summer toronto

10 things to do in Toronto before the summer is over

Summer events and activities in Toronto aren't winding down just yet. Technically there's over a month of summer left, and there's no reason to lament the cool mornings and nights. To some, this is the best weather of the year, and it's definitely well-suited for getting outdoors and doing stuff. The CNE has started, of course. August plays host to lots of good live music, and food trucks are still out in full force.

Here are 10 things to do in Toronto before the summer is over.

Visit Ireland Park
One of Toronto's most haunting places, Ireland Park is once again accessible after nearby construction closed it for years. But the window will be short. With more work planned for the southern dock wall, the park is likely to close again for at least a year. Dotted with sculptures that commemorate the Irish famine, there are few place better suited for quiet contemplation in the city.

Take a craft beer cruise
End the summer in style with Toronto newest beer event, a cruise with a host of craft brewers on the River Gambler. A $39.95 ticket gets you a mug and five 4oz samples (you can buy additional samples individually) to try over the course of the three hour-long cruise through the Toronto Harbour. Participating breweries include Left Field Brewery, Junction Craft Brewing, Great Lakes Brewing Company and the Kensington Market Brewing Company (to name only a few). September 13th, one cruise at 3:30pm and a sunset offering at 8:00pm.

Catch some air at Toronto's new bike park
Sunnyside is now home to a world class BMX park, tucked between Lake Shore Blvd. and the Gardiner Expressway. Designed by the much-lauded Jay Hoots, the park is an off-road rider's dream with ramps and jumps galore. Beyond the thrill factor for riders, what might be the coolest feature of the park is that it was built with fill from Toronto condo developments and the wood elements are (mostly) fabricated out of downed trees from the ice storm last winter. How's that for re-use? Free to use (first come first to ride), it's a little gem for those who take their rides with a dose of air.

Indulge your vintage fetish
The former Lomography store has been turned into a huge vintage pop-up with over 5,000 pieces on offer. While the sale runs into the fall, you'll want to make a stop while the weather is still warm to ensure that you have your pick of what's on offer, which features items that date back to the 1920s all priced at $80 or less. You'll find everything from dresses, coats and various accessories to men's suits, tuxedos and shoes. The shop is open Monday through Sunday, 10am to 9pm.

Hit up a new patio
Making sure to spend some quality patio time before nighttime temperatures require wool coats is an obvious one to have on your end of summer checklist, but rather than hitting up the old reliables, why not check out something new for this year. It's remarkable how many patios were added to our roster this summer, from rooftop decks among the trees to huge entertainment district spaces to those that resemble secret gardens.

Gorge on food truck eats at AwesTruck 2014
Last year's AwesTruck was a rainy mess, but here's hoping the the major food truck festival enjoys a bit better luck this year. The venue has changed from Fort York to Mississauga, but with over 30 trucks in attendance and no admission cost, it's worth the short hop over to Celebration Square to indulge in tacos, poutine, dressed up corn, and a whole host of other gourmet eats. September 5th and 6th.

Enjoy the sun at a street festival
The street festival circuit has lots coming up for the end of August and beginning of September, and in some sense, these late summer weeks are the best time to spend a day in the sun nibbling away and checking out a given neighbourhood. Temperatures are more comfortable and you feel hungrier because you haven't been guzzling water all day. On tap over the next few weeks, you've got the Festival of South Asia, Taste of the Kingsway, the Toronto Ukrainian Festival, and the always-popular Roncesvalles Polish Festival.

Chow down at the Financial District mini night market
There's still two weeks to check out the mini night market on York between Richmond and Adelaide. Running every Tuesday in August, the event features foods from Momofuku, Drake 150, the Gabardine and Richmond Station. And it's a bit less upscale than you'd think. Food and drink items go for five bucks per, and all the food revenue goes to charity. You had me at Momofuku's steamed buns.

Try out La Carnita's take on ice cream
La Carnita's ice cream pop-up came and went last week, but if outlandish frozen treats are your thing, you can try the taqueria's unique offerings like cotton candy ice cream, a ridiculous-looking take on rocky road, and this caramel-drenched affair at Tres, the restaurant's annual party, which takes place in the parking lot next to the College St. restaurant on Saturday, August 23rd, from 2pm through 10:30 pm. Tickets are $20 and available at the door at La Carnita, 501 College Street.

Buy corn direct from a farm
Few things signal the end of summer more than ripe, sweet corn. And while you can get your hands on Ontario-grown corn at your local grocery stop, that's just not as satisfying as buying it direct from a local farm and cooking it up right away. Fortunately, we're flush with options when it comes to farms and farm stands both within and close to the city.

What did I miss? Add your end-of summer suggestions to the comments below.

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