summer toronto

17 things to do in Toronto before the summer is over

Things you need to do in Toronto before the summer ends will have you scurrying around the place trying to take it all in before the season quits us. I based this list mostly on keeping you outdoors, relaxed, refreshed and well nourished. So take that summer song playlist you created and pack a towel.

Here are 17 things to do in Toronto before the summer is over.

Check out a cool new festival taking over Ontario Place
In/Future is billed as a "transformative art experience." From September 15 to 25, the fest hosts more than 40 contemporary artists who'll create a slew of both indoor and outdoor installations. The Cinesphere will also be up and running and there'll be live music curated by the Small World Music Festival.

Watch a movie from a giant floating screen in the lake
Sail-in Cinema shows PG movies from an enormous floating screen on the water while you watch from the shores of Sugar Beach. Hook, Jumanji and Princess Bride were the films voted to be shown this summer on August 18,19 and 20. Gates open at 6, showtime is 8 p.m.

Feel your ultimate nerd and hang out at the Star Trek bar at the CNE
The CNE is an end-of-summer must in general. Terrifying food, life-questioning rides, cheesy games and amazing people watching all make for a good day or night out from August 19 - September 5. But it's the new Star Trek exhibit and bar that takes the cake. The pop-up theme bar will host trivia nights and your thirst.

Improve your Snapchat and Instagram 100% by visiting a nearby quarry or swimming hole
Warning: you're going to need to rent a car or bug a friend with a vehicle for this one. I recently got in my friend's car and we drove to the Elora quarry, which blew my mind. So peaceful and stunning. These 5 nearby swimming spots will have you missing summer before you even leave the water.

Catch a big flashy concert by the water
My favourite places in the city to watch a summer show are hands down Echo Beach and Molson Amp. There's something about being right next to the water, big open air shows and being able to walk around with my giant drink that makes me feel warm inside and out. Meghan Trainor, Dolly Parton, Kaytranada and Zeds Dead all cap off the season.

Eat all the things you're not supposed to at Junk Food Fest
From the same people who brought us the Mac & Cheese fest comes this wonderfully unhealthy food moment. Admission is free and there will be food competitions "filled with bold mashups reinventing North America's comfort foods." Bring some Tums. It all goes down September 9 to 11.

Take a date to the park and watch a Shakespeare play
Walk deep into the woods until you find the amphitheatre in High Park and catch a classic Shakespeare play until September 4. The bugs are pretty much gone by now and I'm sure you can find some rotting berries in the forest to throw at the actors like they used to in the good old days. There's also an east-side version at Withrow.

Enjoy every second outside while you can by drinking on a patio
There are great patios all over the city, but there are key patios for drinking on a lazy Sunday, which is the best kind of outdoor drinking to do while summer winds down. Don't let the sunny, hazy afternoons keep you inside with AC or giant fans, get outside and socialize or just sit by yourself on these key spots.

Spend a morning, day, or evening on the Island doing so many things.
Take our advice, and hop on a water taxi over to the island (you can take the ferry back for free!) and do any of these 10 recommended things. You'll feel like you escaped the city, even just for a day. No city noise, just fresh air, beaches and strange fun.

Walk down the middle of the road at a street festival
There are so many street fests left in August and September including Taste of the Danforth, York-Eglinton, Festival of Asia, Chinatown, Taste of Manila, Tamil Fest, Cabbagetown Fest, Taste of the Kingsway, Ukrainian Fest, Roncesvalles Polish Fest.

Escape to a secret beach
There are some great, relatively unknown beaches around Toronto that will give you that final moment of peaceful, blissful beach-side relaxation. Just think of the cold weather to come and let it push you out the door to these sunny spots, just off the beaten path.

Do yoga in unique outdoor spots all over the city
There's a Yogathon at Yonge-Dundas Square, and pop-up yoga classes at Sunnyside beach, High Park, and Bellwoods. Enjoy stretching our that body outside before you need to be cooped up in a studio for the winter.

Pig out at a food truck before it's too chilly to eat outside comfortably
There are a number of new food trucks that opened this summer, four food truck festivals left and a spanking new sushi burrito truck if you want to try this season's biggest food trend. All this street-side food will make it easy for you to act like a squirrel and beef up before winter.

Indulge your Peter Pan syndrome with an insane Inflatable obstacle course
This is a 5K travelling obstacle course for adults that features inflatable hills, a giant human slingshot, a wave runner track, wrecking balls, and a giant mattress with holes in it. Basically, this is a bouncy castle wonderland brought to life for adults. You'll need to register here before it happens on August 13.

Geek out at FanExpo
From September 1-4, plan to spend a large chunk of your day inside the Metro Convention Centre for this gathering if nerds of the highest order. It's Star Trek's 50th anniversary this year and so many cast members will be there, not to mention forever babe Gillian Anderson, John Cusack and Sigourney Weaver. It's the mothership folks. Check out the lineup here.

See one of the 26 Canadian films coming to TIFF this year
Our city's film festival is now one of the biggest on the planet. With loads of premieres and celebrity encounter possibilities, it's an electrifying time to be in the city. So many parties and so many films. Narrow down your film calender spots by catching some of the astounding 26 Canadian films at this year's fest.

Live out all your indie music fantasies at Turf Festival
Ween, Death Cab, Jimmy Eat World, Matt Good ... there's a trend here, and it's you, in the '90s, crying or yelling at the top of your lungs to songs by these bands. Head to Fort York for this laid-back rock fest which also features so many more artists and of course, beer.

Did I miss your favourite thing to do before summer breaks up with us for another year? Let us know in the comments section.

Photo of Echo Beach by Matt Forsythe.


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