10 things to do on the waterfront in Toronto

by José Gonzalez

Toronto is lucky enough to be located on one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world, so take advantage of being so close to the water and enjoy the unique activities and places to visit along the waterfront. You may find out you're more suited to a life by the water than you realized. [Photo credit courtesy of the Amsterdam BrewHouse]

10 things to do on the waterfront in Toronto

Free outdoor movies

Free outdoor screenings during the summer have become quite trendy over the years, but none match the experience of watching a movie by the water. This year the Harbourfront Centre's Free Flicks includes screenings of Wayne's World, Hairspray and some other classics. For a more adventurous experience, you can hitch a ride on a boat, or stay on shore, for Sail-In Cinema's screenings in August. You can vote for the films to be screened on their website.

  • When: Free Flicks: June 21 to August 30 on Wednesdays at 9 pm, Sail-In Cinema: August 17 to 19 at sundown

More free outdoor movie screenings this summer in Toronto

Swimming at the beach

A pool is nice, but doesn't quite match the magic of taking a dip in a live body of water. And while you're at the beach you can enjoy playing in some volleyball in the sand, or just lounging out in the sun. Just make sure you check the water safety levels before taking a dip in the water.

Click here for a Guide to Toronto's beaches

Go boating/kayaking/canoeing

You can do more than enjoy the sight of Lake Ontario, you can hop aboard a canoe or kayak to traverse it. You can rent a canoe or kayak at Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre, and if you've never gone on your own into the open water, you can book lessons! If you're feeling a bit timid you can work your way up to Lake Ontario by practicing in some of the rivers that run through the city and make a trip out to the waterfront your paddling goal.

Daytime or sunset cruise

Get aboard one of the many boats that putter around the lake shore, whether it's a fancy yacht like Mariposa Cruises' Northern Spirit, or something a bit more rustic like the Tall Ship Kajama. The former option often offers drinks and buffets coupled with a DJ turning the boat into a club on the water. The latter option gives you an old fashioned experience, standing on the same style deck that people sailed on centuries ago.

Visit the Power Plant

The waterfront gallery is set to reopen June 23 to launch its Summer 2017 season. The featured exhibition is Ydessa Hendeles' The Milliner's Daughter, which will be on both floors of the gallery. In addition to that, special workshops and events will be held throughout the summer for art fans young and old.

  • Price: Free
  • Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday to Sunday: 10 to 5 pm, Thursday: 10 to 8 pm
  • More information

Hit the trails for a bike ride or run

A number of trails line the waterfront, including several with bike paths or lanes for running. It's a great way to enjoy the weather, view and get some daily exercise all done in one session. Although it might spoil you for when the seasons change and you have to take your regimen indoors.

Dancing on the Pier

This year the Harbourfront Centre is inviting people to enjoy moving to some music right next to the lake every Thursday night. Each night has a different theme tied to the various festivals and special events held at Harbourfront Centre throughout the summer, so one night you might be dancing to big band music or a traditional Cuban band.

Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat

Deserving a special mention of its own, this four-acre park in the west end has been designed to include maximum diversity in its plant life to support a wide range of butterflies. While observing the many shapes and colours of the butterflies of Southern Ontario, you can learn about the value of urban wildlife.

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