Rediscovering the Danforth after a slow thaw
By Chantal Arseneault-Lewis
Spring has finally arrived, and it’s time to reacquaint ourselves with all the things we lost under the snow. Planning a local day trip can fulfill your need to get out of the house while staying close to home and under budget. The Danforth is one of Toronto’s many vibrant communities where you can do a lot without breaking the bank. For TTC directions and routes on the subway and/or buses to all the destinations mentioned visit www.ttc.ca.
Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum and Arts Centre
67 Pottery Road
Buses available from Broadview Station
Established in 1793, Todmorden Mills consists of two historic millers’ homes, the Papermill Theatre and Gallery, the Brewery Gallery, the relocated Don train station, as well as 9.2 hectares of wildflowers. The centre has become a great destination to learn about Toronto’s early history, see local artists’ work, and take in some theatre.
The complex, which has both indoor and outdoor facilities, is open to the general public from April through December (special events and private bookings take place year-round). It offers camps or a birthday party venue for kids, as well as many other seasonal and special events, and it’s surprisingly affordable.
Evergreen Brick Works
550 Bayview Avenue
Buses available from Broadview and Davisville Stations
According to Brick Works’ website, the location is “a gathering place for individuals and families to learn about local foods, cooking, native plant gardening, green design, the ravine eco-system, and much more.” Brick Works offers a number of outdoor activities, including a weekly farmers’ market (Saturdays beginning in May, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.), wilderness programs, guided nature walks, as well as conservation and sustainability workshops.
201 Winchester Street
Accessible by bus (from Castle Frank Station) or streetcar (506 College)
Visitors of Riverdale Farm can share information and all their stories here.
Pigs and horses and sheep (oh my!). These are just some of the animals you’ll find at Toronto’s own urban farm. The 7.5 acre farm is a great place to bring the kids, have a picnic, and see some animals without leaving the city. It also hosts a wide variety of spring and summer programs for all ages, including tours, yoga, day camp, pottery, and parlour games. A weekly farmers’ market is also held every Tuesday afternoon (May to October) from 3 to 7 p.m.
Riverdale and Withrow Parks
Riverdale Park is accessible by streetcar or a short walk from Broadview Station.
Slightly further east, Withrow Park is located south of the Danforth, accessible from Carlaw or Logan Avenue (closest stations are Chester and Pape).
Riverdale and Withrow Parks offer some much-needed green space and a diversion from busy Danforth Avenue. As the weather warms up and the city blooms, the parks become a great place for outdoor activities including sports (soccer and baseball), photography, bike riding, dog walking, and people-watching. A weekly farmers’ market is held in Withrow Park every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., opening in late May. Take your family and enjoy your purchases on the grass!
Toronto Public Libraries
Pape/Danforth Branch: 701 Pape Avenue
Riverdale Branch: 370 Broadview Avenue
Don’t underestimate your public library! It’s a great place to relax on a rainy day. Not only is the library full of everything that you could ever want to read (including this magazine), but the Pape/Danforth branch also runs many baby, toddler, and preschool activities like storytelling, games, rhymes, and songs. Many programs run during the morning hours and are available throughout April, May, and June.
The important thing to remember is that, despite the current economic slowdown, penny-pinching doesn’t have to be a drag. This spring, stay close to home and save money. Plan your day trip and rediscover your neighbourhood.
What are your family’s favourite Danforth day trippin’ spots? Share your stories!