Summer in the city is finally upon us and it already feels like it’s flying by. If you’re wondering how to maximize your warm weather days, there’s plenty to do to keep you busy no matter where your summer interests lie. The city is filled with festivals, events and activities worthy of your time this season. Here are 12 of the best things to do in Toronto this summer.
Pop into a pool
No pool at home? No problem. Toronto is not short on spots to jump into an outdoor pool, which is a blessing on a steamy day when all you want to do is cool off. The city is home to 57 outdoor pools as well as 104 wading pools and 93 splash pads – so you should be able to find somewhere to splash around in your neighbourhood. In addition to Sunnyside, some other great spots to cool off include Alex Duff Memorial Pool, Monarch Park Pool, Greenwood Park Outdoor Pool and High Park Pool to name just a few.
Hit up a food festival
It there’s any time in Toronto to feast, it’s in the summer. There are so many food events and festivals happening it would be impossible to hit all of them. Food festivals are a great way to try new foods from all over the world and from some of the best restaurants in the city. Bring your appetite to TO Food Fest (July 9-10), Toronto Food Truck Festival (July 29-31), Pan American Food Festival (August 13014) and Toronto Vegan Food and Drink Festival (August 13).
Hang out at a street festival
Like food events in the city, summer in the Toronto is the season of street festivals. These are a fantastic opportunity to get to know a neighbourhood and interact with the local community. Some of this year’s street festivals include Big on Bloor (July 23-24), Salsa on St. Clair (July 9-10), Taste of St. Lawrence (July 8-10), TD Festival of Asia (August 15-16) and Cabbagetown Festival (September 7-11) to name just a few happening throughout the summer.
Shop an outdoor market
Sure, you can shop in a mall, but in the summer why not take advantage of the sunshine and shop at an outdoor market? Whether you take advantage of one of the city’s many farmers’ markets, or one of the seasonal markets popping up all over the city, there are numerous opportunities to shop outdoors for everything from vintage clothing to flowers to food. Check out Leslieville Flea, Waterfront Artisan Market and Lakeview Market to name a few.
Watch a movie under the stars
Save the multiplex for when you need to hide from winter’s dreaded wind chill. During the summer, take advantage of the chance to catch a flick outdoors. Whether it’s Christie Pits, Harbourfront, Yonge-Dundas Square or Regent Park, you have your pick of spots to watch outdoor summer flicks.
Sun yourself at Sunnyside
Sunnyside Pavilion, that big, beautiful, historic art deco dame, is one of the best spots to be in the summertime. First off, Sunnyside Gus Ryder pool is one of the biggest and best outdoor public pools n Toronto. Not to mention, you’re right next to the Waterfront Trail as well as next to Sunnyside Beach. And when you’re done swimming and sunning you can enjoy a drink or some pub grub and wood oven pizzas at beachfront Sunnyside Café.
Head to the beach
In addition to the aforementioned Sunnyside Beach, Toronto is blessed with a number of fine stretches of sand perfect for plopping down with a blanket and a good beach read. Sneak off to the Toronto Islands to enjoy Ward’s Island Beach or Hanlan’s Point, or check out Cherry Beach or Kew-Balmy Beach in the east end of the city.
Cool off with a frozen treat
Summer is the perfect time to indulge in a frozen treat and Toronto has some great options for cooling down with something sweet. Paletas, Mexican ice pops, are available in more and more venues in Toronto including Wrestlers in Kensington Market and at Café Con Leche in the Junction Triangle. Not to mention, Thai ice cream rolls from Arctic Bites, churro ice cream cones from Pancho’s Bakery and straight up ice cream cones from Dutch Dreams.
Check out an outdoor art festival
Add to your art collection this summer with a trip to an outdoor art festival, of which there are several in Toronto. And we’re not just talking painting - you’ll see photography well-represented as well as other mediums being showcased across the city. Some options include Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (July 8-10), Entertainment District Art Crawl (July 18) and Bloorcourt Arts and Crafts Fair (August 27).
Make you way to a music festival
Summer is food festival season, street festival season and definitely music festival season. We’ve seen several so far, but there are still lots of music fests to look forward to suit most musical tastes, including VELD Music Festival (July 30-31), OVO Fest (July 29-August 1), Camp Wavelength (August 19-21), Time Festival (August 6) and TURF (September 15-19).
Visit the CNE
What’s summer without a trip to the city’s annual end of season fun fair? The Canadian National Exhibition runs from August 19 to September 5 and you can expect the usual frenzy of rides, games, food and entertainment. Indulge in deep fried goodies in the food building or fill up at Ribfest (happening every day of the CNE), sip some beer at Craft Beer Fest (August 26-27), pick up some cooking tips from celebrity chefs including Michael Smith and Lynn Crawford, do some shopping at the Outdoor Marketplace and much more.
Splash down a giant slide
The giant slide, courtesy of Slide the City, is coming back to Toronto July 16. If you’re OK with waiting in what’s sure to be a very long lineup, don your swimsuit, grab an inflatable tube and head to Downsview Park for a fun way to cool off on a (hopefully) hot day. If you forget a tube, there will be some to purchase on-site.