Attractions & things to do for the kids in your life

Franklin Children's Garden on Toronto Islands (Toronto islands)

Family Tested
High energy

Another gem on Toronto Islands

Summer 2017: Toronto Islands closed until July 31, 2017, due to the flood. Event permits cancelled, ferries can be used only by residents or the Rectory Café customers (or a few other businesses') with proof of reservation.

To get to Franklin Children's Garden, you have to walk past Centreville Amusement Park (near Centre Island ferry) and cross the white bridge to go towards the fountains. To your right, you will eventually notice the cute splash pad (beyond the reflecting pool with fountains). I suggest you walk by it and reach the lovely entrance to the Children's Garden further west (promising the kids you'll return to enjoy the water fun once you've explored the Garden). The site is peppered with bronze statues of characters from Franklin the Turtle (Kids Can Press beloved books for young readers). They're part of the decor, enjoying the place as we do. Expect Franklin, Bear, Rabbit, a goose, a snail and an otter. I was impressed by the attention to landscaping and detail.

The microcosm of Franklin Children's Garden is gorgeous. It encompasses a pine grove, a cute hands-on gardening section (offering craft activities and watering opportunities daily from 1 to 5 p.m.), a wetland with turtles, frogs and birds, a treehouse, a vine tunnel and the elevated Snail Trail. (See this post for additional photos.) Kids 8 years and under were having a ball when I visited. The treehouse was very popular, and so was the elevated trail, from which we can see the beach... and bee hotels. There was also a storytelling stage featuring Earth Rangers Live Animals shows in 2016.

Then, time for the cedar labyrinth nearby, and water fun at the splash pad or the beach, followed by an ice cream cone at the food outlet by Centre Beach. The stuff summer memories are made of...

Many characters await throughout the site.
The lovely entrance to a gorgeous garden
By the elevated trail of the Unilever Snail Trail (so cute)!
Little Sprouts Garden for hands-on gardening activities (watering cans provided).

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Nathalie's tips for a smooth outing

After years of doing all kinds of outings with my children, I can assure you the secret to a perfect outing lies in the details, not the destination.


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