Centreville: The Mecca of my Childhood


David has had it with amusement parks. 13 years worth of kids will do that to you. 13 years of find ways to keep our kids entertained on vacation has drained the joy of any group fun from David. Also, David now hates any toys with pieces. Too many years of sorting lego from playmobil, finding the right box for the right puzzle pieces, stepping on pieces from Trouble — it has all taken its toll on Dave.

But I am a nostalgic, sentimental creature of habit. Did I go there as a kid? Did Yael and Yoni have the experience as well? Well, then ALL of my kids need to share in that experience. Enter: Center Island. It is the must-have Toronto childhood experience. Those little fire engines, antique cars, the train… mmm… (also, we were in Toronto for 40 hours. no, I didn’t call you. I love you, but five kids means it becomes a family vacation and not a let me see the people I love vacation.)

Under the guise of going bike riding on Center Island, I convince David we should go. Really, I’m insane. There is a 60% chance of thunder storms. You need to get on a ferry to get to the island. Any normal person would understand that standing in a thunder storm waiting for a ferry back with EVERYONE else on the island would be a disaster, but I simply forget to think logically. We must go. It’s Center freaking Island. My entire kids’ childhoods depend on having this joint experience.

We bike ride. There is no bike small enough for Dov who may be the most athletic Katz we have. Channan’s bike is just a few inches (centimeters!) too big for him. They are not having fun. I am not having fun. But I know the answer: I leave David to bike on a 4 wheel 4 person surrey bike with the older kids, I take the younger boys to the amusement park, the Mecca: Centreville. (Remember how much David hates amusement parks? 4 person surrey bikes? A close second).

Me and the two little boys enter the Canadian Garden of Eden. Every normal person who listens to the weather has not shown up at Center Island. Fearing the inevitable rain, everyone stays home. Everyone but me and my boys. The wait time on every ride is 0 seconds. We got on everything a zillion times. My brother, who has long known my departure for rational thought as his sad reality, shows up in his role of Awesome Uncle — with a cooler full of freezies and bakery cookies. Life is good.

The rest of the family joins us for a lunch of PB & J served perilously close to way too many seagulls. From there, the kids are in heaven. Nani is finally tall enough to go on all rides with them. They ride the log flume ride 8 times in a row without ever having to get off. From there it is the roller coaster (a late addition to Centerville that I have no emotional attachment to), the scrambler and anything else they want. Dov and I head back to the antique cars. David and David play on their phones or take naps.

There is no rain. I take a thousand pictures. They eat ice cream. We head home. Childhood is saved. I am happy.

(ps. this is not the first nor the last time that my complete irrationality has been or will be rewarded and validated.)



  1. Talia

    Ah the scrambler! Can’t believe it still works. Are there still barely there restraints so you are perilously close to being thrown off the WHOLE time? Loved every second.

    • I wouldn’t know. I will TOTALLY not go on the scrambler anymore. I’m way too scared!

      • Elisheva

        The scrambler was the best. Also, I am still traumatized by having my lunch stolen by one of those seagulls.

  2. Tziona

    Correction: CenTRE Island 🙂

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