I've been a SAHM for four months now, and I think I'm finally starting to find my groove. With the exception of the "lack of income" thing, it's a whole lot more fun than I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but I don't even really want to be with myself all day long, much less with anyone else. And I doubt they want to hang out with me either - I'm old, crabby, and I make them wash their hands after they pee. With the advent of spring, though, a whole new world has opened up to us: The Park.
When the sun is out, I find it next to impossible to stay inside. So I pack some snacks, slather on the sunscreen, and we hit the park. But me being who I am, I can't just go to the same park all the time. I'm always looking for the next best thing. Shiny! Pretty! New! I have ants in my pants and I need to dance. Here are some parks that we've found that have really tickled our fancy:
Although, it's impeccably maintained, there's not really much to this park. In fact, when we drove up, I actually thought we had come to the wrong place. We had decided to go here because I got an email about Toronto parks that said it was great, and I just had to check it out. It had some fairly nice climbing structures. It also has a digger that you can sit on and play "construction". Unfortunately, it was too big and too heavy for my 4 1/2 year old to operate. The best thing about this park for the kids, was the fact that it's situated right by the railway tracks, and you get to see real, working trains going by. The best thing for me, was that it was near a Timothy's and the Summerhill LCBO (quite possibly the best wine store in all of Toronto)
Bathroom: In the Timothy's attached to the LCBO.
Coffee/Snacks: (See above.)
Accessibility: Free parking around the neighbourhood, Summerhill subway station.
Cost: $$$ (But only if you like wine as much as I do.)
Dufferin Grove Park
This is probably one of the best parks in Toronto. People sing the praises of the castle playgrounds at High Park and the Beach, but there is no way one person can watch a preschooler and a reckless toddler without having a heart attack at those places. Dufferin Grove is shady, outdoorsy, and has a lot of fun play structures. There's a wading pool for hot summer days, and they constantly have fun events as well as regular features like pizza making and a farmer's market. There's even a place to have picnic lunches.
Bathroom: In the park, or across the street at Dufferin Mall.
Coffee/Snacks: Other than the above-mentioned, you can get Tim Horton's or Second Cup in the mall
Accessibility: I would say you could park at the mall, but I just got a warning ticket there. Look for street parking - shouldn't be too hard. It's a bit of a walk from Dufferin subway, but it's only long if you're walking at preschooler speed.
Cost: $$ (But only if you need something at H&M, Winners or Toys 'R Us.)
Huron Street Playground
I only found out about this one because I struck up a conversation with a lady at an Early Years Centre we visited. This playground is right near Spadina and Bloor on a little street called Huron (just south of Bloor). It's entirely fenced in, they have two impressive play structures, a music centre, "rock" climbing and plenty of swings. It looks completely new, and it's our new favourite Big Adventure destination because it's just a lot of fun for a park. And I would never have known it was there.
Bathroom: Second Cup and the JCC are not too far away.
Coffee/Snacks: TWO Second Cups right at Spadina and Bloor.
Accessibility: Spadina Subway is your best bet, although there is street parking in the immediate neighbourhood, and a Green P on Huron just north of Bloor.
Cost: $ (But only if your forgot your Second Cup coffee card and metropass)
So tell me - what are your favourite Toronto or GTA parks? We're always looking for that next Big Adventure...