Best Toronto Spots On A Budget

These parks, events and places are perfect to keep your kid’s summer fun and your wallet full

Summer vacation is only a week away and that means long days to fill with fun activities so that the kids don’t get bored. And while most parents have vacations, camp sessions and soccer practices already planned, the cost of summer activities can really add up.

A recent TD survey found that 55% of Canadian parents with children under the age of 18 take on additional costs during the summer; in fact, 71% of them spend up to $999 per child for summer fun.

According to Linda MacKay, Senior Vice President, Retail Savings and Investing and Shirley Malloy Associate Vice President, Acquisition & Sales Management at TD Canada Trust, there are lots of ways that families can manage expenses in the summer months:

Check your rewards balance – If you collect loyalty rewards (such as point from your First Class Travel Credit Card), see if you can use points to help fund activities. You may be able to redeem for theme park passes or other excursions.

Don’t be late – Some organizations may provide discounts on early registrations, so check the sign up dates and try to sign up in advance to save a few dollars.

Budget for the summer months – Knowing is half the battle, and if you can plan ahead you won’t feel the same crunch when the summer months hit. Save a little money each month to put into your TFSA and when it comes time to pay for your summer excursions you’ll have a little saved to help cover any extra costs.

Shop around – Before you commit to a camp or activity, check around to see if there are any community centres or your city’s parks & recreation department that offer a similar program. These municipally run programs often offer lower costs than private companies.

File away – Some summer costs may be tax deductible as a child care expense or under the child fitness tax credit on your tax return. By saving your receipts you could find yourself with a small refund that could be put towards next year’s activities!

While some families can manage the expenses by saving ahead of time or slowly cutting back other expenses, half of the families surveyed find paying for summer activities stressful to their budget.

To help make summer fun and affordable, we’ve found some of the best things to do in Toronto that won’t put a strain on your wallet. 

Allan Gardens

With 16,000 square feet of beautiful flowers, exotic plants and even banana trees, Allan Gardens’ six greenhouses are the perfect place to explore the conservatory, learn about tropical and seasonal plants and enjoy the warm weather. Open every day of the year and a free attraction, Allan Gardens is the best spot to take your little gardener. 

Parks and picnics

Summer is meant to be spent outdoors, so head to your nearest park for a fun time on monkey bars, slides and swings. Enjoy the sunshine all afternoon by bringing along a basket and blanket, so you can have a picnic in the grass. Make the day even more special by visiting some of the more historic locations the city has to offer. 

Sunnybrook Stables

Who says you have to drive out of the city to see the country? Sunnybrook Stables is a riding academy located behind the hustle and bustle of Sunnybrook Hospital. While they do offer lessons and camps for children, it’s also fun to stroll through Sunnybrook Park and watch the horses go through lessons and jumps. 

Farmers’ markets

Teach your kids about the importance of eating fresh and healthy while supporting local growers at one of the many farmers’ markets in Toronto. Where ever you are in the city, there’s sure to be a great market near you where you and little one can get fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, cheese and even maple syrup. 

Pools and splash pads

Summer days can get super hot and since sitting inside with the blinds drawn and the air conditioning blasting is no fun, try cooling off at one of the city’s many pools and splash pads. Enjoy a day of wading in the water, going down water slides and splashing with friends. The city also offers swimming lessons for every level of swimmer, so they become stronger and safer in the water. 

TD Reads

As fun as parks, pools and stables are, rainy days happen and you want to keep your kid’s brain active this summer so they’re ready when school comes back around. TD Canada Trust offers reading clubs and story time events across the city. These events are the perfect way to nurture your little one’s love of reading and keep kids engaged in books this summer.

This post was sponsored by TD Canada, but the opinions expressed are my own.

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