Families flock to events

Baby strollers threatened gridlock on Queen Street East sidewalks yesterday and would-be Cinderellas neared meltdown at the Bata Shoe Museum as Toronto families celebrated the day together.

Baby strollers threatened gridlock on Queen Street East sidewalks yesterday and would-be Cinderellas neared meltdown at the Bata Shoe Museum as Toronto families celebrated the day together.

Family Day Festival in the Beach drew hundreds of babies and toddlers riding in three-, four-, six- and eight-wheeled carriages.

Numbers grew so large at times that organizers ordered strollers to stay outside at two packed indoor church venues — one holding a crafts fair, the other a series of magic and animal shows.

Buggies also clogged a long line leading to the Ken Jen Petting Zoo set up for the day in Kew Gardens.

“How many animals are here?” co-operator Ken LaSalle asked as heavy crowds obscured the llamas, donkeys, chickens and goats from view.

“I don’t know, but I know one thing — I’ve got to make the zoo bigger next time.”

Promoters bill the Beach festival as one of the city’s oldest Family Day traditions, held annually since the province declared the February statutory holiday last year.

Sunny weather and relatively benign temperatures helped draw crowds.

“Ponies are my favourite,” said Hannah Found, 7, petting a brown and white one.

Much like the Beach festival, the Bata Shoe Museum’s Cinderella Day, celebrating “one of the most beloved family stories of all time,” appeared at times a victim of its own success.

A room set aside for telling the Cinderella story proved too small for eager crowds and the wait to try on one of three glittery Cinderella gowns proved too long for some four- and five-year-olds.

 
 
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