Home to various museums and cultural centres celebrating diversity, North York is a suburban district of Toronto that includes neighbourhoods like Lawrence Park, York Mills, Bayview Village and Jane & Finch. This unique district offers various opportunities to get a closer look at several different cultures as well as learn a little more about the history of the community and what life was like decades and even centuries ago.
You may like: Things to Do in Scarborough
I. Museums, Arts & Culture
1. Ontario Science Centre
This science museum takes you on a journey of discovery to create a better future for the planet. There are IMAX Dome Films to enjoy like a beautiful planet, dream big, under the sea and several others. There are day camps and sleepovers with several hands-on activities which allow you to have a unique indoor camping experience. There are also special programs and exhibitions like the wildlife rescue, which is highly interactive and gives you a deeper look at various animal species.
770 Don Mills Rd
2. Black Creek Pioneer Village
Black Creek Pioneer Village features a working village with period buildings, artifacts, costumed guides & educational programs typical of those established in south central Ontario between the 1790s and the 1860s. Spanning more than 30 acres of pristine country landscapes, the Village includes 40 heritage buildings from communities across south central Ontario fully furnished from a collection of over 50,000 historical artifacts. There are various things to do in which you can experience village life and gain a deeper understanding of what it was like back then. From escape rooms and axe throwing to brewery tours, you will find something entertaining for every member of the family.
1000 Murray Ross Pkwy
3. Aga Khan Museum
This museum of Islamic art and Muslim culture, hosts innovation exhibitions, education programs and live performances. It is the first museum in North America dedicated to the arts of Muslim civilizations, with a permanent collection of over 1,000 artifacts. There are also special collections which highlight architectural decoration, luxury objects, painted manuscripts and so much more. Throughout the year, there are also panel discussions and exciting learning opportunities for people of all ages.
77 Wynford Dr.
4. Glendon Hall and Rose Garden
Glendon Hall was the home of Edward Rogers Wood and his family. This elegant building is an Italian style villa built in 1925; it is now connected to York University. The campus features lush parklands, rose gardens and walking trails by the Don River.
2275 Bayview Ave.
5. Gibson House
Built in 1851, Gibson House, was the home of David Gibson, a Scottish immigrant. It is one of 10 historic sites operated by the City of Toronto. The museum holds special events year-round and the site also features a heritage vegetable garden and gallery. There are several interpretive tours and special seasonal events relating to mid-19th-century life to give you a closer look and better understanding of how evolution of North York evolved from 19th century.
5172 Yonge St
6. Art Gallery of York University
This public art gallery holds exhibitions and programs with an aim to enrich the cultural and intellectual environment of surrounding regions. The gallery maintains a permanent collection and outdoor sculpture garden and their current exhibitions include ‘Migrating the Margins.’
8 Accolade East Building, York University, 4700 Keele Street
7. Toronto Centre for the Arts
Toronto Centre for the Arts is one of Toronto’s premiere performing arts facilities. It is also home to North York Arts (NYA), an arts service organization that believes in creative expression and inclusive arts programming.
5040 Yonge St
8. Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre is one of the largest and most vibrant Japanese cultural centres in the world. The centre celebrates the unique culture, history, and legacy of Japanese Canadians and works to promote Japanese culture and Japanese Canadian heritage. There are several programs and events throughout the year in which you can get a closer look at Japanese life, culture and art.
6 Garamond Ct
9. Milne House
Milne House is a Gothic Revival style farmhouse, built between 1860-1865, is the only remaining building from the community of Milneford Mills. The house was renovated in the 1950s and was in use until the 1960s. Some activities running at the house include workshops in horticulture and floral design, workshops and classes and flower shows.
777 Lawrence Av E
10. The Prosserman Jewish Community Centre
The Prosserman Jewish Community Centre serves the greater Toronto area, offering Jewish learning, daycare, preschool, fitness, arts, and more for all ages. They welcome everyone to share the richness and traditions of Jewish culture with the community. There are various cultural and arts programs offered at the centre including visual arts programs for children, adults and seniors in the areas of drawing and painting and ceramics.
4588 Bathurst St
11. John McKenzie House
The John McKenzie House, built in 1913 and designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, the home of The Ontario Historical Society, is now a museum with various opportunities to learn about its history and heritage.
34 Parkview Ave.
12. Rainbow Tunnel Mural
This mural is most often seen by those driving north on the Don Valley Parkway but if you take a walk along the East Don trail you can get a closer look at the rainbow tunnel mural, originally painted by BC Johnson many years ago and in 2013, re-created by Rob Matejka and Anthony DeLacruz along with youth from Flemingdon Neighbourhood. Check out mural routes for great workshops all year round as well as for more public wall art.
E Don Trail
13. Zion Church Cultural Centre
Zion Cultural Centre was built in1873 by the Methodists of L’Amaroux. It was reopened as a cultural facility in 1998. It is considered to be one of the few remaining reminders of the 19th century farming communities of L’Amaroux. Check it out and explore their many events including craft shows, performances, recitals, visual art displays, meetings, workshops and other artistic, cultural and community events.
1650 Finch Ave. E
14. Outside the Box Mural
The Outside the Box project by StreetARToronto is designed to enhance the streetscape by creating artwork on surfaces that are often targeted by vandalism. There are many murals throughout the city, displaying the creative talent of local artists with the goal of creating a vibrant, inclusive, and interesting urban environment.
By Jenn Kitagawa, 2016, Lawrence Ave. W. And Keele St.
By Sophie Paaslang, Keele St. And Victory Dr.
By Iva Jericevic, Wilson Ave. & Dubray Ave.
15. Lee Lifeson Art Park
This redesigned park with an arts theme acknowledges the significant contributions of Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, to the music world and the community. Various arts activities and events including festivals and workshops are offered in the park.
223 Gladys Allison Pl
II. Nature, Outdoor, Entertainment and Activity Centres
1. Charles Sauriol Conservation Area
A great urban forest to enjoy a walk along the the Don River. Head over to this conservation area in fall in October to spot some large Chinook salmon fighting their way upstream to spawn near the bridge crossing to the east side of the river.
1191 Lawerence Ave E
2. Wilket Creek Park
This wilderness park offers great opportunities for cycling and walking with more than 2km of trails. Wilket Creek Park is known for its mature coniferous and deciduous forest communities. The park features a outdoor chess table, picnic site and firepit, great for a family day out.
1100 Leslie St.
3. York Mills Valley Park
York Mills Valley Park features a heritage home, George Pratt House, and a public art piece, C.W. Jeffreys Memorial. There is also a beautiful bike trail, outdoor tennis court and playground. There is something for people of all ages at this scenic park.
3885 Yonge St
4. Earl Bales Park
Earl Bales Park features a dogs off-leash area, playgrounds, a sensory garden, splash pad, outdoor amphitheatre, memorials, paved walking/cycling trails, picnic sites and fire pits. The park has one of the two Ski & Snowboard Centres run by the City of Toronto. Also worth checking out is the Earl Bales Community Centre, the fourth largest in the city, which offers a wide variety of programs for all ages.
4169 Bathurst St
5. Bird Watching
Visit Milne Hollow Park for diverse habitats and to see a variety of migrating and local birds. There are over two hundred kinds of birds that pass through the Don Watershed each year, and 83 stay to breed. This is a great place to check out for avid bird watchers.
Milne Hollow Park
6. Aga Khan Park
This landscaped garden offers a tremendous range of cultural activities — from exceptional art and music to talks by distinguished speakers, book signings and so much more. During the summer months there are park tours, gentle yoga, dancing in the park and movies under the stars. Toronto’s newest cultural hub is a place to relax, reflect and spend time with family and friends.
77 Wynford Dr.
7. Edwards Gardens & Toronto Botanical Gardens
Two of Toronto’s best public gardens, Edwards Gardens & Toronto Botanical Gardens are well known for its beautiful flowers, plants, colourful leaves and snow-covered bridges. During the summer enjoy dining at the garden café, a Thursday organic farmers’ market, free guided tours and a free outdoor music series. Edwards Gardens was part of an old estate in Toronto’s Bridle Path neighbourhood.
755 Lawrence Ave E
8. Explore the Don River
Explore the Don through a series of self-guided interpretive walks located throughout the watershed in Toronto and York Region. All walks use prepared trails and are suitable for the entire family. Some of the trail guides include Forks of the Don, Mud Creek and Taylor Massey Creek.
9. Moccasin Trail Park
This popular park features scenic trails through ravines, a beautiful pond as well as bike trails. You can also catch public transit if you get tired along the trail as it leads to the Don Way East.
55 Green Belt Dr.
10. Downsview Park
Downsview Park integrates a mix of forests, ponds, trails, active and passive play areas, sports fields, and gardens. The Park is home and often hosts various active uses year-round including Canada Day celebrations. Downsview Park is also the view for various festivals like Veld Music Festival. Enjoy a hike along the many trails, spot woodpeckers, Canadian geese, hawks and other birds.
35 Carl Hall Rd, North York
11. Sunnybrook Park
Check out this large public park, home to several bike trails, dog parks and Sunnybrook Stables. During World War II, this park was used as a transit camp for troops preparing to leave for Europe. Later on, part of the land was used to build a hospital. Today, it is commonly used for sports and recreation.
1132 Leslie St
12. Windfields Park
Windfields Park is ideal for picnicking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. The park features a pond and marsh area, many species of wild flowers, birds, other wildlife and two hundred year old trees. It’s scenic, quiet and a great place to spend a summer day.
2451 Bayview Ave.
13. Don Valley Golf Course
This beautiful landscaped Golf Course maintained by city of Toronto, offers a traditional variety of holes and has a legendary reputation for its exciting natural setting. There are a variety of lessons you could take, a restaurant and a pro shop.
4200 Yonge St.
14. Wading Pools
Let your kids cool off while spending some time in one of the many wading pools in North York like Ledbury Park, which also has an outdoor pool. If you go in the winter, you could have the chance to skate on their artificial ice rink.
160 Ledbury St.
15. North York Farmer’s Market
Get a taste of the country in the city! Try out locally grown farm fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, flowers, herbs, baked goods & more at North York’s Farmers Market from May to October. Vendors include various bakeries, farms and cafes in the area.
Mel Lastman Square, 5100 Yonge St
16. Paramount Ice Complex
This multi-purpose arena offers hockey classes, lessons, summer camps, private training as well as a high-performance gym for adult boot camps and various trainings. Learn to skate any time of the year or take charge of your fitness at this arena!
1107 Finch Ave W
Visit this public library for an early literacy centre, a technology hub, art exhibit space, reading garden, theatre and so much more! Their regular programs include family time, which is a story-time reading program and creative foundations, which is an art program engaging youth in various art forms and techniques. Being a technology hub, you can do 3D printing and participate in various computer classes.
35 Fairview Mall Dr
17. Active Kids Zone
Active Kids Zone is a children’s amusement centre offers holiday camps, summer camps, hosts birthday parties and of course drop-in play. For just $10 you can drop in during the summer and school breaks to keep you kids active and entertained all day long.
951 Alness St.
18. Don Mills Shopping Centre
Check out designer shops, clothing & all your favourite stores & restaurants in a complex centered around a grassy town square. This shopping centre also offers great fitness options like outdoor group cycling and yoga.
1090 Don Mills Rd
19. North York Central Library
Visit this historical library which first opened in 1950 on the ground floor of the North York Memorial Hall. Throughout the years it continued to re-develop and change into what it is today, two research and reference libraries in Toronto and holds more than 600,000 items.
5120 Yonge St.
20. Chuck E. Cheese’s
This amusement centre is well-known for its kid friendly arcade games, pizza parties, play zones & mouse mascot. There are great attractions like the play structures, Skytubes and simulator games. There is something for kids of all ages and great appetizers and desserts to keep you energized.
2452 Sheppard Ave E
21. Grand Prix Kartways
This car racing track gives you the opportunity to suit up and drive electric karts in a huge complex on an indoor track. It is highly recommended with great prices and friendly staff. They currently have a promotion where you can bring a friend and get a discount for either go karting or laser tag.
75 Carl Hall Rd #9
22. Escape Games Canada
These escape rooms will challenge you and your friends to build communication and teamwork to escape the room in the time limit. There are several rooms at this location including, Mayan Curse, Escape from Bleak Prison, Noriko and several others.
15 Kodiak Crescent #5
23. Rinx Real Entertainment Centre
Rinx Real Entertainment Centre has just about everything for a full day of fun. Their attractions include laser tag, cyber sports, bowling (cosmic bowling), balladium, time freak, mini-golf, inline skating and hockey. There’s no chance of being bored at a place like this!
65 Orfus Rd.