You’ve made a wrong turn somewhere — or so it seems. Vancouver is impossibly far away; the mountains, the ocean, the transcendent Alibi Room or local microbrewery. Somehow you’re in Southern Ontario, the Niagara Region and you’re not quite sure what to do with yourself, or the pack of kids anxiously biting at your elbows with boredom.

Don’t be frightened. Here’s a Top 5 list of things to do with your kids. You can thank me later. In no discernible order:

  • Niagara FallsBet you didn’t see that coming. It’s beastly and graceful and makes enough of a racket to pacify even the sturdiest of children. You can hop on the Maid of the Mist and get in nice and close, or you can stand at a guard rail and visualize the host of idiots who have tried to throw themselves over in a barrel. You can even journey behind the falls, if you so desire. The town has plenty to see as well. Kids love casinos right?

  • Rent Bikes and RideSeriously. The area has more trails and maps than…I can’t think of an appropriate comparison offhand. Rentals can be found, advice too. Rivers, lake, the escarpment; take your pick. Might make you feel better after the 13 hot dogs you just ate by the falls.
  • The Butterfly ConservatoryDon’t shake your head at me. It’s cool, and besides we’re talking about your kids here. 2000 different species of butterfly in a rain forest type setting, along with tropical plants and pathways. Because no one from B.C. has ever been near a rain forest, right? Right? Nevermind. Just check it out.
  • Dufferin IslandsA secluded 10-acre park with a series of small islands connected by footpaths and bridges. There’s Paradise Grove, a Savannah restoration project, glens and whirlpools. All around beautiful nature with the right amount of touristy intrusion (if there is such a thing). And 10 acres will tire your kids out enough for a nap.
  • Horseplay NiagaraOntario is great for its minor ironies. Here you have a group that can take you for guided horse rides along trails, through otherwise unseen bits of nature. But if the brief removal from society sends your heart aflutter, there’s always the arcade and unlimited mini-golf. But note: it’s mini golf, not polo. You don’t bring your horse onto the green. Just saying. It can be confusing sometimes.

There you have it; your entire excursion saved. Aren’t you glad you stopped by?


Harry Tournemille is a chronic smart-ass, but he does have the odd bit of handy information too.