Welcome to GTAParent: Parent Education, News, Views and Things to Do Together in Toronto and the GTA!


The TIFF Kids International Film Festival™, one of the world’s premier film festivals for children aged 3-13, returns for its 18th year with a full slate of films from around the globe that will inspire and delight children and parents alike. The TIFF Kids Festival kicks off on Opening Night with the Canadian premiere of Shaun the Sheep: The Movie, the latest claymation feature from Aardman Studios, the creators of Wallace & Gromit, and Elevation Pictures Corp. The festival wraps with its Closing Night Film, the Canadian premiere of When Marnie Was There, Studio Ghibli’s fantastical adaptation of the novel by Joan G. Robinson. All screenings and events take place at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto from April 7 to 19, 2015.

We are thrilled to be opening the 2015 TIFF Kids Festival with the Canadian premiere of the highly anticipated Shaun the Sheep: The Movie. The film – which is dialogue-free – is full of Chaplinesque physical comedy and clever pop-culture references. It’s a movie that kids and parents will love equally," said Elizabeth Muskala, Director of TIFF Kids.

“Other highlights from this year’s programme include the award-winning Rainbow, straight from the Berlin Film Festival; Disneynature’s latest film Monkey Kingdom from the filmmakers that brought us Bears and Chimpanzee; and the inspirational documentary Landfill Harmonic, which follows a youth group in Paraguay who turn the trash from the massive landfill site they live on into instruments and become the famed Recycled Orchestra.”

Special guests will introduce films and be available for question-and-answer sessions following select screenings throughout the TIFF Kids Festival, with guests to be announced on tiff.net in the coming weeks. The 2015 TIFF Kids Festival features a total of 126 films, comprising 25 features and 101 shorts hailing from 36 countries, including Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, France, India, Russia, and many more. The TIFF Kids International Film Festival takes place at TIFF Bell Lightbox from April 7 through April 19. Tickets for the TIFF Kids Festival are on sale now for TIFF Members, and are available to the general public beginning March 11. Prices are Adult $13, Student/Senior $10.50 and Children (13 and under) $9. Premium Screenings (Opening Night Film and Party, Closing Night Film, and the Pancakes, Waffles and Bugs Bunny! event) $25 per person. Some activities are free. Tickets for digiPlaySpace are on sale now for educators, TIFF Members and the general public. Entry to digiPlaySpace is $10, TIFF Members see it free and have access to a preview day on Friday, March 6. Tickets to digiPlaySpace can also be purchased in a combo package with a ticket for a TIFF Kids International Film Festival, Walt Disney Classics or Good Friday screening for $15 for children, $20 for adults. For more information on screenings and activities, or to purchase tickets, please visit tiff.net/kids call 416-599-TIFF (8433) or 1-800-599-TIFF, or visit the Steve and Rashmi Gupta Box Office at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

TIFF Pocket Fund provides free and discounted tickets that allow young people in underserved communities to experience the TIFF Kids International Film Festival, learning programmes, camps, and family-friendly screenings. TIFF Pocket Fund works to ensure that no child or youth is turned away from TIFF's educational and cultural programming due to financial circumstance.

GTA's Best Deal for a Waterslide Hotel - @SandmanHotels Mississauga

Sandman Signature Hotels and Resorts - Mississauga Dixie 401 Location

This is an awesome hotel if your family is looking for a quick and economical getaway for the family. It is also a popular hotel for sporting tournaments and business travelers.  The area is close to the airport and major highways with many restaurants close by.

The kids loved the water slide, hot tub area and the in-room jacuzzi where they could enjoy watching TV from the bath! Our boys felt like kings in our hotel room!

We (the parents) loved the modern brand new decor and thought the sliding door to the bedroom was quite fancy! It felt good to have space for us to all to co-exist peacefully. Quite dreamy in fact!

This was a perfect opportunity for a quick getaway for March Break, as the water slide was open during the week (normally it is closed week days).

checking out the Jacuzzi in our room
224 suites • Suites with kitchenettes available • Complimentary 24-hour airport shuttle (YYZ) • High speed • Internet Fitness • facilities • Indoor pool, whirlpool & 3-storey waterslide • Meeting & banquet facilities • Business centre • StarPlus Lounge • Covered parking • Pet friendly • 24-hour marketplace

How much we paid: under $100 with tax.

A fantastic deal in our opinion!

Best Places to Make a Spash

Ready to get wet? Grab the towels, sunscreen, and entire family – and head to a waterpark, pool, or splash pad! You don't have to trek far to make a splash. If your kids are looking for fun ways to beat the heat, head over to some of the "coolest" places in the city. Waterslides, spraygrounds, lazy rivers, and more. These family spots are turbo Summer fun for parents and kids in Toronto and surrounding areas!

Splash Island at the Toronto Zoo
Splash Island at the Toronto Zoo
Round up the kids and chill out in the Zoo's water play area Splash Island all Summer long. It's the coolest spot in the Zoo! Features two magical acres of hands-on, non-stop family fun amidst waterslides, bigger than life water-spouting animals, a waterfall, lots of misters, and way-cool tipping buckets. But keep in mind - while the kids are screaming with delight, they're also learning all about which plants and animals live in different bodies of water in Canada. FREE with Zoo admission.

Wild Wetland at Heart Lake Conservation Area - Photo Credit: TRCA
Wild Wetland Splash at Heart Lake Conservation Area
Features an 840 sq metre heated swimming pool (8 ft. deep) and provides clean and safe water fun for kids all ages. The Splashpad has 30 + wetland themed water features. This 500 person capacity waterpark uses state-of-the-art water conservation technology. The pool and splash pad are located in natural wilderness surroundings. Wild Wetland Splash is open June to Labour Day (weather permitting).

Lakeview Splash at Albion Hills Conservation Area in Caledon - Photo Credit: TRCA
Lakeview Splash at Albion Hills
The Lakeview Splash water-play facility is open until September (weather permitting) at Albion Hills Conservation Area in Caledon. It features at 440 sq metre wading pool (4 ft deep) with a 125 sq metre interactive splash pad. This waterpark also features a “Wetland” theme and is located in natural wilderness surroundings, with grass picnic areas overlooking Albion Lake.

Pool at Petticoat Creek Conservation Area - Photo Credit: TRCA
Petticoat Pool Splash at Petticoat Creek Conservation Area
Petticoat Creek Conservation Area's new pool and water-play facility is now open. It provides clean and safe water fun for kids all ages! Features a fully accessible, 6 feet deep, over 1600 m2 pool with beach entry, and has a 800 person capacity. Ther'e's a splash pool and water play area with interactive water features, a large, fun 1000 m splash pad with passive and interactive spray effects, all located in natural park surroundings.

The Wave Pool
The Wave Pool in Richmond Hill
The Wave Pool is the only indoor wave pool of its kind within the Greater Toronto Area. It's a year-round sun and surf destination. Play in the waves, lounge on water mats, soak in the warm water of the swirl pool, ride the thrilling 160 ft. twisting water slide or simply relax in the on-deck sauna.

Splash Works Water Park, Canada's Wonderland
Splash Works Water Park at Canada's Wonderland
Canada's Wonderland is your Splash Headquarters for the Summer! Over 7 million litres of heated water fun in a 20 acre water park. Check out The Plunge, Supersoaker, the Lazy River, Pumphouse, and one of Canada's largest wave pools. There is something for everyone!
And just a short driving distance from Toronto...

Fallsview Waterpark
Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, Niagara Falls
The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is “Simply Amazing” with 125,000 square feet of action-packed water fun. Featuring a mammoth play area, the massive 1,000 gallon tipping bucket, enormous 6 storey high waterslides, the full-sized wave pool, year-round outdoor activity pool and sundeck, plunge bowl, two oversized adult only Jacuzzis, and a children’s play area.

Splash Zone at Deerhurst Resort
Splash Zone at Deerhurst Resort
It's one of the country's largest inflatable parks on the water! The Splash Zone features inflatables from bouncing trampolines to slides and even a chance to 'walk the plank.' There's a pint-size play area for children and a larger layout for the older kids and kids at heart. Open mid May through September.

Splashtown at Darien Lake
Splashtown at Darien Lake, Buffalo
Splashtown, a 10-acre waterpark makes a splash with its wave pool, lazy river, slides, and more! Cabanas and sun lounging areas help you catch the warm sun. It’s the the region’s largest waterpark complete with wave pool and endless waterslides. The mammoth, quad slide complex features four completely different, exhilarating water slide experiences. And after a busy day at the park, take a relaxing float down the 16-foot wide Lazy River.

Bronte Creek Pool
Bronte Creek Provincial Park Pool
The Recreation Complex at Bronte Creek Provincial Park is the home of one of the largest outdoor pools in Canada (1.8 acres in size). It holds nearly 2 million gallons (5.8 million litres) of water. The pool is operational from July 1 to Labour Day each year, weather permitting.
Where do your kids like to cool off on a hot day?

Content provided by: Toronto 4 Kids

International Women's Day: Meet a Woman that Makes It Happen

International Women’s Day is on March 8th and this year the focus is on women who Make it Happen. I have so many inspiring women in my life, but when I think of a woman who makes things happen I think of Wendy Hagar. 

Four years ago our family was looking for a hands on way to give back and to teach our daughters about helping others. Two years earlier we had started our Birthdays that Give Back and it sounded like Sew On Fire could help with our own family mission to make a difference. We went together that first night to meet founder and angel in real life, Wendy Hagar. She made such an impression on my daughters that they have been going to Sew On Fire to volunteer on a regular basis ever since.

Wendy began Sew on Fire innocently in 2000 after deciding she was going to knit mitts for the winter which led to sewing gift bags for orphaned children and then committing to make 100 baby overalls through Glad Tidings Pentecostal Church. Within 2 weeks of starting Sew on Fire her home was turned into a mini manufacturing plant with 7 rooms stuffed to the ceiling with donated boxes full of hand knitted hats, mittens, blankets, candy, hair clips and more. 15 years later Sew on Fire is still going strong.

Sew On Fires purpose is Inspiring: 

Sew on Fire partners with 160 organizations and registered Canadian Charities to provide humanitarian aid and gift items with the purpose of sharing God’s love around the world. Donated and purchased items are checked sorted and repurposed into gift packages.

Our work empowers women in all countries to go to school or work without the disadvantage of not having necessary personal hygiene items.  We empower and help meet their needs in caring for their children.  We provide assistance to start up small businesses, provide initial supplies for making jewelry, provide material and set up sewing centres, or even making bricks.

Wendy Hagar and Sew On Fire’s accomplishments are even more Impressive: 

  • Started Sew on Fire in her house and is now spilling out of a 6,000sq foot warehouse
  • Sent over 200,000 bags to children in over 90 countries and 50 canadian cities 
  • 100% volunteer based 
  • 1,500 volunteer hours a month 
  •  Recipient of 2012 Burlington Citizen of the Year Award 
  •  Recipient of 2010 Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow Award 
  •  Recipient of 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award 
  • Recently sent 400 diaper bags to newly constructed birthing center in Iqaluit, NU. Each containing 6 outfits, diapers, blankets, baby shoes, shampoo, soap. 

What is even more incredible is the way Wendy treats each and every one of her volunteers. My girls are young and Wendy knew exactly what would engage them to want to help and volunteer weekly. She put them to work packaging candy bags, sorting colourful pencil crayons and dressing hundreds of Barbie dolls in matching outfits for little girls around the world.  Every week they ASK to help Wendy make a difference around the world.

Wendy knows how to touch everyones heart, to encourage others to give, to support and to volunteer and her work has helped thousands or women, children, babies and communities around the world. 

Wendy Hagar Knows How to Make it Happen. 

 Currently Sew on Fire is gathering 1000 new and used back packs to be filled with school supplies, personal hygiene items, clothing, books and shoes to be distributed to children in Jamaica. These bags will give them the opportunity to go to school, receive an education and improve their chances at a better life. Contact Wendy if you can help.

Then Celebrate with us!

Join Staples Canada to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 7th and 8th by visiting your local Staples store. Each store will be showcasing local entrepreneurs making a difference in their communities.

Enjoy and save at these events with a 10% savings coupon.

Remember Staples Canada has everything a business needs to succeed. Discover how Staples products and services can help support your business needs throughout these events.

Tweet with Us! 

Join us for #MoreBizWomen Chat at 1 pm EST Mar. 4th to celebrate #womeninbiz. Win biz memberships and $250 @StaplesCanada gift card #ad 

Join our tweet chat live using http://twubs.com/morebizwomen and you have the chance to win 5 Business Memberships, $250 and $100 Staples Gift Card!

About the Author:  Deb Lowther is a mother of 3 young daughters who, when not running after the kids, is running in the trails. She contributes Family Health articles to many websites and magazines and ensures her own family has fun while eating healthy & staying active.  Find more inspiring tips on her website http://www.raisinghealthkids.co and follow her on both Twitter @Deb_Lowther and Pinterest.

Meet Ann Douglas on March 7th in Etobicoke!

Hello friends,

The Parent Education Network would like to invite you to a very special event on March 7th, 2015.  Come and meet parenting guru and author Ann Douglas who will present her beautiful new book, Parenting Through the Storm, a book about her experiences parenting children with mental health challenges. Ann will speak for about an hour and then will take questions from the audience.

Space is extremely limited and tickets are going fast so register today by clicking here.

We look forward to seeing you!