10 fun things to do by the lake this summer in Toronto
Summers in Toronto leave us with faces slick with sweat on a near-permanent basis, and it can often feel like there's no reprieve. But luckily, there's this seemingly oft-forgot aspect to summer in Toronto: we've actually got lakeside living built in. Our natural environment is beautiful, though we don't usually get to take the time to leave the more developed areas and enjoy it.
This spring and summer, challenge yourself to a personal refresher course on enjoying nature and the city, and pick at least one thing from this list that you've never done before.
Here are 10 fun things to do by the lake in Toronto.
Rent a cabana at Cabana Pool Bar
Cabana Pool Bar tries hard to provide that exclusive feel. You can rent your own private cabana with bottle service at untold costs. To do so, you can reserve a spot online. Be strictly warned, though: "no baggy attire, no dewrags...no personal towels." I think they think they're casting a music video c. 2001 at all times. Not saying that's a bad thing, though, or that I wouldn't go. It's beautiful. And anyone who knows me would say I'm hard-pressed to say no to a subtley-flavoured slushie drink with alcohol in it.
Swim at Gus Ryder pool on a sweltering night
In case the water quality in the lake is off, or in case you're excessively paranoid and think it is no matter what they say, Gus Ryder pool is there for you if you're in the far west end. Located at Lake Shore Blvd. W. and Twenty Second St., the pool is also part of a health club with about 25 different fitness classes, offered alongside public swims and swimming lessons.
Hit up Promise at Cherry Beach
Promise, the outdoor dance party, has graced Cherry Beach for years. It's ideal if you want to spend hot summer days raving like when you were a teen. To find out when the next outdoor Promise is, your best bet is Twitter.
Catch a show outside at the Molson Amphitheatre
There's something about the community at an Amphitheatre show. Yes, it's an annoying trek for many of us to get there, but when we do, it feels like we've all left Toronto in favour of going camping together. This summer, everything from OVO Fest to Arcade Fire's Reflektor Tour will be passing through.
Visit the Toronto Music Garden
The lovely Toronto Music Garden is right down on the harbourfront along Queens Quay W. just west of Lower Spadina Ave. Inspired by Bach, the serene spot has beautiful unobstructed views of the Lake, as well as a summer concert series and various eco programs.
Go fishing at Tommy Thompson Park
Guys, fishing at Tommy Thompson Park is a serious thing. You can catch bass, perch, and trout, amongst other species. The park at the base of Leslie Street at Unwin Street, is the perfect escape for Leslievillains, and with luck, includes dinner.
Go to Aloha Toronto
Aloha Toronto is the city's only beach festival. It provides the chance to surf, paddle a boat standing up, and celebrate Hawaiian culture in the city. The festival is affiliated with Surfers Healing, a group that helps teach children with autism to surf and enjoy the ocean as a calming, therapeutic experience. This year's festival will be during the sultry end of Toronto's summer, August 24.
Chill out at Sugar Beach
A visit to the beach, with its candy striped umbrellas and white sand, feels like being inserted into a '50s throwback. At the foot of Jarvis on Queens Quay E., the beach is beside George Brown's new campus, Corus Quay, and Against the Grain, whose lovely salads I can testify to. Other than that, there's not much to do at Sugar Beach, but that's kind of the point.
Play tourist and stay at the Boatel
Maybe you're homesick because you come from one of Canada's lovely coasts, or maybe you're just sick of the sticky heat that rises from the pavement. Either way, give yourself a treat and let the lake rock you to sleep by staying at the Boatel. You can pitch in with friends and rent the entire thing for $525 per night, or have a minimum two-night stay in your own room for $175-$225.
Hike around the Scarborough Bluffs
Begin your hike with a picnic at Bluffer's Park for fortitude, and then focus on taking in Toronto's stunning natural landscape, so often lost to our view by towering steel and concrete. The towering cliffs are one of the most remarkable and beautiful parts of the city, and the 12 Kingston Road bus will get you straight there.
For more fun things to do this summer, check out our Toronto Fun Guide.