25 ways to beat the heat in Toronto this summer
Whether you have air conditioning or not, summer in Toronto can be quite scorching. We may have seen a little more rain lately than we would like, but hot and humid weather has been around since late spring. Fortunately, the city is full of opportunities to spend time outdoors enjoying the short but balmy summer season, while keeping cool. Here are 25 activities to beat the heat in Toronto.
Hit the beach
Enjoying a prime location on Lake Ontario, Toronto is blessed with a plethora of beaches offering the opportunity to cool off by the water. Some of the city’s most popular stretches of sand include Cherry Beach, Woodbine Beach, Sunnyside Beach, and Bluffers Beach.
Jump into an outdoor swimming pool
If pool swimming is more your speed, there are plenty of options to choose from, no matter what neighborhood of Toronto you live in. The city works 58 outdoor pools perfect for making a splash on a hot and humid summer day.
Exit at Harbourfront Center
Harbourfront Center makes it a great place to spend a summer day. The 10-acre site along the shores of Lake Ontario offers not only refreshing breezes, but also rotating art shows, festivals, a lakeside patio offered by The Slip and much more.
Towards the Toronto Islands
For a perfect summer getaway (without having to leave the city), the Toronto Islands are just a quick and pleasantly airy ferry ride from the city center. There are four swimming beaches to choose from, not to mention picnic areas, Centerville Amusement Park, cafes, fire pits and more.
Paddle a kayak
Getting out on the water is one of the best ways to beat the heat, and the city has several options for kayak rentals, including through Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Center, Toronto Beach Kayak, and Toronto Adventures.
Find a shady spot in a park
Sometimes one of the best (and easiest) things to do on a hot day when you need a break is to find a shady spot to sit in one of Toronto’s many parks. Some deservedly popular (and dodgy) options include Trinity Bellwoods, High Park, Christie Pits, and Dufferin Grove Park.
Practice your balance with SUP
If you’d rather be standing on the water, SUP is a great option and there are plenty of places that offer rentals, lessons, and guided tours. Although fairly easy to understand, a lesson can be a good idea if you are just starting out.
Soak in a paddling pool
If you have kids, a wading pool can be a fun and whimsical way to cool off in town, and there are more than a few to choose from. Some fun options include wading pools at High Park, Center Island, and Kidstown Waterpark in Scarborough.
Treat yourself to an ice cream
When it comes to cooling off with an ice cream, Toronto has more than enough options to satisfy most cravings. From ice cream and soft serve to epic ice cream sandwiches, sundaes and traditional cones, maybe you could try a different flavor every day in the summer.
Or a flight of boozy ice cream
If you like your ice cream with a boozy kick, you can head to Scream in Yorkville for a flight of ice cream drizzled with several different flavors like mango ice cream with aperol or peach-vanilla with vodka.
Sip a slushy cocktail
It’s no secret that Toronto is a city that can get pretty creative with alcohol and lately that means frozen cocktails in slushy form. Some places known for serving up these fun twists on a summer favorite are Grape Crush, Rum Corner, and Cactus Club Café.
Check into the Sunnyside Pavilion
Grab a shaded table at this iconic summer location and soak up the laid-back vibe while people-watching and sipping on a cold drink. There are usually a game or two of beach volleyball and when you are done you can take a walk by the water.
Cool off at the Cabana Waterfront Patio
As the name suggests, this vast place offers incredible waterfront views from their 50,000 square foot patio. Opt for a table or rent a cabana by the pool or lake for a little more privacy. They also serve Sunday lunch, dinner and brunch.
Unload at Toronto Beach Club
Feel like on a tropical vacation with a visit to Toronto Beach Club along the shores of Woodbine Beach. A Mediterranean-style menu featuring plenty of fresh fish and seafood and the expansive patio help close the deal.
Put on roller skates
Feel the breeze on your face as you ride around in a pair of roller skates. Retro rolla is a roller skate rental company operating from a refurbished shipping container at The Bentway. Throughout the summer, they rent retro skates by the hour, as well as helmets and other protective gear.
See a movie under the stars
Since it usually cools down in the evening, why not set up a space on the grass and settle in for an outdoor movie? the Outdoor photo exhibition in Toronto will present a series of films in Fort York throughout the summer.
Enjoy a breeze on a rooftop terrace
One of the best places to spend a sweltering summer day is on a rooftop patio, catching a much-needed breeze with a drink in hand. From the fanciest places like Kost and the Rooftop at Broadview Hotel, to places with more pub vibe like Hemingway’s or The Pilot, there are plenty of rooftops to choose from.
Take a dip in an infinity pool
The huge 86,000 square foot outdoor patio Big Weird Not only offers food, drink, and private cabanas, but also three infinity pools for you to enjoy. The price of your ticket includes changing rooms and free ice cream.
Cruise to Canada’s Wonderland
Whether you’re sliding upside down on an epic roller coaster or enjoying the park’s many waterslides, there are plenty of ways to stay cool at Canada’s Wonderland. Sure, queuing can feel a bit scorching, but once you’re in the train, the thrill (and cool breeze) is well worth it.
Slip on a jet ski
You don’t have to be on a beach or cabin vacation to enjoy a refreshing jet ski ride. Operating out of Ontario Place, 416Navy Jet Ski Tours offer guided group tours seven days a week, without a permit.
Paddle a pedal boat
Activities from Ontario Place are also Boat rental by the lake who offer pedal boat rentals that are a perfect way to spend some leisurely time on the water. Choose from 2-3 and 4 person rentals for one or two hours.
Take a boat cruise
Whether you opt for a dinner or brunch cruise, a themed cruise, a boozy cruise, or just a scenic ride around the lake, a boat cruise can be a relaxing way to beat the city heat.
Go on a hike
While a hike on a hot day may seem counterintuitive, the temperature is usually much cooler in the shade of a canopy. Many city parks offer hiking trails, including High Park, Rough Park, and Leslie Street Spit Trail in Tommy Thompson Park.
Say yes please to a popsicle
Feel like a kid again and refresh yourself with a popsicle, which there are many options to choose from in the city. Creative flavors abound and it’s not hard to see why this particular frozen treat has taken off in Toronto. Discover The Pop Stand, Bar Ape or Augie’s Ice Pops.
Relax with a craft beer
Over the past decade or so, Toronto’s craft beer scene has really taken hold, with breweries big and small popping up everywhere. And with these breweries have come some very creative beers, especially in summer, when the flavors are more unique, fruity and whimsical. From Blood Brothers and Burdock, to Halo and Collective Arts, there’s no shortage of ways to cool off with a craft beer.