So you live here. Therefore, you must have a ton of love for Toronto, right? Anybody willing to withstand a Canadian winter surely has their reason(s) for hanging in there. Well, as if you needed more reasons, we’ve gathered ten of the best examples of why you might love it — particularly during those humid summer months. Ten examples: some simple, some more complex, all perfect excuses to make memories this year, and the next. For those with their own agendas who don’t mind sharing, feel free to add to the comments below.
We Do Ice Cream Better Than Anywhere Else
With a plethora of dairy (and non-dairy) options available throughout the GTA, the question isn’t ‘where can I get a scoop?’, but, really, ‘where can’t I?’ From venerated classics like Dutch Dreams, Tom’s Dairy Freeze, and any of Sweet Olenka’s multiple locations, to recent(ish) artisanal upstarts like Bang Bang (those sandwiches!), Sweet Jesus, and Scoop Shop, Toronto has got your sweet tooth covered. Need help finding your new favourite? Check out our own guide to the best ice cream shops in the city.
Our beautiful Beaches are blue flag certified
An inevitable struggle of any urban summer is the search for water. Like so many desert oases, Toronto can lay claim to some pretty fantastic sand spots—some environmentally approved. Sunnyside Beach is nice and central; so too is Hanlan’s Point (for the less inhibited), Cherry, Sugar and Woodbine/Kew Beaches. But, if you’re feeling ambitious, best to head out towards Bluffer’s Park for out-of-this-world views of a shoreline you’d swear was Caribbean, not Scarborough-ian.
Kensington Market turns into a pedestrian paradise
Back for its thirteenth season, the iconic Kensington Market celebrates the best of the neighbourhood, highlighting all of the unique shops, delis, grocers and restaurants that make this corner of the city a must-visit. Though you can, of course, visit year-round, for a stretch of Sundays this summer, the streets become pedestrian only. Lace up your walking shoes and make a day of it.
Our Music Scene is Second to None
There is definitely no shortage of concerts this summer: TURF, Camp Wavelength, TIME Fest, just to name a few coming up. For those who crave the crowds, you’ve surely bought your tickets (and sleeping bags) already. Anyone without should get on it tout suite!
Summerlicious Means Gourmet For All!
Everyone’s favourite prix fixe menu marathon is back for another successful season from July 8 – 24. With 24 new participants this time around, be sure to gorge on fancy lunches and dinners for cheap at over 200 spots throughout the city. Visit the website for a full list of participating restaurants and prices, and find out which places offer patio seating. Oh, and don’t forget to make plans for Winterlicious.
Toronto Sports Teams are on the rise
With the Blue Jays looking to repeat their stellar 2015 season, and The Argos and Toronto FC currently on fire playing under the newly renovated ($150+ million) BMO field, there are plenty of events to check out, with reasonably priced tickets available. For those looking for a little sophistication to go with their ballpark frank, the annual Rogers Cup will be held at the Aviva Centre near York University. Basically, sports are everywhere. Go and have fun.
We have our own Island escape
Another year, another chance to explore the islands. Catch the ferry for a day of cycling, walking, reclining, swimming, picnicking, partying, and everything in between. Gather as many people as you can (ferry capacity: 900+) and make the most of our beautiful shores. The opportunities are endless. If you’ve never crossed the waves of Lake Ontario before (gasp!), be sure to start by checking out the ferry schedule here. Still need some inspiration? Check out our island guide.
Experience a cultural Explosion at Caribana
North America’s largest Caribbean Parade is back to fill the west-end with the boisterous sounds of calypso, reggae and soca music from July 29 – 31. The costumes, the culture, the food, and, of course, the parade—this key summer attraction, a staple since 1967, always leaves people talking. Be sure to check out the website for emerging info.
Feast your heart out at the Food Truck Festival
In case you didn’t get the memo, street meat is now a legitimate culinary medium, no longer just a half-assed option for those starving spectators filing out of the ACC after midnight. For creative gourmet meals on wheels, not to mention cold beer, eating challenges and live music, book it on over to Woodbine Park July 29 – 31 and partake in over fifty food vendors. Bonus: Free admission!
Unexpected Adventures are right outside your door
You don’t have to hit the Pacific to surf, head to Yosemite to climb, or travel to the tropics to dive. Believe it or not, you don’t even have to leave the province. Whether you love heights, or long to spend your days in the water, there are a ton of outdoor adventures you can do just outside of the city. Dive shipwrecks in Tobermory, hang glide over fertile land in Pickering, surf the Great Lakes, and more just a short drive away. Check out the full list.
Big Rock Brewery – now at the LCBO and Beer Store.
(Main photo: Kensington Market by Ryan)