Have you ever visited a new neighbourhood and wondered where are all the the locals go to play and eat? Where are the best places to take the kids, that tourists might not even know exist? Well, I’ve got the insider scoop on great spots to hang out in Toronto’s East End ‘hood, the Beach. I’ve lived in Toronto’s Beach community for over 15 years…and it is an amazing place to visit with kids. If you are looking for a great outdoor, family friendly adventure then load up the stroller and bikes and head to the Beach.
Kid-Friendly Toronto Destinations in the Beach
R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant
If you take the streetcar all the way to the east end of Queen Street, you will arrive at the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant. While you can’t always get inside the plant itself, the grounds around it and the exterior of the building are worth the trip. From the wide spanning back lawn of the facility to get a breathtaking view of downtown and of Lake Ontario. Follow a few stairs down to the beach and play in a totally peaceful space in the city.
The Purple Park
Only a few blocks to the west of the R.C. Harris Plant you will find the “purple park”. There isn’t any official signage that announces this park’s name – the purple park is what the local residents have labelled this kid-friendly Toronto spot. Located at the bottom of Silverbirch the purple play structure has given this park its name. You will always find sand toys in the large sand box. When you ride on the swing it feels like you could launch right into the lake.
Glen Stewart Ravine
The City of Toronto is dotted with beautiful ravines. The Glen Stewart Ravine runs from Kingston Road all the way down to Queen Street. It is truly a hidden gem in the city. Take a quick hike through the ravine and you’ll find a spot to explore and connect with nature in a way you might not have thought was possible in a big city.
Ed’s Real Scoop
One of the best ice cream shops in the entire city of Toronto can be found right here in the Beach. Ed’s is the home of deliciously refreshing homemade ice cream and gelato. There always seems to be a new specialty flavour mixed up…a perfect beach treat.
The Remarkable Bean
If coffee and muffins are more your speed then the Remarkable Bean is the place you need to visit. Freshly baked muffins are served all day long. Fill your cup with their specialty brewed coffee.
The center piece of the Beach community has to be Kew Gardens. Located smack dab in the middle of the ‘hood, Kew Gardens hosts festivals all year round. Bring the kids swimsuits and swim in the newly renovated wading pool. The kids will enjoy some time spent in the castle play structure. Kew Gardens is a lovely access point to the next great spot to visit in the Beach…
Yep, you can’t forget to spend some time with a bucket and pail at the beach. A trip to the Beach wouldn’t be complete without a walk along the beachside wooden boardwalk. The Beach is actually made up of four beaches that are Blue Flag certified as safe for swimming. Visitors can swim, play beach volleyball, sun bathe, picnic, bike, roller blade, fly a kite or just hang out on the sand. There are plenty of options for kid-friendly Toronto play at the Beach.
Tommy Thompson Park
A short bike ride to the west of the Beach is the remarkable Tommy Thompson Park. The park is only accessible on weekends and you have to walk or ride a bike…no cars allowed. Tommy Thompson Park is a large green space that stretches along the shores of Lake Ontario. This park home to many species of migratory birds, butterflies and an incredible array of plant life.
We would love to see you in the Beach. Don’t be afraid to visit in the off season, the Beach is a four season neighbourhood. In the summer it’s all about the sand and in the winter it’s all about the ice rinks and sledding. There’s no shortage of kid-friendly Toronto fun any time of year!
In Jen Farr’s “previous life” she was a mental health professional…in her current life she’s a stay-at-home mom with two beautifully adventurous kids. Jen shares everything that lands on their kitchen counter over on her blog, Kitchen Counter Chronicles. Swing by and learn how they are greening their lives; what they are crafting; what they are cooking and what they are reading. While you will often find the Jen and her girls inside the kitchen, you will also find them out getting their hands dirty, exploring and learning outdoors. Jen also tweets at @kcchronicles and can be found on Facebook and Pinterest.