(title image by AZ Imaging)

Whitby is a fast-growing city and we’re thrilled to be part of that with our newest project, Whitby Meadows. As Whitby grows and changes, lots of new businesses and attractions are opening up, but we think some of the mainstays need a little love! Below are 5 family-friendly picks we’ll never get sick of spending an afternoon on.

1. Lynde Shores Conservation Area 

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Ontario is rich in nature and conservation areas, but beautiful Lynde Shores is definitely a jewel in our crown. Part of the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, according to one attendee, Lynde Shores is where Disney comes to life. Lynde Shores is 272 hectares, and as part of a larger conservation system, has abundant wildlife, a vast trail system for all skill levels, canoeing, kayaking, a boardwalk system into Cranberry Marsh, and even a beach. It’s perfect for both a family picnic or a solo walk to get back into nature. You’ll spot birds, waterfowl, chipmunks, ducks, amphibians, and lots more – check out Frame To Frame’s roundup of their last trip there to see all the nature that awaits. . Birdwatchers should stop by during migration times, as many flocks and species break here on their journeys. Plus, admission is free, so you really can’t go wrong.

2. Hy Hope Farm 

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This historic property has been a working farm for well over 100 years, but today it offers visitors much more than your typical agricultural tours. Completely family-run by couple Dave and Carol Bibb, the business started with Carol selling homemade pies at the end of her driveway, and it’s been growing ever since. Spend an afternoon picking fruit, enjoying an ice cream on their sunny patio, shopping for fresh produce, tobogganning in the winter, and showing the kids a little bit of the rural life. Plus, you can still nab one of Carol’s delicious pies, baked goods or preserves. If that’s not for you, their recently-opened 18 hole golf course is gorgeous and just challenging enough. We love this spot and we know your family will too.

3. Whitby Station Gallery 

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Originally opened as an artists’ collective in 1967, Whitby Station Gallery has become a mainstay for the arts in Durham Region. It was briefly housed in the Whitby Grand Trunk Railway, inspiring a name change, before moving to its current home. It’s now expanded into 10,000 square feet, including an office and art storage, as well as a rotating gallery and studio space. You’ll also notice the boxcar out front, which is home to a printmaking space and studio with classes for all ages. Those with kids will love the art classes focusing on tons of different mediums for specific age groups. If you just want to see some art, not make it, their rotating gallery is free to visit and a great place to discover new artists.

4. Family Events 

Whitby and Brooklin both have a whole host of Main Street events that are free and family friendly, so you’ll never be without something to do on a sunny afternoon. Choose from free concerts, movies in the park, skating, swimming, Ribfest, and tons more, plus once-a-year events like the Santa Claus parade and Brooklin Harvest Festival. This tight-knit sense of community is part of what makes Whitby special, and with something new to do every weekend, you’ll be a part of that community in no time.

5. Soda Pop Central 

This one’s a little offbeat, but the kids will love it and you might find a new favourite yourself. Stacked to the roof with every kind of soda imaginable, you’ll especially want to check this out if you haven’t always called Ontario home. They have sodas from all over the world, so if you’re missing the a flavour of home, chances are you can find it here, and they’ll offer to track it down for you if not. A family-owned operation that’s part store, part museum, anyone with a sweet tooth will love it.

6. Whitby Harbour 

Whitby Harbour is one of the most beautiful parts of Whitby, and it’s about to get a lot nicer. With new money coming in to restore the harbour and add more attractions, old and new residents alike will soon have a whole new spot to explore. Harbour Day is a great primer, with events, dragon boats, live shows and great food along the harbour. However, a a slow walk along the pier any day is a great refresher, and a reminder that nature’s beauty really does abound in Whitby.

Which Whitby mainstays have we missed? Have you visited any of these? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter. Want more information on Whitby Meadows? Register here to get all the news first.