My daughter is turning 10 at the end of the month. Double digits! So we decided to do something super big and special for her.
Which is what lead us to take our most touristy Toronto trip yet!
Nick, Sidney and I live an hour away from Toronto. Many of our friends and family have migrated to the big city, and it’s a place we’ve visited often, if not to see loved ones than for special events. In fact, I’ve been to Toronto a handful of times just this year.
Sidney’s been to Toronto a few times, already, too, but we’ve never done the tourist thing as a family.
Growing up so close to Toronto meant all of my big class trips were to the city. Both grade 6 and grade 8 trips took place in Toronto where we went and did everything imaginable from going to the CN Tower to the Toronto Zoo. It was a lot of fun! And perhaps Sidney’s school will do similar trips, but why wait?
The Reason Behind Our Most Touristy Toronto Trip
Turning 10 is one of the big birthdays. It’s that age between childhood and teen years. When you still enjoy playing with dolls, but are starting to experiment with mom’s makeup. When you’re still imaginative enough to play make believe, but start maturing mentally and physically. And it’s crazy to think that my little Sidney is now entering this awkward phase.
I want her to be a kid for as along as possible, but I also want to help her through this new phase in life.
My daughter is turning 10 this month, and to celebrate I bought our family each a CityPASS* and booked a hotel. We made it a girls weekend and invited our cousins.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Ramada Plaza hotel on Jarvis St. near downtown. Our room had two queen size beds, a little lounge area with a pullout couch and TV, and a pretty funky bathroom. It was much bigger than I expected! Which was nice, because we had ourselves a little party before going to bed.
I love that I’m able to give my daughter fun experiences in life, and since I’m basically just a big child it was partly for me, too.
Visiting the CN Tower
After checking into the hotel, we walked down to the subway station and the girls experienced their first subway ride! And thanks to my phone, I didn’t get too lost on the way. Although, once we hopped off and had to walk the rest of the way to the CN Tower, we couldn’t figure out which way to go. We ended up asking someone how to get there, which felt silly because as soon as we took 10 steps to our right the CN Tower was RIGHT there behind a skyscraper.
Once you’re finally at the bottom of the CN Tower, it’s a rather fast elevator ride up, but dang! The view is awesome! The girls were able to squeeze in against the window to get the best view. But the best part about being up in the CN Tower is playing around on the glass floor!
The kids had a great time rolling around and staring down at the ground below, which is 342 m. I, on the other hand, was having a mild panic attack. BUT! I told myself I was going to walk across the floor, since I’ve never been brave enough to do it, and so I did! There’s a sign on the wall next the glass floor that says it can hold 20, 454 kg, so I was pretty sure I was safe, but my brain made me sweaty and tremble.
We probably spent a good hour there before heading to our next CityPASS* attraction.
Fortunately Ripley’s Aquarium is right beside the CN Tower. We were there within minutes and already racing to the first gallery.
The aquarium is actually super cool, especially the conveyor belt that takes you along the huge shark tanks that even go above your head in the Dangerous Lagoon gallery. My favourite part, though, was the Planet Jellies gallery! Jellyfish are so beautiful to watch!
Our other favourite part was in the Nature by Numbers section, where we had scarlet cleaner shrimp crawl all over our hands and pick at them!
Shopping at the Eaton Centre
I couldn’t take Sidney to Toronto without visiting the Eaton Centre! Her dad and I gave her some birthday money and she was super excited to go shopping!
Of course, we did this after we ate at the new Boston Pizza rooftop restaurant on Yonge St. where I had a delicious quinoa burger and salad, and about 8 glasses of water! Sidney and her cousin both had chicken strips and fries. My cousin, Katie, was in charge of letting the waiter know we had a birthday girl and the look on Sidney’s face was priceless!
Basically, by the time we made it to the mall we were dying. We barely made it to three stores before giving up and going back to the hotel. On the way home, we passed by a grocery store with a salad bar and the five of us loaded up on fruit and veggies to take back with us.
Sidney bought herself some dolls from the Disney store, and some jewelry from Ardene.
Partying at the Hotel
My cousin, Alissa, decided to spend the night at the hotel with us, even though she lives in Toronto. Which worked out pretty good since the couch had a pullout bed.
The girls made us watch the Food Network while we ate our salads. They went wild and basically trashed the hotel! By midnight we were all asleep and woke up at 8 the next morning. Even though those kids went nuts the hotel room was cleaned up fairly easily. I ain’t paying no extra fees!
Playing at the Ontario Science Centre
So, lesson learned: kids are pretty damn tired after one full day of being a tourist in Toronto. We pressed on after a breakfast buffet and multiple cups of coffee (the grownups, not the kids) and drove to the Ontario Science Centre.
I’ll be honest, this was probably my least favourite attraction of the weekend. It was very hands on and very educational, and I was just not in the mood to learn. Is that bad? Iunno, but we made the best of it and explored each section before stumbling back to the car.
Royal Ontario Museum
The bummer part is, I was super looking forward to going to the Royal Ontario Museum and showing the kids all of the cool stuff, but they were just too tired. We only made it through a small section before everyone sat down and gave up. It was about 3p.m. at this time, and there was a wicked storm outside, and we were all hungry and tired.
We saw the dinosaurs and ice age mammals, went through the Bat Cave and viewed the Gallery of Birds before stopping by the gift shop and braving the wind and rain to get to our car.
Sad to Go but Happy to Be Home
On the way home I gave in and bought us all fast food. I dropped the cousins off at home, and once Sidney and I made it inside our house we immediately put on our pajamas, threw on Netflix and cuddled in my bed until bedtime.
We didn’t make it to Casa Loma because we were too tired, but that was also included with our CityPASS*. Next time.
Have you been to Toronto? What are some of your favourite tourist attractions?
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