Activities

15 fun Family Day events in Toronto

Looking for something fun to do with the kids on Family Day (February 19)? From popping in the bubble-wrap room, to hanging with exotic animals, these are the cool activities happening in Toronto on Family Day weekend.

By Katie Dupuis

Boy going through block structure Photo: AGO

1. Colour! at the Art Gallery of Ontario Put on your brightest ensembles (like that’s going to be hard for your kids) and check out the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Colour! Family Day event—it’s the perfect way to spend a grey February day in TO. Join the all-ages dance party, visit the bubble wrap room, make an emoji face mask, check out family-friendly flicks, say cheese at the selfie wall and don’t be surprised when the kids fall asleep on the way home. Best day ever, right?

Details: Monday, February 19, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free with cost of general admission 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4 ago.ca

Lion Dance Photo: Royal Ontario Museum

2. One World at The ROM The Royal Ontario Museum is the place to be for families. There’s always something for everyone, but this is especially true on Family Day weekend, when museum-goers can take part in a special One World day of fun to celebrate our country’s rich multicultural landscape. Get ready for musical performances, films, special workshops and more!

Details: Saturday, February 17 to Monday, February 19, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free with cost of general admission 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6 rom.on.ca

lego play area Photo: Gennarino Photography/Kidapalooza

3. Kidapalooza Family Festival at Markham Fairgrounds With fun indoor and outdoor activity zones, your brood won’t know where to begin at Kidapalooza. Older kids will love the Winter It, Bounce It and Sport It game and inflatable zones, and little ones will enjoy the special Toddler It zone. The whole famjam will be into the Dance It zone performance schedule, as well as the Craft It creativity area and Pet It farm animal petting zoo. Don’t stress over packing a day’s worth of snacks either—there will be a number of food trucks on site to help you feed your group.

Details: Saturday, February 17 to Monday, February 19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 10801 McCowan Road, Markham, ON L3P 3J3 $60 family pack includes general admission for two adults and two children (online until February 16); single tickets are $25 per child 2+ and $8 per adult 18+ kidapalooza.ca

kid and people ice skating Photo: Mattamy Athletic Centre via Facebook

4. Free skate at Mattamy Athletic Centre This isn’t just your average free skate; this is your chance to stand where hockey greats have skated before you. The former Maple Leaf Gardens arena, now the Mattamy Athletic Centre and home to six of Ryerson University’s men’s and women’s teams, is chock-full of legacy. Any little hockey fan will be delighted by the chance to see the building and step onto the ice. Cap off the experience with a meal at one of many awesome downtown restaurants and you’re looking at memories in the making.

Details: Monday, February 19, 1 to 4 p.m. Free admission 50 Carlton Street, Toronto, ON M5B 1J2 mattamyathleticcentre.ca

cannon and fort york building Photo: iStockphoto

5. Go back in time at Fort York Get a glimpse into the city’s rich history with a trip to the naval base that’s credited with the founding of Toronto. Kids will get to sample baking from the hearth in the historic kitchen and enjoy hot chocolate around the fire. Also on the agenda are 1812 drill classes, officers’ sword drills and traditional games. Special additions to the Family Day event at the Fort York Visitor Centre include takeaway crafts, a pop-up exhibit on winter in the city and a selfie booth (which we don’t think was around back in the 19th century).

Details: Monday, February 19, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free admission 250 Fort York Boulevard, Toronto, ON M5V 3K9 fortyork.ca

misfit league official sign Photo: The Second City

6. The Misfit League at The Second City Kiddos will love the story of a young superhero-in-training who is still learning to use her superpowers while all of her peers have already mastered theirs—ugh! But the young heroine will save the day in the most unconventional way to the delight of audience members big and small.

Details: Saturday, February 17 to Monday, February 19, 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. $12 for kids up to age 12; $15 for adults 51 Mercer Street, Toronto, ON M5V 9G9 secondcity.com 

The secret garden sign Photo: Young People’s Theatre

7. The Secret Garden at Young People’s Theatre If you adore the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett novel The Secret Garden, here’s your chance to introduce it to your kids. The story of Mary Lennox and Colin Craven meeting in their beloved hidden garden is the perfect antidote to frosty February weekends. Though it was written in 1911, 2018 kids will be just as enchanted by the magical tale.

*While this play is on The Mainstage throughout the month, there are special public shows on Family Day, plus workshops and drop-in activities.

Details: February 5 through March 17, 2018* Check website for showtimes $15 to $41 for tickets 165 Front Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 3Z4 youngpeoplestheatre.ca

kids on carousel ride Photo: L'Atelier Lamière/Family Fun Fest

8. Indoor fun at Downsview Park Good luck getting kids to leave this event when the day is over. Studio 3 at Downsview Park (over 30,000 feet of space) will be transformed into a kidstravaganza of indoor fun, with midway rides and games, inflatables, giant slides, tons of entertainment, carnival food and more! Plus, parking is free and the location is easily accessible by the TTC.

Details: Saturday, February 17 to Monday, February 19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. $60 family fun package includes general admission for two adults and two children (until February 16); single tickets are $25 per child 2+ (unlimited rides); general admission is $8 per adult 18+ 40 Carl Hall Road, Toronto, ON M3K 2C1 familydayfest.ca

Little girl jumping in bounce house Photo: L'Atelier Lamière/Family Fun Fest

9. Ride and slide at the International Centre The sister event of Family Fun Fest at Downsview Park, this event features midway rides, slides and games, a minigolf course and more than 30 inflatables. Plus, get ready for appearances by DJs, Mad Science presentations and an exotic animal show. Tweens and teens will also love the Teen Zone, which is new this year for kids 12 to 17.

Details: Saturday, February 17 to Monday, February 19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. $60 family fun package includes general admission for two adults and two children (until February 16); single tickets are $25 per child 2+ (unlimited rides); general admission is $8 per adult 18+ 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga, ON L4V 1E8 kidsfestto.com

Orchestra and conductor Photo: Sian Richards/Toronto Symphony Orchestra

10. The Wizard of Oz at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Follow the yellow brick road straight to the TSO on Family Day weekend. Every moment of this classic film is enhanced by the live orchestra, so even if you and your family have seen the movie 100 times, this is a brand new way to watch Dorothy’s adventures. The concert runs for about two hours, with a 20-minute intermission at the 58-minute mark. There is also a concession stand where you can pick up popcorn, candy and drinks (because you can’t watch a movie without snacks!).

Details: February 17, 7:30 p.m., and February 18, 3 p.m. Ticket prices vary 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto, ON M5J 2H5 tso.ca 

Outside of Queen's Park Photo: iStockphoto

11. Learning at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Disguise an educational experience as an exciting Family Day event with a field trip to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Families with children ages six to 12 are invited to tour Ontario’s Parliament, explore the historic Queen’s Park building (opened in 1893!) with a scavenger hunt, learn about the provincial government and take home a fun craft.

Details: February 17, 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 12 to 1:30 p.m. Free admission, but preregistration is required 111 Wellesley Street West, Toronto, ON M7A 1A2 discoveryportal.ontla.on.ca

Kids holding up the crafts they made Photo: Courtesy City of Toronto

12. Go on a scavenger hunt at Scarborough Museum If you’re a family of museum lovers, give this east Toronto gem a try. Situated on property that originally belonged to David and Mary Thomson, who settled in Scarborough in the 1790s, the museum is made up of four heritage buildings and celebrates the founding and development of the area. On Family Day weekend, you can embark on a scavenger hunt, participate in a craft session and sample baked goods made on the premises.

Details: February 17 to February 19, 12 to 4 p.m. Pay what you can 1007 Brimley Road, Scarborough, ON M1P 3E8 toronto.ca

people enjoying ever green outside Photo: Bill Wilson/Evergreen Brick Works

13. Stories and songs at Evergreen Brick Works Evergreen Brick Works is a popular family destination in Toronto and won’t disappoint on Family Day weekend. Activities are planned for both indoors at Brewer’s Backyard and outdoors in the Children’s Garden—the kids can enjoy stories and songs while one parent at a time takes in the great food and drinks from local vendors. Remember to bring a vegetable to contribute to the traditional Stone Soup!

Details: February 19, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission 550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON M4W 3X8 evergreen.ca

Family taking a picture with the Stanley Cup Photo: Hockey Hall of Fame

14. Score at the Hockey Hall of Fame If hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa is on the schedule for Family Day, the Hockey Hall of Fame is where you want to be: Seniors (65+) get in free. Plus, in addition to checking out cool exhibits (like The Mask, which celebrates the evolution of goalie mask design) and trying your hand at goaltending, shooting, play-by-play calling and broadcasting activities, every visitor on Family Day gets a package of Upper Deck hockey cards. Don’t forget to get a family snapshot with the Stanley Cup before you leave, too!

Details: February 19, 2018, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission, $19; kids ages 4 to 13, $13 30 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1X8 hhof.ca

giant panda named Da Mao eating bamboo Photo: Toronto Zoo

15. Meet the pandas at the Toronto Zoo A trip to the zoo is always fun, but you might want to make a special effort to get there this Family Day: Giant pandas Da Mao and Er Shun and their two-year-old cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, are leaving the zoo for good on March 18. In addition to panda fun, you can explore the indoor pavilions, attend keeper talks and meet other members of the zoo family—fancy a visit with the Arctic fox or gorilla troop?

Details: Open all weekend from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. General admission, $23; kids ages 3 to 12, $14 2000 Meadowvale Road, Toronto, ON M1B 5K7 torontozoo.com

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