Traveling is expensive and traveling to a city with a lot to offer can be even more $$. It’s hard not to want to do it all while you are there. Actually to be honest, sometimes living in a big city like Toronto with so much to do all the time, can be expensive — so many places to go, see and try it’s hard to not want to do it all! In my opinion it’s good to be smart where you plan your fun and sometimes you just need to pull back a little and plan a few free (or really in-expensive) but also really great things in there, to mix things up (slash, lessen the load on the old wallet). Here are some of our favorite, go-to things to do in Toronto (Ontario, Canada) that luckily happen to be free (or at least really really cheap):
*Those people looking our way (behind the kids) they were all looking at the kids (giggles and awwwwww’s a plenty, from the small crowd). All this as the kids just stood there frozen in cuteness chatting with me while I snapped photos (they didn’t notice the people or that I was snapping photos).
On Sunday, large parts of Yonge street and Bloor street closed for a new event called Open Streets Toronto. Streets were closed to cars from 8am-noon, and open for walking, biking and whatever fun stuff people like to do when there is no chance of a car barreling down the street. We do a lot of walking on a regular day, but there was something extra special about walking on an open road on two of Toronto’s busiest streets. It took the kids a while to grasp the idea, they were so confused at first. So confused and worried that we were breaking the law. If you are in Toronto, they are holding another Open Streets on August. 31st and I bet it will be busier and even better. And if you are not in Toronto, well maybe you should just come visit. 😉
This city of mine is full of gems – some a little more hidden, most are usually busy as heck. The Evergreen Brickworks is one of the busy as heck kinds, it is an old brickyard that has been re-purposed into a historic site – an area that is home to many different events, weekly farmers markets, a natural park for the kids, offices, really you name it there is always something going on there. This past weekend we met with friends for the Dia De Los Muertos Festival at Brickworks, it was crispy cold out and pretty darn busy. We didn’t last too long amongst the crowds and ended up spending most of our day in the back amongst the quarry – we got so into trucking through the mud under the canopy of autumn leaves, we actually just walked all the way back home. It was a great way to spend what felt like the longest day of the year (after daylight savings time, time confusion) and a great try at tiring everyone out, for what we hoped was a back on track bedtime (it sorta worked).
Last Friday the kids and I stumbled upon one of the still standing Nuit Blanche art installations, Nuit Blanche is an annual all-nighter contemporary arts festival here in Toronto. One day I will woMAN up and attend it properly like the rest of the cool kids – but while my kids are young, we are sitterless and I’m way too much of a baby to stay out all night, we stick to stumbling upon the amazing installations in the daylight hours. This was Ai Weiwei’s Forever Bicycles, 3144 metal bikes with working spinning wheels, to be exact. It was hard to capture in the mid day sun, the sun bouncing off the metal bikes pretty much created an optical illusion and added to the forever-ness of the bikes – it almost hurt my eyes. The kids loved running through the bikes, spinning the wheels and asking tons of questions – I actually might have had to bribe them with a visit to the apple store to leave. A few weeks ago we stumbled upon Tadashi Kawamata’s Garden Tower in Toronto, (another amazing Nuit Blanche installation) a tower of weary chairs which had the kids laughing. All the awesome art around the city made me think how badly we need to make another visit to the Art Gallery, too easily we let things that are close by go for granted (the art gallery being one of them). So I added it to my, TO DO VERY SOON list and promptly took my kids to the apple store. Because I needed a place to charge my dead phone, the kids love to play with the ipads on display and because it’s just so much fun (sarcasm font) to walk around the busiest store in the universe – from the lovely world of art to real life in 5 seconds flat.
How may times do you need to go to the zoo before you stop taking pictures? I’ll let you know when we get there. We go to the Toronto Zoo pretty often, and have been a lot (before kiddos too) it’s a pretty darn fantastic zoo. Lately, my eyes are just fixated on my people, listening to their questions, giggles and excitement – sometimes I totally miss the White Lion (I saw it’s butt) because I was watching the more entertaining things. Since my eyes are fixated on my people and those moments, my zoo pictures are too – so I will probably never tire of taking pictures at the zoo.
Chris is back in proper work hours, thank goodness! We missed him, and since it was King’s birthday last week we told him come Sunday he could pick the activities and food for the entire day – the day was his. The zoo was a grand pick, we had a great time and I even got to see a Panda Bear! Hear that mom? A panda! When I was growing up I was a wee bit obsessed with Panda’s but our city zoo never had them, and I always dreamed of seeing one in real life. Well a decade (or two), a couple of kids and moving across the country later – I saw a Panda! I’m sure I had a goofy doe eyed look the whole time, I would totally share but everyone else was fixated on the beautiful bear and not my questions, giggles and excitement.