Where to Au Pair – St. John’s, Newfoundland

St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland, is the oldest and most easterly city in North America. Bursting with charisma and culture, St. John’s has the homey feel of a village, with a contemporary, sophisticated edge. As an Au Pair in Newfoundland, you will meet some of the friendliest Canadians, explore the amazing east coast, and discover the vibrant history of the first British colonies in Canada.

Walk the oldest streets of the New World

Newfoundland has a unique culture as it is the product of aboriginal heritage – from groups such as the Maritime Archaic Indians and the Palaeo-Eskimos, and European culture brought over in the late 1400s and early 1500s. One of the first explorers to land in Newfoundland after the time of the Vikings was John Cabot, in 1497. He began to visit annually and fish the rich waters off the coast, and eventually French and English colonies were set up – including St. John’s. Its streets and architecture might be the best expression you’ll see of the creative spirit that founded the province.

Hike to Cabot Tower

At the top of Signal Hill you’ll find the iconic Cabot Tower, a castle-like structure built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland, and Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Construction of the tower began in 1898 and once completed, the building was used as a lookout for incoming ships. It was here in 1901 that Guglielmo Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless message: the letter “S” in morse code sent from the UK. Today however, it is the centre of the Signal Hill National Historic Site of Canada. Schedule a day trip with your host family to explore this beautiful location, and don’t forget your camera as the captivating view from the tower can’t be beat!

Spend a week on George Street!

George Street is located in the heart of downtown St. John’s and boasts the most bars and pubs per square foot of any street in North America. There are three main festivals that take place on George Street throughout the year, including Canada’s BIG Birthday Bash, George Street Mardi Gras, and The George Street Festival – a must attend event for tourists and residents alike with over 50, 000 people partying on the “biggest little street in North America” for 7 straight day!” George Street is the home of St. John’s nightlife, and includes some of the most popular award-winning pubs, restaurants, and live music venues in the province. If you’re looking for an evening out with the Au Pairs in your area, this is the place to go!

Experience the breathtaking landscape

Canada is a beautiful and bountiful playground for those with a love of the outdoors, especially in St. John’s Newfoundland! The east coast is brimming with activities designed to help you get the most out of discovering this awesome country. Take a three in one trip on the water to view Icebergs, whales, and birds as they migrate for the season. Shred some powder on Marble Mountain – renowned for the best skiing on Canada’s east coast! Relax with rod and reel, and maybe bring home something fresh from the sea for your supper as you experience Newfoundland’s culture first hand through fishing. Or check out some of the oldest rocks and fossils on the planet while taking a tour through mines, learning about volcanoes and glaciers, and discovering an extinct marine arthropod that made the area famous. These are just some of the unforgettable experiences you will have as an Au Pair in St. John’s.

If you’re hoping to spend your Au Pair year discovering streets naturally carved by horse and carriage, passing colourful jellybean row houses lining the sides of steep hills and hidden alleyways, and listening to tales – some tall, some small, told by lively and courteous people always happy to make friends, Newfoundland is the place for you. St. John’s is a city like no other!

Managing Expectations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expectations are what we hope will happen in the future based on our past experiences, what we’ve heard from other people or even what we thought we heard from others. It’s important to communicate your expectations so that you can make them realistic.

Reality vs. Expectations – Expectations and reality are two separate entities. Reflecting on what you want out of your placement and how to achieve that can help narrow the gap between the two. Understanding the differences between them will save you from disappointment.

What are your expectations? – Take some time to write out what your expectations are. Be specific and try to come up with a plan or strategies for meeting those expectations. Remember to include expectations for yourself as well as your Host Family/Au Pair.

Communicate – Sit down with your Au Pair/Host Family at the beginning of your placement and talk about what both parties are hoping to accomplish. Be as honest and open as possible, encouraging the other party to contribute. We recommend having sit-down meetings regularly throughout your placement and making expectations a topic to discuss each time.

Be open-minded – Realize that not all of your expectations will be met, that you will have to make compromises here and there, and that’s okay! Life has the habit of turning out differently than we anticipate or imagined. Be flexible and understanding, take everyone’s expectations into account, and roll with it. Even if your placement is not meeting your dream expectations, that doesn’t mean it’s a failure or a bad match. It just requires a different perspective to enjoy the journey and experience as it is.

For example: if you believe the way things should be done is 4+4 and instead your Au Pair/Host Family does things 2+6, you could focus on the fact that it is not how you know/want it to be, or you could realize that the outcome is still 8.

Often times the only difference between a mediocre placement and a fantastic placement is a good attitude.

How to Say “Common Sense” in 5 Languages

 

 

 

 

 

English: common sense

German: gesunder menschenverstand

French: bon sens

Spanish: sentido común

Italian: buon senso

Your common sense is your natural ability to make good judgments and to behave in a practical and sensible way. Common sense is a big part of what makes a match successful. It’s often the little things that make the difference between a happy placement and a rocky one, and taking those small things into consideration will make you a better Au Pair and/or Host Family.

Some helpful tips for good common sense are:

  • Think Before You Act/Speak

Consider all the possible outcomes and make your decision with everyone’s best interests in mind. If you’re expectations are not being met, think about how to find a solution and move forward instead of venting your frustrations.

  • Communication

Often times common sense is inhibited by ignorance. For example: cheese is much cheaper in Germany than in Canada, but if you’ve never purchased cheese in Canada you wouldn’t necessarily know that, and if nobody tells you – you’re unlikely to make the discovery on your own. Au Pairs are here to learn about Canada; host families, this is your opportunity to teach them. If you notice small tidbits are putting strain on your placement, open a dialogue and discuss them. If your Au Pair is putting all of the cheese you got as a special treat on their sandwich, speak up! In contrast, if you’re an Au Pair and you don’t understand why your host family is unhappy that you’re making a cheese sandwich, ask them why! It’s the best way to learn.

  • Understanding

Take the time to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view. If you are able to consider where they are coming from or why they like to do things a certain way, you will be better prepared to make good decisions.

A Closer Look at the Northwest Territories from Lisa O.

Hello,

My name is Lisa and I am an Au Pair in Canada for ten months.

Since the beginning of my plans I decided that the right family is more important to me than the “right” place. When a family from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, contacted me, of course I wasn’t sure if this was the right place for me. The town is far away from the next town and with its 3000 citizens it is very small. But the impression of the family I got by their letter and by skyping with them gave me the right feeling and I became aware of the chances which I’ve got here: amazing northern lights and my coldest winter ever (-30/-40) are waiting for as well as dog sledding and a whole month without sunlight!

Because of the small population in this town it isn’t anonymous and the people welcome everybody. It’s an experience for a lifetime ‘cause I don’t know if I would ever get the chance to live to see that again. I am here now for about 5 weeks and I feel very good here.

Even though here is no big shopping center or cinema, the town offers many nice things and the community has a very good infrastructure. You can try lots of different sports and the nature and the Dempster Highway are just amazing!

My family consists of Mom Lisa, Dad Abe, Malakai (9), River (7), and Quinn (1). They are all very warm-hearted and open-minded and from the very first day I have felt like a welcomed and valued member of the family. While the boys are in school Quinn and I can visit the library and make crafts there, go swimming, in a music class or in the daycare gym to play soccer, etc. At home I prepare something to eat for him, we bake muffins together and of course we play, draw and sing together. While Quinn takes his nap, I can tidy up, wash laundry, etc.

No chance for boredom! But it’s much fun and I love to see how he makes progress every day. When the older boys come home, I assist them with their homework and with the preparation of their sandwiches for the next school day. The weekends are really relaxing and often friends come around. Or we make a trip to the cabin at the lake. After work I can meet my friends for sports or just a hot chocolate.

Living here as an AU Pair is definitely different but totally cool, it’s a unique chance and I am very happy to be here!

Where to Au Pair – Winnipeg

Located in Central Canada, Winnipeg is known as “The Gateway to the west” and has a rich history as a Canadian trading post. Also known for its chilly winters, this city will give you a taste of the Canadian cold! But don’t be deterred – the warm community makes up for the tumultuous amounts of snow. Winnipeg’s vision is “To be a vibrant and healthy city which places its highest priority on quality of life for all its citizens.” and it doesn’t disappoint – offering up diverse activities and opportunities for everyone to experience and banding together to make a strong and loving community!

Check out Winnipeg’s number one tourist destination: The Forks

The Forks is an exquisite riverside attraction in the heart of downtown Winnipeg known as “The Meeting Place.” It’s one of the loveliest public spaces in the city and has been a meeting place for over 6,000 years: Early Aboriginal peoples traded at The Forks, followed by European fur traders, Métis buffalo hunters, Scottish settlers, riverboat workers, railway pioneers and tens of thousands of immigrants. Today it is a must see during every season and boasts four million visitors annually – the perfect place to make friends as an Au Pair! Winter, spring, summer or fall, The Forks offers a stunning array of dining experiences, incomparable shopping, a constantly changing slate of entertainment and events, and many unique attractions that encompass the site’s natural, historic and man-made features.

Experience the history with a visit to Le Musee de Saint-Boniface and The Pavilion

If you’re hoping to learn about Canada’s beginnings, this is a museum you won’t want to miss! The St. Boniface Museum is located in the original Grey Nuns Convent and is the oldest building in Winnipeg; it is also the largest oak log structure in North America. The museum showcases objects related to the heritage of French-Canadian and Métis peoples, offering a closer look and a better understanding of two beautiful cultures that highly influenced early Canada. You can also learn about the Canadian martyr: Louis Riel – a founder of Manitoba and political leader of the Métis peoples, as the museum boasts the largest collection of Louis Riel artifacts in the country. But if you’re looking for something a little lighter that you can do with your host kids, pay a visit to The Pavilion Gallery Museum! The entire second floor of this Art Gallery is dedicated to a permanent collection of  Winnie the Pooh artifacts and memorabilia including pop-up books, toys and figurines as well as the famous painting ‘Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Pot’ by Ernest H. Shepard, the original illustrator of A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books.

Celebrate Autumn with a day at A Maze in Corn

Just minutes from Winnipeg, on a family owned farm, you’ll find Manitoba’s leading corn maze – experience a true north Halloween as you traverse your way through the maze, pick the perfect pumpkin, take a hayride in a horse drawn wagon, and get spooked in “The Haunted Forest!” A Maze in Corn is a bale of fun and a great opportunity to spend some family time with your Host Family or to get a group of Au Pairs in your area together! The farm has a variety of animals for you to visit at their petting zoo, including goats, sheep, bunnies, horses, kittens, pigs, chickens, and a calf. Check them out early in the season and you can help bottle feed the new additions to the farm! A Maze in Corn also offers pony rides for both kids and adults – this is a fantastic opportunity to share your love of horses with your host kids! And last but not least – Zipline Tours! This farm has it all and will be a highlight of your Au Pair experience.

Join in Western Canada’s largest winter festival: Festival du Voyageur

The Festival du Voyageur is the perfect venue to embrace a Manitoba winter! Bonding the traditions of the past with the vitality of the franco-manitoban community of today, Festival du Voyageur is a kitchen party not to be missed. Immerse yourself in the Manitoban culture as you meet Fort Gibraltar’s historical characters, admire snow sculptures created by artists from around the world, sing and dance to lively music, and taste delicious French-Canadian food. Hoping to learn more about the Canadian culture as an Au Pair? The Festival du Voyageur will teach you everything you need to know!

If you’re looking for a home-away-from-home in Canada where people smile as you pass them on the street and there are celebrations in every season, Winnipeg is the place to Au Pair. You will become part of this beautiful city and it will stay with you even after your year is done.

Checklist for Host Families

The arrival of your Au Pair or Nanny is a very exciting time for every family! You’re welcoming a new member into your home and introducing them to your lives. Amidst getting to know each other and helping them settle in, you will also be explaining about your children, their routines, and the ins and outs of your daily schedules. To make this easier, we’ve compiled a checklist of important topics for parents to go over with their childcare providers:

Parenting Styles and Disciplining

  • Do you use positive reinforcement?
  • Do you take away privileges when your children aren’t listening?

Household/Family Rules

  • Not just for your kids but also for the adults in the home

Bedtime Routine

  • Do your children have a lights out curfew or sleep with a nightlight?
  • Do your kids have a special stuffed animal or blanket?
  • Are they allowed to stay up and read or have a snack before bed?

Using the Car

  • Is there a schedule, should they ask first?
  • Who pays for gas?

Inviting Guests Over

  • When is a good time?
  • Is it okay if you’re not home?

Emergencies

  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Home address and landline number

Communication and Expectations

  • When will we get together to talk again?
  • What do you expect from your time in Canada and as an Au Pair/Nanny?
  • What are your expectations as a parent?

Where to Au Pair – Calgary

Most people know Calgary as the centre of Canada’s energy industry, or the closest metropolitan centre to the Rocky Mountains and home of the world-renowned Calgary Stampede. Well Calgary is definitely all of those things, but it’s also so much more. Offering up a wide array of adventures and experiences, it’s easy to get involved in Calgary, making it a wonderful location to Au Pair that will keep you exploring the entire year!

Experience the city on a new level at the Taste of Calgary!

Taste of Calgary has been the city’s best outdoor food and beverage festival for 20 years! This is three days of pleasure as you sample food from restaurants, garden booths, and food trucks – vegetarian and gluten free options included. Discover Calgary’s global cuisines from a mix of unique restaurants and beverage companies. Plus get a taste of Calgary’s great musicians and shop at some of the most interesting market place vendors in the city. The festival also showcases demos by the finest chefs in the city, chef celebrities, authors, speakers, contests, showdowns and much more. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to spoil your taste buds and have fun! And since Taste of Calgary is free to attend and sample tickets can be purchased for only $1, it’s an accessible activity for everyone and the perfect way to learn more about Canadian cuisine.

Up and down and through and through – you’ll have the time of your life in the Rocky Mountains.

White water rafting, ice-climbing, mountaineering, rock climbing and skiing are just a few of the activities that the Rockies have to offer. A short hour drive from Calgary, the Rocky Mountains are the ultimate getaway for those who are at home in nature, those who only want to visit, and everyone in between. You could spend your entire year as an Au Pair traversing these breathtaking beauties and never get bored! The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 4800kms and are teeming with Canadian wildlife. It’s the ideal location to spot Canada’s national symbols: the Beaver and the Maple Leaf. Take your adventure to the next level by staying in the mountains for a few days and exploring the town of Banff and Banff National Park – the first National Park in Canada and the third worldwide. The park has over 1600kms of hiking trails, 2500 campsites and is bigger than 90 000 soccer fields. If you’re looking to experience the Canadian landscape, this is the place to do it!

Become part of a team at the Calgary Sport and Social Club.

Calgarians love to play sports and have fun! The Calgary Sport and Social Club was founded in 1996 to provide the ideal place for doing so. The goal of the CSSC is to encourage as many people as possible to ‘get in the game’. With a large variety of leagues, tournaments and events throughout the year, the CSSC offers something for everyone and with the option to register as an individual, with friends or with a full team, you could make this a weekly event with other Au Pairs in your area! The club also offers a variety of sponsor bars with different food and drink specials offered 7 days a week to players, so you can grab a bite to eat after your game and make your experience a social affair from start to finish. Get your workout in and catch up with your girls all at the same time!

Check out “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” at the Calgary Stampede!

With professional rodeo as its signature experience, the Calgary Stampede also features a vast array of arts and agricultural exhibits, musical performances, intriguing cuisine, shopping, and an extensive midway of rides and games. The captivating experience is unrivalled for variety and excitement. The ten-day event attracts over one million visitors per year and the Stampede spirit consumes the city! If you’re looking for the chance to integrate yourself into the culture, entwine yourself in the community, and learn the cowboy way – there is no better time! The official kick-off to the Calgary Stampede is the annual two and a half mile Stampede Parade featuring beautiful floats, bands, horses, celebrities and cultural performances, and each night’s rodeo event is followed by a spectacular fireworks show. Don’t forget to pick up a cowboy hat to commemorate your unforgettable experiences in “Cowtown!”

Known as the centre of Canada’s oil industry, Calgary will surprise you with its beauty, spectacle, and natural landscape. Consistently ranked as one of the top cities to live in worldwide, the city’s cleanliness, warm Chinook winds, and western heritage will capture your heart and make your stay in Canada the experience of a lifetime!

Where to Au Pair – Victoria, BC

Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is a unique blend of old world charm and new world experiences. As the capitol of British Columbia, Victoria represents the relaxed lifestyle of the west coast and offers visitors an escape from the hurried world. Strongly tied to the land and sea, the oldest city in the Pacific Northwest proudly offers everything a friendly, exciting and welcoming destination should, from ambient historic sites to breathtaking parks and beaches.

Visit a historic location you may recognize from the movies

Explore Hatley Park National Historic site, home to the Hatley Castle – originally owned by BC’s Lieutenant Governor, James Dunsmuir. Currently in use as the Royal Roads University, the castle has been a popular filming location in the past for shows such as The X Men Trilogy, Smallville, and Arrow.  While Hatley Castle is the centerpiece of the estate, there’s much more to the park: including gorgeous Japanese, Italian, and Rose formal gardens that follow Edwardian design; 15km of walking and hiking trails through old growth forest; a protected migratory bird sanctuary; an historic First Nations’ site; and a spectacular view of the Olympic Mountains across the Juan de Fuca Strait. You’ll find everything that makes the West Coast unforgettable only 20 minutes from downtown Victoria.

Victoria Film Festival

The Victoria Film Festival is the nucleus of the cinematic arts on Vancouver Island, screening more than 100 films over 10 days and hosting a variety of events. It’s a vibrant program celebrating the greatest storytelling medium of all time! The Victoria Film Festival brings the world to Victoria’s door as it showcases a diverse selection of Canadian and international films. This is a great event to invite other Au Pairs located on Vancouver Island or the Vancouver Mainland to attend – they will not want to miss the celebrations! Get a group together and check out the activities the Festival offers, view a few films and share your adventures in Canada!

Explore Victoria’s beautiful selection of Gardens and Parks

With six gardens in varying styles, you can experience every level of beauty and ambiance at the Butchart Gardens! With 4 seasons and a Christmas special, these gardens will be a staple of your time in Canada. They offer different activities for each season as well as events/concerts throughout the summer months. They also have a carousel for kids (making it a perfect day trip for your host kids) and the option of boat tours, giving you the inside scoop on the history of the area and a closer look at the wildlife! Speaking of wildlife, another must see of the area are the Victoria Butterfly Gardens – experience the beauty and curiosity of a tropical jungle up close as you observe frogs, tortoises, large iguanas, flamingos, tropical ducks, free flying birds, a large variety of fish, and thousands of butterflies (over 70 species)! Last but not least, be sure to check out Beacon Hill Park! This 200 acre park is one of downtown Victoria’s crown jewels with multiple lakes/ponds and bridges, a mini putt golf course and the Hill Children’s Farm that includes a hands-on experience in the goat pen – pet, groom and play with baby goats! If you’re looking for a beautiful yet quiet place for a walk, a summer’s picnic, or you would like get in a bit of bird watching, Beacon Hill Park is the perfect haven for you.

 Experience the Inner Harbour and tour the Parliament Buildings

This scenic patch of waterfront is the location of Victoria’s many tourist attractions, recreational activities, restaurants and shopping. For a special treat, have afternoon tea at the grand Empress Hotel or board a ferry for a harbor tour! But if that’s too much for you, this is also the perfect place for relaxed wandering: check out the many buskers along the sea walk; take a tour of the Legislative Assembly  of British Columbia (the parliament buildings); or pop in at Roberta’s Hats and see which era adorns your head the best! Finish off your day in a horse drawn carriage and take in the gorgeous view as the sun sets on the water.

Head to the beach!

Vancouver Island has unbeatable beaches and you’ll love exploring them in Victoria! If you’re looking to spend the day at the shore with your host kids, head to Willow Beach.  Just 15 minutes from downtown, this is one of Victoria’s most popular swimming locations. Its shallow, protected water is suitable for young children, while views of Discovery Island and Mount Baker make basking, swimming or paddling there just that much more beautiful. If you’re looking for more activity than a simple beach offers, you’ll love the French Beach Provincial Park! This park offers beautiful hiking trails through lush forests, and a sand and pebble beach where visitors can relax and enjoy a picnic or take a cool dip in the ocean. It’s also an ideal location for whale watching! You may spot roaming pods of resident killer whales offshore, as well as otters, seals and sea lions. French Beach is also a good spot to observe Bald eagles, ospreys and a variety of seabirds, making it a must see if you’re living as an Au Pair in this area!

If you’re looking for a relaxed and beautiful city to spend a year discovering Canada from, Victoria is the place for you! It’s ideal for Au Pairs as it is ripe with history, has a high student population due to the many colleges and universities in the area, and is easily accessible to the Mainland as well as the rest of the gorgeous island, providing you with endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. “The Garden City” is the perfect place to call “home” away from home.

Getting Back into School

The end of the summer approaches and inevitably, the school year is creeping up on us. But instead of panicking and trying to squeeze every last drop of freedom out of the last days of August, try out a few of these techniques to make the transition back into structured routines and scheduled days a little easier on both you and your kids.

  1. Adjust Your Sleep Schedule

Instead of waiting to enforce an early bedtime until the night before school starts, try getting your kids to bed a half hour earlier than they have been during the summer, and waking them up an hour earlier as well. We find there is less grumbling if you plan fun activities that they’d have to get out of bed to enjoy – maybe head to the waterslides or have a beach day. The adjustment period usually takes about a week but it’s worth it to ease into a decent school schedule and it will help your kids start off the year with lots of energy.

  1. Set a Budget for Supplies

We’ve all been there: you head out to buy pencils, erasers and paper but you somehow come home with a new backpack, pencil case, folders covered in cute cats, light up runners, a 30 piece set of felt markers and a superhero lunch kit. We understand, it’s hard to say no and it’s part of the fun! But if you are hoping to keep your purchases on the inexpensive side this year, set a budget and talk about it with your kids. Let them know how much money they have to spend on non-essentials so they can pick out one or two things more exciting than HB pencils but will understand before you get to the store that they will have to be selective.

  1. Read Books about Going to School

Especially if this is your child’s first year of school! Reading together about what to expect will help soothe their worries if they’re feeling anxious, and get them excited about all the fun they’ll have. Some great titles to check out are: The Kissing Hand, How Do Dinosaurs Go to School, First Day Jitters, The Berenstain Bears Go to School, and The Pirates Guide to First Grade.

  1. Brainstorm Ideas for Lunches

Check out Pinterest for some creative and healthy ideas for pack lunches. Get your kids involved and make a list of options that they approve of and you can refer back to throughout the year. Pack lunches can be so much more than a sandwich! If your kids are old enough, teach them how to make some of the recipes or put them in charge of assembling everything in their lunch box and packing it in their backpack.

  1. Get Excited!

Excitement is infectious! Talk to your little ones about what to expect; make it a family discussion by having your older children share their favourite experiences from their first year of school. Talk about what kind of extra-curricular activities your kids would like to try this year and search for good programs. If you’re excited, your kids will be too!

Where to Au Pair – Toronto

 

Toronto is the most assorted multicultural city on the planet where over 140 languages are spoken and the city’s motto is “Diversity Our Strength”. It’s the safest metropolitan area in North America and the ideal city to explore as an Au Pair. Toronto is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities. If you’re looking for the urban feel of New York City with the charm of Canada, you’ve come to the right place!

Get to know Toronto by exploring its rich History.

There are multiple ways to get to know the city from a historical point. Toronto is home to the largest museum in Canada and the preeminent spot to explore the natural world and humankind’s cultural past, The Royal Ontario Museum. But if world-renowned collections, innovative programs, and galleries are not the experience you’re looking for, discover the rich cultural background of Toronto with a visit to Casa Loma – Canada’s majestic castle, complete with decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables, and beautiful 5-acre estate gardens. Don’t forget to snap a few pictures to make your Au Pair friends jealous!

Enjoy Toronto’s tourism with a 13min ferry ride to the Toronto Island!

The island is approximately 5 kms long from Ward’s Island to Hanlan’s Point and is actually a group of 15 islands inter-connected by pathways and bridges. You can walk from one end of the Island to the other. Kids and adults of all ages can find something to do or see on the Island. There are beautiful swimming beaches (including a Clothing Optional Beach on Hanlan’s Point!), sports facilities, bike, canoe and kayak rentals, a boating marina, large grassy fields for picnics, a theatre, nature paths, an amusement park and a charming 150 year-old community of 600 people living year-round in cottage-like homes. This is the perfect place to bring your host family for a day of adventure and fun!

Discover the contrast to the city’s urban rush by adventuring into Toronto’s beautiful Nature.

Toronto has a plethora of natural experiences for you to enjoy! Spend a day exploring Riverdale Farm – home to a variety of domestic farm animals. A visit to the farm is a great experience, particularly in spring when we welcome new additions to the animal family.

Take in the spectacular with a tour of Niagara Falls! The falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world that has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m). You will also get to experience the beautiful town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

opt-falls-background-1600x1000-283kView over 2000 butterflies made up of over 40 different species at the Butterfly Conservatory located on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Visitors to the Butterfly Conservatory are transported to a tropical paradise full of lush vegetation, trickling waterfalls and thousands of vibrantly coloured butterflies.

Celebrate and experience some of the world’s best Festivals!

The city is alive with celebrations of culture and diversity year round – but don’t take our word for it! Check out a few of the fantastic festivities Toronto has to offer and join in the merriment:  The Toronto Caribbean Carnival, an exciting cultural explosion of Caribbean music, cuisine, revelry and visual and performing arts; the largest cultural festival of its kind in North America.  The Toronto Summer Music Festival, bringing world-renowned performing artists to Toronto for an unparalleled combination of concerts, guest lectures and masterclasses. The Candian National Exhibition, this annual fair is fun for the entire family! Midway rides bring chills and thrills. The National Trade Centre boasts an International Marketplace with goods spanning the globe along with innovative products. Horse shows and dog shows entertain both young and old. The Toronto International Film Festival, the world’s largest public film festival, screening more than 300 films from around the world in venues across the city. The Toronto Christmas Market, inspired by the Old World and influenced by the New, this annual event captures all of the tradition, heritage and charm of a European Christmas Market, while showcasing hundreds of unique and local handcrafted products. The TD Toronto Jazz Festival, delivering the sounds of the world’s greatest jazz musicians from the quaint and most intimate of venues to large concert halls. And many more!

Bundle up and get ready for some fun in the Toronto Snow.

Winter is cool! And Toronto is an exciting place no matter what the season, but when the weather gets chilly Torontonians get creative and gear up for some frosty fun! If you like to skate, get your groove on at the Harbourfront with free skating every Saturday night and DJs spinning different genres to keep the party going. You could also check out the city’s first skating trail at the Colonel Samuel Smith Park. If skiing and snowboarding is more your speed you’ll be thrilled to know that you can do so within the city’s limits! Centennial Park and Earl Bales Park are home to urban Ski & Snowboard Centres. Both locations offer a variety of hourly, daily and seasonal passes and programming to suit your needs so you can get the most out of the sport you love! Warm up after with a cup of the best Hot Chocolate in Toronto! Epic hot chocolate drinks are the newest thing in Toronto and local shops are taking the winter staple to new heights with wild ingredients and preparations. Grab one to go and if you feel like trying something new, rent a heated hut and learn the art of ice-fishing. The sport is currently witnessing renewed interest, so if you’re game to bundle up this winter to catch some fish, then now might be the time to take the plunge.

hotchocolate Toronto is alive with unforgettable experiences! It embodies the friendliness of Canada through its multiculturalism and celebration of diversity and is the perfect balance of a fast paced city with easily accessible nature at your fingertips. There is so much to do and see in this remarkable metropolitan that you will be hard pressed to cram it all into your year as an Au Pair and may have to return again and again!