Before or after a big day at Canada’s Wonderland, you’ll need some food and drinks to keep you going. Here’s our selection of places close to the park, starting from breakfast, lunch and a few places to grab a bite after a day at the park.
Table of Contents
- Pre-park Fill-Ups
- Post-Wonderland eats
- Just for Kids
- Places to stay
Canada’s first major theme park, Canada’s Wonderland, opened its doors in 1981. Today it continues to thrill locals and tourists alike with its amazing attractions, from seventeen rollercoasters – the second-highest number in the world and including its newest addition, the scream-inducing Yukon Striker – to the enormous Splash Works water park and a whole host of rides, stalls, shows and events spread across its massive three hundred acre site. The scale of Wonderland is something to behold: more than two hundred attractions are within its walls, bringing in almost four million visitors every year.
Tucked amongst the suburban sprawl of Vaughan, Canada’s Wonderland is a short forty-kilometre drive north of Toronto’s downtown that’s pretty easy to get to. It’s easily accessible from Highway 400 and boasts excellent links whether you’re travelling by car (Wonderland offers ample spaces for guests), York Region Transit buses or via one of TTC’s choices. You can take the TTC to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station and hail a cab or Uber from here to the park and ride the Go Train to Maple GO Train Station, which is just a short hop from Wonderland itself. For visitors flying into Toronto, there are accessible car routes from Pearson airport and US tourists travelling north from the United States.
So now you know what Canada’s Wonderland has to offer, where it is and how to get there, what you will eat when you arrive? Enjoying all those attractions can be hungry work, after all, so here we look at what’s available to eat before, during and after your adrenaline-filled visit to one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions…
Early riser? Can’t wait to load up on pancakes and get going as soon as the park gates open? Suppose you need fuel before stepping foot inside Wonderland. In that case, numerous eateries dotted around the outskirts of the park provide excellent breakfasts, guaranteeing you at least a few hours of uninterrupted ride time before lunch. Here’s our list of pre-park haunts:
145 Hawkview Blvd, Vaughan
Just southwest of Wonderland and close enough to hear the screams from early-morning rollercoaster riders, Boom Breakfast is a fast-growing enterprise, and the Vaughan location is its newest – and largest. Great for groups, families and kids (their motto is ‘Where friends and food collide’), Boom’s menu is an extensive mashup of smoothies, salads, burgers and more, as well as the all-important breakfast choices – from omelettes to salmon and cream cheese ‘breakwiches’ to the Boom Power plate, there’s enough here to ensure you’re raring to hit those rides.
When a restaurant has survived more than three decades in the business, you know they are doing something right, and the Sunset Grill is doing it very right. With its first eatery opening in 1985, this ever-popular breakfast place has several franchises across the region, with the Rutherford Road branch closest to Wonderland. Wood-panelled, bright and welcoming, the Sunset offers a wide variety of meals, including pancakes, waffles, omelettes and French toasts, with its Famous All-Day Breakfast the star of a very packed show.
A long-running diner chain known to many across Canada and the US, Denny’s does what it says on the tin, provides a relaxed, casual foodie experience, and offers a raft of much-loved classics. The Vaughan branch sits just southeast of Canada’s Wonderland. Amongst its lengthy menu of mains, desserts, sides and drinks, there is an awe-inspiring selection of breakfasts plates, including poutine, Belgian waffles, Philly cheesesteak omelettes, sizzling skillets and even a T-bone steak affair, all of which are available around the clock.
Two miles south of the park lies Cora, whose owner – the redoubtable Cora Tsouflidou – has been in the breakfast business for more than thirty years, and it shows. With a considerable number of branches across the area, Cora provides hearty plates of comfort food with a smile, typically amongst sunny, colourful decor within its restaurants. A full belly is guaranteed when you eat here, with some huge breakfast platters and excellent fruit offerings.
Opened in 2015, this latest addition to Symposium’s fast-expanding portfolio of restaurants is just five hundred metres from Wonderland and is as packed with food choices as the park is with thrill rides. Open from morning to late every day of the week, it is a relaxed and relaxing spot for casual dining, and its breakfasts will hit the spot. Symposium’s ‘early bird’ is served from 8 am to 11 am, while its all-day offer runs until 4 pm, with the latter offering a vast selection of juices, omelettes, French toasts and waffles, as well as gourmet options (including fillet of beef medallions) and Benedicts.
As you would expect, given its size and popularity, Canada’s Wonderland offers a huge range of restaurants and fast food places inside its walls, from Subway to Pizza Pizza and a whole host of others, including International Buffets, Pretzel & Beer Bars and a wide choice of dessert stalls and diners. Coupled with the park’s ‘Dining Plans’ and ‘Meal Deals’, you’ll never miss out on a bite to eat if the fancy takes you. As we all know, however, prices can be a little steeper once you’re inside any park or centre. Instead, especially if you’ve arrived later in the day and need something to eat before entering, it’s just as enjoyable to grab lunch from one of the numerous eateries that dot the streets and ‘burbs around Wonderland itself. Often they are cheaper, sometimes healthier, and quite often far more enjoyable while offering that something a little bit different. Here’s a handful to whet your appetite:
Located just across the road from Wonderland’s large parking areas, this Afghani restaurant sits amongst a clutch of other businesses in a nondescript strip mall but don’t let that put you off. Inside its walls, the Bamiyan chefs rustle up authentic, fresh and delicious Afghan cuisine, and the restaurant is still growing in popularity – there are now seven branches across the GTA. Wraps, kabobs, kabob dinners – rammed with rice, salads, and naan bread – and a smattering of desserts means you can stock up before walking to the park.
Like Bamiyan above, Pizza Depot is within walking distance of Wonderland’s entrance gates, so it is ideal for loading up on pies before you ride. Found at the end of a row of businesses on Jane Street, it’s a blink, and you’ll miss its place if you’re speeding by. Still, it’s worth dropping in to check out its selection of meat, veggie and international pizzas, chicken wings – with over fifty flavours – and burgers, plus salads, sides and loaves of bread. There’s plenty here for those who like it fast and enjoyable, just like those rollercoasters. There’s no indoor seating, though, just takeout.
Just a few doors down from the aforementioned Pizza Depot, Eli’s Table looks like an unassuming eatery from the outside. Still, this family-owned restaurant serves excellent Mediterranean cuisine and is an instant hit with whoever eats here. There are salads, cheese and chicken burgers if you want them. Still, the show stars are the homemade, authentic shawarmas, souvlakis and falafel dishes that customers are falling over themselves to praise and which the owner clearly – and rightly – takes pride in serving.
Suppose you like fast food but are looking for something different from McDonald’s. In that case, Champion is another restaurant serving super-tasty grab-and-go food you can fill up on before enjoying what Wonderland offers. Fresh, tasty Mediterranean cuisine, huge portions, and choices such as shawarmas, doners kebabs, platters, wraps, salads, desserts including baklava and a ton of delicious sides such as tzatziki and hummus – plus the option to eat in or take away – mean Champion is one of the go-to places in Vaughan.
Just northeast of the park, Kelseys is something of a Canadian staple and almost guaranteed to satisfy with its selection of belly-warming favourites. Burly burgers, steaks, ‘fall off the bone ribs, a fish selection plus a cornucopia of pasta picks, salads, sides, wings and dips are on offer for hungry Wonderlanders, meaning you can load up on lunch, so you’re ready to hit the attractions straight away.
Once you’re done thrill-seeking for the day, it can often be the case that you need to refuel before heading home, so luckily, the streets around Wonderland are jam-packed with places to top you up with food and drink. Here’s our selection of eateries – plus a unique bar – to enjoy post-park, so your journey home is a content one:
South of the park where Highway 400 meets the 407 at the centre of Vaughan, Dave and Buster’s is ideally placed for a stop-off once you’re done for the day at Wonderland and is conveniently close to Highway 407 TTC subway station for plenty of transit connections. A sports bar on steroids, Dave and Buster’s interior is a cavern of neon, music and wall-mounted televisions where the whole family can relax and choose from an enormous selection of food and drink favourites: there’s everything here from cocktails and beers to ‘Shareable’ and ‘Snackable’ platters, sliders, burgers, steaks and ribs, and so much more.
Across the 400 from Dave and Buster’s, the Vaughan branch of Scaddabush Italian Kitchen & Bar sits amongst dozens of other restaurants and stores in the enormous retail development on Colossus Drive. A stylish interior, outdoor seating, and an extensive menu of Italian-inspired main dishes such as chicken Parmesan and crusted Pacific snapper, along with a solid clutch of pizzas and pasta, make this a worthwhile stop before you head home.
Taking up a prime spot across the street from Canada’s Wonderland, the St. Louis Bar & Grill is a diner-cum-sports-bar that has no pretensions other than to make sure you’re full of hearty favourites when you leave. Casual, comfortable and with a smattering of widescreen televisions showing games, you can stuff yourself with wings, tacos, poutines, ribs and plenty more here.
Just a couple of miles south of the park, Zafferano is a family-owned and run restaurant where you’ll be made to feel right at home. With lovely décor and a relaxing ambience, the food adds to the feeling of sitting in an authentic upscale eatery somewhere in Italy. There’s something for everyone here with their varied and creative menu, offering much-loved Italian classics along with a good selection of inventive dishes that are a twist on the traditional.
There are times when, post-rollercoasters, all you need is a filling, delicious hand-to-mouth wrap of Greek goodness; this is where the Astoria comes in. Tucked a little out of the way in a small mall where Highway 73 meets the 400, it’s worth making the trip due to the great choice of dishes and takeaways, including mixed grills, seafood favourites, sandwiches, sides and salads, as well as those all-important staples, the souvlakis and stuffed pita bread.
You can’t go wrong with this place if you’re looking for a bar with sports on the TVs and good food. Food is the usual hearty fare of bar favourites such as wings, burgers, pizzas and kabobs, and a good choice of appetisers, sides, salads and desserts.
One of the top twenty restaurants in the area, Tandoori Time, can be found tucked away in Norwood Plaza, just a few hundred metres east of Wonderland’s parking areas. Serving up delicious halal Pakistani and Indian cuisine, this eatery may be on the small side, but it has some serious credentials, including numerous awards for its food. At Tandoori Time, dine-in or takeout from the extensive choice of dishes, including kebabs, curries, fish meals and biryanis, and the full complement of sides, desserts and drinks, to wash it all down.
Situated just off Highway 73 and a short drive south from the theme park, The Keg Steakhouse & Bar is plush, welcoming, and ideal if you fancy dropping in with a large group of friends or family. Logs of dark wood, lots of low lighting, and lots of delicious shellfish and aged beef sirloins mean The Keg will not disappoint if you’re looking for something casual yet thoroughly enjoyable.
Aniche eatery, but this is the place to go for those who enjoy sipping on fantastic craft beers while riding through Red Dead Redemption II landscapes. Literally down the street from the park, Green Dragon is ‘Vaughan’s first video game bar’, a small-but-perfectly-formed stop-off where you can hang with friends, relax on sofas, and either buy or play a massive selection of video games while enjoying excellent, locally-brewed craft beer. It’s like being at home before you’ve even arrived there.
Just for Kids
Overdosed on one of the park’s ‘Meal Deals’ and don’t need to eat, but your children are still – somehow, despite all those chicken wings they devoured at lunch – crying out for food? The good news is there are many well-known fast food places around Wonderland for a quick and easy fix for youngsters. McDonald’s is well represented in the area, as you would expect, with at least four restaurants within a few miles of the park. At the same time, eateries such as Hero Certified Burgers, A&W, Pizza Hut and Wendy’s are handily placed for a stop-off if you need something quick. If it’s something to eat before you enter Wonderland, breakfasts are served at most of the aforementioned big-name chains. At the same time, many of our restaurant choices also do something for the little ones in the form of separate kids’ menus.
Places to stay
As you would expect in the suburb of a major metropolis, Vaughan and its nearby areas possess an impressive choice of hotels and places to stay, so if your Wonderland visit morphs from a one-day visit to a three-day weekend mini-vacation, you’re not going to spend it sleeping in your car. Aloft and Novotel have hotels just south of the park, while the Hilton and Marriott Residence are a little further towards the junction of Highways 400 and 407. Still, there are numerous locations in the centre of Vaughan. Wonderland offers a ‘vacation package’, which provides entry to the park and a choice of nearby hotels, so if it’s a two-day visit with an overnight stay, for example, both your needs are catered for.
Photo: Jeremy Thompson / Flickr