You’ve done it, parents. You made it through a winter that seemed like it would never end. And while the weather’s still not on the great side, it’s got to get warmer soon, right?
Besides plenty of flowers, May also promises to bring a number of fun family events as well as the opening of two of the city’s most beloved summer destinations. Here are 17 activities that we think will keep you and your kids entertained this month and will let you take in some of May’s hopefully sunny weather.
School Fun Fairs
May is the start of school fun fair season. All across the city schoolyards will be transformed with bouncy castles, carnival games, bake sales and more. Many of these events are open to the general public, making them a great way to support your community and keep the kids busy. To find out which fun fairs are happening near you, keep an eye out for posters and check your neighbourhood’s Facebook group.
When: Throughout May
Where: Your local school
Canada’s Wonderland Opens | canadaswonderland.com
The gates of the country’s best-known amusement park open this month for another fun-filled season. While its biggest new attraction, the absolutely insane Yukon Striker rollercoaster, isn’t for little ones, parents who love a thrill will be all over it. Wonderland has refreshed its live shows for 2019. Different productions will be rolling out over the summer, starting with the WoofJocks Canine All-Stars who take to the stage on May 11.
When: Opening day is Friday, May 3
Where: Wonderland, 1 Wonderland Drive, Vaughn
Familypalooza for Public Education | facebook.com/events
Want to learn how you and your family can support public education in Ontario? Then stop by this free, drop-in style event where parents and caregivers will get an education in activism while the kids are entertained. On hand will be popular kids band the Space Chums and beloved storytellers Fluffy Souflee and Itah Sadu, with more performers scheduled to be announced.
When: Saturday, May 4
Where: 918 Bathurst St
Centreville Theme Park Opens | centreisland.ca
One of Toronto’s most beloved summer institutions opens for the summer on May 4. Spread over 600 acres, this attraction is perfect for younger children and also features a petting zoo and pony rides. Season passes are available, as are individual tickets and one-day-use, ride-all-day passes. Note that during May, Centreville Theme Park is only open on the weekends.
When: Opening day is Saturday, May 4
Where: Centre Island
Toronto Comic Arts Festival | torontocomics.com
The just-for-kids portion of TCAF’s programming is perfect for your budding (or reluctant) reader. Both writers and illustrators will be on-site sharing their work and answers your kids’ questions on what it’s like to be a real-life comic book author. Participants can also take part in a number of comic-related crafts and activities. Be sure to get to this event early; the first 200 kids each day will get a free comic book.
When: May 11-12
Where: Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St
Science Rendezvous | sciencerendezvous.ca
Spend the day outdoors learning about physics, chemistry and biology at this annual celebration of science. Aimed at all ages, this event promises to make science fun and accessible through various interactive experiments, displays and games. Previous years’ events included virtual reality and the always popular Tesla coil. Science Rendezvous is set to take place at three different Toronto locations, with access to the events at Ryerson and the University of Toronto being free.
When: Saturday, May 11
Where: Ryerson Campus, Kerr Hall Quad (enter via 43 Gerrard St E); University of Toronto, 100 St. George St; Toronto Zoo, 2000 Meadowvale Rd
Ravine Day | evergreen.ca
Looking to do something a little different this Mother’s Day? How about going for a relaxing guided hike and learning about the city’s wild side at this Ravine Day celebration. This free event also features special performances and stewardship and art activities. It also coincides with the opening of the Brick Work’s Sunday Artisan Market so tell the kids to bring their allowance.
When: Sunday, May 12
Where: Evergreen Bricks Works, 550 Bayview Ave
Festival of Trees | forestfestivaloftrees.ca
Don’t let this event’s name fool you, it’s actually a celebration of reading and books. Described as “the largest literary event for young readers in Canada,” kids can participate in crafts, hear readings, meet authors and try their hand at being a junior librarian. This is a ticketed event, with admission running $15.50 a person. Some sessions are already sold out so if your child wants to participate in this festival, get your ticket ASAP.
When: May 14-16
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W
Uptown International Children’s Festival
The inaugural Uptown International Children’s Festival takes to two notable Toronto stages with live theatrical performances, sing-alongs and comedic clowns. There will also be a performance by Grammy-award winner Lisa Loeb who will be leading a family-friendly concert. While the main events are ticketed, there are a few free activities taking place at Mel Lastman Square.
When: May 16-19
Where: Sony Centre, 1 Front St W and the Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St
Pirates and Princesses | blackcreek.ca
Treat the kids to an adventure this long weekend. Pirates and princesses will be on hand to entertain your children with enchanted and pirate balls, treasure hunts and storytelling. There will also be plenty of crafts and games, including the opportunity to create your own royal crown or pirate hat. Admission to all Pirates and Princesses activities are included in your Pioneer Village ticket, which starts at $11 (kids four and under are free).
When: May 18-20
Where: Pioneer Black Creek Village, 1000 Murray Ross Pkwy
Junior: Big Thoughts For Little Minds | harbourfrontcentre.com/junior
Featuring everything from puppetry to live music to interactive performances, this international children’s festival has something for everyone. There’s even a children’s clothing swap and a live fashion show in which kids are the designers. The festival also features several North American and Canadian premiers. Most events are free but a handful are ticketed and run $15 a ticket, with family pack and multi-show deals are available.
When: May 18-24
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W
Little Tikes World’s Biggest Play Date | littletikes.com
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, toymaker Little Tikes is throwing a giant play date at various cities around the world. Here in Ontario, that event will take place at the zoo and access is included with your zoo admission. All kinds of fun games will be available including Cozy Coupe races, basketball and mini-golf. Also on hand will be face painters, photo ops with a giant Cozy Coupe and all kinds of prizes and giveaways.
When: Saturday, May 18
Where: Toronto Zoo, 2000 Meadowvale Rd
Victoria Day Fireworks
Toronto’s only official Victoria Day fireworks celebration takes place over in the Beaches. Around 2,000 fireworks will explode in the night sky, ushering in summer. The show will start shortly after dusk and access is free.
When: Monday, May 20
Where: Ashbridges Bay Par, 1561 Lakeshore Blvd E
Toronto Poutine Fest | poutinefestontour.com
Okay, this isn’t exactly the healthiest event out there but it sure will be tasty. Some 10 different vendors from Ontario and Quebec will be on hand to tempt you with the most classic of Canadian cuisines. Some of the varieties available include buffalo chicken, shrimp and something called apple pie poutine. Entry into the festival, which will also feature live music, is free but the poutine will cost you.
When: May 24-26
Where: Yonge Dundas Square
Woofstock | woofstock.ca
North America’s largest outdoor festival for dogs is back for what we have no doubt will be another busy event. While the main activity is, of course, petting dogs, other options include watching pups compete in costume and trick contests and checking out the dozens of vendors, some of which give away free samples. Admission to the festival is $12 for each human; dogs (which you are encouraged to bring) get in free.
When: May 25-26
Where: Woodbine Park, 1695 Queen St E
Doors Open | doorsopenontario.on.ca
Explore Toronto with your kids at this annual event, now in its 20th year. A few of the places that your family can check out for free include the new Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto’s first post office and the historic Spadina Museum. One exhibit that we think your kids will really love is Fort York, which will be featuring a Lego replica of the Fort York Museum and a fleet of Lego buses and streetcars.
When: May 25-26
Where: Across Toronto
Bike With Mike | mikelayton.to/2019
Kick off Bike Month with Toronto city councillor Mike Layton. Your kids can participate in a “bike blinging” workshop while you learn how to tune-up up your family’s bike and browse the native plant sale. There will also be a kids’ bike swap; just drop your child’s old set of wheels after 10 am and then pick up a new-to-you bike between 1 pm and 5 pm. No RSVP is required to attend this free event, which all includes a BBQ lunch.
When: Sunday, May 26
Where: Christie Pits Park, 750 Bloor St W