Popular Toronto Attractions

Happy Place | Harbourfront Centre

Happy Place has arrived and it's just what we needed on a grey and drizzly November morning. This bright and beautiful art exhibit is my favourite type... you can touch everything as much as you like. The massive installations from seven-foot stilettos to the world's largest indoor confetti dome is room after room of colour and joy. Everyone is smiling and taking fun pics and it's really just what creator Jared Paul envisioned... a place to walk in where you are surrounded by all things happy.





Toronto is the third stop for Happy Place after Los Angeles and Chicago and runs until January 1st 2019 at the Harbourfront Centre in downtown Toronto. Check out @wearehappyplace on Twitter and Instagram for updates and promo codes. Kids four and under are free of charge. Rosie :)


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Manolo Blahnik Exhibit: The Art of Shoes | Bata Shoe Museum

One of my fave Carrie moments on Sex and the City is her delight when she finds what she thought was an "urban shoe legend" -the Manolo Mary Janes- in the fashion cupboard at Vogue. Carrie's love of Manolos and the spectacular styling on that show made me fall in love with the artistry that is a Manolo Blahnik shoe. The Art of Shoes at the Bata Shoe Museum is a shoe-lover's dream; an ethereal exhibit of Manolos that will have you wanting to commit museum theft. Here are some shots of my faves:


Nearly cracked the glass here... guess that's why they only display one...



Inspired by nature:



Manolo Blahnik designed the shoes for Sophia Coppola's movie Marie Antoinette:


Timeless sandals...



The Art of Shoes runs until January 6th, 2019 at the Bata Shoe Museum in downtown Toronto. Rosie :)

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The Art of Banksy Exhibition

There is still time to see this terrific exhibit which was even better than I was expecting. The Art of Banksy had it's North American premiere here in Toronto and was extended a couple of times this summer because it was incredibly popular. I loved it. It wraps up September 16th and then off to other cities. It takes about an hour and a half to get through and I would love to see it again. Here are some of my fave pieces.





You can purchase tickets at www.theartofbanksy.com. Follow the Twitter feed @banksyexhibit because you can often find a promo code for discounts. Rosie :)

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Ripley's Aquarium | Downtown Toronto

Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto is one of those attractions that is truly fun for people of all ages. We've been several times now and have seen babies in strollers and teenagers on Saturday night dates. Even The Weeknd and Selena Gomez while they were still together enjoyed a date night at Ripley's. This is because everyone- little ones, grown-ups and globally famous pop stars- loves pretty fishes. I also love how this $130-million facility has livened up what was for years a real dead zone in the downtown core. We recently became members because with the winter we have been having, it's a great place to take my little guy so he can burn off all that little-boy-energy. He just tears through the place and the interactive kid's area where they can actually touch the fish is amazing. This is really an attraction where the pictures speak louder than words, so, enjoy! Rosie :)




Images From The City: Yonge Dundas Square at Night

It's awesome here in the day, and so cool at night.

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Send your image from the city to rosie@mytorontoscoop.com or tweet it to @rosieintoronto. Rosie :)

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Sesame Street Presents: The Body at the Ontario Science Centre

This interactive exhibition all about the human body is so much fun for little ones. The whole Science Centre is great, but this exhibit particularly is geared to toddlers. From noses to toes to what happens after you eat food (yup, the whole process) everything is hands-on and there is lots of space to let them run loose.





I've always wanted sit on the Sesame Street steps at the Sesame Street front door!


Sesame Street Presents: The Body runs until May 5th, 2014. It is included with your general admission to the Ontario Science Centre. Rosie :)



St. Lawrence Market

This morning we wanted to buy some fresh salmon, so we decided to buy it at the number one food market in the world- the St. Lawrence Market. You can't take a bad foodie picture in this place. Enjoy! Rosie :)



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Images From The City: Toronto Jellyfish

Thank you Chris M. for this awesome picture from the most photogenic Toronto attraction ever, Ripley's Aquarium.


Send your image from the city to rosie@mytorontoscoop.com or tweet it to @rosieintoronto. Rosie :)

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Splash Island at the Toronto Zoo

I had no idea there was a two-acre splash pad at the Toronto Zoo. It's incredible. When we went last year, it happened to be the hottest day of the year and we didn't last very long. Our visit this year was on a perfect summer day so after exploring the African Savanna (our favourite section) we hit the Discovery Zone where Splash Island is located. "Island" is definitely a better word to describe this waterplay area- it's huge with waterslides, waterfalls and water-spouting animals. So. Much. FUN.











My little man didn't want to leave- he just sort of collapsed with exhaustion near the waterslides. Splash Island, like all the areas in the zoo's Discovery Zone for kids, is free with general admission. Rosie :)

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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.

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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.

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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 :)

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Celebrate Yonge at Yonge-Dundas Square

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.

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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, giving the downtown core even more of a fun party vibe. There are some neat things to check out in the different event areas, including life-sized board games and a bike art gallery. Rosie :)

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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.

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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.

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

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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 :)

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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You don't have to wait for Sundays to check out Kensington Market, it's always bustling. Visit the Kensington Market website for a schedule of upcoming events. Rosie :)

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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. Kids who like parks may also enjoy this summer camp in Toronto. If, like me, you head over to Jamie Bell many times in the summer as a way to expend some energy in a VERY energetic toddler, you may want to consider the camp route. Rosie :)

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High Park Zoo

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 :)

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Toddlers at the Toronto Zoo

Today we went to the Toronto Zoo with my little man's toddler class. It is record-breaking crazy hot outside so the trip was short but sweet. Upon arrival, my little guy went over to visit the friendly fellows at the Welcome to Toronto booth. (He later shared with me his thoughts on Toronto's hospitality excellence initiative. Unlike many, he quite likes the logo but feels it could use a punch of colour.)


We saw some monkeys, tigers, pigs and turtles before calling it a day. Because it was so hot, this tiger got up close and personal going for a drink of water.


Just love the giraffes, rhinos and zebras.




We didn't make it to the elephants, but I felt guilty about visiting the elephants anyway after learning how unsuited they are to Toronto's climate. It certainly didn't feel like that with the temperature today (34°) but summer is short in this city. I hope they end up in the place that is best for them, and that the zoo's accreditation is restored. Seeing the children's fascination with the animals and the genuine care for them showed by the staff, I think it is crucial an amazing city like ours has a zoo to be proud of. Rosie :)

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