In The City With Kids

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Hidden Gems in Toronto: North End

Red, blue and green Lego pieces on a white background.

There’s a sort of unspoken rule that nothing fun happens north of St. Clair, but that just simply isn’t true. From a whimsical bakery to the best bookshop for kids, we’ve got the best hidden gems in Toronto’s North End covered.

  1. Phipps Bakery & Café

Even just walking in the door at Phipps is a delight for the senses. Part-gift shop, part-bakery and part-café, you won’t know where to look first. The massive display case and shelves of treats might steal your attention right away, but then you’ll no doubt be distracted by the selection of adorable, curated gifts, cards and novelties.

If you come around lunchtime, you can snag a table at the quirky café in back and order from the rotating, cafeteria-style lunch menu.

420 Eglinton Ave W

  1. North Toronto Memorial Community Centre

This community multiplex is a great place for families––you can attend a drop-in program, go for a swim or walk the indoor track––but if you ask us, the park in behind is the real draw. The large playground is suitable for a range of ages, and there’s greenspace for days if you’re looking for an awesome picnic spot. Plus, the old-school outdoor wading pool is perfect for cooling off in the dog days of summer.

200 Eglinton Ave W

  1. Toronto Botanical Garden

Torontonians might argue this is in the east end, but we figure it’s definitely on the border. Founded in 1958, this sprawling (well, as much as anything can sprawl in an urban setting) attraction is a great place for families. Check out one of TBG’s family-friendly activities (drop-in board game afternoons, story time events, etc.) or wander the incredible themed gardens. In the spring, summer and early fall, you can grab a light snack at the TBG Bloom Café on-site.

777 Lawrence Ave E

  1. Mabel’s Fables

There are many wonderful bookstores and toy shops geared toward kids in Toronto, but there’s just something about Mabel’s Fables. With titles for kids of all ages, this bookstore has been a local favourite for more than 30 years. Your family will love the colourful (pink and purple!) façade, which is rivaled only by the feeling you get inside. The atmosphere is like stepping into your very own fairytale.

662 Mount Pleasant Rd


While technically this attraction is in the GTA, rather than the Toronto core, it’s really just a hop, skip and a jump from the city centre. From family-centred rides and the Duplo Village to a virtual reality race car experience, there’s something for everyone.

You can also take building workshops, hit the LEGO-themed cafe and choose a souvenir or two at the gift shop.

1 Bass Pro Mills Dr, Vaughan

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