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 well worth 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. Some great spots to cool off include Alex Duff Memorial Pool, Monarch Park Pool, Greenwood Park Outdoor Pool, High Park Pool and Sunnyside Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool on the Lakeshore, 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 the Toronto Food Truck Festival (August 2-5, 2019), Toronto Ribfest (June 28-July 1, 2019), Taste of the Middle East (July 27, 2019), Vegandale Food and Drink Festival (August 10, 2019), Beer, Bourbon & BBQ (August 9-11, 2019) and Pizza Fest (July 19-21, 2019) among many other food-focused events.
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 20, 2019), Salsa on St. Clair (July 6-7, 2019), Dundas West Fest (June 7-8, 2019), Taste of Lawrence (July 5-7, 2019) and Taste of the Danforth (August 9-11, 2019).
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 Union Summer at Toronto's Union Station (May 31-August 3, 2019), Toronto Flower Market (Saturdays May 11 to October 12, 2019), Leslieville Flea (multiple dates in 2019), Waterfront Night Market (August 9-11, 2019) and the Distillery Sunday Market at Toronto's historic Distillery District (May 26 to mid-October, 2019).
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 in 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 at various locations 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 12-14, 2019), Liberty Village Art Crawl (June 8, 2019) and Kensington Market Art Fair (May 26, June 30, July 28, August 25, and September 29, 2019).
Make you way to a music festival
Summer is food festival season, street festival season and definitely music festival season. You can see live music in Toronto all year long, but in terms of summer, there are lots of music fests to look forward to suit most musical tastes, including VELD Music Festival (August 3-4, 2019), Dreams Festival (June 29-30, 2019), TD Toronto Jazz Festival (June 21-30, 2019) and Beaches International Jazz Festival (July 5-28, 2019).
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 16 to September 2, 2019 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, pick up some cooking tips from celebrity chefs, do some shopping at the Outdoor Marketplace and much more.
Hang out at Harbourfront
Toronto's Harbourfront Centre is a great place to spend a few sunny, summer days. The waterfront location can't be beat, plus there are always festivals and events going on for people of all ages. Whether you're interested in food-focused events, music, cultural activities or art - you'll find something worthwhile to see and do here.