Geo T.O.

Geocaching in Toronto
Geo T.O.

A treasure hunt in your bedroom = fun.
A treasure hunt in the park = more fun.
A treasure hunt all over T.O. = super fun!

If your little pirates and princesses are adventurous and looking for some summer fun, geocaching may be the perfect outdoor treasure-hunt for you. Challenging, fun and done in the great outdoors on your own schedule, geocaching has become the go-to activity for many adventurous moms in the know.

So what is it? Geocaching combines modern technology (global positioning—aka GPS) and old-fashioned gaming (hide and go seek) to create a fun adventure that kids love. In the past decade enthusiasts from around the world have hidden 839,189 geocaches all over the planet. The geocaches themselves are nothing too special—usually a plastic container with a log book (to show that you were there) and trinkets like marbles or small toys to plunder, but the fun is in the finding.

Good to know: Your kids are free to take a trinket from the cache if they replace it with one of their own. Don’t forget to bring something small for your kids to leave behind.

There are more than 14,228 caches in Ontario, thousands of which are hidden in lovely parks and ravines all across Toronto. A quick visit to www.geocaching.com will let you type in your postal code and find the ones nearest you. You will need to create a login account (it’s free). You may be surprised to see what’s within a kilometer of you!

Clues for how to find the cache are listed, but the important things to note are the difficulty and terrain rankings (indicated with stars). A low difficulty ranking will tell you that the cache itself is easy to find. A low terrain ranking indicates that it’s easy to get to (five star terrain rankings mean that mountain climbing or SCUBA diving may be required). Geocaches with one or two star rankings are usually doable for kids.

To find the cache you will need a GPS device (global positioning coordinates are provided for each geocache so you can get close to the treasure). We found a moderately priced unit that’s popular with other geocachers—the Garmin E-Trex Venture HC. (However you may already unwittingly already own a GPS device. If you have an iPhone, you can easily download an inexpensive geocaching application that will take you to your treasure.)

So take a hike and find a treasure. There are secrets everywhere!

Good to know: Lots of detailed information about how to hunt for geocaches and use GPS devices is available at www.geocaching.com, so don’t let the new terminology or new technology intimidate you. Be sure to read the comments posted by other cachers before heading out. Sometimes a hard winter or a curious dog will destroy or move a cache. You’ll want to know your treasure is still where it’s supposed to be before you go.

How to Find

www.geocaching.com

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Tested by Ben (7), Nathan (5) & Daniel (21 months) C., Toronto
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First published 2009.08.13

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