We are completely spoiled for choice of summer camps in Toronto. There is absolutely something for everyone! And with Toronto being a world class city, the facilities that our kids have access to are outstanding. Plus, you do not need to drive your kids to camp. In fact, it’s better for everyone that you don’t drive your kids to summer camp.
So let’s explore the best camps within a 5 min or less walk from a TTC stop. You’ll notice that in summer the subway and transit in general is not as rammed as it is during the school year. There are enough people on holidays or cottages to give the TTC some breathing room. Also, Torontonians are generally fairly kind when you travel with kids, offering up seats etc.
If your office is at one of these stops – bonus! Otherwise, ride together to camp, enjoy the chat, drop off, hop back on and get on your way to work without the grid lock and road rage.
Don’t forget – TTC is free for kids 12 and under!
Bloor: City Hope Camp at St. Andrew’s United Church (1 min walk 33 meters)
Ok, so this one is actually kind of the hardest subway stop for summer camp!
There is a great community summer camp run here with a focus on the Jamestown area residents. I put this one down for the families that live in the area, this is the camp for you!
Wellesley: Toronto Central YMCA (4 min walk 350 meters)
This is one of the bigger YMCA camp locations, so they really do have a bit of everything. Sports, swimming camp, film making, dance and cheer leading, cooking, creative writing, lots of STEM camps and even a babysitting training camp for older kids. This YMCA also has a stellar indoor pool that campers use throughout the day, awesome facility less than 5 min from the subway station.
College: Ryerson Skating Camps at Maple Leaf Gardens (3 min walk 220 meters)
Related to the Ryserson Summer Day Camps (below), there are several camps run out of Maple Leaf Gardens. Ok, technically it’s called Mattamy Athletic Centre, but being born and raised in Toronto, this place will forever be Maple Leaf Gardens to me. And part of the appeal for me of these camps is because it’s freakin’ Maple Leaf Gardens!! So, they have Skate Training and Skill Development camp that includes use of some fancy off ice skating treadmill equipment and the Hockey Fundamentals Camp. And you get to tell your coworkers that your kid is doing camp a Maple Leaf Gardens! Bragging rights!
Dundas: Ryerson Day Camps (5min walk 350 meters)
There is more to Dundas Station than the Eaton’s Centre. Ryerson is right there! There is a huge selection of camps at Ryerson Summer Day Camps! Aside from really solid sports camps, this is the place to do more obscure interests like Film Making, News Academy, Architecture and various engineering and programming camps. When our son was 6 years old he did the lego stop motion film camp which is run in Ryerson’s film school. The camp included a full screening of their films – with popcorn and director Q&A 🙂 Ages 6+
Queen: GTA Photography Classes (5 min walk 350 meters)
Specialist photography camp within minutes of Queen Station (5 min) or King subway station (3 min) – fantastic! Kids camps and teen camps including the more advanced topics like editing and specialist photography (street documentary or sports photography) for older kids.
King: Design Exchange (4 min walk 280 meters)
Ok this camp is actually a less than 5 min walk from King, Union AND St. Andrew and connected into the PATH – one of the easiest to reach by transit. And it’s in the heart of the financial district, so very convenient for the downtown office working parents. The camp offerings are surprisingly diverse. Fashion, toy design, sewing, interior design but also drama, architecture, and culinary skills that even includes menu design!
Union: Sony Centre for the Performing Arts (5 min walk 350 meters)
Girls Rock Band Camp – cool! And it’s in a top quality performing centre where professionals perform all the time! This camps is actually equal distance from Union Station as it is from King Station and a great option if you’re GO training it home after.
St. Andrew: TIFF (5 min walk 450 meters)
How amazing is it that your kid can go to film camp at the home of the internationally famous Toronto International Film Festival. Cool eh? Ages 8 and up they offer a variety of film related camps.
Osgoode: Canadian Opera Company (2 min 150 meters)
Yes your kid can actually take opera camp with the Canadian Opera Company at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, because ah…. Toronto! So many world class facilities, only so many weeks in summer!
Ages grade 1 – grade 12
St. Patrick: AGO (5 min 350 meters)
This one fills up fast. Registration is open, and it’s basically gone within a few weeks. And the camp is really that good. A great feature of camps at places like the AGO and ROM is that young campers get to explore the gallery before it opens to the public, they get the space to themselves. When our son did art camp at the end of the week there was an art show for parents to come see all their work displayed, so cool. AGO camps also pop down to the Grange Park for outdoor time, and this year it’s even better with the brand new redeveloped park open to the public!
Queens Park: Future Design School (1 min walk 88 meters)
Very cool camp right in the heart of the Mars Innovation Centre. This camp is a entrepreneur engineering and design camp. Kids build prototypes and learn to pitch ideas to an audience. Super cool camp.
Museum: ROM or Gardiner Museum of Ceramics (1 min 76 meters)
Ok, 2 really good options here, I couldn’t decide! Top pick goes to the ROM because of the better hours, and dinosaurs!
Royal Ontario Museum or just ROM to basically everyone, has day camps that are both half day and full days that cover a variety of topics: animals, critters, Egypt, wildlife .. and of course dinosaurs!
Gardiner Museum offers ceramic and clay arts camps in their workshop space. Their 9:30am start time isn’t the greatest for most office job working parents, but like the ROM, they do offer the sometimes much desired half day camps (parent friends who have nannies have often said they’d love more half day options to help manage the cost when already paying a nanny).
Ages: 5+ (ROM) and 7+ (Gardiner Museum)
St. George: U of T (1 min walk 110 meters)
U of T’s summer camps get an extra vote from me for putting right on their registration package an encouragement to get to camp any other way but driving. Also under the section for parking, they start with bike parking before even discussion car parking. bravo!
U of T offers a huge variety of sports and their camps have a strong word of mouth reputation amongst parents for the high quality instruction. Camps fill up fast!
Honourable mention to RCYC. Even though the RCYC is a private club, their summer camps are actually open to the public. And, they run a bus service from the St. George Station clubhouse. Bus picks up the kids 8am sharp from there and heads down to their ferry launch on Cherry Street for a day on the island. Return time is 5:30pm. Pretty sweet.
Spadina: Maximum City (2min walk 120 meters)
Ok, maybe the coolest camp, and then one I wish parents could go to! This is an urban planning and urban design camp. Each week they focus on a different urban theme such as designing better public spaces or welcoming newcomers, an amazing camp! #jealous
Ages: Grades 4 – 12
Honourable mention: Alliance Francaise. Their Spadina location offers an ever increasing variety of summer camps run in french. For many parents with kids in french immersion this is a great way to keep up their french skills over the summer break. And it’s only a 2 min walk (19- meters) away from Spadina station.
So get out there … ride the rocket to summer camp!