Where to Eat and Play Near the SickKids Hospital

Updated August 13, 2018

eat and play near sick kids hospitalOver the years, Yashy and I have gotten to know Downtown Toronto pretty well. Within its numerous districts, we are always looking for new places to eat and fun activities for the kids. These days, I vaguely remember how overwhelming Toronto felt when I first moved here more than 10 years ago. For first time or infrequent visitors to the area, the city can appear vast and confusing.

At the SickKids Hospital, located within the heart of the downtown area, amidst several other hospitals, including Toronto General Hospital and Mount Sinai, we frequently notice families pulled into a concrete jungle that must seem intimidating. On top of being in an unknown neighborhood, these families are dealing with the difficult reality of a sick child, a hardship no one should have to face but not everyone is lucky enough to avoid. If you find yourself in this circumstance, my hope is that your child’s treatment goes well and that you are able to leave the city as quickly as possible. While you are in Toronto, if you are in need of a few fun activities or a good place to eat near SickKids, consider these options.

 

Family and Kids Activities Near SickKids

 

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

The AGO often features world class special exhibits and has a number of beautiful paintings in its permanent collections. For the kids, family Sundays in the fall and winter offers a great place for kids to hang out and explore their inner artists. The museum also features a number of programs and workshops for people of all ages.  

Fun Activities: Family Sundays, Workshops and Learning Programs

Address: 317 Dundas Street West
Distance from SickKids: 850 m
Walking Time: 8 minutes
Approximate Taxi Fare: $6:50
Cost: SickKids is part of the AGO Community membership program.  The AGO provides SickKids with 10 community membership cards. Each card admits 2 adults and up to 5 youth under 18 to the AGO, including specially ticketed exhibitions.  The hospital lends these cards to families staying at SickKids so that they can visit the AGO. Should you need to purchase additional tickets, click here for regular admission prices.

 

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

One of Toronto’s most popular new attractions is the Ripley’s Aquarium, located at the base of the CN Tower and across from the Rogers Centre where the Blue Jays play. Expect lineups on weekends, so get there early and buy tickets online to skip the line. If you can visit on the weekday, the kids will have more room to explore.

Fun Activities: Day Camps, Petting the Fish, Sting Ray show

Address: 288 Bremner Boulevard
Distance from SickKids: 2.2 m
Walking Time: 28 minutes
Approximate Taxi Fare: $10:00
Cost: Click here for admission prices
Note: Ripley’s donates tickets to the SickKids team every year and the tickets are distributed to patients and their families.

 

Other options to consider

The Bell Lightbox, home of the Toronto International Film Festival, is a great place to visit for anyone who loves movies. Rotating exhibits include the DigiPlaySpace, a great exhibition for kids who love technology, and the Lightbox often plays classic kids films along with newer animation from around the globe.

Cineplex Cinemas Yonge and Dundas, if you are looking to catch a movie, you are sure to find something you want to see on one of the numerous screens at this theatre, including an IMAX and 4DX theatre. It’s just an 8 minute walk from SickKids.

 

 

Playgrounds Near SickKids

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Sometimes the kids just need to run around and expend some energy. The Sick Kids Hospital features a Play Park for those visiting the hospital and the nearby neighborhoods contain a few public playgrounds that kids can access. The closest playground to the Sick Kids Hospital is located at City Hall, outside on the west wall of the building. The playground here is one of the smaller ones in the area and is shared with a local daycare (open to public all weekend long, from noon to 3 p,m  and after 6 p.m. on week days). If you are looking for something a little larger, a playground in Grange Park has more to offer, including a large field for frisbee players. To the East, a playground recently opened in Allen Gardens, with enough equipment to keep the kids occupied for hours. Click here for a full list of our downtown playgrounds.

City Hall (West Side)

Features: Toddler Slides, Kids Slides, Sandbox, See-Saws, Climbers, Merry-Go-Round, Spring Riders
Address: 100 Queen Street West
Distance from SickKids: 600 meters
Walking Time: 7 minutes
Approximate Taxi Fare: $6:50

Grange Park

Features: Toddler Slides, Kids Slides, Bridge Walkway, Toddler Swings, Kid Swings, Sandbox, See-Saws, Climbers, Spring Riders
Address: Grange Rd. (South of AGO)
Distance from SickKids: 1.1 kilometers
Walking Time: 13 minutes
Approximate Taxi Fare: $7:00

Allen Gardens

Features: Toddler Slides, Kids Slides, Toddler Swings, Kid Swings, Sandbox, See-Saws, Climbers, Merry-Go-Round
Address: Jarvis Street and Gerrard St. W (Northeast corner behind the Jarvis Baptist Church)
Distance from SickKids: 1.1 kilometers
Walking Time: 13 minutes
Approximate Taxi Fare: $7:00

 

 

 

Affordable Restaurants Near SickKids

restaurants near sick kidsSalad King

Salad King is a thriving Thai restaurant located across from the Ryerson Student Centre on Yonge St. The restaurant is always busy but the wait times are never more than 10 minutes. We usually get take out and eat at home. If you like spicy foods, Salad King will test your limits. Their chili scale goes up to 20 and even if your mouth can handle it, your stomach may not. Yashy and I have a very high spice tolerances and are content with the 10 chili dishes. Their non spicy dishes are great for sharing with kids.

Cuisine: Thai
Address: 340 Yonge Street
Distance from SickKids: 500 m
Walking Time: 6 minutes
Approximate Taxi Fare: $5:50 (Not recommended because of the short walk)
Average Meal Cost: $10

 

Bahn Mi Boys

Offering some of the best sandwiches in the city, Bahn Mi Boys is an amazing place to grab a quick lunch. You can grab a bahn mi, a steamed bao, or a taco with a variety of toppings. I recommend one of each is you have the appetite. If you have room after than, their kimchi fries are a local favorite.

Cuisine:Vietnamese
Address: 340 Yonge Street
Distance from SickKids: 500 m
Walking Time: 6 minutes
Approximate Taxi Fare: $5:50 (Not recommended because of the short walk)
Average Meal Cost: $10

St. Louis Bar and Grill

If you are in town during the All You Can Eat Wing Special, usually in May, you can test your limits eating as many chicken wings as your stomach can handle. If not, St. Louis offers 2 for 1 wings on Tuesday nights. We held a blind taste test a couple years ago at our house and were all surprised when St. Louis took the top two spots. The wings here are pretty good and the atmosphere is great for families. St. Louis is a great sports bar, a family friendly restaurant, and has some good food for those looking for pub food in near the SickKids hospital.

Cuisine: Pub Food, Chicken Wings
Address: 595 Bay Street
Distance from Sick Kids: 350 m
Walking Time: 4 minutes
Approximate Taxi Fare: $5:00 (Not recommended because of the short walk)
Average Meal Cost: $12 – $18

Pizzeria Via Mercanti

My favorite pizza place in Toronto happens to be one of the closest restaurants to the Sick Kids hospital. Located across the street, Pizzeria via Mercanti offers delicious thin crust pizza, a selection of good local beer from the Amsterdam Brewery, an outdoor patio, and a section of gelato for the kids who finish their dinner. Change table available!

Cuisine: Italian Style Pizza
Address: 595 Bay Street
Distance from SickKids: 350 m
Walking Time: 4 minutes
Approximate Taxi Fare: No taxi needed. The restaurant is across the street from Sick Kids.
Average Meal Cost: $15 – $20

Kaka All You Can Eat

One of the better All You Can Eat Sushi restaurants in Toronto is located just a few minutes walk from SickKids. The restaurant has a wide range of menu items, both raw and cooked, and is a great place for a feast. The only pitfall is that they charge quite a bit for kids. For adults, the extensive menu contains traditional sushi options, a number of original concoctions, and plenty of hot food as well. 

Cuisine: Sushi, All You Can Eat
Address: 665 Bay Street
Distance from SickKids: 250 m
Walking Time: 3 minutes
Approximate Taxi Fare: $5:00 (Not recommended because of the short walk)
Average Meal Cost: $34.99 (ADULT) $30.99 (SENIOR) $16.99 (4-12)

In case you’d like to do a dessert crawl here are some nearby options!

Accommodations near SickKids

hotel near sick kids

Chelsea Hotel

The Chelsea is Canada’s largest hotel and their focus on kids is particularly strong. Their Family Fun Zone is great for Toddlers, Kids, and Teens. Its proximity to SickKids makes it the ideal place to stay for visiting families. Little Monkey always has a great time at the Chelsea Hotel

Address: 33 Gerrard Street West
Distance from SickKids: 350 m
Walking Time: 4 minutes
Cost: Approximately $200-$300 per night
Note: SickKids is part of the Chelsea CARES program – a year round program that provides complimentary accommodation to out-of-town families visiting their loved ones in hospital and who cannot afford the expense associated with these visits.  In order to qualify, families wishing to participate must apply through the assigned representative at their hospital.  The length of stay for each family will be determined on an as-needed basis. The Eaton Chelsea has been supporting the hospital for almost 20 years and gives away hundreds of room stays each year SickKids and other neighboring Hospitals.

Depending on the family’s financial situation, the social worker will request a comp stay, special CARES rate (not public) or they will send the family to book directly with the Eaton Chelsea for the Patient Stayover rate (public) or the long stay patient stayover rate. Families staying at the Eaton Chelsea also take advantage of our Family Fun Zone (comp except for babysitting service), comp WiFi and we do offer 20% off coupons for our food and beverage outlets.

 

 

If you have other suggestions, please do let us know and we’ll add it to this list!

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