July 17, 2013
So much to do, so little time. We Torontonians wait so very patiently for summer to arrive, and once it does, the clock starts to tick double-time as our weeks of decent weather fly by…especially this year, as cold fronts and flash floods seemed to delay our summer into mid-July. At the same time, summer events go on rain or shine, and it seems like this season has been busier than ever… It’s easy to work up a sweat just running from one festival to the next. So here are a few helpful hints so you can slow down and smell the roses: 1) The City of Toronto has 58 outdoor pools for residents and visitors to have fun in the sun and make a splash while enjoying the warm summer weather. They are located in every corner of the City, and best of all – they’re FREE! For a complete list go to http://www.toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/outdoor-pools/index.htm
2) Toronto is trying very hard to be the bike-friendly city everyone wants it to be. I can’t in all good conscience recommend that you ride on city streets without a shield of armour, but there is a network of fantastic bike paths where you can ride safely and securely: http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/map/index.htm . My favourite by far is the Leslie Street Spit, a 5-kilometre long urban wilderness peninsula (photo #1)
3) If biking isn’t your thing, hiking trails abound…and we’re not necessarily talking overly strenuous (though there are those, too!) …Toronto’s popular Discovery Walks program consists of a series of self-guided walks that link city ravines, parks, gardens, beaches and neighbourhoods. See http://www.toronto.ca/parks/trails/index.htm
4) Get lost. Choose a neighbourhood – any neighbourhood – and just walk around. This is one of my favourite things to do in a city full of the most wonderful pockets of humanity. You’re bound to find a wonderful spot for a drink or nibble, a great specialty store to pick up a unique trinket, or just a house or building that inspires awe. I was walking around one of my favourite little enclaves the other day, Kensington Market (check out their car-free, pedestrian friendly Sundays!), and stumbled across this fantastic scene (photo #2)
5)If all the above are too “active” for you, then grab a lawn chair and check out one of the many free “pop up” outdoor movie theatres that infiltrate the City on those long, lazy summer nights. All of these are free: – Christie Pits Film Festival on Sunday nights (christiepitsff.com) – Cult Classics at Yonge-Dundas Square on Tuesday nights (ydsquare.ca) – Free Flicks at Harbourfront Centre on Wednesday nights (harbourfrontcentre.com) – TIFF in the Park at David Pecaut Square on Wednesdays (tiff.net) – Junction Movie Nights – various dates (thejunctionBIA.ca)
So unless you’re spending the entire summer lounging on a cottage dock some where (in which case I hate you!), there’s no excuse not to enjoy some summer fun in the City!