A GUIDE TO FINDING GREAT PLAYGROUNDS FOR THE KIDS AND FANTASTIC COFFEE FOR YOU
If your kids are now the age of independent play, chances are, you spend lots of time at the playground.
And unless you are a mutant or a saint, this can be pretty boring.
This is my guide to seeking out fun playgrounds that are both fun for your kids AND for you.
What makes them fun for you? Food and coffee of course!
Thus begins my exploration of Toronto and beyond to source out the best playgrounds and the best cafés!
Lots of fun exploration for kids
Good coffee and food nearby
Uber Eats must be able to deliver to the playground
Address: 10 Gainsborough Road (Coxwell & Gerrard Area)
How to get here: This playground is part of a larger park mostly hidden from the main road (Coxwell). We drive here and there is plenty of street parking both on Coxwell and Gainsborough.
* it is in a ravine, therefore if you have a stroller it is quite steep to get up or down
Why we like it:
The playground is practically new (I think only a few years old) which is always a bonus.
There is a structure for older kids and toddlers. With fun things like a textured climbing slide (I don’t know what this is actually called?) and small slides.
There are swings (big kid, baby and accessible).
There is lots of sand with city owned-toys.
Surface: Wood Chips
Bathrooms: Nope. But we have trees! And nearby cafés . . . .
Just on the corner of Gerrard & Coxwell (at 1515 Gerrard Street East) is one of our favourite kid-friendly cafés that we frequent weekly.
CHECK! Last time I checked they were using Pilot Roasters.
Delicious! Fresh and all made from scratch using local ingredients. The Rise ‘n Shine Sandwiches are favourites with Torontonians (my favourite is the chicken fiesta with avocado) and their pancakes (now served all day) are scrummy.
Warm and friendly – the owner Dawn really has a knack for getting a great team!
Best of all: it’s beyond child friendly!
There’s a train table, books, plenty of high chairs, grilled cheese for the kids, and, on Mondays, parents/caregivers get a 10% discount.
It can get pretty cramped if there are lots of people with strollers. I try to leave mine locked up outside.
Yes complete with change table (downstairs).
Dawn is committed to always improving the experience of her customers as well as that of the world around us. Art hangs on the wall, changing monthly to showcase local artists. She tries to work with artists that keep the vibe of the café relaxing and welcoming. Lazy Daisy is also earth friendly. They discount coffee if you bring in your travel mug and take away containers and cutlery is all compostable.
Down one block from Lazy Daisy’s (1481 Gerrard East) is the Flying Pony.
The baked goods. OH MY GOD THE BAKED GOODS. A friend once dropped of a danish for me and I was hooked. And I don’t usually like danishes. But the ones at Flying Pony are off the hook (and often sell out!).
They don’t have savoury meals as such but this is the spot to hit for mid-morning pastry needs. And if the banana-bread-chocolate-layer cake is in. You should probably get it.
Really nice and friendly. This café is artist-run – which I love. All young, ambitious and making a really cool living.
Perhaps not as much as LD down the street. My kids love to look at the art and there is a big table at the back of the café but generally it’s mostly adults working on laptops.
It can get pretty cramped if there are lots of people with strollers but you can definitely fit one in.
Yes complete with change table (at the back).
These two restaurants are also in the area and are big, happy to see kids and have fantastic food.
1460 Gerrard St East
Scrummy Indian food – fun for kids to eat (mmmm, messy dosas!), highchairs, plenty of space and a basic play area. Strollers might be issue as there are a few stairs leading down to the main area but you can leave them at the top.
You can read more about their food on BLOG TO’s review.
1499 Gerrard St East
Oh my god the wood fired pizza here is delicious! Great for kids to eat, a huge space for you to get a table, and they can watch their pizza go into the pizza oven.
They have gelato too.
1511 Gerrard Street East
This is a wonderful local toy store that has ice cream in the spring/summer/early fall months. You can run in for an ice cream cone and grab some bubbles or sidewalk chalk if you need it.
The only problem is getting in and out of here with the kids and not having them want everything they see.
Hopefully you discover a new playground and a new spot to eat – which makes pushing your child on a swing for an hour much easier!