Toronto in September is weird for many families. The return to school and after-school activities can bring forward new challenges and bring back old stresses. Meanwhile, the weather is still beautiful and both adults and kids alike want to soak up as much sun as possible, before the cold returns.
To help make this odd time of year a little smoother, we’ve put together a list of 12 events happening in and around Toronto that are worthy of your family’s time and money. And don’t forget that since this year we have a late Labour Day this year — Monday is the fifth — the CNE spills into September, giving your family a fun-filled way to kick off the month.
What’s On for Family Fun in Toronto in September
Friends The Experience
Now until January 2023
Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 3401 Dufferin St., Toronto
Finding activities to do with tweens and teens can be tricky. But if your child is one of the many members of Generation Z who have become fascinated by Friends, here’s a bonding time must-do: Friends The Experience. This immersive experience brings both original and new fans of the hit sitcom together across a dozen rooms and activations that each commentate one of the shows classic scenes. Pose for pictures in Monica and Rachel’s apartment, try on all of Joey’s clothes and discuss how Ross is the worst (okay, that’s not part of the event but we all know that’s an unavoidable topic). Tickets start at around $30 and just a heads-up, there is a gift shop.
The Phillip and Lucinda Dino Show!
August 27th-28th and September 2nd-4th
Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St., Toronto
A must-see for dino-loving kids, this energic production follows the adventures of a pair of dinosaur explorers who are researching the Paleozoic Era. But to succeed in their research, they need some help from the dinosaur experts in the show’s crowd! In addition to plenty of audience participation, this comedy features laughs, songs, dance and even acrobatics. Shows run at 10am and noon and are recommended for kids aged five and up. All seating is general admission and tickets start at around $22 each.
September 2nd – 5th
Woodbine Park, 1695 Queen St. E, Toronto
Around hundred performers spread across eight stages (and just roaming around), will take over Woodbine Park for the annual BuskerFest. This family-friendly event features all kinds of live performers including acrobats, magicians, contortionists, musicians and so much more! There are also plenty of food options and even a special kids’ area. BuskerFest is a fundraiser for Epilepsy Toronto and entry tickets start at $5 for kids. Please note that attendees are also encouraged to tip the performers.
The Immersive Robert Munsch Experience
September 9th – October 2nd
Gerrard Square Mall, 1000 Gerrard St. E, Toronto
One of Canada’s most popular and successful children’s book authors is getting the “immersive” treatment this fall. The following four classic Robert Munsch tales: The Paper Bag Princess, PIGS, Jonathan Cleaned Up… And Then He Heard a Sound, and Moira’s Birthday, are presented in a 45-minute-long experience that sees the books projected in 270-degrees while Robert Munsch himself provides an audio reading. There will also be the opportunity to pose for some cute photos with book-related installations. Tickets start at $25 and there is a special book package for $50, which comes with copies of the presented stories.
Markham-Milliken Children’s Festival
Aaniin Community Centre – 5665 14th Ave., Markham
Do you live in north Toronto or are up for a short drive? Then head up to Markham for its annual children’s festival! Taking place outside a local community centre from 10am to 6:30pm, this event is filled with all your kids’ favourite activities including games, crafts, and live entertainment. It’s also sponsored by Tim Hortons so perhaps its mobile truck will be on-site, offering free samples for adult attendees? We’ll keep our fingers crossed! Access to this festival is free.
Toronto’s 188th Anniversary Festival
Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W, Toronto
Every kid loves a birthday party so head down to City Hall and help Toronto celebrate its 188 year at its weekend long event. Like any good party, there will be music, games and other interactive activities and of course plenty of food (though no word yet on whether there will be birthday cake). There will also be the Toronto Made Market, featuring over 100 local vendors, so make sure the kids bring their allowance.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St., Toronto
Following a successful — and sold out — run earlier in the summer, this popular musical comedy is back and ready to entertain your family! Based on the popular book by Mo Willems, this stage show features “an innovative mix of actors, puppets, songs, and feathers.” Each performance runs 50 minutes straight, with no intermission, and is recommended for kids ages five and up. All shows are also general admission seating, with tickets costing around $30.
Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian Festival
Bloor St W, between Jane St. and Glendonwynne Rd.
Now more than ever, the world’s Ukrainian community needs our love! Show your family’s support by exploring North America’s largest Ukrainian festival where there will be Ukrainian music, dancers, artisans and more. Local businesses will also be offering special deals and all kinds of food, both Ukrainian and from around the world, will be available to fill your family’s bellies. There will also be carnival rides and other kid-focused activities including bouncy castles.
Oasis Zoo Run
Toronto Zoo, 2000 Meadowvale Rd., Toronto
In-person run September 17th; virtual run on now
Get ready to run for a cause that is near and dear to many families’ hearts: The Toronto Zoo! This year funds raised by entry fees and donations will go towards conservation breeding and reintroduction programs and some cool new enrichments for the Siberian tiger cages. Four different run lengths are available: A 15k, a 10k, a 5k and a just-for-kids one-kilometer long CubRun. Registration is on now and is $60, which includes a commutative t-shirt. There’s also a virtual option, which requires a $55 registration fee.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
Al Green Theatre, 750 Spadina Ave., Toronto
Weekends only, September 17th – November 27th
Four of author/illustrator Eric Carle’s colourful stories come to life in this critically acclaimed production. Told with the help of 75 “magical puppets,” this 50-minute-long show (with no intermission) is suitable for all ages (and don’t worry if your child makes noise; that’s perfectly acceptable). Four productions take place each weekend day, at 10am, noon, 2pm and 4pm, giving your family plenty of options. Tickets starting at around $40 each, with VIP and premium ticket packages available.
Roncesvalles Polish Festival
Roncesvalles Ave. between Dundas St. W and Queen St. W
There’s still time to squeeze in another street festival in Toronto in September! The fifteenth edition of the Roncesvalles Polish Festival aims to honour the west-end street’s Polish history (expect to see traditional outfits, performances and of course plenty of pierogis) while also bringing, “a fresh focus to celebrate a broader range of local artists, musicians and, of course, food.” Past editions of the festival have also included a kids’ zone complete with carnival-style rides and games. The fun starts around 11am and runs into 11pm.
Toronto International Festival of Authors Kids
September 22nd – October 2nd
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto
One of the country’s biggest celebrations of books returns and brings with it dozens of kid-focused events. From readings to crafts to drag story time to something called Happiness Collection Training, TIFA Kids is sure to entertain your family while also fostering their love of reading. Events are suitable for a variety of ages, including toddlers, school-age and even teens. Many events are also free and can be easily popped into, however note that others do require a paid ticket.
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