May 29, 2019

Condo Container Gardening, From a Beginner Gardener



When you live in a big and expensive city, sometimes you have to let go of some of your #housegoals - a driveway, garage, home office, backyard, to name a few. 

But then again, there are some you don’t…

Urban Gardening - Creating a Condo Container Herb & Vegetable Garden

One of the major selling features when we bought our condo was the large terrace, 200 square feet of outdoor space. If we weren’t going to have a backyard, then a space where our kids could play and where we could entertain was a must.

On top of this great outdoor space, and, essentially, extension of our living space in the warmer months, the terrace came with two large planter boxes. I’m talking very large… like herb and vegetable garden large.

Urban Gardening - Creating a Condo Container Herb & Vegetable Garden

In 2009, the City of Toronto created a bylaw where all new builds over a certain square footage were required to have a green roof. For our condo, this was in the form of the planter boxes. When we moved in, they were filled with a variety of perennials (blooms that come back year after year), that quickly blossomed and became our own little pollinator garden. 

As much as I LOVE a pollinator garden, what I don’t love is our stinging friends being so close to where the girls are playing. And so, those perennials sadly had to go.

With our condo bylaw stating that the planter boxes must stay “green”, we decided to instead use them for an herb and vegetable garden. Might as well get some reward out of them. Am I right?!

Since this type of garden was completely new to me, I immediately turned to my friends at The Home Depot Canada for help. (By the way, did you know that they are THE destination for spring in Canada?) 

When it comes to plants, they have 32 dedicated growers across Canada, 8 here in Ontario. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to go on a field trip with them to visit one of those local growers, family-owned Jeffery’s Greenhouses, in the Niagara-area. Jeffery’s 1.5 million square feet of planting space supplies the annuals to 55 stores in Ontario. Burpee is the edible brand they grow, and includes the majority of potted herbs I bought for our garden.

>> Read on to learn what we planted. <<

Urban Gardening - Creating a Condo Container Herb & Vegetable Garden

Originally, we had intended to just do one planter with herbs. But, naturally, when I saw the availability of herbs and produce in-store (both in starter and seed), I got excited and overbought. So, our second planter box became dedicated to veggies.

Since we live in a condo and space is at a premium, I didn’t have the luxury of starting seeds indoors in the winter. So instead, I bought a mixture of potted herbs and vegetables, as well as seeds suitable for sowing directly outdoors after last frost.

Most herbs and vegetables do require full sun, for at least six hours a day. Perfect for our north-facing terrace because during the daytime hours, we are bathed in sunlight. Sun equals happy plants. 

Urban Gardening - Creating a Condo Container Herb & Vegetable Garden

Living in hardiness zone 6a, typically last frost is the beginning of May. BUT, we’ve had such a cool, wet spring so far that planting was a bit delayed. 

Since I can never do anything by myself anymore (#momlife), I “enlisted the help” of my littlest garden buddy, my three year old daughter Morley. I’ll give her credit, after putting on her PAW Patrol gardening gloves (also bought at The Home Depot Canada), she was all in, using all of the strength in her little body to pull out the old plants, and prep the dirt for planting the new. While she was a great help, she did require about 15 snack breaks, so prepping and planting took a little longer than I intended.

But, after those 15 snack breaks, we finished. And I am so happy with the result!

Urban Gardening - Creating a Condo Container Herb & Vegetable Garden
Urban Gardening - Creating a Condo Container Herb & Vegetable Garden
Urban Gardening - Creating a Condo Container Herb & Vegetable Garden
Urban Gardening - Creating a Condo Container Herb & Vegetable Garden

Nationally, 1 in 8 households live in condos or apartments (2011 National Household Survey). And in Toronto, the largest city in Canada, 20% of the population calls a condo home (2016 census). Small space, urban gardens are on the rise. Just because you live in a small space, does not mean you can't have a garden (and eat it too). 

Gardening is such an immensely pleasurable and enjoyable activity. You have the joy of growing your own food, knowing where it came from, and how it was grown. There’s nothing that beats the ability to harvest the freshest ingredients for your home-cooked meals. Having your kids involved, and teaching them where your food comes from, is also a bonus.

Now, keep your fingers crossed that it’s successful because I’m itching to be able to serve them up on our many terrace BBQs this summer…

What We Planted: 

Planter Box 1 (Herbs): Chives, Dill, Parsley, Basil, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary

Planter Box 2 (Vegetables): Kale, Arugula, Lettuce, Green Onions, Carrots, Beets

Medium-sized pot: Tomatoes 

Small-sized pot: Mint (*)

*It is important to note, mint has an aggressive root system and must be planted on its own or it will completely take over your garden.

Urban Gardening - Creating a Condo Container Herb & Vegetable Garden

Interested in planting your own small-space container garden?

Between doing my research and planting our gardens, I learned a few things that I think are important to share to help with the success of your garden. This is no way meant to be a comprehensive step-by-step guide. I am in NO WAY a gardening expert (hell, this one may completely fail). 

A Few Things to Think About When Starting Your Own Small-Space Container Garden:

Before deciding to plant herbs and vegetables, it is important to check your condo bylaws! Each condo is different in terms of rules for balconies and terraces. 

Determine your hardiness zone. This will tell you what can grow where, and when. Here is Canada's hardiness zone map.

Set a budget to help determine what kind of things you can invest in, like the size and type of containers, quality of soil, and size of raised beds you can purchase. For those on a tight budget, think about starting small and gradually expanding each year.

Do your research. So you know what can grow in your area, and based on that info, you have created a list of what you want to plant. Now its time to learn about how much water, sunlight, space (i.e. space between plantings, do they sprawl vs. grow vertically), and love the plants you want to grow need. Based on this info, come up with a garden plan. 

Make sure to observe the location you have selected for a few days. Your container should be kept in a position where it can enjoy a fair amount of sun during the day. The amount of space and sun will determine how much you can grow and also what kind of plants you can grow.

Consider whether you want to start with seeds or transplants. Many varieties (i.e. carrots, beets) do best when direct seeded while other plants (i.e. tomatoes, peppers) should be started indoors in advance or purchased as seedlings to ensure there is enough time for them to grow and mature.

Remember that a successful vegetable garden takes time to manage and maintain. You can’t just plant your garden and forget about it until the harvest rolls around. Remember it needs to be watered, weeded AND harvested. And don’t forget about the end of the growing season - putting your garden to bed in the fall is just as important.

Have fun with it!

Urban Gardening - Creating a Condo Container Herb & Vegetable Garden

Do you have a garden? What is your favourite thing to grow (and eat)? I’d love to hear!




*Disclosure: This post is in partnership with the Home Depot Canada. However, all opinions are 100% that of To & Fro. Thank you Home Depot!

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May 21, 2019

Baby's First Picnic in the Park



At three years old, I have proudly watched my oldest daughter check many firsts off the list. But BY FAR my favourite first to watch her master, was becoming a big sister. 

Coming from personal experience, the role of big sister comes with many new responsibilities - learning to share toys (and mom’s attention) with little sister, teaching little sister new skills and sharing in many of little sister’s very own firsts. 


One of our oldest daughter Morley’s favourite places to visit is the local park. Throughout the year, you can usually find us there a few times a week, whether it’s tobogganing in the winter, swimming at the public pool on a hot day or simply enjoying a picnic on the grass.

Since little sister Berkley was born, big sister has been itching to show her “the ropes” (pun intended) at the park. And now that Berkley is nine months old and mobile, and the weather is FINALLY getting warmer, it’s about time we make big sister’s wish come true.


Besides going on the swings, down the slide and just having a good sit, watching big sister run around, one of our favourite things to do at the park is to have a picnic. What better way to take advantage of a sunny day? 

We love a good picnic - but picnicking with two littles ones isn’t always easy.

In order for the picnic to be a success, you must be prepared. Here is what we bring with us to make our picnics in the park both toddler- and baby-friendly, AND lots and lots of fun!

First up, the important stuff - no picnic is complete without the picnic food! Like any other meal, when picnicking with little ones, options are also key. 

Prepping meals for those at different stages of eating (i.e. those with teeth and those without) can be a lot of prep work, so I look for things that they can both eat.

For the babe: We bring apple sauce pouches, rice rusks, and favourite fingers foods such as diced fruit (blueberries and strawberries), quinoa and chopped avocado. It can get pretty messy, so make sure you also bring extra wipes, a change of clothes and towel. 

For our toddler: We bring cheese, meat and crackers, cut up veggies (cucumbers and snap peas are a favourite) with hummus, sliced fruit (usually cantaloupe and pineapple), apple sauce pouches, juice boxes, plenty of water and… cookies!


At just 5g sugar per serving, My First Bear Paws cookies are made better, so your child can snack better. With no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners and peanut-free, they are the perfect snack to pack into your picnic bag. They are now available in a new stand up resealable bag for easy snacking, and packing back into your bag at the end of your park visit.



As the spring temperatures can still be unpredictable, it’s important to dress for the weather. A light sweater, wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and appropriate shoes are a must. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray (if needed). 

Don’t forget the other essentials - a picnic blanket, cooler, plates and cutlery. I don’t use disposables with picnics because there may not always be a trashcan or recycling bin near by. I keep a small plastic bag in my picnic basket for any trash we accumulate.


Lastly, the picnic location. These active kiddos won’t sit still for long, so it’s important to find a picnic area that has something to offer them — like a splash pad, pool or, in our case, playground. And if not, I suggest packing up a few activities or toys to occupy them while you eat. While our park does have a pool and playground, it’s always fun to bring buckets and shovels to play in the sand. A soccer ball, frisbee and bubbles are also guaranteed a fun time. 

Our baby- and toddler-friendly picnic list:

  • Blanket
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Wipes
  • Wide-brimmed hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Reusable plates and cutlery
  • Water (in reusable bottles)
  • Wagon
  • Cooler bag
  • Buckets and shovels
  • Bubbles 
  • Soccer ball
  • Frisbee
  • Food


While the picnicking part itself may last all of five minutes, and the prep may seem longer than the reward, the reward of picnicking with a toddler and baby comes in seeing big sister share one of her favourite spots with little sister for the very first time. And that better first, makes it all worth it. 

What are some of the firsts that you have enjoyed watching? I'd love to hear!





*Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Dare’s My First Bear Paws and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.



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baby friendly park picnic tips


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May 16, 2019

What It Means To Be a Big Sister, From the Mouth of a Three Year Old Big Sister



Being a BIG sister is a BIG responsibility. Yes, I’m speaking from personal experience here…

I am the oldest of three. I have a younger brother and a younger sister. In my 30+ years experience as a big sister, I’ve learned you have many shoes to fill. Among many jobs, you are a role model, a leader, a teacher, a playmate and a best friend. Like I said, BIG responsibility.

baby playing with magnetic tiles

While she may not fully understand the responsibilities that come with being a big sister until she’s a bit older, at just three years old, our oldest daughter has completely embraced the role.

I recently sat down with her - a new big sister as of nine months ago, but also the leading expert on little sisters in our house (or so she thinks). Here’s what she had to say about being a big sister…

Mom: Morley, do you like being a big sister?
Morley: Ya.

Mom: What do you like about it?
Morley: *mumbles something from the living room*

Mom: You like little baby chins? (Honest, it’s what I thought she said.)
Morley: No, this little chubby baby. *said in baby voice while pinching sis’ cheeks*

Mom: Oh, you like the little chubby baby. Is she a good little sister?
Morley:  Ya! *continues pinching little sister’s cheeks*

Mom: What kind of things do you do as a big sister?
Morley: I play with her.

Mom: Do you help mommy, if I need it?
Morley: Ya.

A girl of few words.

Mom: How do you help? Do you help to get her diapers, and clothes? And share your toys?
Morley: Ya, but not my small dollies because she will put them in her mouth. 

Mom: Yes, she will. What other things do you do together?
Morley: We go to the park and on the swings. We take baths. I get her jammies and unzip her sleeping bag. I dress in princess dresses.

Mom: Oh ya, do you think one day she’ll want to wear princess dresses with you?
Morley: Ya, I’ll share my princess dresses. Right little bubbies??? *as she starts pinching her cheeks again*

Mom: Do you also teach her things?
Morley: Ya, we go fishing. (What?! No, they don’t.) I teach her ABCs and how to be gentle with the dogs. 

And then, she walks away. Conversation over.

So there you have it, straight from our three year old’s mouth - a very random conservation about what it means to be a big sister.

baby playing with magnetic tiles

But let’s go back to that whole sharing thing for a minute… 

She told me many times during our chat that she was good at sharing with her little sister. They share many things - my attention, their toys, germs AND their love of the same baby products. 

From the very beginning, we have been a Philips Avent family. Why? Because they are the #1 recommended brand of mother and childcare products worldwide, priding themselves on providing a full range of innovative products for baby and mom, from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, pacifiers and toddler cups. 

baby playing with magnetic tiles

Some of our favourites? 

When big sister was a baby, she was bottle fed using Philips Avent Natural bottles. The BPA-free bottles have an ergonomic shape for maximum comfort, making them easy to hold and grip in any direction. The ultra soft nipple more closely resembles the breast, making an easier transition from breast to bottle. They are simple to use and clean, with quick and easy assembly, which is important when you've got a hungry babe on your hands.

Then little sister came into our lives. Let’s just say she’s a bit fussier than big sister. With a fussy baby, we had to change up the way we did things, including the bottles we used. Philips Avent Anti-Colic Bottles with Airfree Vent are designed to reduce colic, gas and reflux. The shape of the nipple allows a secure latch and stays full even when the bottle is horizontal, allowing baby to drink in an upright position so that they swallow less air as they drink.

Little sister also loves the NEW Philips Avent Soothie snuggle - the same great Soothie that many families and medical professionals know and trust, but with a soft, lightweight snuggly toy to help make babies feel secure. They’re also pretty darn cute.

baby playing with magnetic tiles

The relationship my little gals have is simply 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. Morley has fully embraced her new role and I couldn’t ask for a better role model, leader, teacher, playmate and best friend for her little sister.

Being a big sister, it’s one of the best jobs in the world. 

Are you the parent of multiples? What has amazed you the most about the relationship between your children? I’d love to hear!





*Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Philips Avent. I received products and/or compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions and advice shares are 100% that of To & Fro.

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May 8, 2019

Spring & Summer Bucket List


After a long winter, the warmer weather is FINALLY here. And that means it’s time to start thinking about our spring and summer adventures!

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the warm weather passes by rather quickly - so, it’s important to make the most of it. The perfect reason to make a bucket list!

Read on to discover what’s on my family’s bucket list this spring and summer.

spring and summer bucket list

To & Fro’s Spring & Summer Bucket List

Annual family camping trip. For the past few years, we’ve taken a annual family camping trip in Ontario. The first few years we did a canoe-in trip in Algonquin (link). And then kids happened, so we scaled it back a bit with the Pinery and car camping in Algonquin. This summer we look forward to exploring a new provincial park - Awenda, on the shore of Georgian Bay.

More camping. Our condo has a fairly large terrace, large enough to fit a small tent. I foresee many nights spent “camping” on the terrace. It’s also good practice to see how the girls do in a tent.

Picnics in the park. We have an incredible park across the street from our house, that we frequent almost every single day in the summer months. We love to pack up a picnic lunch, grab a blanket and make an afternoon of it. 

mom at park with kids

Dinner on the beach. One of our favourite things to do last summer was to whip up a homemade pizza, pack it up and head down to the beach (a quick 20 minute walk from our house). We’re looking forward to packing up the pizza, some beverages and the pails and shovels and doing it all over again this summer.

Swimming in the lake. I grew up on Lake Huron, and I have many fond memories of swimming with friends each summer. We’re very lucky to have the Great Lakes in our backyard. It’s not a summer without a dip in the lake, whether it be Ontario or Huron.

shores of lake huron

Plant an herb garden. This one I’m especially excited for because it will be my very first garden! That very same terrace I mentioned above has two large planters, one of which I will be using to grow our own herbs. Also a chance to teach my oldest where our food comes from. And let’s be honest, food just tastes better when you grow it yourself. 

Canada Day fireworks from the rooftop. Our condo’s rooftop has the perfect view of the lake, so I look forward to grabbing a few folding chairs and watching the Canada Day fireworks from eight floors above. Because let’s be honest, no one wants to battle the crowds at the boardwalk (especially with two little ones in tow).

Visit to the Zoo. Always a must during the summer months! Since we’re such animal lovers, I don’t think this bucket list item needs much of an explanation. 

Watch a Lake Huron sunset. Preferably while sitting around a campfire, while roasting marshmallows, with a cold beverage in hand. Lake Huron sunsets are seriously like a piece of art. 

Get outside, as much as possible. Summer wouldn’t be summer if we stayed indoors the entire time. Whether it’s all of the above, or just a walk down the street, we get outside as much as possible, rain or shine. Getting outside is just good for your soul. And if you don’t believe me, you can read more about why it’s good for your mental health, here. 

spring and summer bucket list

You know what is always with us when we get outside? Our AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones. I’ve been talking about them for the past few months, and can’t tell you enough how much we love these bad boys. 

Seriously, these headphones are a total game changer. They use bone conduction technology, sending mini vibrations through your cheekbones, directly to your inner ear, leaving your ear canals open to hear the ambient sounds around you. You can listen to your podcasts, music, audio books or favourite sports game, while still being able to hear the world around you!

The Trekz Air headphones sport a wireless wraparound titanium band that loops behind the neck and hooks over the ears. It provides a flexible fit for unnoticeable all-day comfort and stability. No cords, no worries - perfect for an active and on-the-go lifestyle.  

spring and summer bucket list

I will admit, at first, I was a little hesitant. It felt weird not having something in my ear. But, after a few minutes, I was used to being able to hear the ambient nose of the cars passing me and the neighbourhood dogs barking as I walked down the sidewalk and through our local park. And, when you’re walking down a busy street, with a toddler who asks for a snack every 4 seconds, being able to hear is definitely key.

AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones come in four different colours (slate grey, forest green, midnight blue and canyon red) and retail for $189.95 Canadian.

Follow #ShokzSquadCAN on social to see what the rest of the review team is saying about these headphones!

What’s on your spring and summer bucket list? I’d love to hear!

*GIVEAWAY*

I’ve been talking about these headphones for four months now, and it’s about time we give away a pair! Enter below for your chance to win 1 of 3 pairs of AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones. Good luck :)

AfterShokz Giveaway

Fine Print:
  • Giveaway open to residents of Canada and the US only.
  • Open May 8 - June 6, 2019. Winners (3) will be contacted within a week of closing.
  • Prize pack will include the following: Trekz Air headphones, water bottle, black sport belt, portable large case and sport towel.




Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with AfterShokz and PTPA Media. I have received products and/or compensation in exchange for this post, however, all opinions and advice shares are 100% that of To & Fro.
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May 2, 2019

Best Family-Friendly Camping Destinations in Ontario



Now that spring is upon us, it’s time to start planning our spring and summer outdoor adventures. For our family, that means lots of camping. Today, we’re sharing the best family-friendly camping destinations in Ontario! Whether you are an experienced camper or new to camping, whether you hike in, drive in or even canoe in, there is a family-friendly Ontario camping destination for you.

Car Camping at Canisbay Lake Algonquin Provincial Park

Living in Ontario, we love exploring the camping spots in our own backyard. There is so much more to this great province than tall buildings and concrete.

Today, I’ve teamed up with a group of bloggers from the Toronto Bloggers Collective (TBC) to share the best family-friendly camping destinations in Ontario - a list of both provincial and national parks that you NEED to visit if camping with your family, regardless of your camping experience level.

Ontario Parks

Did you know that Ontario is home to over 330 provincial parks, covering 8% of Ontario’s landmass? Ontario Parks is the largest provider of outdoor recreation experiences in the province. Each year, over 10 million visitors from around the world travel to Ontario’s provincial parks to camp, swim, picnic, hike, bike, paddle, birdwatch and much more.

Here are some of the TBC’s favourite Ontario Parks for family camping:

Algonquin Provincial Park

There’s not much more stunning (and quintessentially Canadian) than Algonquin Provincial Park. It’s also only 3(ish) hours from Toronto, making it the perfect long weekend escape from the big city. 

Established in 1893, Algonquin was created as a wildlife sanctuary to ultimately protect the headwaters of the five major rivers which flow from the Park. As one of the oldest and largest provincial parks in Ontario, Algonquin is diverse, protecting a variety of natural, cultural and recreation features and values. It also offers something for nearly everyone. Whether it be a family camping trip, a back country portage or even just a day hike, there are many reasons why YOU must visit Algonquin Provincial Park. 

Algonquin Provincial Park Canisbay Lake sunset canoe

Awenda Provincial Park

We’ve camped with our two small children at nearly every provincial park in the southern half of Ontario. Awenda is among our favorites! With four enjoyable beaches, large campsites and 33 kms of easy-to-moderate hiking trails, Awenda makes for a really lovely family camping experience. It’s just two hours north of Toronto and perfect for a long weekend, although we prefer to stay five days to a week.

The campsites, surrounded on all sides by the tall straight trunks of hardwood trees, are prettier and more private than most. Rent a canoe for a morning paddle, take a hike on the Bluff Trail to have lunch overlooking Georgian Bay, then bicycle or drive to the beaches (they’re a bit far from the campsites to walk) to spend the afternoon swimming, sunning and exploring.

Kids aren’t ready for bed? Enjoy sunset while dock fishing off the Kettle Lake boardwalk or head over to the Amphitheatre to take in a presentation by a Friends of Awenda Park naturalist. And once all is quiet, the best part of the day: sitting quietly by the campfire, beverage in hand, gazing up at a sky full of stars.

Contributed by Zoe King - Wandering Family

Awenda Provincial park fishing

Bon Echo Provincial Park

Bon Echo is the ideal place for new campers. To me, it’s best of both worlds. If you are looking for something resembling city camping all the amenities at the camp site will make sure camping adventure easy. From easy hikes, to interactive boat tour that gives the history of the park to the every popular annual art and craft show in the summer. 

If you are looking for a bit more of an adventure, you can take the ferry to the start of the clifftop trail. Even more adventurous? Climbing the rock wall will fill the cup of even the biggest adventure seeker. 

We love it so much it’s been the site for our yearly camping trip for our children’s birthday 10 years in a row. 

Now when I say city camping, I mean it. From laundry facilities, to comfort stations for hot showers this park has everything you need and it's only a 3.5 hour drive from Toronto.

Contributed by Claire Zlobin - Drop of Golden Sun

Bon Echo Provincial Park

Chutes Provincial Park

Last fall, we had the chance to take the Ontario Parks RV for a spin to five of Ontario’s Provincial Parks for the 125th anniversary. Each one of the parks we visited had a unique footprint and series of hiking trails. But after several hours driving, our second last stop was the one that blew us away with its quiet charm. 

Chutes Provincial Park is in a tiny little spot way up north near Massey on the Aux Sables River on the way to Manitoulin Island. If you arrive in the fall you can spy salmon swimming upstream to mate near the main waterfall. The Twin Bridges Trail is 6 km long and follows the Aux Sables River. The trail leads to lookouts of the falls and the Seven Sisters Cataracts. Interpretive panels at the Falls Lookout tells the history of the area and at the base of the waterfall is a beach that is tranquil. 

Contributed by Paula Schuck - Thrifty Mommas Tips 

Chutes Provincial Park waterfall

Killarney Provincial Park

If you’re looking for a true wilderness to escape some of the crows in Algonquin, head to Killarney Provincial Park. For the hiking family, try the challenging Crack Trail. With more time and an active bunch, climb to the top of infamous Silver Peak (part of the epic La Cloche Silhouette backpacking trail): both trails afford views that prove that Ontario isn’t so flat after all. Canoeing, kayaking, and swimming at the beach are just some of the summer water activities; snowshoeing and ski trails are maintained through the winter. With yurts, cabins, front country and backcountry camping, there is something for everyone. To me, the best feature of Killarney is its sapphire blue lakes. Due to the bright white crystal rock and pink granite, Killarney’s Lakes are some of the cleanest and brightest you can find in Ontario. It is certainly worth the drive, and I can’t wait to be back this summer for more!

Contributed by Lauren Chu - The Ridgeline Report

Killarney Provincial Park camping

Killbear Provincial Park

Killbear Provincial Park is located on beautiful Georgian Bay, an easy drive from Toronto. The park has a wide range of summer activities for the whole family. Bring your bikes so that you can ride the 6 kilometre Recreational Trail and check out the lighthouse at the end of trail. Each of Killbear's seven campgrounds has a beach within walking distance, perfect for a day of swimming with the family.

For those looking for a more exhilarating water activity and one unique to Killbear, try jumping off the cliffs into the water below.  Even the little ones can experience the thrills and jump safely from the lower rock ledges.  

Contributed by Andy Vanr - Avrex Travel

Killbear Provincial Park swimming

MacGregor Provincial Park

MacGregor Point Provincial Park is open year round, but not all campsites are open. The full service campsites and yurts in the Algonquin campground are open through the winter.  One of the best winter camping activities there while you are camping is snowshoeing!

The sites in the Nipissing campground are closed during the winter season making that area perfect for snowshoeing because it’s not being used at all. The only competition for snowshoers on fresh powder are cross country skiers. The area does see a fair amount of snow so you are pretty much guaranteed a great time during the day and then can hunker down in a toasty yurt at night.  

MacGregor Point Provincial Park is located on the eastern shores of Lake Huron in Western Ontario.

Contributed by Kathryn Dickson - Kathryn Anywhere

MacGregor Provincial Park winter camping

Pinery Provincial Park

Growing up, my family and I spent many summers exploring all that the Pinery has to offer. 

Located on the shores of Lake Huron, just outside of Grand Bend, Pinery Provincial Park is a hidden gem in the Ontario Parks' system. The 21 square kilometres of rare forests and rolling dunes offer excellent year-round outdoor recreations, including 10 walking trails, a 14 km bike trail and 38 kms of groomed ski trails. The Old Ausable River Channel, which runs the length of the park, is perfect for wildlife viewing, fishing or a relaxing paddle in a kayak or canoe. During the winter months, the park offers cross country skiing, snow shoeing and yurt camping. 

Pinery Provincial Park Ausable River kayak

Windy Lake Provincial Park

Sandy beaches, great swimming, and views for days. No, I'm not talking about Cancun, I'm talking about Windy Lake Provincial Park. 

It's a great spot to be in the spring or the summer, but I'm actually a big fan of what you can do up there in the winter. Firstly, there are actually gorgeous well maintained cross country ski trails up there, which I found out firsthand at Windy Lake. Beyond that, they've got a lovely cabin or two, and four all seasons yurts. I even did some ice-fishing while I was up there with my best pal, and we couldn't have been happier. 

That being said, this is a place that you'll be happy as a clam no matter what the season. The truth is, it's picturesque all year around and, in my humble opinion, Windy Lake Provincial Park is one of the best kept secrets in the whole province. 

Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

Contributed by Christopher Mitchell - Traveling Mitch 

Windy Lake Provincial Park Winter Camping

*****

National Parks

Camping in Ontario goes beyond provincial parks. Across Canada, there are also 450 000 km² of protected areas with countless unique experiences to suit your needs. Whether you’re looking for adventure, fun for the whole family, or a break from the everyday, Parks Canada has something to offer.

Bruce Peninsula National Park

Bruce Peninsula National Park is located on the Niagara Escarpment that runs from Rochester to Tobermory. It is approximately 156 square km and is protected by UNESCO’s Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve. It is perfect for family as it has many outdoor activities. This includes watching birds, camping and hiking. The views of the sunrise and sunset are amazing. The visitor centre has a boardwalk, theatre, reception, information and an exhibition hall. You can swim in the water during the summer. I strongly recommend going there and the drive is amazing.

Contributed by Jerry Godinho - Four Columns of a Balanced Life 

Rouge National Urban Park

If you are a beginner camper, or unable to escape the city, the Glen Rouge Campground within Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP) is a great car camping and the only campground in the City Toronto. Set next to the Rouge River, it’s the perfect place to submerse yourself in nature while staying in the city! It is a fairly open space to camp, BUT the camping around is within walking distance to many of the trails in the park. 

One of the great things about Rouge National Urban Park is theirLearn-to-Camp Program. If you are interesting in going on your first camping trip, but don’t know where to begin, this program program equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to feel confident planning and carrying out your first camping adventure.

No car? No problem. RNUP is easily accessible via Toronto transit and Park Bus.

Park Bus to Rouge National Urban Park

Where are your favourite places to go camping with your family? I'd love to hear!





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Best Family-Friendly Camping Destinations in Ontario

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