Running from St Clair Avenue down to Rosedale and from Spadina over to Bathurst, the Casa Loma neighbourhood gets its name from its most prominent building. Accessible by TTC via St Clair West subway station and the 512 streetcar route, the area is surrounded by ravines and large old trees, overlooking the city. The castle, as well as proximity to downtown encouraged a wealthy residency to take root north of the Annex, and today it maintains its reputation as a desirable, well established area.
Spanish for Hill House, Casa Loma was a house built for financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt in 1914, but is now a museum and landmark, offering kid-friendly programs and tours of the grounds and stables, throughout the year. Aside from budding photographers taking in the stunning architecture, the Baldwin steps are a staircase of 110 steps often frequented by joggers.
1 Austin Terrace, www.casaloma.org
For traditional French dishes, white tablecloths and authentic accents, Le Paradis is a neighbourhood institution. For casual setting and down-home food, Rose and Sons offers a tasty, jovial affair and Big Crow from the same owners benefits from a huge patio when the season’s right, but the barbeque is succulent and flavourful year round.
The Tarragon Theatre Company is a promoter of quality modern theatre. Hosting plays for the Fringe Theatre Festival in July as well reinterpretations of classic playwrights like Henrick Ibsen, there’s a wealth of entertainment on offer.
Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgeman Avenue, www.tarragontheatre.com
For school projects or amateur detective work the Toronto Archives offer access to all kinds of city history. The building also houses photography exhibits and tours for kids, after which they can run off steam in the surrounding green grounds. The area is also home to the George Brown College, where older students can participate in evening and weekend courses in everything from pattern drafting to acting.