Now that the weather is co-operating (or so we hope), there are many wonderful free or low-cost family friendly summer activities to partake in. Below is a curated list of 10 Toronto things to do with your kids over the summer (flooded Toronto island notwithstanding).
Free Outdoor Screenings
Outdoor Movie Screenings like Regent Park Film Festival’s Under the Stars 6 week Wednesday night FREE film series. Specifically, their cartoon screenings on July 12th Space Jam (1996) and July 19th Moana (2016) should prove popular with the kids.
Under the Stars event details: music and activities (Yoga, DJ workshops, soccer games and dance classes) will vary and taken place between 7-8:30pm before the film begins at sundown (usually around 9pm). Bring a blanket. Popcorn and other refreshments will be available for sale. Proceeds go towards keeping their November film festival completely free. Arrive early for Taste of Regent Park, a community event that showcases food, art and culture of Regent Park. The community market will also feature food from local caterers and activities for the whole family every Wednesday between 5:00-8:00pm
120 King Street East.
Swimming Pools and Splash Pads
For rainy days, see also Regent Park Aquatic Centre
Free Toronto Library Museum + Arts Pass Program
The Toronto public library offers their Museum + Arts Pass Program using your adult library card to sign out a Sun Life Financial MAP Pass. You and your family can get free admission to many Toronto museums and coveted cultural attractions.Perfect indoor educational activities for a rainy day or just to escape the heat.
Participating locations include the Aga Khan Museum, AGO, Bata Shoe Museum, Black Creek Pioneer Village, City of Toronto Historic Sites, Gardiner Museum, Ontario Science Centre, ROM, Textile Museum of Canada and the Toronto Zoo. Be sure to get yours early as they tend to go fast!
See also Sun Life Financial MAP Performing Arts Pass. See music, theatre, film and more for free. Passes available at 10 branches. Venues include CanStage, Factory Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, The Royal Conservatory of Music and Tafelmusik.
With over 7.5 acres of scenery, Cabbagetown’s historic Riverdale Farm is the perfect place to escape the city within. Whether touring along the beautiful wooded area pathways, ponds, and butterfly-herb-flower-vegetable gardens, or visiting its many farm animals and learning about farming chores from the farmers themselves. The park features a historic working farm, programs and seasonal events, pig and poultry barn, historic Francey Barn, Simpson House, Meeting House, the “Residence”, Old Zoo Ruins.
Open all year round daily from 9am to 5pm.
Admission is free, including weekends and holidays.
Parking available on neighbouring city streets.
Dogs, bicycles, in-line skates, foot scooters, ride toys, and vehicles are not permitted on Farm property. Our lower gate, which allows access to Riverdale Park West/Broadview Avenue footbridge, is open May 1 – November 1, 9:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily.
Harbourfront Centre Family Programming
Did you know many of Toronto’s waterfront programming is dedicated to children 12 and under? With so many events and activities geared towards kids Harbourfront Centre is a treasure trove of fun. From $10 paddleboat rides on the Natrel pond to free HarbourKIDS Arts & Crafts events and miniPong.
Be sure to check out the The Power Plant: Power Kids events calendar for the gallery’s free arts workshops for children aged 7-12. Your kids will have a blast.
231 Queens Quay W. Admission to gallery is free. Hours of operation are
Tuesday–Wednesday 10 – 5 PM
Thursday 10 – 8 PM
Friday–Sunday 10 – 6 PM
*Open Holiday Mondays 10 – 5 PM
Evergreen Brick Works
There are plenty of outdoor nature activities available for you and the kids inside the city. Walking, viking or hiking the many Evergreen Brick Works’s scenic trails provides an excellent way to stay fit and surround yourself with nature. Be sure to check out the Lookout Path which provides incredible skyline views. Your Instagram followers will approve!
Open daily. Parking is available.
550 Bayview Ave.
It’s no secret, children love to play in a park. Luckily, Toronto is home to many fantastic children’s parks including the always fun High Park which features a fantastic playground, zoo and family friendly nature walks and the newly built and widely lauded Cork Town Common. New and old, these parks are equipped to let your kids’ imagination run wild which, irrespective of their free cost, is in itself, priceless.
High Park: 1873 Bloor Street West. Open 24/7
Cork Town Common: 155 Bayview Avenue
Ontario Early Years drop-in centres
Are you a parent or caregiver of a child under the age of six? The Ontario Early Years Centres provide free programming for you and them. Bonus: many centres are air conditioned!
See also: East enders with toddlers monthly chart.
Fruit and Veggie picking
Picking the food we eat is an excellent way to teach children where their meals comes from. Located just an hour outside Toronto, Brooks Farms has you covered. Their summer strawberry, raspberry and snow and sugar snap pea crops are sure to deliver tasty goodness. Be sure to check out their Barnyard Playland for added fun.
Open 9am-7pm (Playland 9am-5pm).
Located at 122 Ashworth Road
One of the city’s free gems, the CBC Museum offers an exciting history into the Canadian media archive. With plenty of interactive exhibits to explore, including Kids’ CBC, your whole family take part in Canada’s broadcast heritage.
Admission is free.
Located at 250 Front St. W.
Open weekdays from 9 am to 5pm.