October 18, 2019

Bring Nature Indoors with this Do It Yourself Mid Century Modern Plant Stand


If you're looking for a stylish yet minimalist plant stand, this inexpensive do it yourself mid century modern-inspired plant stand is a simple solution for your indoor plant needs. 

Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY

While living in a big city has some challenges to getting outside into nature, one way we cope is by bringing nature to us, and filling our house with greenery. Not only do plants held purify the air, but they also help to reduce stress (yet another “side effect” of living in a big, busy city). I haven’t yet achieved “crazy plant lady” status, but I’m well on my way.

Since we moved into our new house, I’ve been on a little bit of a plant buying kick. And with all of the new plant babies, I was needing some planters that would be worthy AND kick my plant cred up a bit.

I’ve seen these mid century modern-type plant stands being sold at fancy retailers for in the hundreds of dollars. I’ve always loved the look of them, but not the pricey tag associated. I knew it was something I could easily make myself, for a fraction of the cost. So, a DIY it was. 

Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY

Here’s how to make your own Mid Century Modern Plant Stand (with a custom plant pot)

What You’ll Need


For the pot:
plant 
pot
white spray paint
accent paint (optional)
brush
painter’s tape
gravel (if pot lacks drainage)

For the plant stand:
1 - 1’’ x 2’’ x 8ft select pine board
1 - 1’’ x 2’’ x 6ft select pine board
4 - 3/8’’ wood dowels 
1/2’’ wood chisel
drill
saw
wood glue
sand paper
rag
wood stain
clamps

What You’ll Need to Do

First step is to pick your plant, and the pot it will go in. This will determine the size of your stand. 

For the plant, I opted for a Dracaena marginata, better known as a Dragon tree. This plant is an attractive, stiff-leaved plant with green sword-like leaves edged with red. They are perfect for a beginner crazy plant lady (like myself) because they're very easy to grow indoors.

I bought my pot at a local thrift store, for $4.99. I liked it’s unique shape. Try to find a pot that does not have drainage holes in the bottom. If it does, you will have to add a tray underneath (which may not fit in the plant stand) or risk water on the floor. Of course you could opt for a store bought, plain old Jane pot, but what’s the fun in that?! 

*Skip ahead to the plant stand portion if you are not customizing your pot.

Now it’s time to create your custom pot. Spray paint your pot white (or colour of your choice). I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover Paint + Primer (spray paint) in flat white. It is fast drying, and even bonds to plastic if that’s the type of pot you’ve chosen. 

Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY

Since you won’t be completely filling the pot with dirt, make sure you spray inside of the pot, approximately 1-2’’ down from the top. A note about spray painting the pot – don’t hold the can too close to the pot or the paint will run! If it runs, quickly wipe the drips with a rag.

Once the pot is dry, use painter’s tape to create your design. My pot has a very prominent top, so I opted for a simple stripe design.

Add your accent colour. I used Behr’s 2020 Colour of the Year “Back to Nature” (S340-4) to add a little pop of colour. I was instantly drawn to the name, and knew it would help to add some warmth and comfort to our house in the times that we cannot actually get back to nature.

Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY

Once the pot is dry, remove the tape to reveal your design. (The shape of the pot made it a bit difficult to apply the tape in a straight line, so the green paint did slightly bleed and the line was not crisp. I did have to touch it up with some white spray paint.)

Pot the plant. If you pot does not have drainage holes, add some loose gravel to the bottom to collect any standing water.

Now for the main piece, the mid-century modern plant stand itself. For help with this, I brought in some reinforcements (also known as, my husband). 

Measure out how high you want your plant stand. We opted for window level (approximately 24’’). Using a saw, cut this measurement (x4) from the 1’’x 2’’x 8ft. Since the legs were to be 24’’ each, we used the entire piece of wood for the legs. For ease, we just cut it evenly in 4 pieces.

Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY
Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY
Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY

To make the piece that the pot will sit on, measure the diameter of your pot and add one inch. If your pot does not have straight sides, measure the widest part of the pot. This is the length you will be cutting your 1’’x 2’’x 6ft board into. You need two of these pieces cut. For reference, our pieces were 11’’ wide each. 

Using a ruler, measure to the middle of the boards and draw out a 3/4″ square on each board (see photo below for reference). Use the wood chisel to carefully remove this piece. 

Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY
Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY

Lay the two pieces into one another. They should fit snugly without too much play and the top should be level. If your cut was not 100% accurate, you may need to sand a little to get them to line up evenly. Do not attach them two pieces just yet. 

Now to attach the cross piece to the legs. Measure the height of your pot and remove 1-2’’. You want the top of the pot to be higher than the legs of the stand. Mark where the cross pieces will rest on the legs.

Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY
Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY

Using a drill, make a hole in the end of the cross pieces. Insert the 3/8’’ dowel. Add wood glue if needed. Depending on where you would like the pot to sit, drill holes in each of the four legs. For reference, the cross piece of our stand sits 6’’ down. 

Attach the legs to each of the cross pieces by inserting the dowels and adding wood glue to ensure they stay attached. Fasten a clamp and allow to sit until glue is dry.

Once the glue is dry, remove the clamps. Using a rag, generously rub your stain colour of choice on the wood. After approximately 5 minutes, wipe excess stain off. Repeat if needed. We used Varathane Classic Penetrating Oil-Based Wood Stain in Special Walnut. 

Once the stain is dry, fasten the two pieces together. You can fasten with a screw, or by simply adding wood glue. Allow to dry before putting your pot on the stand. 

And, voila! Your mid-century modern plant stand, all for under $55!

Let’s break down the cost…

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover Paint + Primer (flat white) - $8.97
Pot (thrifted) - $4.99 
Behr Marquee Ultra Pure White Semi-Gloss Paint Sample w/ Primer - $4.97

1x2x6 Select Pine - $4.18
1x2x8 Select Pine - $5.80
Alexandria Moulding Hardwood 3/8’’x 2’’ Dowel Pins (bag of 18) - $4.83
Varathane Classic Penetrating Oil-Based Wood Stain (Special Walnut) - $9.47
HUSKY Steel Butt Wood Chisel - 1/2’’ - $9.47

Total Cost (plant stand + custom post) = $52.68

Note: All items, unless otherwise noted, were purchased from the Home Depot Canada. Items without a cost or not listed we already had at home. Total cost in Canadian dollars, not including tax. Prices and availability may vary depending on location.

Mid Century Modern Plant Stand DIY

The project supplies themselves were fairly inexpensive. The biggest cost was our time. While we love the final project, it did take a bit of time to finish. Between painting the pot, allowing it to dry, cutting, drilling, gluing, staining, drying and joining the wood, the project was completed over a few days. 

It must also be noted, while I would love to say this was an easy project it did  cause a few headaches. All of the tutorials I came across on the internet said it was easy. But it wasn’t. Maybe it was the tools we were using, maybe it wasn’t. But despite this costing us less than $55 to make, I started to understand why the fancy retailers charge well over that. It took a bit of trial and error in terms of the best way to attach the legs to the cross piece the pot would rest on, and ensure it held.

But that being said, despite the trial and error, we finally go it and are so happy with the newest addition to our (growing) plant collection!

Now, onto the next project…

Have you done any home DIYs lately? I’d love to hear what it was!




Disclosure: I received product and/or compensation in exchange for this post. However, all opinions are 100% that of To & Fro. Thank you Home Depot!

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October 10, 2019

And Then There Were Four: Becoming a Two Kid Family



You’ve got this!” Three words I would hear all the time when pregnant with my second child. They were almost always followed by, “You already have a little one, what more could you need to know?

Truth is, when we found out we were pregnant with our second, I was nervous. I was MORE nervous for number two than I was when pregnant with our first.

I knew having a baby would change things. Our social life would change, our routines would change and even our relationship would change. I knew that was inevitable.

But with baby number two, I didn’t know what to expect. We were so cozy as a little family of three, how would our established rhythm change? The unknown of becoming a two kid family was what made me nervous.

preschooler playing with magnetic tiles

Since little sister’s birth late summer 2018, it’s safe to say things are definitely different. Things have changed in ways that I did expect, and ways that I could not have expected. Some of the things that have changed I absolutely love, and some are still up for debate. Some things we knew how to handle, and some things we had to learn from scratch.

But the truth is, kids don’t come with a user manual. Regardless of having one, two, three or ten, being a parent is a “learn on the job” kind of role. 

Adjusting to the challenges that come with growing your family is also something you must learn as you go.

kids playing with magnetic tiles

I’m no expert, but here are just a few of the things that I’ve learned in the past 14(ish) months since becoming a family of four. 

Kids are different. Seems like a no brainer right? I knew they would be different, but I don’t think I knew just HOW different they’d be. The second child is never the same as the first, and you must start all over again. What may be true for one, may not be for the other. There are clear differences between them, and you must learn to adapt and change (or relearn) your way of thinking.

Take sleeping for example…

Exhaustion is real. Not to toot my own horn, but my oldest daughter was a pretty good sleeper when she was a baby. We knew she was setting the bar high in the sleep department, but didn’t know by how much. Little sister? Not the best. Definite room for improvement. I now know the true meaning of sleep deprivation.

Privacy does not exist. Think you didn’t get alone time before? Ha! There is NO such thing as alone when you have more than one child. In the shower, sitting on the toilet, brushing your teeth, making dinner - now there will always be someone right there beside you demanding your attention. Yes, even if dad is home. 

kids playing with magnetic tiles

And with the lack of privacy comes…

You’ll never have enough hands. Honestly. My oldest needs a snack at the most inconvenient of times - when I started cutting raw chicken for dinner, when I’m in the bathroom, when I started feeding her sister (weird, eh?). And it’s not just a, “I would like a snack”. No, it’s a full on, “I need a snack now or I may starve to death.” One hand per child is not enough.

Time is a thief. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The days are long, but the years fly by.” I knew this was true with baby number one, but since having number two, I live it every day. I feel like I’ve time travelled through the past year an a bit, and know that time won’t be slowing down any time soon.

kids playing with magnetic tiles

Don’t mess with sibling love. Being the oldest of three, I understand the strong bond siblings share. But being able to sit back and watch it grow, is something truly special. While their love for each other wasn’t immediate, and they have their odd spats (which for right now include their fair share of grabbing, scratching and hair pulling), their relationship is amazing. The way they look at each other, make each other laugh and talk to each other in their ‘secret’ language that only they can understand, has made my heart swell to a size I never knew was possible.

And with that special relationship comes…

Sharing is caring. I’m happy my oldest knows how to share with her little sister, but having more than one child has taken sharing to a whole new level. This includes sharing illness. When it comes to sharing germs, no thank you. 
toddler playing with magnetic tiles

With big sister in preschool, I knew her bringing home germs was inevitable, but what I didn’t know was that it would be a constant cycle of cough, sneeze, rrunny nose, regardless of the season.

While there may be a lot of things to learn with being a family of four, one thing we can rely on is Children's Advil. In families with children in school, the number of colds per child can be as high as 12 a year (1)! So, when big sister comes home with a bug, Children’s Advil (for children age 2-12 years) provides her with up to 8 hours of fever relief so that she can get back to being a kid.

Life with a preschooler and toddler isn’t always easy, but it’s our new normal. It’s going to be a hard journey to raise these strong little ladies. I know I won’t end every day with a smile, but I’m ready for the challenge.

Do you have two or more kids? What’s the ONE piece of advice you would give to someone growing their family? I’d love to hear!


*Disclosure: I have partnered with Children’s Advil and have received compensation for this post. As always, all opinions and experiences are 100% that of To & Fro. Be sure this product is right for your kids, always read and follow the label.


References:
1. https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-fly/common_cold_overview 



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October 7, 2019

To the Mama Sending Her Baby to Daycare for the First Time


Daycare - a seven letter word that carries so many different emotions.

Anxiety. Because it means your maternity leave is nearing an end and you’re starting to think about
going back to work.

Guilt. Because you may second guess every decision you make when it comes to going back to work,
your child’s care, etc. (that is, if you haven’t been already).

Happiness. Because it may mean a few days of “freedom” each week where you can focus on yourself while knowing your child is in a safe space.

Pride. Because you will be able to watch your child learn and grow - mentally, physically, socially and emotionally.

Frustration. Because some of those things that your child learns may be less than desirable behaviours.

Worry. Because daycare can be associated with… illness.

Tips for Preparing For a Positive Daycare Experience

At least, those were some of the emotions that were swirling in my head when my oldest daughter went to daycare for the first time.

I’m not going to lie, daycare is an emotional experience. Really though, that’s parenthood - a roller
coaster of emotions.

But despite all of those emotions I went through, you know what?

She survived. She thrived. She absolutely loved it. And when I did it all over again at the end of the
summer with my second daughter, I took a lesson from my own playbook, and stayed calm, cool and collected as I kissed her goodbye on that very first day, and all of those that followed.

Tips for Preparing For a Positive Daycare Experience

For you mamas that are getting ready to send your little one off for the first time, rest assured, day-care does not need to be “day-scare”. To help both you and your child navigate this big change in routine, check out these tips that I used to help prepare for a positive first daycare experience.

Preparing For a Positive Daycare Experience

Start the change in routine early. If attending daycare requires a new schedule (i.e. waking up earlier, eating breakfast at a different time, etc.), begin this new routine several days before to make the transition easier for your child. When you register, ask for a copy of their daily schedule so that you can plan accordingly.

Ease into it. Take advantage of the transition week. A slow, part-time introduction to the new
environment works best for many kids. Most centres also give parents the choice of dropping off and
leaving or hanging around for a bit during the first week.

Trust and communicate. While the thought of someone else caring for your child, teaching your child new things and creating memories with your child may scare you (and even make you a wee bit jealous), remember this is their job. They are licensed professionals, so you must put your trust in them. If you have questions or concerns regarding your child, make sure they are heard and addressed immediately.

Start a goodbye routine. Establishing a specific goodbye routine will help your child be more
comfortable at drop-off time, so begin one the first day. Even if your child is upset, stay calm. A
confident attitude will help reassure your little one that everything will be okay. It may sound cruel, but sometimes the best method is to just leave. They will quickly be distracted by a new friend or toy, and forget why they were even upset.

Be patient. Be flexible. The first week of daycare involves an adjustment for you, as well as your child. Be patient. It will take some time, but everything will work out for the both of you. If you are heading back to work right away, make sure your employer is aware of your situation. You might need a little extra flexibility in your schedule over the next few days to establish your new routine.

Be prepared. Most daycares will provide parents with a list of items to bring beforehand. This usually includes diapers, wipes, extra clothes, indoor shoes, weather-appropriate outdoor clothing, expressed milk/formula, etc.

Tips for Preparing For a Positive Daycare Experience

Being prepared also means prepping for the things that happen away from daycare, like one of my big worries - illness.

In daycare, colds spread easily among children because they often touch their noses, eyes and put
objects in their mouths during play. In fact, children under the age of 2 can suffer from as many as eight to 10 colds a year (2.).

Fact is, colds are likely inevitable when it comes to daycare. But, there is something that can help with the unpleasant side effects. Advil Pediatric Drops (for children age 4 months to 3 years) reduce fever for up to 8 hours while also relieving pain due to colds, sore throat—so your baby can rest peacefully while at home. They also come with a SURE-DOSE™ oral syringe, for precise and easy dosing.

So part of that preparation? Stocking up on pain relief (and plenty of sick days) when baby first goes to daycare.

Tips for Preparing For a Positive Daycare Experience

It may be hard to hand your baby over to someone else, but preparing yourself for what’s to come while focusing on the friends they'll make, the new things they'll learn and the fun they'll have will make the both of you feel better about the experience.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share for preparing for a first daycare experience? I'd love to hear!

*Disclosure: I have partnered with Children’s Advil, and have received compensation for this post. As always, all opinions and experiences are 100% that of To & Fro. Be sure this product is right for your kids, always read and follow the label.

References:
1. https://www.babycenter.ca/x1049702/do-kids-in-daycare-get-sick-more-oftenthan-kids-who-stay-home
2. https://www.cps.ca/en/media/cold-fighting-tips



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September 13, 2019

Making Memories at the Detroit Zoo



If you’ve been around here long enough you know that I’m a big (ok, maybe a HUGE) animal lover. So, when visiting a city (new or old) and the opportunity to check out the local zoo or aquarium comes up, I’m all in. 

Zoos and aquariums are a fantastic way to learn about the variety of animals that call our planet home, and to build a connection with wildlife we may not ever have the chance to experience in the wild. Not to mention, they're also a fun way to spend the day with your family.

child watching penguins swim at polk penguin conservation centre Detroit zoo Michigan

I grew up approximately an hour from Detroit, Michigan, on the Canadian side. The times I’ve visited the city to go shopping, play soccer or even to visit my (then) boyfriend while he played junior hockey, are so many that I couldn't even take a guess. BUT, the number of times I’ve visited to go the Detroit Zoo? Sadly, I can count that on only a few fingers.

On a recent extended visit to my parents’, my dad suggested we take a day trip to the Zoo. When you throw out the words “Do you want to go to the zoo?” in front of a few animal lovers (including a 3 year old and her mama), the answer is YES. Always YES.

So, we packed in the car – my dad, my sister, the two little gals and I – and drove off over the border and down I95 to the Detroit Zoo.

family at Detroit Zoo in Michigan

Situated on 125 acres, the Detroit Zoo (run by the non-profit Detroit Zoological Society) is home to more than 2,000 different animals representing 230 species of amphibians, mammals, birds and reptiles.

The Zoo features many award-winning attractions including the National Amphibian Conservation Center, Great Apes of Harambee, Arctic Ring of Life, and my personal favourite, Polk Penguin Conservation Center.

I know, I was just as surprised as you that I favourited the penguin habitat over the polar bears. (Background story: For those of you that don’t know, I’ve had a thing AGAINST penguins, dating back to 2010. Living and working at azoo in Alaska that had polar bears, it was not uncommon for people to think polar bears and penguins were friends. The media portrayal didn’t help. But in fact, they live on opposite ends of the earth – polar bears in the Arctic, penguins in the Antarctic. So, hearing that on a regular basis became a bit of a pet peeve. But, I digress…)



Opening in 2016, Polk Penguin Conservation Center is the Zoo’s newest award-winning attraction. At 33,000 square feet - housing 75 king, rockhopper, macaroni and gentoo penguins - it is the largest penguin facility in the world. Its signature feature is a 326,000 gallon (1.2 million liter) 25 foot deep aquatic area where visitors can watch the birds swim and dive from two acrylic underwater tunnels. The $32 million facility received the 2017 Exhibit Aware from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums for excellence in exhibit design. An award very much deserved. We could have spent hours watching the penguins fly through the water all around us. The facility is also filled with a variety of interactive educational exhibits to help better connect visitors to the Antarctic and the tuxedo-wearing birds.

*Please note: The Detroit Zoological Society will be temporarily closing the Polk Penguin Conservation Center between September 9, 2019 and mid-June 2020 to make repairs due to faulty waterproofing. The penguins will live in the former Penguinarium while their home is being repaired, but that facility will not be open to visitors.


And while the penguins may have been my favourite of the day, I cannot share about the zoo without mentioning my other favourite habitat, the Arctic Ring of Life – home to polar bears, seals and Arctic fox. This state-of-the-art interactive facility is one of North America’s largest polar bear habitats and encompasses more than 4 acres of outdoor and indoor spaces. My favourite feature? The spectacular 70 foot long Polar Passage, a clear tunnel that winds through a vast underwater marine environment. It reminded me very much of the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Sadly, the polar bears were nowhere to be seen that warm August day (can you blame them?!), but it was still fun to watch their nextdoor neighbours, the seals, swim through the water.

Arctic Ring of Life Detroit Zoo
Arctic Ring of Life Detroit Zoo

For a Zoo that first opened their doors almost 100 years ago in 1928 (and saw 1.5 million visits in just their first 4 months of operation), I was extremely impressed with the many naturalistic habitats and modern-day zoo updates. The layout is extremely family- and stroller-friendly, and easy to navigate with the use of either a paper map or the interactive mobile map system called Detroit Zoo Treks. There are a few indoor exhibits where strollers are not permitted (including the Polk Penguin Conservation Center), however, there is ample stroller parking to accommodate.

Beside the penguins and Arctic animals, we especially loved checking out the rhinos, zebras, giraffes and camels. The pop-up windows in the prairie dog exhibit were not only a great photo opportunity, but also a good way to see their cute faces up close. The new red panda habitat, located in the Asian Forest, had us cross a rope bridge, through the actual habitat! It made us feel that much closer to the red pandas sleeping in the trees above our head. The brand new Devereauf Tiger Forest opens on September 13, and will be home to three Amur tigers. 


family friendly activities at the detroit zoo
family friendly activities at the detroit zoo
family friendly activities at the detroit zoo
family friendly activities at the detroit zoo

Besides viewing the animals, the littlest zoo visitors can ride the animal-themed carousel, take a trip on the Tauber Family railroad, visit the Korman Tadpole or Rissman PlayVenture playgrounds and more. And for the adults (whether kiddos in tow or not), there is also a 4D theatre and simulator ride to check out.

family friendly activities at the detroit zoo

If you find yourself in the Detroit area with your family, I definitely recommend spending a few hours visiting the animals of the Detroit Zoo. But, before you do, be sure to scroll down to read my tips for visiting the Detroit Zoo with your family.

family friendly activities at the detroit zoo
family friendly activities at the detroit zoo

Important tips for visiting with your family:
  • There are a few indoor spaces that do not allow strollers, including the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. If you have a little one that cannot yet walk, I recommend bringing a carrier to use when the stroller is not available.
  • Guests are welcome to bring their own food and beverages into the Zoo. Several picnic areas are available throughout the Zoo. 
  • Bring your own reusable water bottle to refill at one of the 21 filtered-water stations throughout the grounds. Bottled water is not sold on site, something the Detroit Zoological Society had worked hard to achieve.
  • There are several concession stands throughout the zoo, some seasonally available. Items are reasonably priced for an attraction, and include burgers, hot dogs, fries, pizza, chips, soft drinks, frozen beverages, ice cream, coffee, etc. There is also a location with an all-vegan menu. 
  •  Zookeeper talks are held daily at various animal habitats, giving guests the opportunity to interact with animal care staff while learning about the individuals living at the Zoo. 
  • To save a bit of time during the busy months and money, pre-purchase your tickets and parking pass online in advance.
  • Hours vary depending on time of year - check the website prior to your arrival. I recommend at least 4 hours to check out everything the zoo has to offer. Our visit lasted from approximately 10:00am to 3:00pm. 

The Detroit Zoo can be found at 8450 W 10 Miles Road Royal Oak, MI 48067.

If you liked this post, you may also like:
Toronto Zoo 1, 2, 3 - Toronto, ON
Alaska Zoo - Anchorage, AK
Assiniboine Park Zoo - Winnipeg, MB
Riverbanks Zoo - Columbia SC

Did you visit a zoo or aquarium this summer? I'd love to hear which one AND your favourite animal!




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August 12, 2019

Annual Family Camping Trip: Awenda Provincial Park



We are so lucky to have many incredible provincial parks to explore here in Ontario. Everything from swimming, to hiking and camping, and even cross country skiing in the winter months - our provincial parks are what an outdoor lover’s dreams are made of.

For our family, camping is an annual summer tradition. It’s a way to break away from the every day, to slow down, disconnect and escape the city for a few days of relaxation and fun in nature.

Family friendly camping at Awenda Provincial Park, Ontario

Earlier this summer, our annual family camping trip took us to Awenda Provincial Park. A new park for us to explore, Awenda sits on over 2,900 hectares of forested land on the shores of Georgian Bay. I had been told by many that it was a very kid-friendly park. And just a short 2 hour (approximately 170 km) drive north of Toronto, we definitely agree.


Awenda offers camping in six campgrounds - Wolf, Snake, Hawk, Deer, Bear and Turtle. Sites are shaded beneath Sugar Maples and Red Oaks and are spaced further apart than many other provincial parks. We stayed in Wolf, a radio- and dog-friendly area with electrical hookups (for my parents’ trailer).

The site we stayed at (Wolf 247) was a large site, with two picnic tables. It had a high canopy, which was perfect for the trailer. However, it was also very shady which caused a few issues after it poured the morning of our second last day (more about that later).

The Wolf campground also had centrally located washroom with showers and children’s play structure, which was always filled with kids. 

beach on Georgian Bay at Awenda Provincial Park

We were surprised at how quiet the campground was. Coming from other provincial parks, like the Pinery (which has sites closer together), it was a welcomed surprise.

>> You May Also Like: Camping Reflections

The park has numerous activities, including biking, birding, canoeing (rentals available), fishing, hiking, swimming and more. They also offer a wide variety of staff-led educational programming, for all ages. Regularly scheduled guided hikes, children’s programs, special events and evening programs occur from late June to early fall featuring the unique cultural history and the biology of the park. While we didn’t make it to any of these programs, there was at least one or two scheduled every day, including a Friday night bonfire on the beach. 

white admiral butterfly at Awenda Provincial Park
White Admiral Butterfly
Speaking of the beach… Sadly, this year it was virtually non-existent. To be expected I guess, as the park sits on Georgian Bay which is a part of Lake Huron. Considering how high the water is at my parents’ house along Lake Huron in southwestern Ontario and our family cottage up near Tobermory, it should have been expected.

One of the negatives of the park (if it can even be considered a negative?!) is that the campsites at Awenda are located far from the beach, so a car or bike is required to get around. You could walk, however, from where we were in Wolf, it would have taken approximately an hour on the Bluff Trail which is not necessarily stroller- or clumsy/slow toddler walking-friendly.

beach on Georgian Bay at Awenda Provincial Park
dad and daughter at beach at Awenda Provincial Park

When it comes to hiking, Awenda offers a nice variety of looped and linear, easy to moderate trails that range from 1 to 13 km in length. One trail provides barrier-free access - the Beaver Pond Trail, perfect for those with limited mobility or, like us, pushing a stroller. With a double stroller in tow, this is one of the trails we chose to hike. Located in a nature reserve zone, most of this trail is a boardwalk that takes you through an area altered by past and present beaver activity. The 30 minute hike is full of history, and along the way you will see the remains of both a building and a bridge from the early logging days.

beaver pond trail at Awenda Provincial Park
Beaver Pond Trail
If you are looking to go for a paddle, skip Georgian Bay (it can get pretty rough) and head to Kettle’s Lake. This lake is thought to be a kettle lake formed by the gradual melting of a large buried piece of ice left by retreating glaciers. The quiet and scenic lake is an excellent location for having a picnic and then putting in your canoe or kayak for a relaxing post-lunch paddle. This small, motorboat free lake is ideally suited for the novice paddler or nature enthusiast. It apparently also has good bass fishing. Canoes and PFDs are available to rent through the park.

>> Check out our other annual camping trips, here: 2014  //  2015  //  2017  //  2018

While we didn’t get the chance to get out on the water with our new kayak, we did take a short walk along the Wendat Trail (5km, 2 hour loop) to the boardwalk through Kettle Lake’s marsh. Despite having our littlest (and chattiest) daughter with us on the walk, it was extremely peaceful sitting on the board walk, watching the birds and listening to the breeze roll through the reeds. Ah, nature. Sometimes living in the city, I forget what that sounds like...


Family friendly camping at Awenda Provincial Park, Ontario
kettle's lake boardwalk trail at awenda provincial park
kettle's lake at awenda provincial park
Kettle's Lake
Unfortunately, our time at Awenda was cut a bit short and we took off a day sooner than planned. We woke up Saturday morning to an unwelcome down pour and a soggy camp site. Because the site was so shaded (as previously mentioned), we knew it wouldn’t dry out and we’d likely be forced inside the trailer with the girls for the day. So instead, we decided to pack up and take off. In the end, it was probably for the best. We had bought a new house just a few days before and time was ticking to get ours staged and on the market. Leaving early gave us an extra day of cleaning and packing. But more on the move later…


kettle's lake boardwalk trail at awenda provincial park
kettle's lake boardwalk trail at awenda provincial park

We had a great time with family at Awenda Provincial Park. If you are looking for a family-friendly campground within a short distance from Toronto, we highly recommend Awenda. 

And with this summer’s family adventure behind us, we’ve already started thinking about next… Looking forward to checking another of Ontario's provincial parks off of our list!

You can find Awenda Provincial Park, here: 670 Awenda Park Rd Tiny, ON L9M 2J2

Have you been to Awenda? What other Ontario Provincial Parks do you recommend for families? I’d love to hear!



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Family Friendly Camping at Ontario's Awenda Provincial Park

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