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The Best Family Toronto City Guide!

Toronto City Guide

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Toronto is one of those cities that is just so vibrant and magical when you visit, you won't be able to get enough of it! Not only Canada's largest city, but also the most multicultural in the entire world!

There are so many fun things to do as a family in the great city of Toronto, so we're excited to share with you our Toronto City Guide featuring our "Top 9 Family Attractions", which are just the tip of the iceberg in what you do with kids and the family in this exciting Canadian destination!

So make sure check out our entire Toronto City Guide that we've carefully put together just for you, so you know just how to plan your exciting family day out in this amazing city!

Main Image Credit: Destination Toronto

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

In this exciting Toronto City Guide, we list our top 9 things to do with kids in this incredibly exciting city, plus you'll discover some VERY fun experiences that will be perfect for the family!

We know budgets are always a consideration when travelling as a family, so also in this Toronto City Guide we share some really great FREE things to do that won't disappoint!

Getting around Toronto without a car is really easy, so keep reading as we also share some tips on getting around Toronto on public transport. We also have some really fun facts about Toronto that you can impress your friends with!

If you want to explore further out for the day, our Toronto City Guide also features an easy day trip from the city (warning, you might just get wet!), plus we let you know some famous faces who were born right in Toronto!

So whether this is your first trip saying "Yes, take me to Toronto, I'm so excited!" or maybe you have lived in the city all your life but still wonder "What is there is to do near me in Toronto?", then keep reading because we have the top 9 things to do in Toronto with kids...and so much more!

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

Toronto's history really begins at the end of the Ice Age, around 12,500 years ago when the ice sheet once covering the land began to retreat, and the Iroquoian people (who were later known as the Huron-Wendat) became what we understand to be the first to establish semi-permanent settlements within the area.

Europeans arrived, and in 1751 the French set up the first trading posts (until the British defeated French North America in the Seven Years War). In 1791, Upper Canada was formed and in 1793, the capital was moved to Toronto (although then, the city was named York) leading to the garrison (now known as Fort York) being built in the mouth of Toront0 Harbour in 1797.

In 1834, York was incorporated as a city and renamed Toronto, and steadily grew as a city throughout the 19th century, with a solid meat packing industry leading to the city's nickname "Hogtown".

Following World War II, the increasing influx of immigrants wanting to move to the area led to an increased demand to expand residential areas into to the outskirts of the city, and today Toronto finds itself the most multicultural city in the entire world!

Another huge moment for Toronto was in 1998, the city was amalgamated meaning the regional governments were dissolved and all the municipalities were amlgamated into one municipality - so Toronto is now considered a "megacity"!

Luckily for you, Toronto has a host of activities and attractions where you can learn all about this rich history, and we can't wait to hear what you learn!

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

Toronto really does have something for everyone, from wildlife to tours, museums, history and art - and everything in between!

How about we start with wildlife...who just LOVES animals? Hands-up! Toronto Zoo is where you can come face to face with creatures from all over the world, plus Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is a great insight into the wonders of the oceans!

If that wasn't enough, if you head on over to High Park you can enjoy a free admission zoo within the park! How amazing is that?

Love sport? Places such as the Hockey Hall of Fame is where you can learn all about iconic players, and see why they have earned their place in the hall of fame!

Love history?

Toronto is also home to some really unique attractions too, such as Little Canada where you can enjoy all the sights of the country - in miniature!

With so many fun things to do in Melbourne with the family, you'll soon have that itinerary filling up! The biggest question now is, what will you enjoy first?

Image Credit: Emily Pickles

Did you know that Toronto is home to one of North America’s finest transportation systems? The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has created easy-to-navigate subways that can take you around the city, as well as buses and streetcars - making getting around the city a breeze!

Then you have GO Transit which is Ontario’s inter-regional bus and train service. These buses and trains link Toronto with outlying areas of the Greater Toronto and beyond. (For this you'll depart from Toronto’s Union Station and servies run at regular intervals throughout the day)

If you are planning to use public transit, make sure you purchase a PRESTO card, whcih is an easy-to-use reloadable payment card allowing you to you pay your fare on the TTC, GO Transit (as well as UP Express which is one option to take you to and from Toronto Pearson airport!) eliminating the need for tickets, tokens, passes and cash!

Now all you need to do it work out how you want to spend your day in Toronto!

One food you just HAVE to try when visiting Toronto is the Peameal Bacon Sandwich - something that was invented right in the city!

This classic Canadian dish started when a man named William Davies discovered he could use cornmeal to preserve meat when he worked in a pork-packing plant during the 1850s.

Here's a fun tip - Carousel Bakery within the famed St. Lawrence Market (they popularised the sandwich) is a great place to grab one! It's a Toronto staple!

Nom nom. 

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Toronto

Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Toronto Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Toronto

1Toronto Zoo

Spanning across 287 hectares, Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in the entire country, and it's so much more than coming face to face with beautiful creatures from all over the world! You can jump on the Zoomobile for a tour of the grounds, or enjoy a ride on the conservation carousel! You can even take a self-guided tour around the greenhouse filled with amazing plants from all corners of the globe!

Take a birds eye view of the zoo on the TundraAir Ride, or cool off about as you make splash in Splash Island! Toronto Zoo also features canopy tours, overnight stays, keeper talks, behind the scenes activities and so much more! Kids, time to walk on the WILD side!

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada can be found in downtown Toronto and is home to 5.7 millions litres of marine life, from the oceans to freshwater habitats and everything in between - from all over the world! In fact, the exhibits are home to over 20,000 exotic creatures representing over 450 species! That's pretty impressive!

Also at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada are Dive Shows and Aquarist Talks to enchance that learning experience, as well as camps, a Marine Teen program and so much more! It's an underwater adventure for the whole family where you don't have to get wet, just have a great time!

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

One of the largest museums in North America (and the largest in Canada!), th Royal Ontario Museum is not to be missed, with fascinating exhibits covering cultures of the world, natural history as well as art. In fact, the museum houses a collection of 13 million art objects as well as natural history specimens, all displayed across their 40 gallery and exhibition spaces.

In addition, the museum features rotating exhibitions so you can always find something new to go back to, as well as plenty for kids and families including day camps, holiday camps and clubs! A really fun way to spend the day when in Toronto!

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

Built in 1914 (after 300 men spent nearly 3 years building it!), Casa Loma is said to be the ONLY castle in North America - and it's pretty impressive! This grand Gothic Revival castle-style mansion is a beautiful historic house museum and one of the most iconic landmark's in the city.

As you explore Casa Loma, you'll be able to enjoy the permanent installations including the "Dark Side of Toronto" photo exhibit, as well as their Classic Car Collection in the historic stables, (all in-line with the castle’s heyday). In addition, Casa Loma also curates regular special exhibits revolving around early Toronto and Canadian history so you'll always have something new to go back for!

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

CN Tower was named after the railway company that built it - Canadian Network - and stands at a whopping 553.3m high! If you are wanting some pretty incredible views of Toronto from above, this is the place to be! The Main Observation Level will take you 346m above ground, giving you the chance to see the full sweep of the cityscape!

Also at CN Tower you'll find SkyPod, which is actually the highest observation platform in the entire Western Hemisphere. SkyPod is actually 33 storeys higher than the Main Observation Level and you can actually feel CN Tower sway in the wind! You might also brave EdgeWalk, taking you 116 storeys up - along the outside edge of CN Tower, secured by only a harness!

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

If you LOVE hockey, this is the place for you! The iconic Hockey Hall of Fame is a fascinating museum dedicated to the rich history of ice hockey! Within the museum you can delve into various exhibits that can teach you all about the players, the teams, as well as allow you to come face to face with actual hockey memorabilia, plus NHL trophies (and that includes the Stanley Cup!)

Some of the fun interactive experiences that kids can enjoy are one-on-one play against life-size, animated versions of some of today's greatest hockey players, and they can call the play-by-play of some of hockey's greatest goals, AND they can even take the hot seat as a television anchorperson!

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

If you want an amazing celebration of all things Canada, keep reading because we're about to tell you about Little Canada! This fascinating attraction takes you on a unique journey of discovery through all the iconic sights and sounds of Canada - but all in miniature scale!

Little Canada will take you on an adventure really unlike any other, and it's always so fun for kids to spot landmarks they recognise, and see Canada from a whole new perspective! Kids can see the scale of Canadia as a vast land with a small-town feel. Little Canada is a place that will unleash everyone's childlike sense of wonder, no matter what age you are!

Image Credit: Little Canada

Science IS fun and the Ontario Science Centre can show you just that! This super fun and interactive museum for all ages offers a space where the whole family can learn-through-play and discover all the super cool ways to think like a scientist every day!

Throughout the museum you'll find a host of hands-on exhibits where kids really get their hands stuck into science, from being able to examine meteorites from Mars, and discover how the human body deals with danger! They can even explore a real-life rainforest, and so much more! (Don't forget to stop at the Science Arcade too!)

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

Centreville Amusement Park is a really fun seasonal children's amusement park located on Centre Island, and is filled with kiddie-sized thrills, along with plenty of entertainment and delicious food! Surrounded by 600 acres of parkland, you can enjoy 30 rides (including Bumper Boats, Twirling Tea Cups and an Antique Carouseel!) and attractions plus 14 incredibly mouth watering food outlets!

Even getting to Centreville Amusement Park is enjoyable, as the whole family can enjoy quick and scenic ride on the Centre Island ferry giving you incredible views of the Toronto skyline (and kids love seeing the planes flying overhead too!)

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

Famous Torontonians

 Family Days Out: City Guide

Drake

Drake is a Canadian singer, rapper and actor, considered one of the world's best selling musical artists, he found fame as a child actor in the iconic Canadian TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Drake has won multiple awards including Grammys and American Music Awards, and sold over 170 million records. 

Image Credit: musicinentropy

 Family Days Out: City Guide

Christopher Plummer

Christopher Plummer was a multi award-winning Canadian actor, whose career spanned over 6 decades after his Broadway debut in 1954 and film debut in Sidney Lumet's Stage Struck in 1958.

He remains most loved for his portrayl as Captain von Trapp in the 1965 classic musical The Sound Of Music alongside Julie Andrews

Image Credit: Public Domain

5 Fun Toronto Facts

5 Fun Toronto Facts

Impress your friends with your amazing Toronto knowledge!

  • If you LOVE sports, then it will excite you to know that Toronto has a team in EVERY major league! This includes the NHL (the Leafs), MLB (the Blue Jays) and Rugby (the Wolfpack!)
  • Toronto is home to one of the longest streets in the entire WORLD! Head on over to Yonge Street - do you think you can walk it's whole length?
  • Toronto is the largest city in Canada (it also happens to be the 4th largest in North America) and is the capital of Ontario. However, Ottawa is also in Ontario and is the capital of Canada - don't get confused! Phew!
  • Toronto is THE most multicultural city in the whole world! In fact, half of the population was born outside Canada! (One reason why Toronto's food scene is world-famous!)
  • The city is blessed with 43km of amazing shoreline! If you love the water, this is the city for you!

Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids In Toronto

Toronto Botanical Gardens

Toronto Botanical Gardens

Beautiful themed gardens spanning nearly 4 acres can be found within the free admission Toronto Botanical Gardens, making it a beautiful day out in nature! Woodland Walks and Bird Habitats surround you with some stunning feathered friends, and the Entry Walk Garden is like walking through a pice of art - to name a few!

The Teaching Garden is also a great stop for kids! This 5-minute walk through Edwards Gardens and offers those little ones a unique space to learn by interacting with the environment!

Image Credit: Toronto Botanical Garden

Explore St. Lawrence Market!

Explore St. Lawrence Market!

St. Lawrence Market is considered one of the world’s great markets, with merchants representing hard work and passion for food and building the local community, and visiting this Toronto icon allows YOU to be part of the story too!

The market is comprised of three main buildings: The South Market, the North Market and St. Lawrence Hall (built in 1850!), each with their own unique purpose. The North Market is best known for the Saturday Farmers' Market, which is a tradition that started right on the site in 1803 and continues today! 

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

Visit High Park featuring High Park Zoo!

Visit High Park featuring High Park Zoo!

High Park is an amazing way to spend some time in Toronto! In fact, High Park is the citys largest public park and is filled with a host of things to enjoy as a family, including a number of hiking trails, as well as sports facilities, AND nature (1/3 of the park is still in its natural state!)

Also at High Park you'll find a beautiful lakefront, and yes, it has a zoo! We bet you didn't expect that! Kids can also enjoy the playgrounds, plus there are a couple of eateries, picnic areas, and keep an eye out for those cute squirrels! Even the zoo is free admission, so get on out and enjoy that fun park day in Toronto!

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

Fort York National Historic Site

Fort York National Historic Site

Feel the history all around you at the 43-acre arcaheological park of Fort York National Historic Site, offering fascinating day out at the location once where British soldiers, First Nations warriors as well as Upper Canadian militiamen all stood together against the United States and its attempt to capture Toronto during the infamous War of 1812. 

Exhibits, artifacts, and stories from those on the battlefield as the unsung heroes can all be experienced here, as well as interactive exhibits within the Fort York Visitor Centre. A rich and fascinating historic day out in Toronto for the whole family. (For a fee, over 12s can enjoy an additional Lantern Tour of the site too!)

Image Credit: Toronto History Museums

Explore ALL Toronto History Museums!

Explore ALL Toronto History Museums!

In addition to the Fort York National Historic Site we listed above, earlier this year the Toronto History Museums announced ALL of their museums would offer free entry to ensure all families and children could enjoy their educational experiences!

From the Gibson House Museum, to the Zion Schoolhouse, Montgomery's Inn and Spadina Museum (there are in fact TEN museums in total!), and free admission across all of them (we love that they did that!), plan a Toronto History Museum day and really make the most of these incredible experiences they are offering!

Image Credit: Toronto History Museums

Toronto's Best Street Food Spots According To Locals!

A Fun Day Trip From Toronto!

Marking the border between Canada and the United States, Niagara Falls is one of the most impressive natural wonders of the world and luckily for you - SO close to Toronto (about 80 miles!) that any visit to this amazing city should also include a visit to these beautiful, raging waterfalls.

However, it might surprise you to hear that there are so many things to do in Niagara Falls on the Canadian side above and beyond just enjoying the view! From rides, shopping, theatre, food....Niagara Falls is definitely worth a day out in itself!

Image Credit: Destination Toronto

Niagara Falls is actually composed of three impressive waterfalls, run between Ontario and New York State, with the largest being Horseshoe Falls that lies on the international border, which also happens to be the most powerful waterfall in North America! (The smaller two falls - American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls - can be found on the American side)

Niagara Falls is actually formed by the Niagara River, which sees water from Lake Erie run into Lake Ontario - all features that were created during the Wisconsin glacation which occured around 10,000 years ago. This glacation sheet retreated leaving meltwater and formed what we know as the Great Lakes, and when the ice melted, the upper Great Lakes emptied into the Niagara River. Through various erosions and changes, Niagara Falls was born!

You can enjoy a Niagara City Cruise in the morning, or spend the afternoon enjoying the Whirlpool Aero Car! There are Botanical Gardens if you want to experience even more nature, or the impressive Skylon Tower for those unforgettable 360 degree views!

Your fun day out from Toronto can be spent in the Niagara Falls town, which twins Niagara Falls town in New York. (Don't be confused, you will get the hang of it!)

Here’s our top 4 Niagara Falls things to see and do:

We hope you found this content useful! Please share with your friends, and if you have any comments, or want to let us know what we can do to further help you find fun days out with the family, then just email our team at [email protected]!

Let's get the family adventure started!

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