10 things to do in Toronto this summer

By Jenn Reid

Summertime when you’re a kid was the best – school was out and days would be spent at camp, or in the backyard playing games. Once you’re an adult summer isn’t the non-stop freedom it once was, so it’s important to make the most of it! Plan your weekends accordingly and make sure you try each of these 10 things to do this summer in Toronto. [Photo credit: courtesy of Canada’s Wonderland]

10 things to do in Toronto this summer

Visit an outdoor food market
Some of the best food to be had in Toronto can be found at an outdoor market. Food trucks, vendors and trendy restos venture outdoors for sunny pop-up markets, perfect for downtown residents to grab a great meal to go. Union Station’s food market is on hold this year for construction (summer = construction, after all), but you can head over to Adelaide Place for Adelaide Eats instead. The sunny plaza will have food from Momofuku, Tacos 101, Little Fin, TO’s Finest Dessert Bar and more. Try a little bit of everything and enjoy it on the patio.

Check out more street food markets in Toronto

Discover more outdoor summer markets in Toronto

Spend the day at Canada’s Wonderland
Is it really summer if you don’t spend a day at Wonderland? Ride all the crazy coasters, float down the lazy river, stuff your face with cotton candy — it’s a summer tradition! New to the park in 2017 is Soaring Timber, a ride that sends you up into the sky on rotating gondolas. Check another death-defying ride off your bucket list!

Watch (or march!) the Toronto Pride Parade
Toronto celebrates Pride for the whole month of June, but you should make it to the parade at the very least. The last weekend in June is when the bigger events go down, with the massive parade on Sunday afternoon. Make sure you wear sunscreen and stand along the side of Yonge Street to cheer on the marchers, floats, bands, dancers and more!

Lounge at the beach
Okay, it hasn’t been the best summer for beach weather so far, but we’re confident we’ll get some sunny days yet! You have a wide variety of options for beaches in Toronto from the pretty pink umbrellas at Sugar Beach, to the picturesque scenery at Bluffer's Park. Due to the heavy rainfalls sustained this year, most beaches have restrictions on water entry or limited accessibility. Beach visitors are instructed to consult the signage upon arrival on site and follow the outlined rules of use. Please also avoid any restricted areas and stay behind protective barriers when present.

Please note: the Scarborough Bluffs and Bluffer's Park have been severely affected by the recent weather conditions and access to the shoreline is restricted due to possible landslides. Please follow any and all signage on site. You can access more information about the current state of the Scarborough Bluffs and accessibility information here.

Catch a movie at Open Roof Fest
When it’s summer, you want to do everything outside: eat, drink, listen to music and even watch movies. You can do all that in one night with Open Roof Fest! The festival transforms 99 Sudbury into a lounge with beer and food trucks with a stage where a local indie band will play, followed by a movie screening. It’s one of the coolest ways to spend a summer evening in the city.

Check out more free outdoor movies in Toronto this summer

Go kayaking in the city
Believe it or not, you don’t have to go all the way to Muskoka to do some kayaking. Toronto Adventures lets you kayak or canoe the Humber River right in the city. If you’re an expert, you can just rent the boat and lifejackets and head on your way, but for novices there’s an option to take lessons or follow along on guided tours. For an extra cool experience, you can do a ‘Paddle in Concert’ where you paddle over to the Molson Amphitheatre and listen in on a great show.

Watch the Bard under the stars
High Park is a must-see destination for everyone during the summer, whether you’re checking out the gardens, feeding ducks at the pond or visiting the High Park Zoo. But if you’re going to High Park this summer you absolutely must stay until the evening and check out a performance from Shakespeare in High Park. The Canadian Stage theatre company mounts two Shakespeare plays every year, performing in alternate nights, at an outdoor amphitheatre. If you’re a comedy fan stop by and watch Twelfth Night, and if you’re all about the drama check out King Lear.

Let’s go to the Ex (except we call it the CNE now)
Summer is not complete without a trip (or two!) to the CNE. It’s a fair cranked up to the extreme: midway games, rides, a casino, restaurants, roller coasters and some of the craziest food you can find. In previous years, we’ve been treated to everything from Krispy Kreme hamburgers to cricket ice cream and deep fried Coke. Who knows what they’ll come up with this year!

Celebrate Canada’s birthday
Canada Day is going to be massive this year as we celebrate the country’s 150th birthday. There’s celebrations happening across the city, including a three-day festival at Nathan Phillips Square. The event has music from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Born Ruffians, Ron Sexsmith, Barenaked Ladies, Belly and more — plus a massive fireworks display each night.

  • When: June 30 to July 3
  • 
Where: Nathan Phillips Square
  • Price: Free
  • More information

Eat all night at the Waterfront Night Market
Treat yourself to a night of delicious eats at the Waterfront Night Market. The annual event takes its inspiration from Asian street food and brings unique food from across the continent to Toronto. It’s one of the coolest and most popular food fests in the city, mostly because it all goes down after dark.

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