Attractions & things to do for the kids in your life

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) (Toronto)

Family Tested
March Break


The first time I visited the AGO after the completion of its ambitious renovations, I was with two 11-year-old girls. We walked through Walker Court towards The Grange House and were stunned by the installation at the time: The Index by Canadian David Altmejd in the Atrium by the historic building. It is gone but that's the thing about the AGO, you never know where the next surprise will lie. The last time we visited, there was a giant serpent made out of backpacks over our head to mark the temporary exhibition by Ai Weiwei.

We took the elevator to go directly to Level 5 to see the contemporary art and then, work our way down, using the gorgeous wooden staircase. We also had a peek at the view from the southern staircase overlooking the Grange Park and the CN Tower. I've seen all kinds of modern art in the upper level. Once, there were three spectacular totems made out of golf bags, a camping tent complete with bathroom, all done in see-through screen, and a giant hunk of pink chewed bubble gum. They change the displays regularly but this gives you an idea.

Something you won't have to explain to a young child is the Thomson Collection of Ship Models in the Concourse Level. Don't miss the Galleria Italia by the Canadian art on Level 2. Kids will love to observe the life at street level from the bay windows. To visit the rest of the gallery, I recommend you pick a theme and ask the kids to find it in the artworks (dogs, kids, babies, fire). The Family Sundays, usually offered from October to the end of May, are the best time to visit with younger kids (see my post on a visit during Family Sunday on Sunday April 14th, 2014).

The Grange Park in the back of the AGO offers a playground, a wading pool, a small painted labyrinth and a good view of the funky OCAD building. The 600-foot-long glass and wood facade is truly impressive, standing like a huge Noah's ark along Dundas Street.

Weston Family Centre’ Concourse Level
Hands-On Centre’ Concourse Level
Hands-On Centre in Concourse Level
Ai Weiwei exhibition in 2013

Leave a comment

Other parents would love to read your comments, anecdotes or tips about this attraction.

Buy the book Toronto Street Art Strolls

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.


facebook logopinterest logotwitter-logo-62instagram logo

Subscribe to our newsletter

A post shared by Nathalie Prézeau (@torontourbanstrolls) on