Family activities for toddler and adult who can't walk far: Toronto
June 15, 2019 1:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for family activities and outings for a toddler and a grandma who can't walk much due to rheumatoid arthritis. Both a-few-hour things and day long things. Both categories/ideas and specific location suggestions welcome. Bonus points for things open both weekends and weekdays.

Specific locations should be Within say a 45-1 hour drive of downtown or west Toronto. Assume "walking around a supermarket to do weekly shopping" is too much walking.
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Would grandma be open to (you) renting a wheelchair or walker for the visit, to use on some outings?

If not, I would focus on seeing shows (movies, theatre, music) and going to restaurants. And on just spending quality time together at home.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:39 PM on June 15, 2019

Response by poster: hm...not going as well as I hoped.

Anyway, just to clarify, it's not a visit. We live in the same city and are in search of regular activities on the regular. Also, no Grandma is super opposed to any scooter-like solution. etc. She won't even use a cane.

I had the there a not-super-expensive-way we could go sit on a train for a few hours? Like a day trip to nowhere?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:09 PM on June 15, 2019

what about Nations at the Stock yards? you and toddler can play in the Happy Kingdom and grandma can sit at the counter just outside enjoying something from the extensive food counter offerings.

I have often taken the UP Express to the airport with my kids just for fun.
posted by biggreenplant at 6:21 PM on June 15, 2019

You can ride the TTC all day if you want. Riding the Queen streetcar from end to end would be a few hours, at least.
posted by phlox at 6:30 PM on June 15, 2019

Library story time/song time
Sprinkler park
Elevator up a tall building
Crafts/puzzles at a table
Cookie/cupcake decorating at a table
Reading books
Small cafe
Indoor playground (like this, or this, or this)
Ride the bus, train, ferry, tram
Outdoor music on a blanket
posted by xo at 6:32 PM on June 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Spend an afternoon at Snakes and Lattes
There are often free concerts at the Harbourfront Centre, which includes the lovely Music Garden
Maybe a crafts day? There are various studios where you can paint ceramics or do canvas painting workshops (like Paint Nites, but without the wine).
posted by Rora at 7:29 PM on June 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Are family-friendly activities at museums and galleries so obvious that they don't need mentioning?

The AGO has a (not free) series of art activities for toddlers & their adult. They also have Family Sunday afternoon activities which are free with admission to the gallery (a one-year adult pass is only $35, and everyone under 25 gets in free now)
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:15 PM on June 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

A few are a bit more than an hour, but maybe worth the drive...

1. Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. It's small. Lots of benches for Grandma to sit on. Very little walking required. Also has a small cafeteria which was suprisingly good for a 'lunch break'. My kiddo loved it. Butterflies!

2. Toronto Islands....the main islands are way too much walking, but the ferry ride might be worthwhile. There is a bit of walking to the terminal from the nearest drop off. Do this when its quiet (ie not a weekend). Also an option is one of the many 'harbour tours'. They are more $$ but you can drop off very close (steps away) and it's a no walking way to pass a few hours. Just google Toronto Harbour Cruise will give you lots of options (tourism books may even have coupons).

3. African Lion Safari. Literally you don't get out of your car. Can't get less walking than that! But there is also a splash pad, boat tour, etc. Again, not super cheap, but maybe a memorable day for both of them. Lions!!

4. Trains. Hmmmm. Thats a bit tougher. But there is (again a bit more than hour) the Portage Flyer which is pretty fun and if I recall correctly has drop off very close to the actual train, if you ask the staff (don't park down at the rec center, that's a longer walk up). There is also the South Simcoe Railway. I haven't been to this one, so I'd call ahead to ask about walking/parking access.

Hopefully these are helpful suggestions. I'd also suggest getting an accessible parking permit if you don't have one. Every step saved is one more you can use for 'fun' walking. Have a great summer whatever adventures you find!
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 9:34 AM on June 16, 2019

I had the there a not-super-expensive-way we could go sit on a train for a few hours? Like a day trip to nowhere?

You could just ride the GO train out to and end an back. Like $20-40 for a two way trip, seniors half price, toddlers free.
posted by rodlymight at 9:55 AM on June 16, 2019

You can take the GO to Niagara Falls in the summer only (check start and end trips) and it might hook up to one of the tourist-oriented buses (not sure). A coach tour might be another way to go. A double-decker tour of downtown. Agreed on the 501 streetcar!

There's the York-Durham Heritage Railway which includes the Thomas ride.

There's also a drive-in movie theatre in Oakville.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:23 PM on June 16, 2019

High Park has a trackless train with stops at a fabulous castle playground, a cafe, and a very small zoo. The toddler in my life loves the playground and the zoo (and we haven't even done the train yet). The cafe has a lovely view. So I think I would do for both toddler and grandma.

I took my limited-mobility uncle to the Aga Khan Museum and he loved it (he is crowd-averse and did use a wheelchair, although he doesn't always). Right now there is a moon exhibition that I bet the toddler would especially enjoy. It is also not overwhelmingly large. (I took another friend of mine with back issues. We did a bit, sit on the bench; do a bit more, break for lunch; etc. She also loved it) The restaurant is one of the best in Toronto. There are short, free concerts on the weekends.

I've taken the toddler to the Toronto Public Library story times. The adults generally sit, and the kids run around, make motions with the songs, etc.

Hope this helps.
posted by obliquity of the ecliptic at 3:05 PM on June 16, 2019

The College-Montrose Children's Place (CMCP) at Artscape Youngplace is perfect for this. They have a good sized play area and there are always a number of staff and volunteers who can help during scheduled drop-in hours.
I would not advise the big castle playground at High Park for a toddler + adult with limited mobility. I no longer take my kids there because even though I'm able bodied it's too much to chase them up and down and they're constantly slipping out of sight. The smaller playground on the other side of the park I find much more manageable.
If you're open to a regularly scheduled, paid activity, then you have a ton of choices - Toronto FUN has a lot of daytime "child + caregiver" classes at local rec centres, and there are places like Rainbow Music or Oaks'n'Acorns that have appropriate programs. How is your mom in the water? Could a child+caregiver swimming class be a possibility?
posted by dotparker at 9:35 AM on June 17, 2019

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