My daughter asked kind of out of the blue whether Toronto had a children's museum. Vancouver doesn't have one, though its Science World skewed very young in my opinion and basically is the de facto children's museum. Seattle has one near the Space Needle, though I honestly don't know how good it is. I said we might make it there on our visit in a few weeks, assuming we stay overnight.
Well, it turns out that Toronto had a children's museum but not for very long (basically 1997-2003 -- and primarily at the site of the shuttered observatory next to the ROM). It has been homeless for quite some time, but now has glommed onto the legacy of Marshall McLuhan and come up with the Children's Own Media Museum. Part of me kind of wants to throw up in my mouth a bit, since kids already play obsessively with new technology, particularly phones, tablets and even laptops. I'm not sure I want to spend a lot of money for them to spend a whole afternoon doing more of that. And part of me thinks it is just a cynical ploy to cash in, and apparently not even that successful of a ploy, given how poorly they did with their last Indiegogo campaign. Yet they think they will come up with a space in downtown Toronto by early 2014. It is true that some of the things they had the kids experimenting with, while a mobile lab over the past few years, do look a bit cool and are more on the technology side of things (not purely communications) like a 3-D printer display. And fair or not, I've heard that the Ontario Science Centre is looking pretty shabby and outdated (and it certainly skews younger than it used to) and is pretty far out from the urban core. So this might be a much more convenient outing, if it does manage to open in 2014 or so.
Now there are some other, perhaps better, options in the near future, i.e. while the kids would even want to go to a children's museum. London, ONT has a pretty good one, and we might make that part of a visit to Stratford some day. More than likely that would be 2015, as if I do go to Stratford it would just be a quick solo trip this summer. And then if we visit Ottawa/Gatineau, which we most likely will do, there is one on the Quebec side of the river.
Of course, I do intend to take the kids to ROM and we'll probably do a lot of art enrichment at AGO, but it is kind of weird that there is currently no dedicated children's museum in Toronto at the moment.