port lands

The top 10 things to do in the Port Lands

The Port Lands has something to offer every type crowd, whether it be an athletic bunch looking for action, a group of wildlife-enthusiasts, or the "hey, this looks like a nice spot to sit" visitors (most often, I find myself among the latter).

In no particular order, here are some of the best things to do in the Port Lands.

Watch a drive-in movie
Maybe it's the fun of resurrecting an old tradition, or the excitement of doing something out of the norm, but watching a movie at The Docks always seems to be immeasurably more enjoyable than going to a regular theatre. I'm sure the feeling that you're closer to being outdoors helps, plus the added bonus of not having to deal with whispering jerks in the row behind.

Drink a beer on a patio
It's a clichĂŠ summer favourite, yes, but a beer on the patio at the Keating Channel or Cherry Street Restaurant should not be overlooked. Neither place qualifies as trendy but they both afford decent views and the opportunity to see the city from a whole new angle.

Grab some Dim Sum
Amid T&T Supermarket's 41,000 square feet of meat, produce, and other grocery items, there is a dim sum counter just waiting to be taken over. And like most other things at T&T, it's all ridiculously well priced. There's also sushi and other hot meals and baked goods for those who are less Dim Sum-inclined and seating (both indoor and outdoor) for 80 people.

Learn to row
Finally, an excuse to wear those layered polos! Or, on a different regard, just a way to enjoy the summer sun. The Port Lands is home to several rowing clubs such as Hanlan and Bayside, some of which offer classes and programs for the novice rower. Of course, grabbing some Dim Sum (see above) and watching a regatta counts as enjoying the summer sun as well.

Go bird watching
While I certainly have never found the patience, bird watching is said to be best at Tommy Thomson Park. It has its own Bird Research Station where staff monitor and blog about the latest sightings in the park, which--okay--is actually pretty interesting. Who knew a Rose-breasted Grosbeak was so distinguished-looking?

Play soccer
The Soccerworld bubble at Polson Pier is pretty spectacular to look at, nevermind handy for its washrooms and shelter from crappy weather, but alas, it is an indoor field, after all. Weather permitting, the fields at Cherry Beach are certainly the best places to play, especially when the sun goes down and the field lights take over.

Go stargazing
I'm referring to the Hollywood-type stargazing, but I suppose you could do the late-night type as well considering you're sort of away from the lights of the city. The Port Lands is home to Pinewood Studios (formerly Filmport) where you might find Fefe Dobson, Michael Cera, and even Her Majesty The Queen on set, the latter of whom visited Pinewood last year. Uh, fingers crossed for Will and Kate?

Play volleyball
Summer for me is all about outdoor beach volleyball, and the Port Lands certainly delivers. It has nine Olympic-sized sand courts, which--other than getting way too hot to play barefoot--usually offer a really good time.

Attend a concert
The summer lineup at the Sound Academy always looks promising, and this year is no exception. Ben Harper and Girl Talk are on the roster, as well as Reel Big Fish, The Tea Party, Bon Iver, and more. Plus, the Sound Academy has introduced Monday pool parties for those with lake water aversions (and $8).

Chill to ambient beats
Promise Cherry Beach Sundays is a free outdoor DJ party running every Sunday afternoon. Perfect with a blanket, a few friends, and maybe a Frisbee. For something a little more polished, go for a dip in the pool and grab some drinks at Cabana Pool Bar which often features high profile local and international DJ talent.

Photo by Leigh Miller in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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