This Weekend in London

June

School is out today for all kids in the LDCSB and the TVDSB which means it’s time for some fun! Celebrate the end of school by getting out and having some fun!

STORYBOOK GARDENS GRAND OPENING

This weekend is the official Grand Opening of Gnorbert’s Garden at Storybook Gardens. Come to Storybook to explore their new urban farm and butterfly garden to learn about planting and be inspired to start your own at home! Get those little green thumbs growing into the earth young. Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions from the young and old.

INTERNATIONAL FOOD FESTIVAL

The London International Food Festival is this weekend in Victoria Park. Come downtown between 11:00am and 11:00pm on Friday, June 26, Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28 to enjoy the entertainment, the exhibitors and of course, the over 50 food booths to choose from. Come hungry!

OPA GREEK FESTIVAL

OPA! The Outdoor Greek Festival runs this Friday, June 26, Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28. Admission is free for everyone to come an enjoy live music, dancing, and of course the food! For the full schedule and all information, see HERE.

COMMUNITY CPR DAY

The City of London is hosting another Community CPR Day on June 27 and June 28. This is an opportunity for all to earn their CPR-A certification. Whether you have small children at home, have aging parents, or work with populations of people, CPR is a vital skill that all people would benefit from knowing. This is great on a resume for all teens and babysitters as well! Only $5 per person for the 2.5 hour clinic.  For dates and times and to register, see HERE.

MOVIE TIME

If you’re wanting to get out and see a movie this weekend to celebrate summer, there is a lot playing for kids! Saturday at 11:00am, Silver City Masonville has the classic Popeye for their Family Favourite Presentation. The fantastic animated film Inside Out is playing at the Mustang Drive-In on one side and Jurassic World on the other.

Free Movie Night in the Park

The City of London is once again offering free movie nights in Victoria Park! Grab a blanket, a lawn chair, a snack and your family and head down town for a family adventure. This year, the movies are on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays. All of the movies are family friendly and begin at sundown (approximately 9pm).

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Family Favourites at Cineplex: Summer 2015

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Cineplex Odeon’s theatre in north London, Silver City, is once again offering their Family Favourites promotion for Saturday mornings this spring. At 11:00am every Saturday, you can bring the kids to the theatre for a variety of older movies, animated or live-action that are geared toward the whole family. These movies could be classics that your kids have never seen, little known box office blips or blockbuster faves from years past. Whatever is playing – it’s a good deal for you!

As of January 2015, admission is $2.99 per person. A portion of each ticket will now be going toward supporting Free The Children.

**NEW THIS SUMMER: In addition to the Saturday morning show, Cineplex is also adding a second screening on Wednesday afternoons at 12:30 through July and August.

Here is the list of the upcoming films:

June 27: Popeye (PG)

July 4/8: Spymate (G)

July 11/15: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (PG)

July 18/22: Penguins of Madagascar (G)

July 25/29: Alvin and the Chipmunks – Chipwrecked (G)

August 1/5: Ice Age 4 – Continental Drift (PG)

August 8/12: Air Buddies (G)

August 15/19: The Seventh Dwarf

August 22/26: Maya the Bee Movie (G)

August 29/September 2: Stuart Little 2 (PG)

September 5: MVP Most Valuable Primate (PG)

September 12: Annie (2014) (G)

September 19: Zookeeper (G)

September 26: Hook (G)

Stars and Strollers

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Oh, Mama. Remember those days when you would see all of the new releases? When you watched the Oscars and actually had an opinion on who won? Has it been a while since you went out in public during the day by choice? How about since you went to the movie theatre? If these questions have you sobbing into a dirty receiving blanket, then Stars and Strollers might just be your thing!

At both Silver City Masonville and Cineplex Westmount, you can go to a matinee movie every week – WITH your baby! The best part is, you’ll be there with other moms, just like you. Baby crying? No big deal. Hungry baby? Go ahead and feed them! Dirty diaper? There’s a change table. They even have stroller parking! The lights will be dimmed so you won’t have to trip over diaper bags if you need to get up and the volume will be just a bit lower than usual so that the noise won’t startle your little one.

Every week, both theatres will have two current movies each for you to choose from. This week, for example, you can choose from Cinderella and Run All Night at Silver City or Home and Insurgent at Westmount. Shows are Wednesdays at 1:00pm. Parents who go with their baby (under 2 years of age) will receive $2.00 off their regular admission. You don’t have to have a kid to go – the theatres are still open to everyone! However, kick back and relax, because anyone who is there knows that this viewing is all about the Moms.

And who knows, maybe next March you’ll actually know some of the nominated movies! ;)

The New TV

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Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Netflix. And if you still have cable, you have probably heard about the two latest creations by Rogers and Bell to compete with Netflix – Shomi and CraveTV, respectively. With the very recent announcement by the CRTC that our cable options are going to change dramatically very soon, there is a good chance that on-demand viewing is going to be come even more popular. Confused about which is best for you? Here are the basics:

NETFLIX

AVAILABLE TO: anyone with an internet connection.

HOW IT WORKS: movies and TV shows are streamed through your internet connection and played on whichever device you choose; your smart TV, smart phone, gaming device, tablet, Apple TV, etc.

THE PROS: Netflix has the edge in sheer volume of movies, as well as Netflix-exclusive shows such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. You aren’t attached to a larger cable company with Netflix, so you can drop your cable provider entirely if you choose and it can be watched on your smart TV or on your TV through Apple TV or some game consoles.

THE CONS: since it is streamed, regardless of how or where you watch it, you will eat through your monthly internet allowance pretty quickly without an ‘Unlimited Data’ option. Netflix Canada has gotten a bit of a reputation for not being as good as the American Netflix. You may still need to pay for a separate cable bill if you want to watch TV programming that you cannot get online.

THE COST: The first month is free, after that it is $7.99/month if only one person is watching at any given time, $8.99/month if you want to be able to watch something different than your kids, and $11.99 if four people in your family want to watch their own shows at the same time.

SHOMI

AVAILABLE TO: anyone subscribing to Rogers (Shaw) cable and/or internet.

HOW IT WORKS: similar to Netflix, movies and TV shows can be streamed through your internet connection and played on the device of your choice. Unlike Netflix, if you have Rogers cable, you can also watch Shomi on your TV without using the internet (aka, no data).

THE PROS: if you are going to watch most of your programs/movies on your TV, you won’t have to upgrade to the unlimited internet package. If you already subscribe to Rogers, the addition is easy and added to your Rogers bill monthly. They are beginning to get newer content like Vikings, Sons of Anarchy, Parenthood, American Horror Story, Jane the Virgin, The Blacklist, and Outlander.

THE CONS: the shows and movies are mostly older, which is fine if you have young kids who don’t know any better or you want to binge watch old movies/shows you never had time to watch before now (Veronica Mars, anyone?). If you are looking for new release movies, you won’t find them here. If you are going to watch most of the programs on a device that isn’t hooked up to your cable, you will be using your internet connection and might want to upgrade to the unlimited data package.

THE COST: the first month is free, then it is $8.99/month with your Rogers package.

CRAVETV

AVAILABLE TO: anyone subscribing to Bell cable.

HOW IT WORKS: shows can be streamed through your internet connection via the website or the CraveTV app. It can also be watched through your TV in the On Demand option. It is not yet possible to stream it on your smart TV or through your game console, though they promise that that will one day be available.

THE PROS: CraveTV has scored HBO and Showtime’s catalogues – Sex and the City, Entourage, the Sopranos – as well as classics and new classics like Star Trek, Doctor Who, Seinfeld, and My So-Called Life.

THE CONS: They only do TV shows, not movies. You must be a Bell cable subscriber. The viewing options aren’t as universal as Shomi or Netflix.

THE COST: $4/month with your Bell cable package.

Birthday Parties in London: Part 2

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Our list of places to celebrate your child’s birthday is growing! For those of you who want to do something a little bit more laid back, but still lots of fun, this is the list for you!

COOKING AND CRAFTING

Continue reading

2015 Academy Awards

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The 87th annual Academy Awards are today in Hollywood. The red carpet fun begins at 7:00pm on ABC, followed by the Oscars and the Oscar after show with Jimmy Kimmel. The Oscars are hosted by Neil Patrick Harris again this year, so they are destined to be entertaining! Whether you are watching for the fashion and celebrity, you are a true movie buff or you just want to know what movies you’ve missed this year (while you watched Frozen for the 48957th time instead), the Academy Awards rarely disappoint.

Make your picks, place your bets, and enjoy the show! Continue reading

2015 Golden Globes

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Are you a fan of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s most relaxed award show? The Golden Globes are on NBC tonight from 8:00pm to 11:00pm. As usual, many of the big movies were only just released in the past few weeks, so you may not have had a chance yet to see them… or like many other moms out there, the only ones you’ve seen are the animated ones!  Most of the TV shows are also shows you’d have to catch on specialty channels or Netflix, but they’d be worth the watch when the kids finally go to sleep.

If you are into award shows and maybe a little competition, make your picks and keep score while you watch. The Globes will be hosted by the amazing duo of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey once again!

Here is the list of nominees: Continue reading

Family Favourites at Cineplex: Winter 2015

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Cineplex Odeon’s theatre in north London, Silver City, is once again offering their Family Favourites promotion for Saturday mornings this winter. At 11:00am every Saturday, you can bring the kids to the theatre for a variety of older movies, animated or live-action that are geared toward the whole family. These movies could be classics that your kids have never seen, little known box office blips or blockbuster faves from years past. Whatever is playing – it’s a good deal for you!

As of January 2015, the price has been increased from $2.50 per person to $2.99 per person. A portion of each ticket will now be going toward supporting Free The Children.

Here is the list of the upcoming films:

January 10: The Amazing Spiderman

January 17: Paul Blart: Mall Cop

January 24: Monster House

January 31: An American Tail

February 7: Big Miracle

February 14: The Muppet Movie

February 21: The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A Veggietales Movie

February 28: The Land Before Time

March 7: The Book of Life

March 14: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (3D)

March 21: Fantastic Mr. Fox

March 28: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

April 4: Hop 

 

Holiday Activities

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Sixteen days at home with all of the kids begins today! While most of us will have some holiday events at some point, there may still be a lot of down time to fill up and keep the kids busy. Here is what is open and when:

KIDSCAPE

Kidscape is open from Monday to Friday 9:30am to 6:00pm; Saturday & Sunday from 10:00am to 6:00pm.  They are running a day camp for $22/day on December 22, 23, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, and January 2. For more information and to register, visit HERE.

ADVENTURES ON WONDERLAND

Adventures on Wonderland is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 8:00pm and Sundays from 11:00am to 7:00pm.

December 24 and 30 they close at 4pm. AOW is CLOSED on December 25, 26, 31 and January 1.

LONDON AQUATICS

All three indoor city pools (Canada Games Aquatic Centre, South London Community Pool, Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre) are open over the holidays with added recreational swim times.

Note that all three pools close at 11:00am on December 24 and December 31 and are CLOSED on December 25, 26, and January 1. For a full schedule of swim times, see HERE.

PUBLIC SKATING

The city skating rinks are open and ready for you! For skating times and locations, see the full schedule HERE. For Tim Hortons free skate times and locations, see HERE.

Weather permitting, the FREE rink at the Covent Garden Market is open Monday to Thursday and Saturday from 8:00am to 6:00pm, Friday 8:00am to 7:00pm, and Sunday 11:00am to 4:00pm.

Victoria Park is also FREE and open from 10:00am to 10:00pm daily, closed between 5:30-6:30 for ice resurfacing.

STORYBOOK GARDENS

Storybook Gardens is open for your skating adventures around the park. For their full schedule and hours of operation, see HERE.

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

The Children’s Museum is open for visiting and they are also hosting day camps for children 3 to 12 years old. Camps run from 8:30am to 5:30pm on December 22, 23, 29, 30, and January 2.

The Museum is closing early at 2:00pm on December 24 and January 31, and is CLOSED on December 25, 26, and January 1.  Celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa through art and exhibits. For full hours and schedule of events, see HERE.

MOVIE THEATRES

Let’s all go to the movies! The Family Favourite movie at SilverCity this morning (December 20) at 11:00am is Fred Claus. There is no Family Favourite currently scheduled for December 27.

If you want to take your kids to the movies, there are some great kids movies playing over the holidays, including:

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (PG)

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (PG)

Annie (PG)

The Penguins of Madagascar (G)

Big Hero 6 (PG)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1 (PG)

Into the Woods (PG) *opening December 25

For the Cineplex schedule (SilverCity in Masonville or Westmount & VIP) see HERE. For Rainbow Cinemas see HERE.