Parents and caregivers, we did it: We made it through our second COVID-19 spring!
But will there even be fun things to do in Toronto this month?
On Wednesday, June 30, our province will kick off Step 2 of its Roadmap to Reopen plan. Starting then, we’ll be able to enter libraries, malls and amusement parks, as well as watch and participate in outdoor sport leagues and games and outdoor performing arts and live music presentations, so long as capacity is kept to 25% or less.
Also reopening are hair salons and “Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times at 25% capacity.” That means we can get pedicures, just in time for sandal season!
While some events and attractions are still figuring out what Step 2 means for them, others are ready to welcome you and your kids. Many of those spots are included below in our round-up of how you and your family can make the most of July 2021.
July 2021: Fun Things to Do in Toronto This Month
1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive, Vaughan, ON
Daily tickets start at $41.99, kids under three are free
After being closed for all of 2020, Canada’s Wonderland is reopening July 5 for season pass holders and July 7 for everyone. And yes, Splash Works will also be open and available for all of your water slide needs. All guests, including pass holders, must reserve their tickets in advance and note that some dates have already booked up. Also note that everyone ages two and up will be required to wear a mask, even when outdoors. The big exception is inside Splash Works, where masks are only required when you’re in the washroom/changeroom or visiting a concession stand.
Centre Island, Toronto, ON
General admission is free, 2021 ticket/pass rates TBA
Toronto’s other amusement park option has just announced that it will be reopening this summer. While exact details haven’t been posted yet, we do know that the Centreville is planning to open up sometime after the July long weekend and it’s probably safe to assume that you’ll need to book your tickets in advance (you already are required to pre-book ferry tickets).
Stay tuned for more details!
2000 Meadowvale Road, Toronto, ON
Daily tickets start at $18.30
The Toronto Zoo is easing back into things by initially just opening its outdoor spaces. Thankfully, most animal enclosures are outside, as is their Splash Island splash park, which will also be available. All tickets must be pre-booked but, at the zoo, masks are only mandatory inside, “washrooms, food services areas, giftshops, and outdoors when 2 metres cannot be maintained between household groups and when in close proximity to animal viewing spaces.”
201 Winchester St, Toronto, ON
Do your kids want to see some animals but you’re not up for a trip to the zoo? Consider popping over to Riverdale Farm, which reopened its barn in June. While programming-wise things are still quiet on the farm, the cows, goats, horses, and other furry friends are eager for you to stop by and say hello. It’s been a baby-friendly Toronto staple for many, many years. Riverdale Farm is also home to short, but pretty walking paths and is just across from Park Snacks, which sells amazing ice cream and other nibbles.
Markham Fairgrounds, 10801 McCowan Rd, Markham, ON
Tickets start at $65
Last year the pandemic brought us drive-in concerts. This year we’re getting a socially distanced circus. The team behind last winter’s Polar Drive-Through has organized this unique outdoor event that runs from July 1 to August 1. Guests of the Together Apart Summer Circus will be seated on private, physically-distanced platforms that will give audience members terrific views of the acrobatic-focused performance. Partial proceeds from each ticket will go towards Restaurants Canada’ mental health and wellness initiatives for hospitality workers.
2206 County Rd. 38, Indian River, ON
$30 plus tax, per car
This popular drive-through attraction from last year is back with even more life-sized animatronics. The park, located just east of Peterborough, now houses over 100 robotic dinosaurs and giant insects including an ankylosaurus, a stegosaurus, and a brachiosaurus. Unfortunately, Indian River’s live animal exhibits are currently not available but young kids will get plenty of thrills from watching such robotic beasts as Scotty, a life-size replica of the world’s largest Tyrannosaurus Rex. The drive-through is open until the end of September.
Pickering Town Centre, 1355 Kingston Rd, Pickering, ON
$45 plus tax, per car
Not quite up for a drive to Peterborough? How about a drive to Pickering? From July 17 until August 1, Pickering Town Centre is hosting the Dino & Friends drive-through event. The experience starts in prehistoric times and features a variety of giant, animatronic dinosaurs. Then it shifts to a space that’s a little more familiar: The farm. An assortment of live farm animals, including pigs and cows, will also be on display. The entire show is accompanied by a dedicated, over- your-car-radio soundtrack that features facts about dinosaurs and farm animals.
Various parks across Toronto
Also returning for another summer is the City of Toronto’s completely free, drop-in, outdoor rec program. It has City Parks and Recreation employees organizing and leading games and activities for kids up to age 12. ParksPlayTO is offered at select times on weekdays at over 70 city parks; use the link above to find the location closest to you. Note that, while parents aren’t expected to participate, you do need to stay on site. Thankfully, that can mean lounging nearby on a blanket, enjoying your favourite summer read and your preferred iced beverage.
122 Ashworth Road, Mount Albert, ON
Tickets start at $14, kids under two are free
If you’re looking to get away from the city just for a day, and not just for berry picking, consider an outing to one of the GTA’s various agritourism farms. Brooks Farms features “10 acres of outdoor farm fun” that, during COVID times, includes all kinds of slides and play structures including straw pyramids and jumps, a splash pad, and even rubber duck races. And yes, there are also plenty of cute farm animals on site. Brooks Farm also features special events every weekend, including “themed days, guest entertainers, puppet shows, and mascot meet and greets.”
9528 Regional Rd 25, Milton, ON
Tickets start at $9, kids under three are free
Another fun agritourism option is Chudleigh’s. While perhaps best known for its apple picking, Chudleigh’s offers entertainment all summer long with “scenic tractor rides,” farm animals, and plenty of outdoor play structures and spaces. Chudleigh’s is also home to a variety of delicious food that you are welcome to enjoy on its pretty (and licensed) patio.
Church on the Queensway, 1536 The Queensway, Toronto, ON
17600 Yonge St, Newmarket, ON
Admission to both events is free; food prices vary
Toronto Ribfest is one of the city’s more delicious annual summer tradition and this year, it’s back though in a slightly different format: It’s a drive-through event. Eight vendors will be on site serving up ribs, brisket and even mini doughnuts that will be delivered straight to your car. Presented as always by Rotary Etobicoke, this year’s edition of Ribfest runs from July 1 to July 3, 11am until 9pm.
If those dates, times, or the location doesn’t work for you, there is another ribfest option. From July 1 until July 4, starting at noon each day, Upper Canada Mall will be hosting its version of ribfest in its parking lot. The selection of vendors is smaller but we’re sure they are just as tasty.