Explore Toronto: Eco-Art-Fest @Todmorden Mills

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Last week, with intentions to squeeze every last bit of summer fun out of what remained of the summer days, Carol, Nathalie and I took our boys to explore no. 9’s Eco-Art Fest.

Just off Pottery Road in the Don Valley, is a tucked-away enclave sheltered by a canopy of trees where art and green collide. Andrew Davies, Executive Director, is a man with a vision. Having spent years in New York City working for the Museum of Modern Art in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Davies became enamoured with the emerging art scene that seemed to couple art and social consciousness so seamlessly. Upon his return to Toronto, he learned about the Evergreen Brick Works, at that time in its planning stages, and envisioned a place where art and the environment could not only flourish but also serve to inspire people to live more sustainable lives.

Drawing on his extensive art and architecture background Davies went on to found no. 9. It is an arts organization that uses art and design to bring awareness to environmental concerns through school and community based programs. Earlier this summer when I explored the Brick Works with my boys we were able to view My Sustainable City, a collaboration between no.9 and the Toronto District School Board that is on exhibit at Brick Works until September 23.

While My Sustainable City is an example of a school program, Eco-Art-Fest is an outdoor summer-long art festival held at Todmorden Mills until September 21 for the entire community to enjoy.  imgres

Davies and his staff of artisans offer daily programs for children. Our boys got their hands dirty throwing clay and enjoyed a water colour painting workshop where they learned about endangered animals and just how interrelated the creatures in our environment really is. We ended our morning activities with a guided tour of the various outdoor art installations by celebrated artists Dean Baldwin, Nicole Dextras, John Dickson, Sean Martindale, Ferruccio Sardella, Penelope Stewart, John Loerchner and Laura Mendes.

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It was an enriching opportunity to learn how art is not just paint, paper and brush strokes. Art can be just as much about aesthetic and expression as a social message. In particular my boys enjoyed Sean Martindale’s installation of the word HISTORIES created from the earth, and depending on perspective history could be rising up from the ground or buried.

Saturday nights offer live music after 5 pm, delicious artisanal charcuterie boards that are works of art in themselves, and organic beer and wine all under the lights of Helliwell’s.

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Nearly four hours passed before I looked at my watch.   The green space combined with the art, and the easy-going, light-hearted atmosphere was enough to make me forget that I was in the city, less than a few minutes drive to the centre and its hustle and bustle. It was four hours of appreciating art in many forms, learning about our environment and most importantly connecting with each other.

Time is running out to experience the wonder of Eco-Art-Fest this summer. The festival ends on September 21 but will return next year. To learn more or to register for the activities and tours please visit Eco-Art-Fest.

Explore: Evergreen Brick Works

IMG_4844Years ago my weekends were peppered with city-dweller activities: markets, neighbour explorations, festivals and art appreciation but then a string of pregnancies and little babies kept me nestled (chained) in my neighbourhood bubble venturing only outside to visit the zoo.  My youngest is now almost 4 (I still can’t believe it!) and for the past year, we’ve really been able to enjoy the city and all that it has to offer without the stress of strollers, naps and diapers.

It’s a whole new world!

Recently we explored an urban oasis: Evergreen Brick Works.

The Brick Works, as locals affectionately call it, was the Don Valley Brick Works from 1889 to 1984 and many of Canada’s preeminent buildings are constructed of bricks made from this site.  From 1984 until the early 2000s, the Brick Works deteriorated.  Piles of rubble and crumbling buildings are what most people saw when they drove past along Bayview Avenue, with the exception of a group of creative innovators who saw the potential to transform the site into a not-for-profit destination celebrating nature, culture and community.

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The old buildings mesmerized the boys.  They imagined themselves heating clay in the giant kilns to make bricks.  They saw the old tracks used to transport the tons of coal from the various buildings.  We talked about the working conditions: how loud it must have been and oppressively hot from the steam, the kilns (and the humid Toronto summers) and how it probably wasn’t that safe in the early years.

Exploring the kiln building was a favourite but not only because of its historical significance.  The walls are lined with an evocative gallery displaying artistic photography and, perhaps the highlight for me; it is where The Sustainable City installation is currently on display. City school teams have imagined and created a future Toronto that encompasses the core values of Evergreen: nature, community and culture.  Not only are the projects incredible but also they are inspiring!  To think that our city is home to such innovators . . . lucky for us!

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There is a lot to see and do at the Brick Works.  Every day people explore the extensive trails where local wildlife abounds!

The weekdays are quieter but the weekends are chock-full of activities including an impressive farmer’s market, pottery demonstrations, bike rentals, a flea market and the children’s garden.  The Brick Works hosts seminars on the weekends that appeal to bikers, gardeners, wild life enthusiasts and artists.

Wednesday evenings (from July 2- August 6) enjoy pizza from Pizzeria Libretto from the outdoor wood-fired oven (to.die.for.) and a small seasonal salad for $3.

It’s summer and there is no shortage of activities in Toronto.  There is a reason it’s called The Living City, so get out there and live!

 

 

Crafting with Kids: Pour Painting

008A new commitment means my mother hasn’t been able to come over for her weekly visits; instead she’s been offering weekly day visits and a sleepover to my youngest. This has opened up a window of opportunity for the bigger boys and me to do some things that aren’t so well suited to toddlers, and we actually have time to do them because some extra-curriculars have waned.

Without further ado, we tried pour painting. There should be a better name for this, there must be and I’m too encased in my own little cave to know.  Pour painting is so… literal.  Because the method is as simple as this:

1. Take a canvas (or sturdy piece of cardboard) and prime the surface (including the sides) with a coat of paint. (Try to do next steps while primer is still wet.)

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2. Pour or squeeze pools of paint (we used acrylics) onto the paint surface.  We did this two ways:  first, pouring little pools of paint hither and thither and then tilting the canvas in various directions to let the paint run; and second, pouring multiple colours of paint in the centre of the canvas over and over until it spilled off the edges.

3. Repeat step 2 as many times as needed until the surface is completely covered with paint.  (I was doing this project alongside the kids so didn’t take pictures during the process, but here’s more detail and instruction from the Housing a Forest.)

And that’s it! It’s hard to go wrong, and you’ll end up with a painting that’s colourful and evokative.

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A couple of notes… our paint cracked a bit as it dried where the colours met each other. I’m not sure how to avoid this and was a bit disappointed at first, but I think the paintings still work overall.

Also, we used a lot of paint. Not nearly as much as I bought, mind you, but the paint was very thick and required more than a day to dry. The canvas could handle this easily but if you’re using another surface, it really needs to be sturdy for this project. I also used cardboard under the canvasses to capture the paint that will spill off as regular paper will get wet and tear.

I have a few much bigger canvasses and think this project would be beautiful for decorating a wall; I can also imagine a few collected together. Also, doing the pour painting over an object, such as an inverted clay pot, is another fun project with beautiful results, so it’s on our spring list too (maybe to use as a special holder for a special seed).

And if you really want to be inspired by the possibilities of pour painting, check Holton Rower’s Tall Painting:

Riding in Helicopters

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I’m generally suspicious of glitz.  I strive for things and people in my life that feel authentic and down-to-earth.  So it was a surprise to me to find myself clicking to buy a helicopter ride for my son.  A helicopter ride!  How not down-to-earth can you be?

A few things led me to it.  A five year old who had a birthday coming and who sometimes seemed under his older brother’s shadow.  A mother’s birthday in the same month, and for whom it is difficult to gift much.  The fact that I had never flown in a helicopter before.  And let’s not forget, what planted the seed in the first place – the Groupon that displayed itself in my inbox at the right time.

So I barreled forward and bought a helicopter ride for three for my mom, my son and me.  We did it last weekend.  I am here to report that it was a lot of fun and to give details.

The helicopter rides fly out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.  Maybe one day you’ll be able to walk there, but for now you need to take their ferry, which runs every 15 minutes and is strangely short (120 metres).  You have to print out the convoluted directions to get to the helicopter office because it’s not signed, but it’s do-able.  They were running on time, and two friendly attendants greeted us and told us what to do (and what not to do – no pictures outside the helicopter, for eg.).  The office staff were also very reassuring and flexible when I worried we would be late (when I booked 7 weeks ago, I didn’t know there would be a marathon that would grind downtown traffic to a halt) – I was impressed with the service.

We were then ushered us to a waiting area, also known as a bench on some grass, and then to the helicopter.  The adults hunched down – the propellers are so high that they’d never hit us, but instinctively one stoops near huge swinging blades.  The chopper was small!  Just enough space for the pilot, a front passenger and two passengers behind.  Purses and camera bags not allowed due to limited space.

We boarded quickly and were given headsets, just like in the movies.  I think they’re partly because being on a helicopter is loud.  But it’s for talking too, and became even more fun when we were told that the pilot would change to a different frequency so that he could actually do his job, leaving the three of us to chatter away among ourselves.  And look official.

Lift off was a sensation – literally.  Stomach-turning, in a good thrill way, similar to take-off in a plane, but stronger, because the helicopter is so much smaller.  We flew up to and slightly above the CN Tower (a very tall building), and around the downtown core.  We turned once, quite dramatically, we all pitched to one side – I was comfortable, my son enjoyed it, and my mother said she clung to the helicopter in the opposite direction.

Promotional materials say the flight is ten minutes, but my mother had the wherewithal to actually time our flight – I was too busy squeeing and taking pictures – we were in the air for just five minutes, so I suppose the remaining time is reserved for getting on and off and settling in.  I’d have loved a longer flight, but there were benefits to it being brief.  There was no chance of the experience getting stale – we all wanted more when we got off.  But it was also long enough to sit back and feel it.  There was a real intimacy to flying in such a small vessel – there was so little barrier between us and the air outside, and we could see so much with the expanses of windows, which was very different from flying in a plane.

Some logistics:  the ferry ride is awfully short, and the wait is only supposed to be 15 minutes, but it felt a lot longer.  There is nothing to do while waiting, and there’s a food bar somewhere in the airport, but mostly it’s fairly dreary while you wait.  If you’re going with younger children, it might be nice to bring a book or activity while they wait.  These things might come in handy while you’re waiting for the chopper ride too.  Remember, this isn’t Centre Island.  There are no open spaces, no play structures, no restaurants.  It’s an airport, and not an interesting one at that.  There are some planes in the hangar next door, but that only went so far with our kid.

Also, it’s pricey.  Ours was the least expensive tour, and costs $100/person (no discount for little people or seniors).  Enter the Groupon, which brought the cost for three down to $169 – so it is worth waiting for these, and I’ve seen another one featured since I bought mine in the summer.

We won’t be doing it again any time soon (at least not for this son!).  But it was a fun splurge, unlike anything we’ve done, and I’m glad we went for it.  I’m pretty sure my little guy is too.

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Date Night Gone Awry

I was really hoping to write about a new-ish restaurant in the city that my husband and I went to in celebration of our ninth wedding anniversary.  What I can tell you is that tucked-away, much buzzed about Patria is artfully designed.  The menu, at a glance looks delicious, as did the few plates that passed by our intimate table for two.

However I cannot write about what we ordered nor if the food critics are right in dubbing this tapas bar one of Toronto’s Best Restaurants of 2013.  I cannot tell you, because our ninth anniversary came and went and nary a morsel of food was consumed at Patria.

Let me start off my story by stressing that while summer vacation may be the days of folly and freedom for youngsters, it is for this stay-at-home mom, two months of intense togetherness that has me praying for bouts of dysentery* just so I can seek a few moments of privacy from my three boys.

Who am I kidding?  They’d follow me in there too. 

The day of our anniversary, the babysitter arrived early with ample time for me to shower, shave my legs and tame my tresses.  Basically, I went from looking like this:

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(With some creative liscence) To this:

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A cab picked me up from my front door and like Cinderella, I was shuttled off to the ball.  The whining, complaining, and incessant bickering faded in the review mirror.  Even the grueling stop and go traffic along Avenue Road couldn’t dampen my spirits. 

I wanted to lean out of the rolled-down window, hair blowing in the breeze and call to the babysitter with a sinister sneer, “You’ve been duped!  They are not the loveable boys of school days.  These beasts are feral!  These boys are urchins!  These boys will wear you down, defeat you, make your ears beg for quiet!”

As the cab slowly navigated the downtown streets, I excitedly texted my husband that soon we’d be eating – in a restaurant!  With cutlery!  Where chicken fingers are a thing of lore!

I was giddy.  Like a parolee, I was relishing in the sights of the city.  When was this skyscraper finally completed?  What kind of art is that new installation?  When did men in suits start wearing full beards?

Upon entering Patria, our hostess lead us to our table and we followed behind like obedient school children relieved to finally have some time alone.  Just as my husband’s knees bent to sink into his chair, his iPhone buzzed to life. 

A glance at the screen revealed a call from the babysitter.

She never calls his phone.

He answered it, and I can immediately tell from the way he casually walked away from the table, from me, that this wasn’t good news.

Back in the cab, it no longer feels like a shiny chariot but rather a jalopy with cracked vinyl seats, rank with fetid air.  The inching traffic nothing but a taunt.

He’s doing great mom!  We hope to have his thumb dislodged as soon as the fire department get here.”  The kind paramedic, used to placating frantic mothers on the verge of tears, said calmly into the phone.

My youngest son was stuck.  His tiny thumb had somehow managed to wedge itself tightly into the hinge of the glass shower door, thereby entrapping him on one side and his freshly scrubbed brother on the other side of the glass.

One frantic babysitter, one flummoxed neighbour and a host of EMS workers descended into our en suite washroom in attempt to free the compressed thumb.  Forty minutes later he was liberated with nothing more than a tiny gash and a throbbing digit.

After hours of soothing (the little guy, his empathic oldest brother and a devastated babysitter) my husband and I collapsed onto the couch with a bottle of wine.

Just over his shoulder I could see our wedding picture – the young, fresh faces smiling naively into the camera. 

We couldn’t help but laugh.  Those people had no clue, no clue at all what kind of maelstrom was lying in wait.

Once the last drop of wine was consumed, we tip-toed up the stairs to check on our feral little urchins and to get some much needed rest, because in this house the only certainty of tomorrow is that it will leave me exhausted.

 

*Okay, maybe not.  But you get the idea.

pictures courtesy of: The Inklings of Life and Emphasis Added

Ding Dong!

imgresLast week I did something that I rarely do.  I laughed out loud!  Not LOL but really, I laughed out loud.  Bellyaching laughs.  Snorting laughs.  Tears down the cheeks laughs.

And do you want to know what the best part of it was?  I wasn’t expecting to laugh.

With my theatre subscription came tickets to see the highly anticipated musical, The Book of Mormon.  Every friend who was lucky enough to score a Broadway ticket couldn’t stop raving about this production but I was more than skeptical when I heard that Mirvish was bringing it to Toronto.

Why so doubtful, you ask, when a show is receiving such high praise?  My apprehension stemmed in part because The Book of Mormon was born from the partnership between the creator of Avenue Q and the creators of South Park.  A South Park fan, I am decidedly not.

I tried in earnest to become a fan of the show when I was a senior in high school when almost everyone would quote something by Eric Cartman, but I just didn’t find it funny.  Similar to how I didn’t get Jim Carey’s physical comedy, the acerbic and often offensive South Park characters did nothing to make me laugh and instead I wanted to turn the channel.

Upon taking my seat in the sold-out Princess of Wales theatre, I vowed to maintain an open mind all while considering how quickly I could make it home if I left the performance during Intermission.

However once the curtain raised and the graduating Elders took their place on the stage, I was transfixed from the opening number, Hello! and any attempt to mask a giggle, let alone a full-belly laugh, was relinquished by the time the lead Mark Evans belted out, You and Me (But Mostly Me).

Mark Evans and Christopher John O’Neill, who play Elder Price and Elder Cunningham respectively, carry the play from the beginning.  O’Neill’s solo performance, Man Up is uproarious and showcases both the actor’s knack for physical comedy and his ability to make the stage his own.

It is worth noting that as strong as the lead performances are, Grey Henson, who is making his professional and touring debut as Elder McKinley is nothing short of a scene-stealer.

There is no denying that the creators of this show push the boundaries of humor and there were moments while other patrons dissolved into laughter, I was left wondering what was the joke?  It appears that I am still the on the periphery of this genre of humor, or that some things are just not funny.

 

The curtain dropped after the final number, Tomorrow is a Latter Day, and with aching abs and sore cheeks, I checked my watch.  It seemed impossible that I had just spent almost 3 hours in this theatre where earlier I had been planning my Intermission escape.

Now I know what all the hype is about and I am not a bit surprised that tickets to this performance are selling out faster than one can say Joseph Smith American Moses.

 

* Aside:  After I wrote this post, I read the reviews for The Book of Mormon that appeared in the top circulated newspapers of the city.  Evidently, I make a lousy critic.

Felting Eggs and Changing the World

019I volunteered in my son’s class last week, when the grade 1, 2 and 3 students made felted eggs last week in honour of spring (which actually felt like it visited us in Toront last weekend!).

Wet felting is a really tactile and accessible form of handwork for children.  The children started with two pieces of wool roving, which is a piece of wool that has been combed and twisted a bit.  These were layered in alternating directions around a plastic Easter egg (the first piece wrapped around the egg vertically, the second wrapped horizontally).  After each piece was wrapped, the wool was moistened (or dunked!) with warm soapy water, and then gently (or vigorously!) massaged until the wool firmed up around the egg.  The heat and friction of the rubbing causes the wool roving to felt, creating a cover for the object inside.

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After the kids were done, the teachers took the eggs home and tossed them in the clothes dryer, where heat and friction causes the wool to tighten and felt even more.  The felted egg covers can then be cut away from the egg, and in our case, were finished with blanket stitching around the opening.

The felted eggs were sweet enough, I thought.  But I was dumbstruck to discover that each of these eggs was to house a little peep of its own.  A parent volunteer extraordinaire, hand-stitched over 40 little chicks to go home with our children’s felted eggs.  I watched her make one, working nimbly with tiny pieces of wool felt, as a baby bird emerged from her fingers.

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My son came home with his egg and chick, and played with it, along with a nest he made during an outdoor trip two days after the felting project.  It was a bit out of character, as he doesn’t usually play with little figures or dolls.  Something seemed to have engaged him in the making of these projects, or maybe it was just the beauty of them.  I’m not sure, but everything soon found its way to our nature table, the safest place for our treasures.

That should be the end of that, but I keep thinking about these little birds, and the woman who made them.

When I was younger, I had a fairly specific idea of what was “noble” work, which tended to revolve around “serious” issues.  As I get older, I find these notions falling away from me.  I still recognize the import of the big things; I still know how vital and painfully difficult it is to work on these matters.

But I’m also beginning to recognize other things that matter too, like how vital it is to give freely of ourselves whatever it is that we have to offer, and how difficult that can be too.   I think about how the maker of these little birds, who routinely makes huge contributions to the school, said that they “only” take her about 10 minutes to make (it would take me at least half and hour).  Multiplied by more than 40 students, though, equals over 400 minutes.  And I know she spent two hours cutting out the pieces first, to say nothing of sourcing the pattern and materials.  She did this for all the kids, even though she doesn’t know many of them and they not care for her work.  Projects like these distract her from her store, where she sells her handicrafts for money.  “But I don’t really care,” she said.

It’s clear what she does care about, and I’m moved by her expression of it.  It’s not the crafting; it’s the giving.  Anyone who doesn’t think one person can change the world ought first to consider these little chicks and their maker.  Forty young worlds (and an older one) were changed for the better last week alone.

A Green Patch in March

012Around now, having gotten through the better part of heavy winter, most of us are eager for spring.  For me, I’m looking not just for warmth, but for some colour, especially some green, but most days March is a month of browns and greys.

I took these colour needs into my own hands this year, and for the first time am growing microgreens.  These are like baby greens, harvested when they are teeny little guys, and are amazingly flavourful garnishes for sandwiches, soups, salads, or just snacking.  They are also really pretty, and an easy pick-me-up during winter.

If I had gotten my green hankering earlier in the winter, when the daylight hours were still quite short, I could still have grown them in the basement, where we have a grow light.   But I started in early March, and gave my Mizuna Asian Greens and Astro Arugula (from High Mowing Seeds) a try next to a (partly blocked) south facing window.  And they grew!

I can now attest that growing microgreens is totally fun and wonderful to do with children.  Firstly, they’re instant gratification in the planting world.  Ready for harvest after about 10 days, microgreens will germinate as soon as a day after being sown.  Secondly, your kids will get to play in something akin to dirt.  Thirdly, they’ll know that they can grow things.  And fourthly, the microgreens are delicious – yes, my kids ate them! –  that they are so small and cute makes them that much more appealing.

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You only need 5 things to grow these puppies:

  • microgreen seeds
  • seed starting mix (some people grow microgreens in potting soil, but my books and local garden storekeeper told me seed starting mix, which actually has no soil, is better)
  • a tray with drainage holes to grow them in
  • a cover for the tray (or plastic wrap)
  • a sunny window or a grow light

The planting is even simpler:

  • moisten the seed starting mix with water until just damp 
  • lay an inch of soil into the tray
  • sprinkle seeds (don’t cover the seeds after sprinkling)
  • cover the tray to keep humidity in

After this, you just mist the seeds once or twice a day, which is a wonderful excuse to check in on them as they will basically transform before your eyes.  I planted our first batch (too thickly) by myself to see if it would work.  It did, and my boys (6 and 4) watched it grow.

A week later (succession planting!), I invited them to try.  They ran to the table, and didn’t leave until I had to ask them to.  It was a good time, one that we’ll repeat for sure, and now we have some much needed patches of green inside, to tie us over until the ones outside start to wake up.

 

Toronto Staycation – A March Break Round-up

For those living in Ontario, next week marks the start of March Break and parents everywhere will scramble to entertain their children.  Some children will go to day camp or maybe a babysitter to while away the time before school resumes.  The lucky will escape the dreary winter weather and head for sunny skies. Everyone else will be passing off a “staycation” as the next best thing to Disneyland.

One of the greatest perks about living in Toronto is that it is an incredibly family friendly city.  Activities abound and cater to a variety of interests and more importantly price points!  Toronto is chock-full of things to do for free and on a limited budget.

If you live in Toronto bookmark this post and use it as your March Break go-to-guide and if you don’t, well, bookmark it anyway and be sure to refer to it when you visit the city.

For the Thespian

Toronto has a theatre community that rivals London and New York.  Children’s theatre is no exception.  Whether it is a show-stopping musical of the highest caliber (Mirvish’s The Wizard of Oz) or something lower key, you will not be disappointed.

The Cat in The Hat – Young People’s Theatre

Magnificent Munsch – The Solar Stage

Stinky Kids The Musical, Pinkalicious, Freckleface Strawberry The Musical – Lower Ossington Theatre

The Elves, A Shoemaker and His Wife – The Little Red Theatre

The Berenstain Bears Live!, Potted Potter – The Living Arts Centre

Scooby-Doo Live! – The Sony Centre

For the Screen Junky

Perhaps you have a Spielberg wannabe on your hands and only the silver screen will do.  While the Cineplex and Famous Players are sure to have crowd pleasers, why not try suggesting something on the indie side?  Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has all sorts for kids.  The weekend of March 16 & 17th, TIFF will offer FREE screenings of The Magicians, Lotte and the Moonstone Secret and Elenor’s Secret.

If video games and media is your child’s thing, consider a visit to digiPlayspace where kids get hands-on experience where technology and art meet.

For the Naturist

It’s time to harvest the maple syrup and surrounding the city there are many conversation areas that host demonstrations, wagon rides, and other family-friendly activities (especially for the littlest ones).  A word of caution, some of these wooded areas can be quite muddy so be sure to dress appropriately and if outerwear does get caked in mud, Carol has the easiest way to get those garments clean without even bringing them into the house!  Many of these areas are free or have a minimal cost making it the perfect way to spend a day outdoors.

Purple Woods

Kortright Centre

Bruce’s Mill

Riverdale Farm

Bronte Creek

Evergreen Brick Works (does not have a maple syrup shack)

For the Budding David Copperfield

While the hand may be quicker than the eye, these programs are guaranteed to keep little eyes (and bums!) captive.  Mark Lewis’s Magic Show can be seen at Lower Ossington Theatre while Casa Loma is hosting breakfast with Houdini March 14-16.  Get tickets fast – they are disappearing!

For the Hockey Fanatic

Skaters can enjoy the many FREE skating rinks around the city including the Natrel Rink at Harborfront, The Evergreen Brick Works and the kid-friendly loop at The Shops at Don Mills.  For deeper pockets, The Hockey Hall of Fame never fails to impress young Wickenheisers and Crosbys.

For the Lego-Junky

Indigo Kids has all sorts of activities running throughout the week at 11 a.m. but Wednesday’s Lego theme would be a hit with our boys.  Not every location is offering these activities so be sure to check before making any promises.

Vaughn Mills is home to the newest Legoland Discovery Centre and while tickets are $18 for those over 2, I can’t promise that you won’t need to dig a bit deeper at the gift shop.

Do you wonder how little pieces of plastic can be so expensive?

The Heavy Hitters

Toronto is also home to a variety of Internationally acclaimed museums and attractions, including (but not limited to):

The C.N. Tower

The Royal Ontario Museum

Art Gallery of Ontario

The Ontario Science Centre

References

Still stumped?  Check these tried, tested and true websites:

Savvy Mom

Toronto 4 Kids

Help We’ve Got Kids

After compiling this list, I have to say that I am looking forward to spending some time in the city.  What are your plans for March Break?

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

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This weekend I saw the all-Canadian new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz presented by Mirvish Productions.

Based on the 1900 children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum, this production is heavily influenced by the 1939 MGM motion picture starring Judy Garland but with a few surprises and a modern take on some of the classic songs that are instantly recognizable from the first note.

Danielle Wade, the winner of the CBC’s reality show Over the Rainbow holds her own in the spotlight with veteran Canadian performers and delivers a rendition of Over the Rainbow that will leave you with goosebumps.  Wade, voted Canada’s Dorothy, after several weeks of competition proves that she has what it takes to take top billing.

Lisa Horner who plays Miss Gulch and The Wicked Witch of the West is nothing short of captivating and when she takes the stage, your eyes will look at nothing but her.

Aside from knock-out performances given by the entire cast, The Wizard of Oz is a visual spectacle from the moment Glinda’s glittering dress graces the stage to the whirl of green shimmer and sparkle that create The Emerald City.

For more information about the show, visit Mirvish and be sure to follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road all the way to the Ed Mirvish Theatre at 244 Victoria St. in Toronto, Ontario.

What was your favourite part of the Wizard of Oz?  Was it Dorothy’s ruby red slippers?  Of the evil flying monkeys?  Have you see this production and if so, what was so memorable about if for you?

image courtesy of Spec.com