The Royal York, Toronto
Shangri-La Hotel Toronto writing desk
Four Seasons Toronto lobby
Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods, and each one has its own distinctive charm with lots of luxury family holidays. It's a small enough city that you can eat baklava in Greek town, shop for vintage records in Leslieville, slurp wonton soup in Chinatown, marvel at gemstones at the ROM and dine al fresco in a charming Little Italy trattoria, all in one day. Torontonians are a friendly crowd, and hanging out with kids just couldn't be easier in this Canadian hotspot. Between the museums, playgrounds, and colour-rich markets, there's no shortage of things to do. Plus, there are plenty of car-free zones, ideal for high energy sprogs who need to run free.
Four Seasons Toronto
The new Four Seasons in Toronto's Yorkville neighbourhood is heavenly, elegant and warm.
Yorkville is an easy neighbourhood for families. It's packed with boutiques and cafes and is just a short walk from some great museums. It's the one of the chicest parts of town, washed clean of the grit, colour and graffiti that defines other neighbourhoods. The new Four Seasons Toronto, with its huge Claude Cormier...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Shangri-La Hotel Toronto
The Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto has rooms that are more apartment-sized than hotel-sized and loaded with luxury.
The Asian-inspired rooms at the Shangri-La hotel Toronto are more like luxury apartments with decadent bathrooms and plenty of storage; one room even has its own spin bike in it, perfect for tiring out an antsy teenage. If your kids are into ramen, everyone will love New York chef David Chang’s first Canadian...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
The Fairmont Royal York
Good enough for Royalty, the Fairmont Royal York is a prime Toronto hotel.
When the Queen visits Toronto, she stays at the Fairmont Royal York, and your pint-sized royalty will love it too. Some rooms are so spacious you could set up a mini golf course in them. It's in walking distance of the waterfront (where boats cross the lake for Centre Island) and a hop to theatre land, the CN Tower...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
268 Howland Avenue, Toronto
This is one of the best brunch spots in the city, nestled on the corner of a tree-lined street in a charming residential neighbourhood. There’s no kid’s menu, but what kid says no to fluffy pancakes topped with bananas and whipped cream? The menu is filled with unfussy favorites like eggs benny, sticky cinnamon buns and granola. The ingredients are sourced as locally as possible and everything is made from scratch. Upholstered booths are super comfortable and the decor is a modern take on a diner. Look out for the stash of crayons and storybooks; they’ll come in handy while you wait for a table.
501 College Street, Toronto
Chips, dips and churros are bound to put a smile on a kid’s face. The tacos at Toronto’s La Carnita are packed with good stuff like crumbled chorizo, escabeche (pickled onion), sweet mango and queso cotija (similar to a mild feta). Expect to get messy. Less adventurous eaters can nosh on crispy tortillas with guacamole or Mexican style corn on the cob. And if all else fails, there are paletas dressed in a graham cracker coat. Now, that’s a healthy lunch.
720 Queen St W; 1095 Yonge St
Whether you pop by in the morning for an espresso and a brioche, or at 11pm for a plate of homemade garganelli, Terroni is always bustling. It’s the simple, southern Italian food and charming setting (think vintage black and white photos, shelves stacked with tinned tomatoes and retro tangerine leather bar stools) that keeps people coming back time and again. It’s just the place for an early bird dinner with kids. Little voices blend in with the clinking of plates, music and chatter. Order pizzas, (thin crispy crust) some calamari fritti and pasta to share, and everyone’s happy. In warmer months, the patio is a little treasure with pomodoro red tables and fairy lights festooned from trees.
The Weston Family Learning Centre
With whimsical costumes, arts and craft materials and toys to inspire the imagination, the Weston Family Learning Centre at the AGO is the place to bring your pint-sized Picassos.
Ferry to Centre Island
A trip to Toronto is incomplete without seeing the gorgeous skyline from afar. Hop on the ferry for a fun-packed day of rides and picnicking on Centre Island.
The Brickworks Market
If they love food as much as you do, take them to Brickworks Market where the finest local butchers, bakers and ice-cream makers gather every Saturday morning.
Trinity Belwoods Parks
Join the city hipster kids for a frolic in Trinity Belwoods Park. If your kid’s not wearing purple wayfarers, he’s not with the band.
Dial 911 in any emergency or 416-808-2222 for any Police Non-emergency issues. Toronto’s Emergency Medical Services are available in over 170 languages and are based at 4330 Dufferin Street (416-392-2000). Excellent Toronto hospitals include St. Michael’s Hosoital at 30 Bond Street (+1 416-360-4000) and Mount Sinai Hospital at 600 University Avenue (+1 416-596-4200). The Hospital for Sick Children at 555 University Avenue is dedicated exclusively to caring for little ones (+1 416-813-1500).
When to go
When you live with four seasons you learn to make the very best of every one. Toronto kids are more than happy riding a sled to school until it’s warm enough to get back on their bicycles. But even the little ones jump for joy when the first crocuses burst through the soil. By summer, splash pads, ice pops and air-conditioned museums are the best way to beat the heat. Autumn is gorgeous; what child doesn’t adore picking up conkers and chasing flying leaves? And then winter returns, and with it comes puffy snowsuits, hot chocolate and visits to the rink.