Life isn’t quite back to normal yet here in Toronto but it’s getting close, especially now that almost all of the city’s major attractions have re-opened. As well, several new exhibitions and installations have recently opened, resulting in one jam-packed month. Below, we round up a few of our favourite places for family fun in Toronto, as well as some new events that we think your family will have fun checking out.
All of the places listed below have COVID-19 prevention protocols in place, though details vary from attraction to attraction. Many, but not all, spots require advance ticket purchase/reservations and of course masks must be worn inside. We highly encourage you to read all of the fine print, so that you don’t end up with any unwanted surprises.
SmartVMC, Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, 101 Edgeley Blvd, Vaughan, ON
On now until September 30; Thursday and Saturday nights
The Vaughan Metropolitan Centre is undergoing a dramatic makeover and to celebrate, one of the driving commercial forces behind that change, SmartVMC, has launched ArtWalk. This unique space features 30,000 square feet of Instagram-worthy murals, food trucks and, every Thursday and Saturday night, free drive-in movies. Upcoming films include The Mask, Ice Age, and The Goonies. While there’s no cost to watch the films, all vehicles do require advance registration.
1 Blue Jays Way, Toronto, ON
Games are happening now through the fall
For many Torontonians, it’s not summer without a trip to see the Blue Jays. Catching a Jays game is classic August family fun in Toronto. After spending the first chunk of this season playing in Buffalo, the Jays are back and with them, a comprehensive plan to keep guests safe in a normally crowded venue. Tickets, which start at $25, are on sale now for a number of upcoming games in August, and the rest of the Jays’ schedule is expected to be available for purchase soon.
100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON
On now until March 20, 2022
Canada’s largest museum is back and, to kick off its return, it’s launched an exhibit that focuses on some of the coolest animals out there: Whales. While Great Whales features, “multi-sensory interactives and immersive experiences,” the stars of the show will likely be the museum’s two new whale skeletons, one of a sperm whale, and one of a highly endangered North Atlantic right whale. Access to Great Whales starts at $21 while regular general admission tickets start at $14. All tickets must be booked in advance.
1 Yonge St, Toronto, ON
On now until at least August 29; dates and times vary
After the past year-and-a-half we’ve had, we could all do with a little magic in our lives. The Illusionarium, from the team behind the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit, promises to do just that. Sprawling across 300,00 square feet, this blockbuster show includes 3D projections, life-size holograms and live magicians performing in-person illusions. Tickets, which must be purchased ahead of time, are purchased in two- or four-person-size “circles,” that start at $89.99. Various add-ons are available, including special VIP packages.
1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, ON
On now through at least August; Wednesday-Sunday, 6pm-10pm
Let your family lose themselves in a fantasy world of dragons, knights, and adventure, all set against the backdrop of Toronto’s best-known castle. Featuring “dazzling lighting and immersive theatrical Medieval displays,” as well as “exciting and interactive performances,” this visually packed event is sure to wow the whole family. Just make sure that everyone is comfortable walking; Imagine Dragons Light Forest is a self-guided walk that takes place along a 2km, mostly-outdoors trail and strollers are not permitted. Tickets can be purchased on site, but you’ll save some money if you buy them in advance. Pricing starts at $35 a person and there is an upgrade option that includes a cookie. Also note that tickets do not include access to the inside of Casa Loma.
10 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON
Now open; Wednesday-Sunday
With the return of indoor dining comes the re-opening of Toronto’s other “castle:” Medieval Times. While overall audience capacity will be reduced, you can still expect to see the full royal court, complete with the Queen and her many knights. Also performing will be Medieval Times’ beautiful and talented horses. And yes, the venue’s four-course fest is back. Pricing starts at $45.95 and yep, tickets need to be purchased in advance.
Lynx Music, 260 Emerson Avenue, Toronto, ON
Summer in Toronto is block party season, though most of us likely haven’t attended one of those since 2019. Mixto is hoping to change that with a weekend that promises to be packed with, “good music, food, fun, happy people.” Each day features its own lineup of talented performers as well as food vendors, art installations and activities just for kids. It’s unique and urban family fun in Toronto. Tickets must be purchased in advance and start at $20.
770 Don Mills Rd., Toronto, ON
Opens to the public August 4; Wednesday-Sunday
Looking for a way to engage your kids brains over August? Then consider a trip to the Science Centre, where they can learn about physics, our planet and of course space. The IMAX screen is also back, though with reduced audience capacity. Timed entry tickets must be purchased in advance, and they start at $13. All IMAX films also require advanced booking and are an additional charge.
250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON
On now until late September
This August, don’t forget about the newest sure thing for family fun in Toronto. Celebrate playing in public spaces with the Bentway’s latest exhibit. It features eight interactive (and eye-catching) art installations that kids and adults are sure to find charming. The exhibit is free to check out, as is its audio guide, which dives into the ideas that the installations are exploring. And yes, washrooms are available on site.
288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON
Open seven days a week
Do you think the sharks, rays and other marine life at Ripley’s Aquarium have missed us? I guess we’ll find out now that we’re allowed back in their home. While the Dangerous Lagoon is still its usual, stunning self, there have been a few changes at Ripley’s due to COVID. They include the indoor play structure being off-limits (hopefully temporarily), and the cafe being replaced with several automated options, including a machine that makes fresh pizza. Also gone is the option to just walk into the aquarium. Timed tickets are a requirement, and they start at $12.50.
Square One Shopping Centre, Lot 6, 100 City Centre Dr, Mississauga, ON
August 6-September 6; Thursday-Sundays, 11am-11pm
Your dentist probably won’t approve of this event, but we think your kids will absolutely adore this candy-themed immersive pop-up. Spread across 40,000 square feet of outdoor space, Sugar Rush is packed with colour, installations and yes, candy, including the actual candy you can eat. Visit it during the day or come at night and see the site transformed into a neon wonderland. Tickets must be purchased in advance and start at $17, with family packs available. And yes, tickets do include some candy to eat, though you’ll like what to bring your credit card to indulge in the on-site dessert and food vendors.
2000 Meadowvale Road, Toronto, ON
On now; Thursday-Sunday nights
This breathtaking, nighttime immersive experience has re-opened at the Toronto Zoo. It features gorgeous lighting, original multimedia effects and stunning video production, all set to a custom musical score. TerraLumina’s story evolves along a 1.5km walking path and takes place completely outdoors. It also required advance ticket purchase, with tickets starting at $24.99.