has been Rouge National Urban Park, located in the east end of the city (near the Toronto Zoo). 

While it is a part of the Parks Canada system, it is relatively new to the Toronto-area and still in the establishment phase. Once fully established, Rouge National Urban Park will be one of the largest and best protected urban parks of its kind in the world, spanning 79.1 square kilometres and  overlapping the cities of Toronto, Markham and Pickering and the Township of Uxbridge.

Rouge National Urban Park, Toronto

It’s close proximity to Canada's largest city provides Parks Canada with an excellent opportunity to engage current and future generations of stewards to connect with and protect the Rouge for the benefit, education and enjoyment of Canadians now and for countless future generations.

Wildlife viewing, photography, canoeing or hiking, the Rouge has something for every level of outdoor adventurer and is truly a hidden gem within the city limits.

For those with children 2-6 years, they also have a kids' club called Club Parka that runs three times a week in the summer and is led by Parks Canada staff.

Rouge National Urban Park's Club Parka

Looking for your own outdoor adventure, or perhaps a sweet treat? Check out what some of my favourite Toronto parenting & lifestyle bloggers have to say about their favourite family-friendly places in the city. Toronto mama approved!

Erica from AnnaGeorgianna
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We LOVE Ice Cream Junction - it’s a sweet little '50s-style ice cream parlour with pink striped walls. They serve Kawartha Dairy ice cream & have loads of old-school candy. I’m not sure I’ve ever gone by it without going in for a scoop (or 3)! My favourite is “Moose-tracks” and Morris always orders “Super Hero”.

Location: 3103 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON

Ice Cream Junction, Toronto

Care from With Care
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Our family has enjoyed countless days and evenings strolling along the beautiful Humber River. In the hot summer months we love that there is a ton of shade and a cool breeze off the water. It’s so much quieter than most large parks, and offers so much lush green space along the river and at the playground for picnics. Some of our favourite memories at the river include bike rides along the endless path, seeing deer along the banks, watching the salmon run upstream in the fall, and tobogganing down the hills in winter. We feel so fortunate to be raising our children near the humber river so they get to experience this beautiful piece of nature throughout the year. The Humber River is a must visit for all families.

Location: Dundas St W to Bloor St W & Jane St to Prince Edward Dr S

Humber River trails, Toronto

Renee from My So-Called Mommy Life
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Madame Boeuf and Flea for burgers and hot dogs. It’s outdoors, so kids can make noise without it echoing like other restaurants or bothering patrons. It is super kid-friendly and they have games such as bocce ball and cornhole to keep them busy! For the adults, they have an amazing frozé (a slushy made from rose), which is the perfect thirst quencher. And if you’re looking for something non-alcoholic, the slushy is just as great (and a tad tart).

Location: 252 Dupont St, Toronto, ON

Madame Boeuf and Flea, Toronto

Do you call Toronto home? What are your favourite hidden gems in the city? I’d love to hear (and check them out)!

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