We think Toronto is an amazing city for families, but don’t just take our word for it! We’re asking local moms all over the city to tell us why they love their neighbourhoods and to share their favourite spots for kids.
Local business-owner and mom Sara Wood has lived in Roncesvalles for 12 years. Sara has written, acted, and directed for the theatre; owned and operated a successful catering business; and she freelances as a designer and crafter.
She is also the owner of Smock Café (which we think is an amazingly creative, fun place for kids) and mom to a 6-year-old daughter, so we had to ask her about her own favourite “Roncey” spots. Here’s what Sara has to say about her neighbourhood.
Why I Love My ‘Hood
Roncesvalles has the small-town community vibe in the middle of the big city. We can hardly walk a block without waves and “hi’s” from friends and neighbours. Residents care about our community. Whether it is saving the local second-run movie theatre, supporting local businesses, or fundraising for the schools, there is a sense that we share common values and the desire to make it a place of fondly remembered childhoods for our kids.
My Favourite Roncesvalles Hot Spots for Kids
See the map.
1. Smock Café and Wonder Workshop (of course)!
The ultimate kid-friendly café, Smock is all about kids. All the food is made fresh in-house: The “pick 3” kids meal is perfect for picky little eaters and we have delicious gourmet sandwiches and small bites for adults, too. There is a play kitchen, toys, a book-nook, and a marble run as well as the unique drop-in art workshop. Plus with kids classes, events, and birthday parties.
Smock Café and Wonder Workshop
2. Café Polonez for real Polish treats—the beet and mushroom soup is weep-worthy.
3. The Rude Boy for family burger night.
4. Sorauren Park
As wonderful as High Park is, we adore Sorauren Park. It has an amazing community feel. We always run into friends there. It has a truly fabulous farmer’s market with live music, a community center, kid’s soccer and T-ball leagues, tennis courts, a great playground, and a splash pad. We pretty much live there in the summer.
5. High Park Zoo
For a no-cost outing we always hit the High Park Zoo, gardens and duck ponds. We can while away a whole day in there naming birds and flowers or marveling at the sheer enormity of the bison!
6. Sunnyside Beach
We also love nearby Sunnyside Beach (we’re are surrounded by great nature).
7. High Park Library
The library is always good for free readings and events.
Roncesvalles is a west-end neighbourhood near High Park and Lake Ontario with Polish roots (you can still find fantastic pierogies and it’s home to an annual Polish Festival), hip restaurants and independent shops selling everything handmade furniture, spices, grass-fed beef, fair-trade coffee, and more. One indication of how family-friendly this ‘hood is: every shop along busy Roncesvalles Avenue is stroller-friendly.
PHOTO: DANIELLE SCOTT/FLICKR CC
Read more in our Why We Love Toronto series: