Mini golf, rock climbing and more about GTA

During the long Victoria Day weekend, many families kick off the casual start of summer with active picnics. It’s something Kevin Siu Chung has noticed in years past. “People are always looking for something fun to do outdoors,” says Chief iRange TorontoCanada’s largest outdoor automatic drivetrain, says Busy from early morning until after sunset.

“Golf can be a very attractive sport, so we try to differentiate ourselves from other areas by creating a welcoming and family-friendly environment,” says Siu-Chong. The facility is located at 7855 Finch Ave. W. at Brampton caters to people of all abilities.

(Another way to enjoy the outdoors is to take a walking tour through historic Toronto.)

Some have initially tried golf during the first lockdown, Siu-Chong says, as they can be enjoyed outdoors while keeping their distance from others. The iRange system automatically sets up balls after each shot, so players don’t have to put a new ball in before the next hit. “Golfers appreciate the time saved and, most importantly, the ability to make very slight adjustments to the swing or position between strokes,” he says. “This increases muscle memory.” State-of-the-art Toptracer technology provides information about the launch angle, ball speed and flight path.

The driving range is just one of the many activities in GTA for families looking to get moving this season.

mini pot

The Centennial Park Golf Course is known to be well-maintained and accessible, but outdoor mini golf shouldn’t be overlooked, says general manager Sharon Labette. The 18-hole course features plenty of shade trees and two waterfalls – enough to make guests briefly forget they’re in Toronto.

The course is open seven days a week from 8am to sunset, and the course is very crowded on weekends, so Labbett recommends booking in advance. Families should plan to spend between an hour and an hour and a half per tour.

With participants as young as three years old and some in their 90s, “Anyone, whatever their abilities, can enjoy the little game of multiplication,” says Labett. “All generations can play together, and the chance of a little fun competition only adds to the fun.”

Centennial Park Golf Course

550 Centennial Park Blvd., Etobicoke

beating cages

District baseball coach Rick Butelier says district baseball has pulled off hundreds of college ballplayers, “and we have players who were drafted and who went on to play professional baseball, including Cal Quantrell, Jake Sims, and Travis Seabrook.”

And if not the main league material? One of the things that makes the Mississauga facility special, Botellier says, “is that it is open to the public, unlike many other indoor baseball training facilities.” The day pass provides access to the batting cage, batting tunnels, a bullroom for pitching, and an area for field engagement and throwing. Visitors are encouraged, but not required, to bring their own equipment.

For those who prefer to swing without a crowd, summer is the perfect time to visit, as the year-round indoor facility is quieter now, thanks to the regular players playing and exercising outdoors, says Botellier.

For serious players, Zone Baseball offers technology — including Hittrax, Rapsodo, and Pro Pitch AI — to help them understand their own biomechanics.

baseball area

1081 Brevik Bell. , Mississauga

rock climbing

Dylan Chocorlan climbs up the Rock Oasis, where the various hurdles are color-coded with as many moves required.

Karen McGilvray began climbing in the late ’80s, before the advent of dedicated rocker lounges. “We climbed outside on a real rock,” she said Says. “I love the movement of climbing and exploring the outdoor environment.”

But as the activity continues to grow in popularity in Toronto, outdoor climbing – especially in the GTA – isn’t always appropriate. There are also risks from uneven terrain, falling rocks, bugs, weather and sun, says McGilvray, owner and operator of The Rock Oasis.

Her indoor rock gym keeps the best part of the climbing in, says McGilvray, “the camaraderie of climbers who enjoy helping each other make their way up.” For that reason, it’s a great family activity. “We often watch kids grow up and can climb harder and harder roads until they climb their parents.”

The 25-year-old gym features 100 different roped-up climbs, and on the lower walls, 100 different rock problems. “We’re constantly changing the roads and the rocks, so there’s always something new,” she says.

rock oasis

204-388 Carlaw Ave., Toronto

water parks

Wet 'n' Wild External Lifted By: Brod, Doug

It’s the perfect warm-weather activity and has plenty of features – bright colors and slides – that appeal to children. Water parks aren’t just for young adults, says Susan Kruzinga of Wet ‘n’ Wild Toronto. “We actually have a lot of young people without children,” she says. “Coming to the park is so close to spending the day at the beach – without the sand, of course.” But With Thrill ride, including Caribbean, Krazy Kanuck and Oh! Canada.

“For those who just love to relax, our lazy river – the Muskokah Suaka – is very popular,” says Kruzinga. “And families love the Big Sur wave pool and Bear Footin Bay.” A DJ keeps it lively on weekends, and the park is licensed to sell liquor, in particular, says Kruzinga, “those drinks with frozen fruit that taste best when they’re in the sun.”

The park is open on weekends beginning June 11, and daily from June 30 through September 5.

Wet ‘n’ Wild Toronto

7855 Finch Ave. W, Brampton

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