Are you and your family in need of a break from the phones, tablets, and other attention-sucking electronic gizmos that seem to rule your daily lives? For some distraction-free family fun away from the confines of your home, visit one of Toronto’s spectacular parks, where you and your kids can bond in some of the most breathtaking open spaces in the city. Here are three of the best, where the noise and stress of the bustling metropolis are replaced by tall trees, manicured lawns, and assorted outdoor activities.
Keep your kids from monkeying around on your couches and counters with a visit to High Park. There, they’ll find the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, a safe place for them to slide, swing, climb, tumble, and jump to their hearts’ content. Elsewhere in the 161 hectare (400 acre) park, you’ll encounter lush gardens, lawns perfect for tossing around a Frisbee, and plenty of nature trails–including some that wind through wild, untouched oak savanna. When the kids are tuckered out from playing, plant yourselves by the waterfalls, bridges, and flowerbeds of the Hillside Gardens for a picnic. You’ll enjoy a moment of quiet serenity as the little ones dig through your picnic basket in search of the hidden treats you packed.
Pretend you’re roughing it in the woods of Morningside Park when you take a day trip to explore its forests, streams, hills, and clearings. Help the kids pick out sturdy walking sticks before trekking around this urban wilderness in search of adventure. If it’s a warm day, let them dip their little toes in the icy waters of Highland Creek before ending the day with a family barbecue at one of the park’s many picnic areas.
If you have younger kids with a wide-eyed wonder for all things new, head to Sunnybrook Park for a day of quality time. Nibble on snacks and soak in the sun’s rays as you watch your little ones scurry around the wide expanse of green grass in a spirited game of barefoot tag. If you own a pair of binoculars, bring them, as Sunnybrook is one of the best places in Toronto to spot rare, colorful songbirds.
There’s no need to sit in the car for hours if you’re looking for a day of outdoor family fun. Next time you need a breath of fresh air and a genuinely good time with your kiddos, just choose a Toronto park and make a day of it.
Photograph by Alex Laney