Canada is a great country for expats – as long as you’re able to handle the long, cold winter, there’s much to appreciate and enjoy. From the great Canadian outdoors, to the healthcare and educational facilities, the strong economy and job market, and the excellent infrastructure, Canada provides an excellent new home country for anyone who is considering moving abroad.
When it comes to moving with a family, expats tend to look first at healthcare and education. However, it is also worth looking at places to go and things to do with your family in your new country of residence. Luckily, this is another area in which Canada scores well. Because of the great infrastructure, travelling with your family is quite easy in Canada.The low crime rates and the accessibility and efficiency of government services mean that safety is not much of a concern; and, very importantly, there’s loads of family-friendly stuff to do. We’ve collated a few of our top tips below.
Museums and art galleries
Museums and art galleries aren’t the first things people think of when they’re planning an outing with their kids, but you may be surprised at how much fun children can have at such places. This is particularly true in Canada, where lots of museums and galleries have exhibits and activities specifically targeted at children. For example, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Art Gallery of Alberta both have family days, art activities for children, and even a tour for toddlers. There are also museums built around various themes, such as the Vancouver Maritime Museum – so if your child has any special interests, see if there are any related museums near where you live. Many of these museums and art galleries are free or cheap, and so are the programs they have for children.
Parks and the outdoors
No matter where you are in Canada, you’ll find lots of neighborhood parks around your area, as well as a few larger parks not too far away, such as the famous national parks. All of these are great places to explore with kids. Many parks also have activities for children, including paddle boats, canoeing, ice-skating, and even summer camps. There is of course also Niagara Falls – no matter how much you’ve heard about it or how many photographs you’ve seen, nothing can prepare you for actually seeing the falls yourself. There are also plenty of other family friendly activities to explore around this area.
Theatre and other performances
You’ll find plenty of family-friendly theatre and other performances in most cities. These range from small, local theatre clubs and festivals to larger, more spectacular circuses and musicals. In particular, check out the Place des Arts’ Junior Theatre, Carousel Theatre for Young People, The Loose Moose Theatre Company, and La Maison Théâtre.
Canada has plenty of amusement parks, including some that are truly unusual and innovative. There’s Récréathèque in Montreal, a massive playground with bumper cars, a maze, paintball games, and more. There’s Ontario Place in Toronto, unique in that it’s run by the Government of Ontario and combines the typical amusement park rides and games with learning activities and documentary screenings. There’s even Dinosaur Adventure Golf at Clifton Hills in Niagara Falls, a combination of mini golf and massive dinosaurs, complete with the appropriate landscape and sound effects.
Science centers and other fun educational activities
The science centers are wonderful places for children to learn about science in a fun, enticing way that could spark off a lifelong fascination. There are the Science & Technology Museum and the Aviation & Space Museum in Ottawa; Science World in Vancouver; the Ontario Science Centre, and plenty more. There are also more unusual places to try – you can, for example, show your kids the farm experience at a place like Riverdale Farm in Toronto, where it’s possible to explore a 19th-century Ontario farm, and even meet the farm animals and the farmer. Montreal has the Biodome, where you can explore the four different ecosystems of the Americas, complete with all the plants, birds, and animals that are normally found in each ecosystem. In Ontario, you can go down into a replica of a mine at Dynamic Earth. In many parts of Canada, you can even visit a “sugar shack” to learn about the harvesting and processing of maple syrup, and try a range of dishes that use it.