Fun Toronto Parks for Kids

Lithuania Park at Keele & Glenlake

**Update: August 17, 2020**

At the end of July, Toronto moved into in Stage 3 of reopening which includes the city's playgrounds. This park has undergone some updates since I last wrote about it in 2012. The recent renovations to the playground have residents of the area concerned. The new pathway that runs along the playground has quite a high drop all along one side- 55cm- which can be seen in this photo taken by community resident Mike Simpson:

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One can certainly see how excited little ones could take a serious tumble while running along the path. Do you live in the area? Comment below with your experience at the playground, as Mike is going to start a campaign to correct this. It seems odd to me that a guard rail wouldn't have been installed, just to visually signal the edge of the path and the vertical drop below. Rosie :)


**Original post- August 2012**

Likely unimpressed with the planned afternoon activity of watching his mama watch Olympic men's swimming, my little man starting tearing around the house post-nap exhibiting levels of energy that only an excursion involving water play would even begin to exhaust. Weary from a busy morning of watching men's gymnastics (what a emotional roller-coaster it's been for Kohei Uchimura) I knew the answer was Lithuania Park. Located just north of High Park, it has the perfect wading pool for toddlers. Mamas and nannies can really phone it in here; the kids just entertain themselves. Once my little guy armed himself with a suitable twig, he was ready to get his pool on.

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Or so I thought I was going to phone it in. This pool proved to be so fun that little man insisted I join him. Glad I dressed up. Go Canada!

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The playground here is great, if your child lets you out of the pool long enough to get to it. I love all the lovely leafy shade at this park, and the huge beautiful trees.

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Apparently in the winter, the toboggan hills at this park are awesome. Lithuania Park is located at 155 Oakmount Road, north of High Park at Keele and Glenlake. Rosie :)

Sheldon Lookout in Humber Bay Park

There is a view of the city so beautiful in Humber Bay Park that if this was New York, everyone would be telling visitors YOU HAVE TO GO TO SHELDON LOOKOUT. A gift to the city from the Sheldon family, it sits on the western beach of the Humber River along the Toronto Waterfront Trail.

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This lovely park is just steps from the Humber Pedestrian Bridge, so you can't miss it.

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Sheldon Lookout is a perfect place to walk, bike, fish, roll down a hill, or sit and enjoy the stunning views. It's really pretty, and peaceful.

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Sheldon Lookout received an Honourable Mention in the 2000 Architecture & Urban Design Awards. The natural stones are really impressive; your little ones will love to climb on them. Here is a rock showing the directions to dawn at the summer and winter solstice.

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Sheldon Lookout is located in Humber Bay Park, just west of the big white bridge you can see from the Gardiner. Rosie :)

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Marie Curtis Park | Long Branch

This southwest Toronto park underwent a massive revitalization for summer 2013. I love Marie Curtis Park because of it's proximity to the waterfront and all the huge beautiful trees that surround it. My little man loves it because of the crazy fun splash pad and wading pool.

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The non-water park of the playground is pretty awesome too. I love the colourful Muskoka chairs and the big covered sandbox. There is a perfect combo of sun and shade. It's lovely.

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Parking is free at Marie Curtis Park, which is located at Forty Second Street near Browns Line and Lake Shore in south Etobicoke. There are also lots of picnic tables, a dog off-leash area and walking trails that connect to the Waterfront Trail. Rosie :)

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Mimico Memorial Park in Etobicoke

When it's this hot out, you want to find the Toronto parks with splash pads. One of our favourites is Mimico Memorial Park.

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What's lovely about this park besides the great splash area is all the green space to run around and the massive beautiful trees. It's tucked in a leafy area off Royal York, right across from Mimico Baptist Church. My little man is a big fan of this playground, which along with the requisite swings and climby-stuff has a really cool jumpy-table that he always drags Daddy right over to.

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I clearly snapped that pic when it was a little chillier out, which shows you how great this park is that we are there even when the splash pad isn't open. Mimico Memorial Park is located at 74 Hillside Avenue, east off Royal York Road, south of QEW, between QEW & Lakeshore. Rosie :)

Toronto Sculpture Garden: Gold, Silver & Lead

Right now, there is a stack of Honda Civics piled up in the Toronto Sculpture Garden. Gold, Silver & Lead, the free park's current exhibit, is very cool.

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I love this little garden for the free art exhibits, and my little man loves it for the absolutely fantastic waterfall fountain. It's really unique and peaceful to take in.

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The Toronto Sculpture Garden is located at 115 King Street East right across the street from St. James Cathedral. This is a perfect spot to admire the architecture of this stunning church, which has the tallest tower and spire in Canada.

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My only knock against the park is that the city locks it up at 6:30p.m., which I think is really early for the summertime. I felt bad for the city employee who had to kick us out; it is not a good day at the office when you have to tear a happy little toddler away from a water fountain in a public park in broad daylight. But it's a lovely green space downtown with free art so I can't complain too much. Rosie :)

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.

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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 :)

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.

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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.

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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 :)

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!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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 :)

High Park Zoo | Toronto

The High Park Zoo is the perfect zoo to take your toddler. There are many different animals to see such as bison, reindeer and capybaras. It's a short walk from one species to the next, and it's situated in Toronto's beautiful leafy green High Park. Here's one of North America's largest land mammals looking very calm.

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Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. It appears that once a rodent exceeds the size of a big stuffed animal, it goes from being totally gross to quite adorable. They are a very social species as you can see here.

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Hello reindeer! You show such composure despite the constant stream of parents parading their kids in front of you saying "look, look, there's Rudolph!"

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Along with many interesting animals, there are also lots of great twigs in High Park. My little man loves to run around and pick up twigs. The bison distracted him only momentarily from intense twig-gathering.

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There are also llamas, peacocks and wallabies at the High Park Zoo, which is free to visit. Due to funding cuts by city council, this zoo almost stopped operating in June.

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The non-profit Friends of the High Park Zoo and private donors have raised funds to keep the zoo going for at least another year. Make a donation if you go (there are donation boxes) or online at the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. Rosie :)