Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the beauty of Toronto’s waterfront and there are many ways to spend some quality time by the lake either by being near it, on it or directly in it. With summer in full swing why not get yourself down to the water to soak up some sun and enjoy the waterfront breezes? Here are nine things to do by the lake in Toronto.
Play Some Beach Volleyball
Get active by the water with some beach volleyball. It’s great exercise, it's social and it allows you to spend time on the sand. Get your beach volleyball fix through Ashbridges Bay Beach Volleyball in the east end, or there are eight beach volleyball courts at Sunnyside Beach Park for playing a game or two in Toronto’s west end.
Go Paddle Boarding
SUP, or stand-up paddle boarding has firmly rooted itself as a popular summer activity in Toronto and it makes for a fun way to experience the lake. It’s become one of my favorite ways to take advantage of warm weather and there are numerous places to do it in the city. You can rent boards or take lessons via Toronto Adventures, Oceah Oceah SUP Girlz and Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre to name a few.
Jump in the Lake
Since you're by the water, why not take a dip? The majority of Toronto’s beaches have good water quality so you shouldn’t have to think twice about donning a swimsuit and jumping in. Some of the best options include Ward’s Island Beach, Marie Curtis Park Beach, Kew-Balmy Beach and Woodbine Beach.
Hang out at Sugar Beach or HTO Park
You may not be able to swim at Sugar Beach or HTO Park, but they do make for idyllic spots to enjoy Toronto’s waterfront. These two urban parks offer sand beneath your feet as well as comfy Muskoka chairs beneath colorful umbrellas – pink in the case of Sugar Beach and bright yellow in the case of HTO Park.
Kayak or Canoe
If SUP isn’t your preferred way to paddle, you can get onto the water in Toronto via canoe or kayak. As in the case of paddle boarding you can rent or opt for lessons or guided paddles via Toronto Adventures, The Complete Paddler and Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre.
Take a Paddle Boat Ride
Unlike canoeing or kayaking, paddle boating requires very little effort, but a ride still makes for a fun way to be on the water. All it takes is a little peddling and the boats are particularly great for kids. You can do some paddle boating at the Toronto Islands by renting one through the Toronto Islands Boat House, or head to Harbourfront Centre where you can take a ride on Natrel Pond overlooking the waterfront.
Go on a Boat Cruise
One of the most relaxing ways to be on the water in Toronto is by taking a boat cruise, of which there are many options in the city. Some are themed (from beer cruises and dinner cruises to dance-focused cruises) and others just allow you to enjoy the city skyline from the lake. Check out cruises from Mariposa Cruises, Harbour Tours and Jubilee Queen.
Spend Time at Sunnyside Pavilion
Spending time at Sunnyside Pavilion is another great way to take advantage of the beauty of the city’s waterfront. The beautiful art deco building is where you’ll find Sunnyside Cafe, the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat and a drink with beachfront views. In addition to being right by the beach, Sunnyside Pavilion is beside the Martin Goodman Trail and Gus Ryder pool, one of the biggest and best outdoor public pools in the city.
Chill Out on a Lakeside Patio
Nothing says summer like relaxing on a patio, but the best patios in the city come with a view of the water. They’re great for people watching and tend to offer a respite from the heat thanks to breezes off the lake. Some of the best lakeside patios in Toronto include the sprawling space at Amsterdam BrewHouse, Against the Grain Urban Tavern, The Goodman Pub & Kitchen, Eden Trattoria and The Riviera (formerly Rectory Cafe) on Ward’s Island.