All signs are pointing to an absolutely sweltering summer in the city, leaving Torontonians scrambling to make plans to maximize their outdoor summer fun. With over 1,500 parks, 11 public beaches, and 7,500 restaurants to pick from, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
As of 18th of June 2021 at 3 p.m., 2,911,071 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Toronto, placing the city in a far more stable and safe place than last summer. In order to sustain the downward trend in cases, it's critical to keep abiding by current public health mandates and remain vigilant about curbing potential community spread within your social circle. All of the below activities can be safely enjoyed in the company of distanced friends, so slap on some sunscreen, bring a bottle of water and get ready to have an incredible Toronto summer.
Take a Public Art Tour
If you're finding yourself missing trips to the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, or one of Toronto's other major cultural institutions, take yourself on a walk to an outdoor public art installation. There are nearly 400 works of public art, big and small, sprinkled throughout the city and recorded in the City of Toronto's Public Art and Monuments Collection database. Some highlights include "Tom Thomson's Canoe" designed by Vancouver's Douglas Coupland located in City Place, Zhuang Huan's stunning two-part stainless steel sculpture "Rising" located on University Avenue outside the Shangri-La hotel, and the eerie 40-feet tall "I.T." by Michael Christian, situated in the Distillery District.
Check Out An Outdoor Show
If visual art and sculpture isn't really your thing but you still want to engage with Toronto's vibrant arts and culture scene, you're in luck: music and theatre haven't gone away during COVID, it's just gone outdoors! From the safety of your own car, you can check out one of the many drive-in theatres offering deals on contactless movie showings, live-streamed concerts, and even live music and stand-up comedy. If none of the drive-in theatres are showing that movie you're dying to see, take matters into your own hands and set up your own DIY movie viewing.
Make The Most of Lake Ontario
We may take it for granted sometimes, but Lake Ontario is a truly incredible body of water, hosting more than a quarter of Canada's population on its watersheds. This summer, take advantage of the unlimited opportunities that living on the shores of a Great Lake provides.
If you're itching to get out of downtown and be by the water, buy a ferry ticket online and take a day trip to Toronto Island with a packed picnic and a bike. For an on-land adventure, there are eleven parks just along the 15 kilometres that comprise the stunning Scarborough Bluffs, stretching alongside the shore of Lake Ontario from the Eastern side of Toronto's West end, all the way to East Point Park. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can take a sunset tour via paddleboard of the Toronto Harbour, or even partake in a COVID-safe paddleboard yoga class on the water. Of course, there's always a good old boardwalk stroll or bike ride along one of the 11 public beaches maintained by the city.
Explore Toronto's Parks and Trails
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, parks have been the primary destination city dwellers have flocked to for everything from exercise and social interaction, to peace and quiet and connection to nature. With the warm weather in full effect, now more than ever is the time to explore the secret nooks and crannies of nature Toronto has to offer. Throw on a podcast, pick a new trail, and set off for a solo city adventure. Some of the best urban trail walks are located in the middle of O'Shanter Neighborhoods, such as the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail! For more Toronto trail-walking inspiration, check out our blog from back in April on the absolute best downtown nature walks.
Visit a Farmers Market
Ask any Torontonian what their favourite thing about living in the city is and nine out of ten of them will mention the incredible food. The best place to find fresh produce, unreal baked goods, tasty prepared meals, and even skincare products is to go right to the source —the farmers themselves. There are dozens of daily, weekly, and monthly markets operating year-round throughout Toronto, however, in the summer, the city food vendors really come alive. Make it a priority to check out St Lawrence Market, Nathan Phillips Square Farmers Market, the Evergreen Brick Works Saturday Farmers Market, and Withrow Park Farmers Market.