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2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

Explore Toronto’s fantastic shopping scene to find gifts for friends, family and anyone else on your list.

Raccoon hand puppet ($61.95)
ShopAGO, Art Gallery
of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., shop2.ago.net

View a slideshow of great toys and adorable gift ideas:

20 Things to Do With Kids in Victoria

Things to Do WIth Kids in Victoria

Things to Do WIth Kids in Victoria: boys play at the Maritime Museum of BC, #5 on our list (Photo: roy.luck)

Entertaining kids in an unfamiliar city is never easy. For your next family trip to Vancouver Island, our local travel experts have made it easy on you by putting together this list of 20 wonderful things to do with kids in Victoria. There are activities here for every kind of young traveller, from the the science lover (see #1 and #4) to the adventurer (see numbers #13 and #20) to the sports nut (#17 and #9). There are more than enough things to do with kids in Victoria to keep the little ones engaged—and maybe even spark the interest of a few adults. Come explore!

See the list of 20 things to do with kids in Victoria »


Things to Do With Kids in Toronto: 21 Children-Friendly Attractions


Things to Do in Toronto With Kids

21 things to do with kids in Toronto: Canada’s Wonderland, with it’s enormous water park, makes our list (Photo: WomEOS)

When looking for things to do with kids in Toronto, visitors can be overwhelmed with options. Luckily, many of Toronto’s most interesting attractions for adults—museums, galleries, historic sites—also have special programs or areas for children. Many have great group rates, too, meaning family fun doesn’t have to strain your travel budget. Our Toronto experts have compiled this list of 21 fun things to do with kids in the city, all at reliable, long-standing attractions designed to put a smile on a child’s face.

See the list of 21 things to do with kids in Toronto »


5 Fun Cold-Weather Activities With Kids in Niagara Falls

Photo by Kevin Millican

By William Travis

Sure, you may have to bundle the kids up for a glimpse of the falls themselves in late fall or winter, but watching the 100,000 cubic feet of rushing water plunge downward is still a thrill no matter what season it is. Away from the falls, indoor and outdoor activities make Niagara Falls a fun winter getaway.

View as a slideshow… (more…)

Keep Kids Happy En Route with 13 All-Canadian Songs

Keeping kids entertained on extended road trips is no small feat, as evidenced by the popularity of portable DVD players and game systems marketed to the under-12 set. Singalongs have long been a family friendly car activity, but these all-Canadian songs by artists like Bedouin Soundclash and Feist, chosen by the editors over at Canadian Family, might get mom and dad’s toes tapping, too. (Read: no Raffi.)

At the very least, they are less likely to provoke a migraine than the fifty-seventh repeat of “Wheels on the Bus”.

See the 13-song slideshow at CanadianFamily.ca.

Image by Klaus Hiltscher

Hot Shopping: Steadfast Beauty

Milu Simoes specializes in dressing up little princes and princesses for special days inside her precious boutique D’Ella Formal Children’s Wear. The business started in 1978 as a spot for imported high-end European giftware. It evolved into the go-to special occasion store for little ones seen today when she started her own family. “As much as things change over time, beauty is beauty and quality remains quality,” says Milu.

The bright and airy showroom is filled with tiny, ornate christening gowns with matching hats, flouncy tulle-laden frocks and a rack of dapper suits up to size 16. French lace-trimmed frocks from Europe and New York City are altered on-site, ensuring a perfect fit for the big day. Milu loves outfitting families for milestone occasions, and takes particular pleasure when customers return years later with their own children in tow. Little ones are thrilled to twirl in puffy princess skirts, while for onlooking older customers, D’Ella sparks a nostalgic trip down memory lane. 624 Ellice Ave., (204) 774-4019

Cover Feature: Top Summer Attraction 2011

The Children's Museum is Where Winnipeg magazine's Top Summer Attraction 2011. Photo by Ebonie Klassen photography.

It took nine months of thoughtful planning and construction, and just over $10M in funding. The result? A dozen new and revamped permanent galleries at the Children’s Museum guaranteed to encourage laughter, playtime and learning. These big renovations were revealed just in time for the museum’s silver anniversary. While all those facts and figures are impressive, what really matters to its most precious audience is the fun factor. Here are some highlights that have kids buzzing, earning this family fun spot Where Winnipeg magazine’s 2011 Attraction of the Year.

Photo by Ebonie Klassen photography.

1. Lasagna Lookout

No need to worry about spilled spaghetti sauce or sticky fingers at the Lasagna Lookout play structure as little ones interact with a favourite food in an unexpected way. The shrieks and giggles begin as the race is on up five ‘kid-sized’ storeys to the top of this jungle gym. Elements of Italian cuisine are cleverly integrated throughout the structure. Scurry through plastic macaroni tubes and climb through cheese holes, while hunting for red, foam tomatoes hidden throughout. These coveted tomato treasures are destined for jumbo-sized pasta sauce bins on ground level. Along the way, gigantic rubber meatballs triple the size of your head dangle from the roof, providing endless opportunity to punch, fall and duck these obstacles. An incredible bird’s eye view of the colourful gallery delights, and of course a wave to the pin-sized adults down below is part of the excitement. The yellow cube at the bottom creates a frenzy as foam ‘spaghetti’ noodles thread through holes in the wall to create a maze of fun patterns.

Photo by Ebonie Klassen photography.

2. Pop M’Art

‘Shop’ till you drop for the zaniest art supplies that stretch the imagination in this artistic zone. Part of the thrill comes from stepping on tip toes and peeking into multiple wooden bins to see what materials are destined to be the next hot piece of art. The stock is always changingplastic sippy cup lids, strips of foam, confetti and old register ribbon are diverted from waste and given new life. Long communal tables are creative hotbeds as kids work their wizardry with scissors, glue, crayons and paper.

Photo by Ebonie Klassen photography.

3. Illusion Tunnel

Picture a giant slide covered in a rainbow of colour blocks—black, white, blue, purple, yellow and orange. Kids relish the wind in their hair and the blur of colours as they slide down over, and over, and over again. At second glance, the tunnel looks like a giant smiley face from the front. The slide is the mouth and a flight of stairs up to two plastic bubble window lookout points—the eyes—offer another fun top-level view.

Photo by Ebonie Klassen photography.

4. Tumble Zone

Grab your most trusted pals for some serious teamwork in construction. Build your own unique cityscape using working toy cranes and lightweight, soft foam pieces that sub in for traditional building blocks. Caregivers are often called on to help place that final, satisfying brick on top. Of course, half the fun is knocking it all down and starting over again.

Photo by Ebonie Klassen photography.

5. Milk Machine

Cowabunga! A larger-than-life, hulking cow illustration appears to keep a watchful eye from the corner of the museum. Walk around to the other side of the wall and be amazed at a mind-boggling web of interconnecting plastic tubes, representing the process that milk travels from cow to carton. Here, only one tube is hooked up to a giant milk carton. It’s up to curious minds to solve the puzzle and direct white, fluffy pompoms and handkerchiefs to the final carton destination using blasts of air. Flick dials to find the correct route. Alter the air flow path and it sends the pompom zooming through tubes before it’s spit out and lands on tiny busy bodies below.Fun facts about dairy farming are written on interactive panels throughout.

Photo by Jeff Lowell.

6. Engine House

A prominent fixture in the Children’s Museum, this powerful train engine built in 1952 sets the playful stage. Get an  up-close-and-personal view of the gears, levers and pulleys that make a real train run in Engine House. Futuristic flashing blue, red, yellow and green lights take this train into the 21st century. A tiny tunnel running underneath the 100-year-old pullman car gives little ones an advantageous short-cutadults have to walk through or around the train to reach the other side.

Photo by Ebonie Klassen photography.

7. The Characters

The galleries aren’t the only interactive features in the museum. A playful, colourful cast of six costumed characters engage visitors with the galleries even further, calling on kids to help with quests. The loud and proud museum mayor loves to boast about the gallerybut he tends to lose his key, It’s up to guests to explore and hunt the hidden treasure down. The curious field trip kid asks precocious questions for additional knowledge and lots of laughs. Characters rotate every day, so adventures are always changing.

Hot Date: International Children’s Festival

May 24 – 28

Step Afrika

Be both educated and entertained during get-on-your-feet performances at the Calgary International Children’s Festival. Artists from Italy, Scotland, The Netherlands, Australia, USA and Canada perform in productions like the black light puppet performance of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or Step Afrika!, which teaches about world cultures through interpretive dance and music. At the Epcor Centre for Performing Arts, call 403-294-9494.

Hot Date: Cavalia

May 25 – June 5

Watch trick-riders, acrobats, tumblers, bungee artists, dancers and over 40 unescorted horses seamlessly following cues to run in formation, line-up, form circles and interact with each other, in Cavalia, a cruelty-free “Cirque-du-Soleil” like performance. Set in North America’s largest touring tent rising 100 feet into the air, each act artistically depicts the inextricable bond between horse and human throughout the course of history. At Canada Olympic Park, for tickets, call 1-866-999-8111.