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Playgroups are here to stay!

Are you feeling alone, with a new baby, missing your pre-kids social life and absolutely sick of the four walls of your living room?

It is totally normal for new moms parents to find themselves overwhelmed by the isolation that comes with the early days of maternity leave. 

Do you miss certain aspects of your “old life”, but aren’t sure how to reclaim them?

The abrupt shift from a busy workplace or social life to being in your living room, living life in nap math on a playmat on the floor, while at home with a newborn can lead to feelings of loneliness and a lack of social support. 

We will find the perfect playgroup for you and your little – from similar aged littles to time and location, we ensure the space is ready and available and you have a group of mom friends to fill the days with friendship, connection, and cute babies/

Our playgroups are an absolute testament to the incredible bonds formed among local moms, dads and caregivers in the east end. We are so lucky to be in this area and with the help of curated playgroups, parents can find one another without the hassle of planning, the nerves of putting yourself out there, and the struggle that is ever changing nap math.

These playgroups are uniquely crafted and organized by Trish – the founding director of EEMF and “original mom friend” – who understands the intricate dance of parenthood having two littles of her own. 

Lasting for 6-8 weeks, these gatherings are not just about playdates; they’re about finding your village, your go-to friends for the ups and downs of raising kids. 

Trish, EEMF head coordinator, does all the heavy lifting to set you up with the perfect group to create your own vibrant ecosystems within the East End Mom Friends community, and the rest is up to you and your group. From Coral to Cobalt, there’s a group for every parent to find their place, their people, their village.

These groups enable parents to meet in person on a regular basis and rely on each other for advice and support, making your parenting journey even more enriching and connected. Welcome to your village within the fantastic ocean that is East End Mom Friends!

I can’t wait to help you find your village, your crew, your mom friends.
xo Trish

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Feb 1, 2023

We did it y’all! We survived January. I think the sun shone in Toronto maybe twice the whole month, it was a bummer.

That being said – EEMF has been very lucky to have our resident hike planner Cassandra out once a week leading a group of parents up and down hills, through ice, alongside rainbow bridges and enjoying some much-needed fresh air.

Three spots of interest were:

Taylor Creek Park – 260 Dawes Road

This was an easy hike, doable with a stroller. We even had a four-year-old big sister join for this one! This spot also has a bike trail, dog fountain, fire pit, picnic site and washroom facility. There are also four separate parking lots!

Taylor Creek Park

East Don Trail + Rainbow Tunnel – 1185 Lawrence Avenue East

This trail had free parking and TTC access! A great photo op under the bridge. This trek was baby wearing only, but could be done with a jogging stroller without the snow!

Don Valley Rainbow Arch

Gus Harris Trail / Warden Woods

This hike was very family friendly. Stroller accessible, flat and paved. Even on a gray day, fun was had by all. 

Warden Woods

Other notable spots from the past month:

Pomarosa Coffee Shop & Kitchen – 1504 Danforth Avenue

Delicious Venezuelan food, mimosa flights, high chairs and stroller space. The staff are always genial and inviting. I recommend this spot to anyone on the east side, with or without babies!

Hermies Diner Toronto – 701 Queen Street East

A well-established restaurant in Orillia, the Hermie’s owners have opened up a Toronto location. The space is HUGE, tons of room for strollers. We absolutely took over on a Monday morning and the owners were amazing. The food was delicious and reasonably priced. They’re getting a liquor license soon, so hopefully some Cesar’s in the near future!

Riverdale Park East

If you’re feeling brave, a toboggan ride down this hill is a must. We’ve been noticing some big feelings from our toddler since the baby is “here to stay” so we took her for a “just us three” adventure. I may have bit off a little more than I could chew with this hill and a two year old who does not care for snow, the cold, or going too fast. But luckily The Rooster Café is at the top of the hill for a celebratory hot chocolate!

SRCPC

Nothing beats Thursdays at South Riverdale Child Parent Center! Baby day (0-12m – although a few older friends do tend to pop in) is just cute overload. 

Dark Horse Espresso 630 Queen St. East

Stroller friendly, friendly staff, big open space, yummy food and a little artisan shop!

Jump for Joy Play Center – 1472 Danforth Avenue

This place was a blast! We went as a big group and there was lots of space, coffee for the grown ups, a snack area for the littles, and plenty of space for strollers and diaper bags. The owner Irene was very welcoming and helpful. The space is pristinely clean which is saying a lot with that many kiddos running amuck! Would highly recommend this place. Your day pass is for 9-2, and you can go and come back for lunch or a snack in that time frame.

Red Tape Brewery159 Main St

This adorable, Inuit and family-owned brewery was a blast. The owners are very accommodating, even allowing us to park strollers in the back area! The brews were delicious, and since they don’t have a kitchen you can bring in your own food which was great. Theres Gemaro gluten free bakery next door, and a pizza place across the street. We’ll definitely be back at this location!

Starbucks at Queen and Logan

This location always has the best staff. I love how big it is – there’s tons of space for strollers and to meet up with friends. The tables are low and the chairs can be moved. 

Godspeed Brewery – 242 Coxwell Avenue

This event was BANANAS. We had about 70 people show up, more than double what we anticipated! The staff were fast and did a great job keeping track of bills. The stroller parking was outdoors which was a bit tricky, however after the event the owner approached me and suggested they could move some tables next time to accommodate stroller parking. Also a shoutout to the two women who were there to work and became quickly inundated with babies, but stayed along for the ride! 

Every event we’ve had in the past month has been such a success. I am overjoyed at the turnout, especially for Friday Brews!  If you have a suggestion of somewhere to hit up as far west as Parliament and as far east as Victoria Park, please reach out to me eastendmomfriends@gmail.com 

Stayed tuned for more adventures with East End Mom Friends!

XO Trish & co. 

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January 7, 2023

Left Field Brewery

January 7, 2023

Oh, hey there.

Have you ever wanted a recipe, took a tour of Pinterest, finally found one, only to end up scrolling… and scrolling… and scrolling to the point where you give up and just use the one on the back of the box? Or listen to a new podcast only to be met with 35 minutes of banter before they tell you about the horrific crime you tuned in for, only for that to be when your baby wakes up and you missed your window of macabre and now have to go back to Ms. Rachel?

            This isn’t like that, don’t worry. Here’s the Coles Notes:

            I became a mom in June of 2020. The worst possible year to start a new type of life. It was isolating, it was lonely, it had many rough patches. My daughter is now a happy, vibrant toddler who has no idea she missed out on baby groups, mommy and me classes, and general socialization before age one.

            But I know. And it sucks.

So when those two pink lines appeared on the stick last November, I knew I wanted to do everything. So during pregnancy I did just that. I got the massages, the acupuncture, the boujie maternity photoshoot on the beach with my bump out, I did it all.

            Enter Baby E in August of 2022. Before he was a week old I was registered for Mommy Connections, had already gone to the farmer’s market, paraded him around my daughters daycare, and googled what to do with a baby in my neighbourhood.

            And let me tell you – East Toronto is proving to be an amazing place to raise kids. I’m determined to do all of the things, and bring you along for the ride.

            So that’s it! A mom of two in the city, checking out all there is to offer for families and caregivers, and letting the world know what I thought. With a degree in Early Childhood Studies as well as Family Support and Community Engagement, I’m equipped to check it all out with a critical eye, a baby on the hip, and a constant need for coffee.

Two weeks ago, I told my partner I wanted to make an Instagram to make meetups in my area more cohesive. What I didn’t realize is how beneficial this would be to the other parents in East End Toronto. Having spent my first maternity leave in lockdown after lockdown, I knew just how lonely that time home can feel, but at the same time had no idea how refreshing it would be to just get out of the house with other moms.

            This week I hit up EarlyOn centers, breweries, coffee shops, parks and spent a little too much time on my phone hunting down ways to bring parents together. This has been especially tricky post-holiday break, when the days are short but the hours drag on. I actually told my partner this week “I feel like I’m living in a box some days.”. My son is at the age (5 months) where nothing is interesting longer than 10-15 minutes, except for my face. I barely get my coffee drank (lukewarm, of course) before its time to switch from the baby Björn to the bouncer, or the bumbo to the snuggle me, or the jolly jumper to the exerciser. (Seriously though, why do kids need so many containers?!).

            So, I threw up my hands and said “screw it! We’re getting out.”

            Did I know anyone in the group chat I messaged? No. Did I still load up my stroller, wait outside in the rain and hope someone would join me for a walk from the coffee shop down the street? I sure did! And you know what? I made two new friends that day. The next day one of the mom’s and I went to the same drop-in center.

            This week I checked out a few local businesses, some drop-in programs and a brewery. Here’s what I learned:

Coffee & Clothing (841 Gerrard St east)

The staff here are delightful. The first floor is stroller accessible, however there’s a few steps up to the clothing. There are also some low tables in the front, not a ton of seating but it was a cute little spot to get out of the rain and have an afternoon tea while E slept soundly in the stroller.

https://www.coffeeandclothing.ca/

The Rooster Coffee House (479 Broadview Avenue)

Now, full disclosure I’m a regular here. I live and work nearby, so I’m partial to this spot. However, they are not an accessible space. There is one step to get inside, and I notice most people leave their strollers outside when they go in. I will say though, last time I went and had both kids in the stroller a barista came over and helped me lift it into the cafe. So, after a rough night with my toddler, I grabbed a delicious latte, and parked myself outside, texted a neighbourhood group chat and hoped for the best. Two moms came out and we did a 5k walk in the light drizzle and talked everything from RSV to epidurals. It was great!

https://roostercoffeehouse.com/

South Riverdale Child Parent Center (765 Queen Street East)

This place is the best. If you’re a new parent and need any form of support, they’ve got it there. A toy lending library, a free clothing exchange, a hot cup of coffee, they have it all. We’ve become regulars for their circle times and events.  They have drop in times during the week, outings on Wednesdays, and a unique Saturday program.

www.srcpc.org

Kids & Coffee at City Cottage Market (1427 Kingston Rd, Scarborough, ON)

City Cottage Market was the cutest venue! They host a Kids & Coffee social every Tuesday morning. The owner was so welcoming and accommodating, and joins in with her adorable little baby. It’s a smaller space, so definitely somewhere to baby wear if possible, and if your little is mobile bring something for them to sit on. The snacks were yummy and the drinks were hot, they also had some alcoholic bevvys in cans, and lots of food options for grocery or immediate consumption. Highly recommend hitting this up if you’re in the area! (Plus, the dollar store across the street is huge!)

https://www.citycottagemarket.ca/

Left Field Brewery (36 Wagstaff Dr, Toronto)

I was super nervous about this one, as it was my first big event with East End Mom Friends. It ended up being super successful! The venue itself is big, but the tables were high top and there wasn’t much space for strollers. The office staff came out and offered to have the staff move a forklift for us (!!). This was amazing and made so much space for stroller parking. They do not serve food – so bring a snack if you’re having a drink. They also recently started carrying a number of non-alcoholic drinks which were very well received. I tried a sour beer (yum!) and a spritzer. We’ll definitely go back to this one!

https://www.leftfieldbrewery.ca/

This week felt super successful. I was overjoyed Friday after the brewery event with how many moms (and dads!) came together to connect.

I want to make two additional shoutouts to local businesses:

 Whimsical Crispie

Whimsical is a local gourmet Rice Crispie Treat maker. I won a box of treats from their Instagram and they were DELICIOUS. My 2YO and I had a field day with those, so definitely check them out as a sweet treat!

https://www.whimsicalcrispie.ca/

Alex Wessen Photography

Alex came to my Mommy Connections group and she was so fun to work with, accommodating, and kind. We got our photos back from her this week and I’m smitten! Highly recommend if you’re looking for family photos in the area.

https://www.alexwessonphotography.com/

Thanks for joining us!

Xo

Trish & co.