Happy summer! The sun’s out, school’s out and we hope that you have some wonderful vacation plans scheduled. But if you’re sticking around the city for July, your family has a ton of awesome ways to keep busy and this month, there seems to be an abundance of free activities. Below are a few that have caught our attention.
Eye Candy Toronto
Instagram-loving families will want to check out this pop-up installation exhibit where you can pretend to lounge in a private jet, play in some cherry blossoms and even pose with a giant slice of pizza. Located completely indoors, it’s a creative way to spend a rainy afternoon. Just note that while strollers can technically fit through the exhibit, it’s advised that you leave them at home if visiting during the busier weekends. Ticket prices start at $15 and kids under five get in free.
When: Throughout July
Where: 322 1/2 Queen Street W
Every Friday in July round up the family and head over to Mel Lastman Square for this free outdoor festival. With a focus on celebrating Toronto’s rich diversity, each edition of Cultura Festival starts off with live bands and other performers. Then at roughly 9:30pm, a kid-friendly movie will be screened. Throughout the evening a variety of food trucks will be selling dishes from around the world.
When: July 5, 12, 19, 26,
Where: Mel Lastman Square, 5100 Yonge St
As we highlighted in our list on where to catch kid-friendly live theatre, the Fringe’s KidsFest is a fun and cheap way to incorporate the stage into your family’s world. Kids’ tickets are only $5 while adults cost $13. All performances are designed to be “relaxed,” meaning yes, you can exit at any time to use the washroom. This year, seven productions are playing at a range of kid-friendly times (including the mornings) and are aimed at ages two-12.
When: July 3-July 13
Where: George Ignatieff Theatre, 15 Devonshire Place
The Bentway Block Party
One of the city’s newer cultural hot spots is back with its second annual block party. This free event kicks off the Bentway’s Sunday Social series and features live music from a variety of genres, ping pong tables and a colour-by-number scavenger hunt. Your family can also get artistic at the DIY collage party. Food and drink will be available, including ice cream sandwiches.
When: July 7
Where: The Bentway, 250 Fort York Blvd
Toronto Outdoor Art Fair
While an art fair may not sound like a kid-friendly attraction, this annual event aims to make art buying and appreciating a family affair thanks to its kids’ zone. There your children can participate in an illustrations workshop, a just-for-kids talk about the magic of art and even a special sale where kids can purchase small works for $20 or less. Plus there will be food trucks.
When: July 12-14
Where: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St W
The BIG Picnic
Add a little history to your summer during this event that will be celebrated at eight of Toronto’s historic homes and sites. Their lawns will be groomed and opened, ready to host your family for a picnic. While families are encouraged to bring their own picnic baskets, some tasty treats will be available for purchase. There will also be classic games and other activities available.
When: July 14
Where: Colborne Lodge 11 Colborne Lodge Dr; Montgomery’s Inn, 4709 Dundas St W; Gibson House, 5172 Yonge St; Spadina Museum, 285 Spadina Rd; Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Blvd; Todmorden Mills, 67 Pottery Rd & Scarborough Museum, 1007 Brimley Rd
CBC Kids Days
This annual event is back for another two-day run. While full details have yet to be posted, CBC Kids’ Days are traditionally packed with appearances from the station’s stars, special musical guests and meet and greets with such characters as Cookie Monster. There are also tons of interactive activities and the entire event is always free.
When: July 17 & 18
Where: CBC Headquarters, 250 Front St W
Moon Landing Festival
The 50th anniversary of the moon landing is the focus of this special event. Try making music by “playing” the craters of the moon, take in a dance class and browse through the artisan market. At night, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will be leading a stargazing session. While the bulk of the festival is free, there is a $10 fee to see the museum’s The Moon: A Voyage Through Time exhibit, which includes a giant sculpture of the moon.
When: July 20 & 21
Where: Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr
Junior Carnival and Family Day
While the big parade isn’t until August, a “mini” version takes over Malvern in July. Kids in brightly coloured costumes will take to the streets, dancing to live soca, calypso and R and B music. Come hungry, as delicious Caribbean dishes will also be available.
When: July 20
Where: Neilson Park, 36 Sewells Rd
Celebrate the sounds and spirit of Brazil at Canada’s biggest cultural event. The day will be packed with music, dancing and live performances, all taking place under the sun (hopefully).
Admission is free but make sure to bring your wallet as lots of delicious food will be available. There will also be a kids’ zone with activities just for the little ones.
When: July 21
Where: Earlscourt Park, 1595 St. Clair Ave