lake summer toronto

10 things to do near the lake this summer in Toronto

Summer is the time for Toronto folk to fully and properly enjoy Lake Ontario. We often take this natural wonderland for granted, but there are so many different ways to take advantage of its various pleasures that it would an utter shame to let the warmest months pass by without spending some serious time at on the water.

Here are 10 things to do on or near the lake this summer in Toronto.

Admire the freshly restored Sunnyside Pavilion
Much-needed renovations closed down the marvellous Beux Arts Sunnyside Pavilion for the last two summers, but now it's back better than ever. The beachside patio is once again open, as is the second floor deck from which you can take in a spectacular view of the lake.

Canoe or kayak to the Island
Not many are brave enough to paddle over to the Island, but it's quite possible with a little planning and confidence. You'll also want some cooperative weather and an intelligent route because the inner harbour can get very busy in mid summer. Check out the Toronto Sailing and Canoe Club for tips and tricks to make this invigorating trek.

Stand Up Paddle
It might seem like Lake Ontario is too choppy for things like canoeing and stand up paddling, but it's all about where you decide to go and your experience level. Veteran SUP-types like the waves for the added challenge and exhilaration, while those starting out should pick calm days or areas that have wave barriers like Marilyn Bell Park.

Hit up a hidden beach
The ultimate relaxing summer activity on the water is seeking out a beach that's not overrun with other people and setting up camp for the day. There aren't too many places to do this in Toronto, but you'll have some luck at Marie Curtis and a few other lesser known spots in and around the city. To ensure a crowd-free experience, go during the week.

Check out the Waterfront Market
If you want to spend a day by the water without getting wet or sandy, check out Toronto's new Waterfront Market at HTO Park. There's lots of food and craft vendors, a bit of entertainment, and it's all a few feet from the water.

Imbibe at Toronto's newest lakefront patio
If the above sounds appealing but you'd like to add some booze to the mix, The Slip is your best bet. A dual venture from Harbourfront Centre and Boxcar Social, the patio has a Miami Vice-like vibe and a huge amount prime waterfront space at which to chow down on pulled pork sandwiches and summery cocktails.

Explore a lagoon
Lagoon cruises are one the most revered past times on the Toronto Islands, even inspiring one of the city's most famous poems. These lazy sailing tours will show you a side of the Islands that you've probably never seen as you serenely glide across the water.

Take a cruise on a tall ship
If the open water is more your jam, there are few more dramatic things to do on the lake this summer than taking a cruise on a tall ship. From stunning skyline views to on-deck drinks, luxury meets adventure on stately old vessels like the Kajama.

Watch a movie from a boat
The Sail-In Cinema combines two summer passions in Toronto: outdoor movies and hanging out by the lake. If you can score a spot on a friend's boat, you can watch the movie from the water, but no big deal if you're stuck on land - you can also snag a spot at Corus Quay to take in the cinematic spectacle.

Immerse yourself in the arts at Ontario Place
Ontario Place is in the midst of a massive transformation that we all hope to see the results of next summer. In the meantime, you can close out this season with Toronto's brand new arts festival, which will feature installations, live music, and even programming at the Cinesphere.

Did I miss any fun activities? Add your suggestions in the comments.

Photo by Matt Forsythe.


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