An Inside Look At The New Duran Place For Kids In Oakville!

There’s a new sand box in town, and it’s not at your local playground!

Last week we had the pleasure of visiting the new Duran Place For Kids, as part of our Travelling Tots program.  Owned and operated by a local Oakville family, this unique play centre is based out of a beautifully restored commercial school in downtown Oakville.

The owners, Claudio Duran and Tina De Crisci, know a thing or two about children. They have five children, they are foster parents and Tina is an elementary teacher.

The previously mentioned sand box, is actually an entire room filled with Sandtastik sand!

Venture a few steps into the next room and your little one’s imagination can run wild with these life size building blocks.

The best part?  There’s a comfortable sitting lounge in between the two rooms where families can relax with a complementary coffee while surfing the free wi-fi (that is, if you can tear yourself away from playing yourself!)

The bottom floor reminds me of a modern wooden ski lounge – it’s currently being used for the centre’s variety of art programs – both for children and adults.  The space can also be rented for adult parties/meetings.  Liquor licenses available!

The middle floor is set up for music lessons.

The beautiful upper floor is filled with natural light via the original windows.  Families can enjoy a variety of activities up here like Salsa Tots, Yoga, ballet, Hip Hop, and Kickboxing.

A short flight of stairs up and you’re on the 1,300 square foot rooftop.  The owners are toying with a number of ideas as to how to use what is soon to be the most popular floor.  From a summer green space to create art, to a mini ice rink in the winter – the possibilities are only limited by the wild imagination.  Rumour has it that the roof top also boasts prime seating for the Oakville Santa Claus parade!

You’re sure to be delighted by all kinds of other surprises throughout the building, including beautiful artwork and 5 mini fairy doors!








Each floor is available to rent for parties, as each floor is equipped with its own kitchenette and washroom.  The only thing to be mindful of is that the rooms are only accessible via stairs – grandfathered in its use since major renovations in 2000.

There are a few parking spots onsite and some are also available on the street.  Entry fees for play are just $10/child.  Have fun exploring this amazing new addition to Oakville!

Written by Andrea Mitchell Patkau, Mommy Connections Oakville Graduate

My first Mommy Connections Mom & Baby class was the first day of spring; it was a new beginning! Like the name of the program suggests, it embodies the idea of connection on all accounts. I am so happy to have been part of this program because not only did I connect with other mommies, but it allowed me to connect more with my baby, and to also connect with the presenters and thus learn more about many aspects of motherhood.

I think my favourite class was the baby wearing class and the baby bootcamp! I learned so much about baby wearing including which carriers are safer for pelvic floor health and how to wear my baby on my back!! That same class, we did a 30 minute workout whole wearing our babies! The next day my thighs and calves were so sore, the sign of a good workout!


The structure of how the classes are set up really maximize learning and keep it interesting. Each class there are two presenters sharing their expertise on a subject. Some examples of topics are: first aid, baby proofing, mom and baby yoga, infant massage, photography, music, baby bootcamp, baby wearing, daycare, baby sign language and many more!

The other cool thing is you get a swag bag  on the first day filled with tons of product, magazines and samples.

Mommy Connections is a great way to learn more about motherhood, connect with your baby and other moms, and have fun! Motherhood can sometimes feel scary, overwhelming and lonely, but knowing that you have a group of women who are experiencing the same things you are, helps tremendously with those feelings and provides you with a safe community to share and learn.

I attended the class in Oakville, but there are programs all over the country. Milton, Burlington, Caledon, Toronto, Vaughan, Ajax and Barrie are amongst some of the locations in Ontario.


Thanks for a great experience!


Is it Friday yet? I look forward to Fridays every week. Not because it’s the start of the weekend, but because that’s the day I go to my Mommy & Baby Barre class at The Barre Life Studio in Oakville.

I stumbled on the Barre Life website in my search for a fitness Mom & Baby class. With time and money limited with a 3 month old, it was very important to me that the class fit the following criteria; convenient, affordable, safe, challenging and FUN! It was also important to me that my son Nico be incorporated into the class and the workout.


The Mommy & Baby Workshop at Barre Life seemed like it would be the perfect fit.

This workshop exceeded my expectations. It was a great introduction back into an active lifestyle post-partum,  as it focused on strengthening a lot my areas weakened as a result of pregnancy and childbirth; core, hips, butt and pelvic floor. With the added excruciating upper body workout as a bonus, this workout also included many pelvic floor safe and strengthening exercises.

The workshop was taught by Suzanne, a trained ballet and pilates instructor. Don’t let this sweet and pleasant ballerina fool you, she is tough and worked us hard every week.  No rest for the sleep deprived!  The class is a combination of  exercises at the barre and mat work, all while working out to Top 40 music. There is just something so awesome about doing ballet moves to LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy And I Know It”.

The babies in our class were safely incorporated into the workout. They either joined in with us in their carrier, or lay and played on the mat.  The environment was comfortable and inviting. Fussy, hungry, crying and tired babies are all welcome!


Worried this class is only for dancers, or that you have to be coordinated, not at all! It’s a great workout for anyone and everyone.

I wasn’t the only one that enjoyed the class. Nico loved it too! He loved to watch our arms as they moved from first position, to second then third, and enjoyed the ride as I had to plié over and over and over again.

As the session was about to come to a close, a few of us inquired whether there would be another session to follow.  We discussed how much we love the class, and hoped we could attend more often. Niki, owner and studio coordinator, took our feedback and the classes are now running twice per week (Tuesdays & Fridays) in the new session.

The workshop is open to babies who are not actively crawling (6 weeks to 7 months).  The childminding room is also available for sleeping babies, nursing, or for older siblings. If you aren’t sure if you can commit to the full session of 8 classes, a drop in option is also available at $18 per class. For more information or to register, click here.

Is that a baby @ the barre? It sure is!

– Nicole


For more information on other classes offered at Barre Life, check out Megan’s recent review of the Ballet Resistance class, here.

barrelogoOne of the newest fitness crazes is the ballet barre class. I recently visited Barre Life studio in Oakville for their Ballet Resistance class. And WOW what a class! It’s 60 minutes of intense ballet inspired exercises targeting your core, legs and arms. Lot’s of relevés for those fabulous dancer legs. Tendues, Jetés, Battements, Retirés – front, side and back – and yes – then to the other side!

image What makes this class so amazing is all the exercises are done in the center holding on to bungee resistance cords hanging from the ceiling instead of a barre – just to challenge your core that extra bit more!

The facility is gorgeous. and so inviting when you walk in. A lounge with coffee and tea, stunning changeroom, showers and towel service. I didn’t want to leave after class! There is also child minding available for certain classes.

I started training in classical ballet at the age of 5 and dance has always been an important part of my life. Dance is the best full-body workout! Long lean muscles and beautiful posture. As a dancer, I enjoyed the Barre Life fitness classes. It brought back a lot of memories and was so inspiring to exercise through ballet. But these classes are not just for dancers, anyone can feel the intensity and burn of the Barre Life experience! New to barre, try the Barre Classic; a mix of ballet, pilates, strength and flexibility.

image(1)As a mother of two now, finding the time to exercise can be a challenge, at Barre Life I can get a full-body workout in an hour, be surrounded by amazing people at the same time, and have fun!

Check out their website and class schedule here and let’s go to a class and make it a Barre Life kinda day!

– Megan



When my son was about to start daycare a few years ago, there was one consistent piece of advice I received from other experienced moms; LABEL EVERYTHING. From clothes to bottles to bottle caps to blankets, it was highly recommended by the daycare providers as well, that all his personal items be branded with his name. With so many kids in each class and all possessing similar bottles and blankets, it’s hard for the teachers to remember what belongs to whom. By labeling all his personal items it was likely that they would actually be returned back home.

Being a fairly new and naïve mom at the time and wanting to still do everything on my own, I at first thought that meant, pulling out my trusty black sharpie and writing his initials on everything…made sense right? No, that’s just silly. With my large bubbly handwriting that would never work. So then I thought that meant getting out the Avery labels and running them through my printer. But wait, would those stand up to the washing machine and Sunlight dish soap. Probably not. So, the next step…google. I came across a few companies. Although they varied in design, size and costs, they were all pretty much the same. I found what I needed at the time.

Fast track 4 years and a few orders later, and now it’s time again to order some more labels. This time I thought I would try and change it up a bit. The Elora Label Company is a Canadian company, founded and owned by a mom herself, Nancy Ariss. Made in Canada, all their labels are washable, durable and long lasting, UV resistant, dishwasher, microwave and laundry safe (I can attest for this one already).

IMG_5924 (1)The Elora Label Company has a great refund policy. If you are not happy with your labels, they will work with you to make it right, or provide a full refund within 30 days of your purchase. All their products are 100% guaranteed.

Unique to Elora Label Company is their Sibling Set. You can order one package, but add 2 names, 2 ICONS and 2 colour combinations.

The Allergy Medical Set includes 24 labels that can be customized with a name, phone number and condition.

Fundraising opportunities are also available.

What I personally love about the Elora Label Company and their labels;

– Great price!

– They all come together in one neat and tidy booklet. With numerous sheets of labels, somehow they always seemed to end up in different spots in the house. As a result, I never really knew if I had run out of labels, or if that one sheet of clothing tags was just misplaced. So now when rummaging through that pesky kitchen junk drawer, I can now just look for my book of Elora labels and know exactly how many I have left. Brilliant!

– LOVE the options for the colour combination and cute ICONs . There were many ICONS to choose from.

– So many shoe labels! Between outside shoes, inside shoes, crocs for swimming, skates and soccer cleats, I always found that there weren’t enough shoe labels in many of the standard packages. The Elora Label Company’s standard package comes with 12 shoe stickies.

– Ordering is easy! In just 4 simple steps;

1. Choose your package type

2. Pick your color combo

3. Choose your ICON

4. Add your name

– The online account keeps track of all your recent orders, so you know exactly what you have ordered and when. This can be very helpful with repeat orders.

– FREE standard shipping in Canada!!!! Seriously? How often do you see this?

– Nancy has a great blog!

Ironically as I write this review, we are currently missing a pair of snow pants. They didn’t come home from school. No, they were not labeled (funny enough, at the time I couldn’t seem to find my sheet of clothing labels). Next time I just have to look for my book of Elora labels.

Enter our contest to win your own standard set of Elora labels, valued at $34.95 CLICK HERE TO ENTER CONTEST.

Like” and Share this post on the Mommy Connections Oakville Facebook page for additional entries. Contest closes March 12, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Give your inbox a dose of delight.

Sign up to receive helpful parenting info, program updates, contests, and special offers - right in your inbox.