August 2012 Archives

Woburn Park Wading Pool | Lawrence Park

Summer 2012 has been hot hot hot and we've been touring the splash pads and wading pools throughout the city. Some of the best ones are nestled in little neighbourhood parkettes like the Woburn playground at Yonge and Lawrence.

Woburn Park wading pool.jpg

This wading pool is lovely because it's shaded by lots of huge old trees and it's fenced in. There is also a great playground with swings and a huge sandbox, and there are bathrooms on site. There is also a fenced in off-leash dog park. Woburn Park is located at 75 Woburn at Jedburgh Road, west of Yonge. Rosie :)

C.N.E. 2012: Totally Fun for Kids

I've been to the Ex many, many times, but never as a mommy. There is a whole side to it I never knew. The C.N.E. is so kid-friendly that we were only there for five minutes before finding a fantastic water fountain just past the Food Building. My little man is water-fountain crazy, so we spent a fair bit of time here.

CNE 2012 water fountain.jpg

What I found extremely cool about this fountain is that it was obviously inspired by Millennium Park's Crown Fountain, one of my very favourites pieces of public art in the world. 50-foot glass block towers feature giant faces, and water spouts out of their mouths. It is amazing to experience whether you have kids or not. My little man liked it so much we went back twice.

Chicago Crown Fountain at Millennium Park.jpg

The C.N.E.'s water fountain doesn't quite compare to the Crown Fountain, but I love that someone tried to make something like it. Afterwards we moved on to the Kid's World section where there is so much fun stuff for little ones including a giant playground, petting zoo, free pizza-making workshops and a music-making area with instruments the kids can just bang on freely. The C.N.E. ends on September 3rd, and there are two more nights (this Wednesday and Thursday) where if you go after 5pm, admission is only $5. (It's always free for kids under 4.) Rosie :)

Yonge-Dundas Square | Downtown Toronto

~Update April 2020: the T.O Tix booth, the half-price ticket booth for theatre tickets in Yonge-Dundas Square, has permanently closed.~


Yonge-Dundas Square is so awesome now compared to when my husband and I went to Ryerson over a decade ago. It certainly had character then, but it really wasn't an area of the city you wanted to take your toddler to run around. Now you can... it's like a mini Times Square, plus it has lots of splashy water fountains for little water lovers.

Yonge-Dundas Square.jpg

Yonge-Dundas Square2.jpg

It really feels like the heart of the city, with tons of special events like free concerts, free movie nights and the T.O. Tix booth where you can pick up discounted theatre and comedy show tickets. Right now there are temporary patios set up right on Yonge Street between Queen and Gerrard for the Celebrate Yonge event, making the downtown core even more of a fun party vibe. There are some neat things to check out in the different event area, including life-sized board games and a bike art gallery. Rosie :)

Images From The City: Muskoka Chairs at the Ex

Thanks Jenn for this pic of some colourful Muskoka chairs at the Kids' World section of the Canadian National Exhibition.

C.N.E. 2012: Muskoka Chairs.jpg

Send your image from the city to rosie@mytorontoscoop.com. Rosie :)

BuskerFest 2012 In The St. Lawrence Market

Toronto BuskerFest is on right now in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. If you are like me and love a good human statue, get downtown. There is lots of entertainment and the event supports Epilepsy Toronto.

BuskerFest 2012 Human Statue.jpg

Like all good festivals, there are dozens of delicious things to eat that are terrible for your body but wonderful for your soul. As badly as I wanted a Blooming Onion, I opted for a Moroccan Spiced Brisket on a Bun by the Sultan's Tent & Cafe Moroc on Front (that's the restaurant with the stunning belly dancers).

BuskerFest 2012 Sultan's Tent.jpg

Toronto BuskerFest runs until August 26th. Visit www.torontobuskerfest.com for a schedule of performances and the festival mobile app. Rosie :)

CNE 2012: Bacon Nation at the Food Building

We covered a lot of ground this year at the Ex but our first stop was the Food Building. And our first stop inside the Food Building was Bacon Nation. It's new. Everybody's talking about it. One could say the menu is trying to kill you. I say it's just giving people what they want, like bacon-wrapped deep-fried Mars Bars, Nutella bacon sandwiches and bacon funnel cakes.

Bacon Nation Menu.jpg

I had to try the deep-fried hotdog wrapped in BACON! I love how it's sprinkled with bacon bits, in case you didn't get the theme. Bacon. Goes. On. EVERYTHING.

Bacon Nation Deep-Fried Hot Dog.jpg

Here are the baconators in action. Love the industrial size tubs of Nutella.

Bacon Nation: CNE 2012.jpg

The Food Building is open every day from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, which runs until September 3rd. Rosie :)

Fishbar on Ossington: NOW CLOSED

If you dig seafood, you have to eat at Fishbar. I am a big, big fan of little salty fishes and look at who arrived at our table. Fried lake smelts with sea salt and lemon.

Fishbar Smelts.jpg

The menu is tapas-style with a great selection of creative dishes. We also had grilled calamari with capers, olives, cherry tomatoes and lemon zest, tacos with halibut and shrimp ceviche, guacamole and chili, and this grilled whole fish. It was stuffed with a totally delicious green olive gremolata.

rsz_1fishbar.jpg

Not only was the food fantastic but the vibe is great too, all energetic and buzzy without being annoying. Everyone was happily eating oysters and drinking Prosecco, the way happy people should on a beautiful Friday night on Ossington. I'll be back for you, Portuguese sardines. Rosie :)

Sir Casimir Gzowski Park Playground | Toronto

There is a playground on the Lake Shore that has many of the criteria I look for in a great playground. Sir Casimir Gzowski Park has a huge toddler wading pool, a fun and colourful playground with swings, lots of grass, huge old trees and a boardwalk cafe. All this, just steps from the sandy shores of Lake Ontario.

Sir Casimir Gzowski Park Playground.jpg

When you are done with the playground, you can just walk across the boardwalk to the beach where you have the most stunning view of the Toronto skyline.

Toronto Skyline.jpg

Lake Ontario.jpg

Sir Casimir Gzowski was an engineer who served as Ontario's Lieutenant Governor from 1896 to 1897. His awesome playground is located at 1751 Lake Shore Blvd West. There is Green P parking, and it's free if you park before five from Monday to Friday. The other lovely thing about this park is that you are about a ten minute walk from the lovely Humber Arch Bridge, and then about another 20 minutes away from the Humber Bay Park, where the butterfly exhibit is. Rosie :)

Public Art at the Humber Bridge

I love art in public spaces and wish we had more street art in Toronto. When we went to Chicago last summer we spent our days walking from one sculpture to another, and we couldn't get enough. That's why I love that Toronto's Interactive Arts Collective installed this beautiful sculpture on the Humber Arch Bridge.

Humber Arch Bridge_squids.jpg

Humber Arch Bridge_dancing creatures.jpg

Humber Arch Bridge_art sculpture.jpg

These "dancing creatures" caught my eye last week while driving on the Lakeshore and when we took one of our walks by the water I couldn't wait to see them up close. This installation is filled with 1,200 LED lights, making the creatures just glow with colour. I absolutely love it. You have until the end of September to see this luminous work of art at the Humber Bridge and you should. It is stunning, and costs nothing to experience. Rosie :)

Humber Pedestrian Bridge.jpg

Le Dolci | Dundas St. West- THIS LOCATION HAS CLOSED

~Le Dolci has moved from Dundas St. West to a location near Trinity Bellwoods Park.~

If you have ever wanted to learn how to make those gorgeous Parisian macarons or how to really decorate a cupcake, look no further than Le Dolci. This wonderful bake shop and education studio offers amazing workshops that teach you how to make treats like cake pops, truffles, little fondant cakes, and more. Just look at these cupcakes.

Le Dolci Cupcakes.jpg

Yes, that is an London Olympics and TIFF cupcake you see. And some designer purses. I know, they are just stunning. Le Dolci is offering 15% off all their classes if you book before the end of August, so right now is a great time to check out their class schedule. I would love to do Perfect Pies with the Parkdale Princess. My pies suck. There is also Designer Cupcakes for Toronto Fashion Week and Mommy/Daddy & Me cupcake decorating classes. Le Dolci hosts birthday parties and bridal showers as well, and sells a delectable selection of treats including Augie's Gourmet Ice Pops.

Le Dolci Menu.jpg

I picked up some pops when I popped in, and we had popsicle headache we ate them so fast. They are made with all-natural ingredients and are so flavourful. The Ontario peach pop is new. There is also a Vietnamese coffee flavour available. I loved the basil in the strawberry-basil-lemonade pop.

 Augie's Gourmet Ice Pops.jpg

Love these in the hot weather. You can't get Augie's ice pops everywhere but they are available at lovely Le Dolci. Rosie :)

Kensington Market in Toronto: Market Sundays

I have always loved Kensington Market. It is a historic part of the city with tons of character and a really cool vibe. This summer, the market is closed to cars on Sundays. (You may have heard the ruckus over the swing gates that were installed to block off traffic.) I think anything that endeavours to support local businesses is great. Making Kensington pedestrian-only one day a week gets people walking and shopping and that is good for everybody.

Kensington Market Pedestrian Sundays.jpg

Kensington is home to some very popular shops like Cheese Magic on Baldwin. Serious cheese-a-holics freak out over Cheese Magic.

Kensington Market_Cheese Magic.jpg

It is also home to Mexican restaurant El Trompo on Augusta, beloved by Toronto foodies. The patio is a major hotspot. It is always packed.

Kensington Market_El Trompo.jpg

There are lots of tasty things to eat in the market and a lovely selection of bakeries and coffee shops. The coffee from The Grindhouse on Augusta is so, so good.

Kensington Market_The Grindhouse.jpg

Where is Kensington Market in Toronto? It's located just west of downtown Toronto, bordered by Spadina Avenue, Dundas Street, Bathurst Street and College Street. You don't have to wait for Sundays to check it out, it's always bustling. Visit the Kensington Market website for a schedule of upcoming events. Rosie :)

Images From The City: Dîner en Blanc 2012

Toronto's first annual Dîner en Blanc took place on Thursday night. We now join Paris, New York, Barcelona and other amazing cities around the world as hosts of this chic pop-up picnic. Everyone dresses in white and dines at a secret spot in the city. The location is only revealed the night of the event when you are brought there by your host. This year the venue was the grounds of Fort York.

Diner En Blanc Toronto.jpg

Thanks Parteeee GG for this fabulous picture from what looks like a fabulous white night. If you want to dine in white next year, you have to get on the waiting list. (You don't just show up to a foodie flashmob, it requires planning.) Visit the Toronto Dîner en Blanc website to learn more. And if you have an image from the city you'd like to see on the Scoop, send it to rosie@mytorontoscoop.com. Rosie :)

Mini Circuit Toy Store | Etobicoke: NOW CLOSED

*Update: This store closed in January 2019.*

When I was little, I was in some crazy mad love with my Raggedy Ann doll. I think I literally loved her to pieces. When we walked over to our awesome neighbourhood toy store Mini-Circuit today I noticed a brand-new display of Raggedy Anns. I was like- whaaaaaat!?! The owner informed me these beloved rag dolls are making a comeback. Before I get to THAT, here are the dollies.

Raggedy Ann & Andy @ Mini-Circuit.jpg

I know. Beyond adorable. So when I got home I read on Variety that the king of puppeteers, Kevin Clash (that would be ELMO for those of you who are toddler-free) and the Gotham Group (producers behind Elmo's Christmas Countdown- yes that's where Alicia Keys sings Do You Hear What I Hear with Elmo) are making a movie starring the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. The CG and puppetry will be outstanding obviously; these people how to make characters come to life. Little ones and their nostalgic mamas are going to love it. In the meantime, if you are swooning over these sweet dolls and like shopping at local shops instead of Walmart or Toys"R"Us, visit Mini Circuit at 747 The Queensway at Royal York. The store has a great selection of wonderful toys, including totally impractical giant Big Birds and old-school rocking horses. Love! Rosie :)

Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park

I was pretty excited when I read that celebrity renovator Mike Holmes would be rebuilding the beloved wooden castle in the Jamie Bell playground that was destroyed by arson in March. Canada's Most Trusted Contractor was not going to mess this up. When he compared the project to building the Coliseum, I was impressed. This was going to be something really special and really grand. The playground reopened on July 13th and it is just spectacular. THIS is a playground!

Jamie Bell Adventure Playground.jpg

And THIS is a castle fit for little princes and princesses. It has shiny copper turrets!

Jamie Bell Adventure Playground_castle.jpg

There are so many fun things to play with here that the kids are literally spinning around in circles. It's wild.

Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park.jpg

All the colourful children's art really captures the spirit of the park. Community activist Jamie Bell had a vision to build a playground that kids would play a role in creating. Children offered their ideas of what their dream park would be, and together with parents, teachers and many volunteers that vision became a reality in 1999. In the same spirit, the 2012 Jamie Bell playground was rebuilt by the hard work of many volunteers and donors.

Jamie Bell Adventure Playground_art.jpg

My little man likes a good swing, and one of the really lovely things about this park is that there is a perfect mix of sunshine and shade from High Park's beautiful trees.

Jamie Bell Adventure Park_swing.jpg

Mike Holmes and the many volunteers who worked on the project had to deal with some pretty hot temperatures during the rebuilding. You can watch the project from start to finish this fall on an episode of Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV Canada.

Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park.jpg

The Jamie Bell Adventure Playground is located in High Park at 1873 Bloor St. West. Rosie :)

The Cheese Boutique | Etobicoke

There are plenty of places to buy cheese in Toronto, but the Cheese Boutique in Etobicoke is one of the absolute best. The quality and selection of cheese is just outstanding. All cheese lovers, actually no- all food lovers in general really must make a trip here at least once. It's amazing.

Cheese Boutique in Etobicoke_1.jpg

Cheese Boutique in Etobicoke_artisanal quebec cheese.jpg

Cheese Boutique in Etobicoke_3.jpg

I love a place where prosciutto is swinging from the ceiling and truffles are flown in weekly.

Cheese Boutique in Etobicoke_prosciutto.jpg

I also love how the Cheese Boutique has been family owned and operated since 1970. You can really feel the genuine love for food in this place. There is a cheese VAULT. No wonder it's a such a favourite with local chefs. There is a spectacular selection of meat, olives, foie gras, jams, spreads, olive oils, and dozens of other delicacies.

Cheese Boutique in Etobicoke_4.jpg

Cheese Boutique in Etobicoke_5.jpg

The Cheese Boutique is located at 45 Ripley Avenue in Etobicoke, off South Kingsway. Don't be deterred by the somewhat bleak industrial strip that is Ripley Avenue... cheese heaven awaits. I guarantee you will be able to spot the store, but just in case, here's a landmark for you to keep an eye out for. A giant yellow Cheese Boutique moose surrounded by dozens of Canadian flags. Like I said, you can't miss it. Rosie :)

Cheese Boutique in Etobicoke_moose.jpg

Lakeshore Mardi Gras | Etobicoke

Today we went to Colonel Samuel Smith Park for the 9th annual Lakeshore Mardi Gras celebration. What fun! There is a great schedule of live music all weekend (tonight at 8:30... Alan Frew of Glass Tiger!) and tons and tons of delicious and naughty things to eat, like ribs, Ribfest-style.

rsz_lakeshore_mardi_gras_017.jpg

Here's a close-up of the experts in action. Vegetarians, look away.

Lakeshore Mardi Gras 2012.jpg

There were many other things to eat that you would never even consider consuming anywhere else other than a festival, like fudge, Tiny Tom Donuts and Blend-Your-Own Slushies.

Lakeshore Mardi Gras slushies.jpg

There are lots of rides for kids and tons of space to watch the live music on the main stage. Colonel Samuel Smith Park is such a nice big park with tons of trees, lots of leafy shade and plenty of green space to spread out a blanket.

Lakeshore Mardi Gras main stage.jpg

The Lakeshore Mardi Gras runs until Monday August 6th. Click here for the concert schedule. (Did I mention-Alan Frew of Glass Tiger, in one hour? You have time!) Rosie :)

Little Burgundy Pop-Up | Sherway Gardens

A Little Burgundy has popped up at my very favourite mall, Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke. It's across from Michael Kors near Second Cup.

Little Burgundy at Sherway Gardens.jpg

A fun addition. Little Burgundy has cute trendy shoes. What Sherway needs now is Zara and H&M (both preferably with the kids lines.) Forever 21 will be opening soon across from Dynamite, which is a good because Dynamite just doesn't cut it as the only place in the mall to buy cute cheap clothes. Rosie :)