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Navigating a Child-free Life in a Family Geared World

June 9, 2012

The other day I took a subway ride down to my sister’s trendy loft in an area that is undergoing gentrification. It was as if I stepped into a totally different universe than the one I was accustomed to, living uptown. Instead of new mothers in Lululemon pushing pricy strollers in momterages; there were sharply dressed gay couples, handsome bachelors getting off work and loads of young, ambitious and talkative men and women coming and going to their various destinations. Wait, people like me. Some had dogs, some had Chinese takeout, others carried guitars. Some wore Toms, a few  wore Christian Louboutin. It was as if a different energy had begun to generate and everyone emulated a very sense of freedom and independence with their lives. It was as if you could strike up a conversation with any random individual, and hear something very interesting.

For those of us who live in a very family oriented area, it is wonderful to be in areas where kids’ birthday parties aren’t the most exciting event. So how do we navigate where to go and what to do without finding scores of places designed for families? I kinda put something together!

Go to events not geared towards kids. For instance, dog lovers can enjoy two days of great fun with Woof Stock ; beer lovers can sip and cruise the street with Toronto Festival of Beer; there is the Green Living Show for environmentalists; various local and alternative bands and music gatherings as well as specific child-free events in major cities.

Additionally , Toronto has a social club for childfree people called “No Kidding”.

-Go to areas frequented by young professionals and couples. When looking for a road trip last summer, I by-passed family-friendly Sandbanks Provincial Park beaches for a more adult beach a few hours away. I delighted in smaller doses of children there while luxuriating in some R&R.

Certain neighbourhoods like Liberty Village, King Street and St Lawrence Market are less family oriented than Leslieville, the Danforth and Forest Hill in Toronto. Being aware of what neighbourhood caters to which demographic in your city can help you spend more time in a vibrant, young area. 

Get involved in adult activities. No, I don’t mean THOSE adult activities. Naughty, naughty. Sign up for a summer soccer team, or go to a park that offers adult beach volleyball (Ashbridge’s Bay).

You can try learning the tango on Sundays or volunteering with organizations that need people who are 18+ like at the Cavalcade of Lights event or Nuite Blanche (an all night art festival).

You get to socialize with other adults whose life focuses are on things other than kids, which is always refreshing! It is also a good idea for parents who are trying to get some individual time.

Participate in at least one hobby at week. This means if you are learning surfing, you will be around people who are passionate about beaches, water and sports. If your hobby is photography, you can talk equipment and travel and all sorts of random stuff with fellow photographers at some cool destinations in and around your city like the CN Tower or the Scarborough Bluffs.

Make it a part of your routine to stop by your favourite bookstore and browse the sale section, or to call up a friend or relative and do something different like the Zombie Walk or even a protest for a pressing issue in your city.

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