This city is home to plenty of great parks, green spaces and outdoor family fun at places like Toronto Island and Wonderland. But in Toronto, as in most of Canada, the weather can sometimes be unpredictable, with rain in the summer and snow in the winter. So, visiting families will be happy to know that the city offers plenty to see and explore indoors – and protected from the elements.
For starters, any great family trip requires finding a comfortable place to start and end the days away from home. The hotels on 10Best.com’s list of top Toronto family hotels are all located in the city’s downtown core, near many of the attractions and action visitors of all ages enjoy. And these hotels were chosen for their attention to the needs of families travelling together, which means larger rooms with separate living and sleeping spaces, pools, in-hotel restaurants and treats for the kids (and, in some cases, for pets too!).
Maybe the members of your family are history buffs who enjoy spending time together learning about both the past and present. If so, begin with some modern history at the CN Tower, Toronto's most popular attraction. When it was built in 1976, it became the world's tallest freestanding structure, a title it held for three decades (it remains the tallest structure in the western hemisphere). On a rainy day, the view from the 1,136-feet-high lookout level won't be as amazing as on a clear day. But it's still something special to see, and the ride up to the top of the tower in a glass elevator will thrill the whole family.
Toronto's iconic CN Tower. — Photo courtesy of Brad Edwards
Next, hit Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), where dinosaur bones and rotating exhibits focused on ancient civilizations bring the planet's development into focus in a fun and educational environment. A short distance away from the downtown ROM is the Art Gallery of Ontario. History comes alive here for art fans. Visitors can track the history of Canadian art from indigenous peoples to the present day, see one of the world's largest collections of African art, and marvel at paintings from many of the European masters. And those are just the permanent collections - the gallery hosts a number of special exhibitions each year dedicated to showcasing some of the world's most iconic art pieces.
For sports fans, Toronto offers plenty of indoor entertainment. The city is home to professional hockey, baseball, basketball and soccer teams. If you time your visit properly, it's theoretically possible to see all these teams playing in the same weekend. While Toronto is clearly a sports-mad city, hockey is first and foremost in people's minds. The Toronto Maple Leafs were one of the NHL's original teams when the league formed in 1917, and Torontonians have supported their team ever since. Hockey fans that can't get tickets to see the Leafs play can bring the family to the Hockey Hall of Fame, right in the middle of downtown Toronto. Here's you'll see memorabilia tracing the game from its origins, and test your skills at the Hall's many interactive exhibits.
The Stanley Cup at Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame — Photo courtesy of mark.watmough
But for many families, there's nothing better to do on a rainy or cold day than to hunt for some great retail finds. Toronto is home to two of the biggest malls in North America - the downtown Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale in the city's north end. In both, you'll find the best of clothing, housewares and gifts from some of the world's most iconic brands. And after a long day of shopping, both malls are home to some great restaurants to rest and grab a meal.