Summer days in the city are fast approaching, which means it’s time to get outside and try something new. Whether you’ve always wanted to try sailing, or you’re hoping to hit as many outdoor markets as possible this summer, your Toronto to-do list is sure to be full. See below for our list of the top outdoor activities to try this summer.
This Indie88 feature is presented with Thornbury Village Craft Apple Cider.
Music festivals are a fun and easy summer weekend getaway, and we’re lucky to live close to so many local festivals. Spend your weekends trying out unique food trucks and listening to your favourite bands (and discovering new ones) all while catching some rays. Check out our 2017 Guide To Canadian Music Festivals for a complete list.
Cycle around Toronto Island
Unfortunately the Toronto Island is closed right now due to severe flooding and the City estimates that it will be closed until at least July. However, that still leaves us with August and September, which is more than enough time to enjoy a relaxing bike ride around the islands. Bring your own bike or rent one on Toronto Island.
Enjoy a canoe/kayak adventure
The Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre offers the options to rent canoes and kayaks on your own accord, or to take lessons beforehand. Beginner and intermediate lessons are offered, as well as groups and tours.
Stand Up Paddleboard Lessons
Try spending a beautiful summer day standing afloat a surfboard and taking in Lake Ontario’s sights and sounds. There are quite a few Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) programs in Toronto, including Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre. WSUP is also a popular option.
Yoga in High Park
Flow-active has become popular for providing free yoga classes in High Park. Although this year’s schedule has yet to be announced, the classes usually occur every Sunday sometime in the mornings. There is also no rule (that we know of) against doing yoga in the park with a few friends, or opting for a solo practice.
Visit an outdoor market
Wake up early on a Saturday morning and head to a wholesome farmer’s market for some fresh produce and a few baked treats. Trinity Bellwoods, Dufferin Grove, Evergreen Brick Works, or Leslieville are among a few popular farmers’ markets. The Stop’s Night Market in the Junction is taking place on June 13 and 14 and showcases culinary, design, performance, and graphic arts. The Waterfront Artisan Market will also be taking place every Saturday this summer from from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., May 20 to October 7.
Hike at Hockley Valley
Hockley Valley Provincial Park is about an hour’s drive from Toronto and makes for a good day trip option. The park offers a number of hiking trails for hikes that will last anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours. Take a look at their website to find a hike that works for you.
Book a Fire Pit in a Park
Fire pit season in Toronto goes from May 1 to October 30 (weather permitting). Although it costs money to book a pit, it’s pretty affordable if you can get a few friends in on it. The cheapest rate offered is $26.40 for up to 25 people. See more rates here.
Beach Day at Gibraltar Point
Once again this option is a bit of a TBA considering the fact that Toronto Island is currently closed, however, we’re crossing our fingers that we get at least a few months out of the Island later in the summer. If that does happen, Gibraltar Point is the perfect daytrip option that doesn’t involve travelling far for a solid beach day. Pack a picnic basket and take in the horizon with a few friends.
Look at the Stars at the Dunlap Observatory
In 1935, The Dunlap Observatory was home to the second largest telescope in the world. Now, it still boasts the largest optical telescope in Canada and provides a unique opportunity for Torontonians to explore the night sky without majoring in astronomy. Take a look at the stars like you’ve never seen them before during a drop in night (weather permitting), or go the next level and sign up for a lecture to learn a little bit more.
Learn how to Mountain Bike
Learn how to ride a mountain bike at Evergreen Brick Works — no experience is required (except for knowing how to ride a bike). These bike rides are about one and a half hours, so bring a water bottle and prepare for a leg workout. If you don’t have a mountain bike of your own, you can rent one at Sweet Pete’s. Click here for a list of dates.
Play with llamas at the High Park Zoo
The High Park Zoo is one of High Park’s many treasures. Access to the park is available via Parkside Road and the zoo is open year-round, rain or shine, from 7 a.m. until dusk. See bison, deer, llamas, peacocks and other animals, but please don’t feed them! Your ice cream is not a farm animal’s friend.
Try a High Park Guided Walking Tour
Itching to experience nature in a concrete jungle? Take a guided walk through High Park and explore all it has to offer, including its flowers, wildlife, greenery and other vegetation.
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Bike Polo at Dufferin Grove Park
Ever heard of bike polo? Well it’s apparently a thing, and you can try it at Dufferin Grove Park. Some nights are for intermediate players, but pick-up nights for any level happen on Sundays, while Rookie Night is hosted Wednesday night. See a full schedule here.
Hiking Trails in the City
There are plenty of hikes available in the city if you’re looking to pump that cardio. For a few scenic options, visit High Park, Evergreen Brick Works, the Humber River Old Mill, the Beltline Trail, and the Don Valley Trails are a few popular and solid options.
Lounge on a Toronto Beach
Feel the sand between your toes at one of Toronto’s many beaches, including Woodbine Beach, Hanlan’s Point (post-flooding), Bluffer’s Beach, Cherry Beach, or Sugar Beach. A beach day is an ideal way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city while staying close to home.
Sign Up for Sailing Lessons
Try something new this summer and sign up for sailing lessons at the Harbourfront Centre. Basic sailing and dinghy sailing are both offered through Harbourfront. There are even intermediate lessons for those who are already passed the how-tos.
Take the time to explore all of Riverdale Farm’s 7.5 acres this summer. Woods, ponds, vegetable and herb gardens, flower gardens and other fun stuff are available right at your fingertips in Cabbagetown. Riverdale Farm is also free to attend, and parking could be free if you find the right residential streets.
Join a cycling club (morning glory cycling club, beaches cycling club, etc)
Work on your cardio this summer by joining a cycling club. And I don’t mean a group class at the gym — we’re talking good ol’ road cycling. There are a ton of clubs in Toronto that offer this, including Morning Glory Cycling Club, Beaches Cycling Club, Toronto Bicycle Club, and Toronto Bike Meetup.
Try your hand at Beach Volleyball
Ashbridges Bay offers beach volleyball leagues at both Ashbridges Bay as well as Woodbine Beach. Sign up for recreational co-ed for a fun team-bonding activity with your co-workers this summer, or get some friends together and rent a court for a day. Either way, don’t be afraid to get your toes dirty.
Join a Sports League
Looking to have some fun while getting your blood pumping this summer? Grab a friend (or go solo) and sign up for one of Toronto’s many recreational sports teams. Not sure where to start? Toronto Sport & Social Clubs offers a number of rec leagues for all levels.
Stay tuned to Indie88.com over the next few weeks for our entire Guide to Summer series.
Up next: The Best Arts & Culture Events in Toronto (Monday, June 19)