Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our neighbourhood rocks!

As a one-car family (and now a not-enough-car-seats-during-daycare-hours family) we are always looking for fun places within walking distance. Here are the ones we have found so far:

Plouffe (Plant Bath) playground and water park – 2 min walk
Elm Street playground and wading pool – 5 min
Primrose toddler playground (gated) and dog park – 7 min
Cambridge Street playgroup – 10 min
McNabb playground and wading pools – 15 min
Dundonald playground (gated) – 15 min
Canadian War Museum – 15 min
Ottawa River – 17 min
Fairmount playground – 20 minutes
Dow's Lake – 20 min
Museum of Nature – 25 min
Children's Museum – 35 min
Experimental Farm – 45 min

(Okay, we didn't actually walk the last two yet - but we COULD.) Walking times are given in "minutes for 1 adult to push <60lb of toddlers in a good stroller" and can double, triple, or turn into entire days when said toddlers feel like walking.

Anyone know of any other spots? What we really need is a place for rainy summer days - indoors, close, and free. The best I have found so far is Preston Square (5 minutes) which has places to buy food and coffee and a huge living room like "lobby" with big screen TVs and a water wall. Sounds great, but I suspect we are not always appreciated by the office workers on breaks that the place is intended for.

Hope for sunny days!

Dinosaur bones at the Museum of Nature

Toddler slide at Primrose

Watching the firetrucks at Plouffe Park


Francesca said...

Hi Samantha, yes great neighbourhood isn't it!...have you checked out the hintonburg community centre on on Wellington, going west on Somerset....I also think there's a public library on Rosemount? with a children's section....within walking distance as well!...

Jules and Danny said...

Sounds fabulous! I applaud you for getting out with 2 or more little ones! It's an effort some days to get one out (and two dogs) lol! The nicer weather will help.

Can't wait to get to town to meet y'all in person.

Nathalie said...

I live in the same neighbourhood and work at the Museum of Civilization in Hull. It takes me 30 minutes to get there door to door - and there's free admission Thursday evenings. Hope this helps!

Sheila Holmes said...

I agree our neighbourhood rocks! We live on Bayswater but were on Fairmont when our twins were little, now 8 years old (boy and girl). We frequented Fairmont Park and also the Reid Park wading pool, but closer to you would be Elm St or Ev Tremblay just off Preston on Beech near the Humane Society. Wading pools are manageable with twins, but when mine were little I had harnasses so they were never more than an arm's length. LaRoche Park (end of Bayswater at the river) has a playground, ball fields, and splash park and lots of grassy areas and shade trees - it's closer to the river so often cooler on hot summer days.

Of course when it's rainy you can just slap on a rainsuit and boots, or if it's warm sandals and shorts, and let 'em splash (make sure there's a shelter for you to stand under). Just change them into dry clothes for the trip home. Rainy days bring out the snails which are fascinating to find. Hang a golf towel from your stroller so you can wipe the wet slides and play on the structures as soon as the rain stops.

We also liked to walk the path along the train tracks, cross over the foot bridge on Young St and then wait for a train to come by (or sit there to eat a snack).

For indoor time there is a playgroup at Somerset West Community Health Centre, with wonderful leaders - there is also the Nanny Goat Preschool. Somerset West also runs a playgroup in the LaRoche park fieldhouse. Jojo at Cambridge Literacy Centre is also great

There is a wonderful playgroup at the Hintonburg Community Centre 2 or 3 days a week. The Rosemount Branch of the library, near the Grace Manor, has story time for toddlers birth to age 3 with wonderful staff leading songs and stories. Then there is another program for 3-6 year olds that has a short film (NFB) and stories. Upstairs is the library itself and there are always young kids there so you don't feel you have to shush them all the time. There are puzzles and lots of books to look at and hang out.

It's worth it to have a membership to the Museum of Civilization and the War Museum. They can spend hours and hours in the kids museum but the War museum is great too. There is lots of open space inside, ramps to go up and down, a room full of tanks and trucks to climb on, and a "mess hall" eating area - what more could two boys ask for!

When all else fails on a rainy day my twins loved a trip on the O-train. You can get off at South Keys and go to Chapters (kids book section of course with Thomas Tank Engine table) or Walmart and MacDonald's. Or get off at Carleton and see the locks. If you get off at Dow's Lake you can see the tulip beds on the east side of the lake. We preferred the arboretum on the west side of the lake, lots of paths, hills to climb (and roll down), TREES to climb, bridges to cross, and the brook and duck pond, complete with ducks to feed. But my kids were often happy to just eat a snack on the train, visit the conductor, go to the end of the line and come back again. Bus tickets for Mom all that is required.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!