We love how whole city is bursting with Pan Am activities and excitement. Toronto is not the only one showing off its best – so is Ontario. Until August 16, Harbourfront Centre is home to the Ontario Celebration Zone, a summer festival showcasing all our province has to offer.
It is sure to impress the tourists and have the locals feeling pretty proud. And it will likely have you coming back. The activities are on daily, non-stop from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m and are always changing and always free.
The best part, we discovered, is that it’s family-friendly.
We spent a weekday morning exploring. While there is a set schedule of performances on the main and Westjet stages, as well as in the Harbourfront theatre, it is very easy to drop in on all the activities at your own pace and interest. You can be active (virtual soccer had us jumping and kicking) or chill out on a big Muskoka chair (to watch ziplining and rock climbing). Plus, most of the activities are indoors or in the covered tent, so enjoyable in almost any kind of weather.
What to do outside: Under the big white tent next to the main stage there is always some hands-on activities showcasing an Ontario region or organization. (We almost moved to Bancroft after the boys spent much of the time digging for minerals and painting fishing lures.)
If you or your kids in TOw are adventurous, there is a 400 ft. zipline (basically flying you from the water’s edge to Queen’s Quay), 40 ft. rock climbing wall overlooking Lake Ontario, and an adrenaline jump. It’s free but participants must be 4-foot-7. And it’s the first accessible zipline in Ontario. (When to go: evenings are busier. To speed up the process, sign your waiver online and get a wrist-band with the time you’d like to go.)
Be sure to send the Pan Am and Parapan Am athletes a message on the WishmeluckON wall.
What to do inside: Again, the big white tent gives the feeling of being indoors when technically outdoors. There is also theatre and musical performances, hands-on workshops and the art installation of PrideHouse That Kids Built.
When to go: Check the line-up online (daily schedule for the week are on the right-hand sidebar.) Every Wednesday is a market with farmers, wineries, food and craft vendors. Weekday mornings tend to be quieter and there is always a family-friendly presentation on the main stage. Fly-boarding demos every Saturday.
Food: Bring your own snacks or have a seat at one of the two covered (one with patio) restaurants serving up Ontario-sourced food and drinks. They do one dish that is inspired by a Pan Am country. There is a kids meal – hamburger, fries and crudité for $8. There is also a water-filling station
Potty time: There are temporary public washrooms near the big white tent or washrooms in Harbourfront Centre.
Keep Mom Sane: If your idea of fun is to leave the kids at home, then there is much for the adults in TOw. In the evenings, free concerts; the mornings, a variety of free fitness classes. And all day long, the restaurants serve local food, beer and wine.