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Thursday, July 23, 2020

What to do this Summer in Toronto : Pandemic Edition

Summer of 2020, oh what memories we will have....of continuing to do the same thing we've done for the last 4 months which is basically sitting at home! Living in a pandemic has certainly changed what our summer plans were supposed to be.  We are sticking close to home and trying to have a few excursions and activities where we feel comfortable and safe.  It's not quite the image of creating this magical childhood I had wanted to do for my kids, but you know what? The kids will be alright, it's just my patience that is being tested....everyday.

In case you are looking for something (ANYTHING) to do with your family this summer, here are a few of my suggestions:

Tree Top Trekking

What: Physically (and mentally) challenge yourself by trekking among the trees and zip line down. It is a set of several aerial obstacle courses up in the trees. Check it out here

Where: With 6 locations in Ontario and 5 in Quebec, we opted for the one in Brampton last summer at the Heart Lake Conservation Park and this year we tried out the new park in Hamilton.  Click here for more locations

Cost: approximately $44-$65/pp

Good to Know:

  • The course takes about 3 full hours
  • Wear comfortable athletic clothing and running shoes 
  • Get over your fear of heights before you get there
  • Once you get up on the course, the only way back down is by finishing it
  • Make it a full day and pack a picnic lunch too
  • Make your booking online ahead of time
  • Minimum age is 9, and is best for kids who like adventure and a little thrill

Good to Bring:

  • Water bottles
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen 
  • Sanitizer & Wipes
  • Bug Spray
  • Backpack - if you are ok with leaving you stuff down below while you are up in the trees, otherwise leave it in your car. 
  • Camera - its pretty cool up there, so make sure to have your phone or camera in a pocket where it won't fall out
Pandemic Safety Measures:
  • All the equipment is sanitized and cleaned
  • All the instructors wear masks and you are also encouraged to wear one when you can't socially distance
  • There is hand sanitizer everywhere and you need to sanitize every time you go up or come down from a course
  • Everyone does a good job socially distancing
  • They do a Covid screening questionnaire prior to starting

Fun Rating:
Kids: 4/5: Teens can't really act like it was amazing can they? And little one screamed and cried the whole time during the second course(even though I told her not to do it!). But the kids that completed all the courses had a blast.
Me: 4/5: Personally it's not for me, I did one course and it was enough of a challenge and I was good. But it kept the kids active outdoors for 3 hours so it was a win!

Emerald Lake

What: Water park in a 5 acre quarry lake, that is part of a RV and Camping park. Click here

Where: Located in Puslinch, Ontario, west of Toronto, from Mississauga it takes about 45 - 60 mins to get there.

Cost: Approx. $20/pp tax included

Good To know:

  • There are splash pads, pools and a gigantic water slide
  • The lake water is warmer than the pools!
  • You can rent kayaks
  • Lots of lifeguards on duty
  • You must have a life jacket for the lake - you can rent there if you don't have your own
  • There is a small cafe that you can get some food or snacks from
  • Great for all ages, they do have sections for younger kids

Good To bring:

  • Life jackets
  • Chairs
  • Towels
  • Sunscreen
  • Money
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Beach Umbrella or Shade 
  • A book or magazines

Fun Rating:
Kids: (this info is from last summer:)
After all the complaining they did about wanting to go, they sure weren't going to be complaining (much) about their time there, so a 4.9/5 for them. 
Me: 4.5/5 I didn't have to do much since the lifeguards were on duty and the kids all had life jackets, they gave me some time to sit back and read and relax. I just wish there was some more shade. 

Pandemic Safety Measures:
  • Inflatable water toys are still not in use in phase 2
  • Covid Pre-screening is in effect
  • Social Distancing is in effect

Museum of Illusions

What: An interactive museum exploring visual sensory. Click here for more

Where:  Downtown Toronto  at 132 Front Street. 

Cost: Average $19.50-$23.50/pp, more here

Good To Know:

  • It is a short walk to the St Lawrence Market where you can pop over for lunch and take your food outdoors. Also you can walk to the Distillery District from the museum, where we like to look at the shops, get some gelato at SOMO and have lunch or dinner at our favourite Mexican restaurant El Catrin which has a lovely large patio
  • It is about a 15 minute walk from Union station
  • Parking is available at the IMPARK lot on 35 Esplanade of if you plan on spending time in the Distillery you can park there too (rates apply)
  • Don't expect to be here all day: give yourself maybe an hour to explore everything at a slow pace
  • You can buy tickets online 

Good To Bring:

  • Masks
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Water bottles
  • Comfy shoes to get yourself there
  • A low expectation of how much time you will spend at the actual museum as it is a small museum 
  • A plan to explore more of Toronto that day: we went to the St. Lawrence Market, Sugar beach and to the Distillery District

Fun Rating:
Kids: 4.5/5 - they felt it could have more fun to explore
Me: 4/5 - it was fun and interactive for all of us, and not too big to lose kids in!

Pandemic Safety Measures:
  • Covid Pre-screening is in effect
  • Social Distancing is in effect
  • Pre purchase your ticket online in order to space out the number of guests

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

What: An immersive and unique art exhibit about Vincent Van Gogh. Click here for more

Where:  Downtown Toronto  at 1 Yonge Street

Cost: Average 35/ pp, more here

Good To Know:

  • This is a unique art exhibit. The entire loop of the "show" lasts about 30 minutes, but you are welcomed to stay longer.
  • It is located in the Toronto Star building and a short walk from Union Station or $25 for a parking spot across the street
  • There is an option to do a drive in with your car to experience the exhibit. Check website for more details
  • There is a small gift shop when you leave, as well as an opportunity to do a paint by numbers t shirt for an additional $40
  • Best for older kids and teenagers, my almost 10 year old didn't love it
  • There are socially distanced circles drawn on the floor and lots of space to keep between yourself and others
  • A mask is mandatory
  • You have to buy tickets online 

Good To Bring:
  • Masks (mandatory)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Water bottles
  • A low expectation of how much time you will spend at the actual museum as it is a small museum 

Fun Rating:
It is great for teenagers and tweens but my youngest did not seem too interested in the actual exhibit. They did love painting a t shirt however! 4 /5 for them. 
Me: 4.5/5 . It was incredible!

Summer still has many, many weeks to go and I'm hoping to get in a few more 'normal' activities as a family. Stay tuned, I'll update this post as we go!

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