5 Waterparks in Ontario You and Your Teen Will Love By Rosalind Stefanac The heat is on, and for those of us who don’t own a cottage or backyard pool, waterparks are a great way to keep cool and have some fun with your teens in the process. Here are my top picks for teen-friendly outdoor water parks in Ontario to check out this summer—and they all feature private cabanas for rental if you’re looking for privacy, shade and poolside bar service. Bingemans Big Splash Kitchener, Ontario Why they’ll love it: In addition to 11 water slides and a large wave pool, the park features a big indoor arcade, outdoor mini-golf and dedicated space for beach volleyball. Lots of open spaces for playing frisbee too. Why you’ll love it: Free parking! You can bring your own food/cooler (no alcohol or glass) and can camp on the premises via tent, container cabin or log cabin (there are 450 campsites available). Campers get access to a lovely gated pool and poolside loungers too. Calypso Limoges, Ontario Why they’ll love it: The biggest of the bunch with 35 waterslides and a wide selection of water games. My teen (and I) loved the Kongo Expedition, a lazy river that took us through jungle-like caves and unexpected waterfalls via inner tube. The park also houses Canada’s largest wave pool at 50,000 square feet, with waves hitting up to 1.5 metres above the surface. Why you’ll love it: If you don’t rent a cabana, there are lots of shaded, grassy areas with picnic tables for reading or napping while the teens are occupied. You can bring your own picnic, plus there are several bars/eateries on site. Well worth the drive even if you’re outside of Ottawa. Splashworks: Canada’s Wonderland Vaughan, Ontario Why they’ll love it: Thrill-seekers will get a kick out of the 60-foot tall Muskoka Plunge or the Super Soaker, which takes rafters spiraling down a dark tunnel to plummet into a splash pool. Even my 17-year-old, who is rarely impressed by anything, rated the day a 9/10 (point lost due to lineups). Why you’ll love it: Once the water park closes at 7 p.m., there is still a massive amusement park within the premises included with your admission, which means easy access to more rides, shows/concerts and plenty of restaurants. Just note that the waterpark’s cabanas sell out quickly so book at least a week in advance. Wet ’n’ Wild Toronto Brampton, Ontario Why they’ll love it: Thrilling slides, such
4 Things To Do With Your Teen In Toronto This Summer Summer may be half over but there is still time to have some serious fun with your teen. In a bustling city like Toronto, with so much to do, the options can sometimes be overwhelming. Whether you want to make it a day out with the family or if you only have a few hours to spare, we have something for you! Go to Canada’s Wonderland. Wonderland has something to offer all family members of all ages. Check out the new ride, The Yukon Striker, which is the longest, tallest and fastest dive coaster in the world. If rollercoasters aren’t your thing, check out Wonderland’s waterpark, Splash Works, where you can cool down and experience waterslides and wave pools. Take them to the Museum of Illusions. Of interest to kids, adults, and everything in between, the Museum of Illusions offers a one-of-a-kind interactive art experience that blends science and psychology. With more than 70 different illusions, there is a great balance of simple illusions and advanced mind-benders that make you question your own perception. Make sure you visit the vortex tunnel! Take them to Casa Loma. The gothic castle is a landmark in Toronto, where you can visit the past by viewing their Classic Car Collection and their Dark Side of Toronto photo exhibit. Or, you can experience their escape room series! Try the immersive and theatrical King of the Bootleggers escape room, set in 1920s Toronto during prohibition, where you must take cues from the actors and work with your team to become the new Kings and Queens of the Bootleggers. Visit The Funhouse. The Funhouse is an immersive experience created by visual and musical artists from across Toronto. You begin in a 1920s hotel, then get lured deeper into a multi-sensory maze of 14 featured rooms. Blending visual arts, music and immersive tech for an alternate universe, the Funhouse is always different (you choose your own adventure!) for a unique experience for everyone. Photos courtesy of Tourism Toronto.
Carlos Bustamante's 5 Truths About Hollywood As a reporter on ET Canada, Carlos Bustamante is used to life in the spotlight. He’s had a front row seat to the glam life of Hollywood and has witnessed first-hand the making of stardom. That’s why he knows all too well that fame is not as simple as it seems. Behind every success story is not only years of struggle, but a team of people to manage everything from hair, makeup and publicity to being responsible for what comes next. What else he sees? Hollywood life is not all it’s cracked up to be, which is something he thinks every star-struck teen needs to understand. We sat down with Bustamante to chat about the realities of Hollywood and fame, and the messages he wants every teen to know. By Rachel Naud Your kids are still young but if they become interested in Hollywood glam, what will you tell them? They’ll understand how unreal a lot of what they see is. I have friends that are makeup artists and publicists that work with actors. There is a community of people that make a famous person famous. They will understand that. If they become obsessed with fame or want people to know who they are, they will understand that there is work that goes into becoming a top-rated movie star. You don’t just wake up one day and have someone discover you. More often than not, it comes from years of hard work, whether you want to be an actor or a musician. Behind every success story is one about a person working for decades before a big break finally came along and 100 more people that never got their big break. The main lesson I want them to learn is that if they choose a career that might end up in fame, their main focus should be their love for their craft. Because if they don’t have that, they’ll never be happy trying to make it. How do you think Instagram and other social media feeds have influenced the desire to be famous? I think social media has made fame accessible. Anyone can pick up a phone and record themselves. The possibility becomes so much closer to home. You don’t have to live in L.A. to make it big. But they still have to understand that the YouTubers who have the highest followers or have endorsement deals work every single day,
6 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR TEEN Many of us have made the resolution to do better. To have more meaningful relationships with our teens and to connect with them on a higher level. If you want to make this year the best ever with your teen, here are six things you can do. By Brooke Martin LISTEN Teens have their hearts and minds pulled in different directions from daily pressures and worldly influences. The art of listening is a gift that heals wounds, loves unconditionally, and ignites creativity in the one being heard. Think about it. What kind of person do we lean into when we are trying to sort out problems in life? Generally, we gravitate to the open-hearted, non-judgmental and unsolicited people in our lives. The ones who listen, truly listen. Why is the art of listening so powerful? We can help our teens discover who they are by creating a safe space where they can pour out their thoughts and perspectives of life, tell their stories, and unload disappointments. MONITOR DIGITAL DEVICES Strap in parents! Teens today are the first generation of "screenagers," which means we are the first generation to parent screenagers. This is not an easy task! As a mother of three teenagers, the digital device battles flooded our home for a good two years until I finally grew a backbone and buckled down. As a result, my kids are happier, less stressed, and there is more peace in our home! Teenagers are turning to devices to cope with normal hard emotions instead of learning healthy coping skills in life. The average teenager in the U.S. spends nine hours a day of screen time. Studies show teens who spend over three hours a day are much more likely to have depression, anxiety, feel fatigued and chronic stress. The iPod was released in 2007 and Instagram was released in 2010. In the U.S., from 2007-2015 the suicide rate in girls doubled and increased 30 per cent in boys. Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst all teenagers in the U.S. and is the No. 1 leading cause of death in teenage girls. How can we make improvements? SELF-CHECK. Our kids model our behaviour. Are we on our phones during dinner? Do we set our own time restrictions? Do we turn to social media (or video gaming) to cope with hard emotions instead of healthy coping skills? Be transparent with your teen in your own personal
5 Ways to Get Festive with the HP Sprocket Printer The HP Sprocket Printer is one of the season’s hottest gifts for teens. And, while it’s perfect for printing photos and sharing with friends, there is more you can do with the HP Sprocket Printer than just print and share photos. For the ultimate in festive fun, here is 5 ways you can spread the holiday cheer with your HP Sprocket Printer. Sweet Treats. If you’re gifting a jar of your famous shortbread or Christmas bark to friends and family, use your HP Printer Sprocket to make a very personal label! Maybe it’s a picture of your bestie enjoying your treats? Or perhaps it’s a snapshot of the two of you together? Either way, they’ll be sure to love the package as much as what is inside. String it up. Whether you’re decorating for a party or want to add some flair to your bedroom, the HP Sprocket LED String Light Clips lets you deck your halls with memories of friends and family throughout the holidays! Throughout the year, you can swap out the photos each season! Put together a holiday bullet journal. Bullet journals are the latest trend wherein practicality meets creativity. Part To-Do Lists, Part Planner and Part Diary, these all-in-one organizers are ideal for keeping your tasks on track while writing down your deepest thoughts or sharing life’s happy moments. A reminder of an upcoming New Year’s Eve party can be heightened with photos printed from your HP Sprocket Printer of all the fun you had at the party once you get home! Map it out. Are you travelling over the holidays? Tape a map to your wall and print out photos from your journeys. Dot the map with memories of skiing in the West Coast or sipping frosty mocktails poolside in Cancun. Better than any passport stamp, your HP Sprocket Printer photos will brighten your map while taking you down memory lane every time you look at it. Tag. You’re it. Need a creative tag to put on a hostess gift? Or meeting up to exchange gifts with friends on Boxing Day? Instead of sticking a generic tag on a present, print out a photo of the two of you and attach it to the gift for a personalized festive touch.