Kid Travel Toronto


Skyline from a nearby pier

Skyline from a nearby pier

When you’re my age, and living in a somewhat remote area, you travel to see your kids – it’s a part of your lifestyle. They leave the sticks for the big city and you follow. Link left home 4 years ago. Every year we trek up to Toronto to visit, and Link gets down here once a year to visit us. We are very happy not only to see Link, but to vacation in Toronto, which we really like. We never run out of things to do.

Our B&B was here

Our B&B was here

Modest room with great breakfasts provided

Modest room with great breakfasts provided

We’ve developed some routines, no matter what the season. We have visited in April, June, October and November of different years. Even though it is “family visiting,” it is our vacation time too, so we make it into a proper holiday. Link is living a very spartan lifestyle, so we make our trips there into a vacation for Link, too. They live in a tiny apartment somewhere affordable, and we stay at a B&B downtown. Every day we get together for meals, sight seeing, shopping and attractions. Since we know the city pretty well, we check what is going on for concerts, plays, museums, art shows, and public events.

This year our itinerary was:

Purity Ring are a chillwave synth-pop duo

Purity Ring are a chillwave synth-pop duo

Thursday – arrived in the morning, shopping at Eaton Centre (large mall at city centre) and Indian buffet. Then to a Purity Ring concert

Not my photo obviously

Not my photo obviously

Friday – Rom and I out to comic/toy/game shops, met up with Link and friend for AYCE sushi, then out to the musical Kinky Boots (have you seen the movie?)

Tackling the fantastic "42 Ingredient Salad" at Hibiscus

Tackling the fantastic “42 Ingredient Salad” at Hibiscus

Saturday – shopping in Kensington (funky independent, thrift & vintage shops) and lovely lunch at Hibiscus

Obligatory toga photo at the Pompeii exhibit

Obligatory toga photo at the Pompeii exhibit

Sunday – out to my favourite restaurant Fresh and over to the Royal Ontario Museum for the Pompeii exhibit (also a good exhibit on traditional Mexican textiles)

Garbage: Shirley Manson is a fantastic performer!

Garbage: Shirley Manson is a fantastic performer!

Monday – to Link’s apartment for a home-cooked dinner, then out to a Garbage concert (20th anniversary of their first album – does anyone remember “Only Happy When It Rains“?)

I love how the local pest species (Canada Geese) just inserted themselves at the zoo! The animal at the centre is a chamois

I love how the local pest species (Canada Geese) invite themselves to the zoo! The animal at the centre is a chamois.

Tuesday – full day at Toronto Zoo – first trip there in over 10 years. Predictably, my favourites were the cuties: red pandas, lemurs and meerkats!

Wednesday – travel back a.m.

It sounds like I did a lot of shopping, and yes, I did. However, I bought things I was specifically looking for: a pair of short brown boots, brown gloves, two thrifted cashmere sweaters, two strings of beads, and a few spices (ground chili varieties).

I have a new challenge for forthcoming trips. For the first time, we had to pay for checked luggage on a domestic flight. Travelling light, with a carry-on only, is a real possibility next time. Alas! I may have to change my ways!


  1. What a great break! I love the sound of the 42 ingredient salad. What do mean does anyone remember I’m only happy when it rains? Remember! We still play it in my house. Surely it wasn’t that long ago. You’ve given me things I have to look up: the animal, how old that song is, Kinky Boots (cause I remember wanting to see it as a movie but need to see how old or recent it is).

    I nearly bought some gloves in Japan. But really I don’t wear them that much and don’t like them on unless it is really cold which in Sydney is only the winter mornings and we are in summer. So I talked myself out of wasting money. I have two pairs and that is enough for many years. As well as several ski gloves. Enough for my life really.

    • I am happy you like Garbage, too! They did a great show. They played at a club fitting about 1300 people, filled to bursting (I always check the exit routes at such places).You probably saw that the movie Kinky Boots came out 10 years ago (!) and was a mid-career movie for Chiwetel Ejiofor.

      I like that you have a good sense of Enoughness!

  2. Just watched Cheery Lips. Lucky you to see Garbage.

  3. Oh and what’s an Indian buffet? Food from sub-continent India. Curries and the like?

  4. Nice little break. I really think I should make more Australian holidays, to see friends in the other big cities. I just never buy a flight and set it up – and I really could do with a long weekend (at the very least) in Brisbane/Gold Coast and Melbourne.

    I’ve been thinking of you today as I did some shopping and found some ‘steampunk’ things, so I plan a little blog post of things I see for my readers 😉

  5. Fiona

    Hope you, Rom and Link had a great time. It must be bittersweet having the distance between you but then again, you’ve probably done so many more ‘events’ and things together in that time, compared to the ‘taken for granted’ time if you lived very close. Wonderful to have the memories of those things you have done together. It must also be making Toronto a ‘home away from home’ for you!

    I have never, ever heard ‘Only Happy When It Rains’! But I spent my teenage years on a farm in Tasmania (at the bottom of the world…) so I have a total void of cultural knowledge in some areas! Good to see the video now and catch up – LOL!

    • Garbage was an interesting band in the 90s. They had fans who liked them for the female lead, for Shirley’s fashion sense and kickass persona, those who liked the band musically, and their “pop” radio hits. Their dark lyrics gave them a Goth following too.

      Yeah, Toronto really does feel home-like now. If I weren’t so entrenched in my career, I might consider moving there. But others say it is usually not a good idea to follow your kids around because (a) you may not see them more, and (b) they could move on! I do find it hard to be so far away, but I don’t dwell on it. I am glad that Link feels settled in Toronto and has such good friends there.

  6. Great fun. My oldest son I stopped in Toronto for a couple of days and had fun. We were close to Second City, the aquarium, the sky view, etc. You have given us many more things to go back and enjoy. Thanks for the tour and tips.

  7. We take a day trip to TO every summer with the kids, we just love it! This summer – if I can save enough pennies! or nickels I guess now… 😉 I hope to stay for 2 nights in a hotel and have 3 days to do fun stuff with the kids! 1 day of shopping, 1 day at the Science Centre, and a 1 day at the ROM! This is my goal anyways!! 🙂

    • I thought of you when I went to the zoo because I know your family likes it! What a great spot for an all-day walk. I do hope you get to have a longer stay this year 🙂 It is a serious splurge but the aquarium is also awesome.

  8. jbistheinitial

    You got to see Garbage? Jealous! I loved them in the mid-90s.

    We visited Toronto this summer for a few days and loved it, especially Kensington Market, which was exactly the kind of place Thomas and I like to hang out. I’m already planning a return trip some time in the next couple of years, to visit family in Ontario and return to Montreal and Toronto.

    • Glad you are a Garbage fan 🙂 I had no expectations and I was blown away by them. Of course it didn’t hurt that they focused on the first album and did some storytelling. I love Kensington, too – Link and I always scour the thrift/consignment shops and make some good finds!

  9. NicolaB

    I still listen to Garbage’s 2.0 album…not sure I want to think about how old it is!

  10. The Eco Grandma

    That’s a full vacation! How nice to stay in a B&B and visit all those attractions with Link. So what is in a 42 ingredient salad?

  11. Margie in Toronto

    From Margie in Toronto – so glad you enjoyed yourself here in TO. We like to gripe about the city but I always say that if I’m going to put up with the bad stuff then I’m going to enjoy the good stuff at every opportunity. I’ve been to see “Kinky Boots” twice and really loved it both times! I haven’t been to the zoo in years and have to get out there to see the pandas.
    Given the state of the Cdn. $ I will be vacationing in Canada this year – both Quebec City and Halifax are on my list (I’ve only been to the airport in Halifax while travelling to Cape Breton) so anything you’d recommend would be appreciated.

    • I will think about that and reply later!

    • Hi again Margie (if you come back to these comments) – for visiting Halifax, I will have to recommend July 1 through Oct 31. “Spring” is hopelessly rainy and sometimes cold as well! There are 3 well-known attractions in Nova Scotia: Peggy’s Cove lighthouse, which is surrounded by fantastic rock formations; Lunenburg, a very pretty historic village with good restaurants and gift shops; and the Cabot Trail, a scenic drive along coastal cliffs (they are not too craggy – more gentle). Off the beaten path, I would recommend Joggins or Blue Beach for the fossil cliffs (there are fossils lying on the beach everywhere you look). Halifax is fun in the summer and Fall and has lots of festivals. And the beaches and hiking trails are innumerable! Email me if you would like details 🙂

  12. Margie in Toronto

    Thank you so much for the info. I agree that I think the Fall would be the nicest time to visit – I always enjoy travelling later in the year when the summer crowds have thinned out.

  13. AH! You saw Kinky Boots!! I so want to see that.

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