Wistfully watching friend’s social media posts from their cottage visits can make summers for Torontonians without such an escape feel a little left out. But all of that fun can be had right here in the city, without a 3-hour bumper to bumper drive up the 400. Beyond the obvious solutions – don’t forget Toronto has its own lake with beaches that are just fine for swimming – here are some options for letting loose here in our own backyard.
Arts in the Parks “encourages community building, enjoyment of local parks, and offers arts events for residents and tourists of all ages.” They are offering plenty of summer fun, including free lunchtime concerts at Trinity Square and College Park, film screenings in parks and Shakespeare performances. Check their site for all their events.
On August 18 and 19, Camp Wavelength takes over the Fort York with musical acts and more. The camp experience also offers a chance to make your own zine, trade stuff at the Bunz Flea and a sound and light experience. Though the word “camp” is in the title, this one might be more for kids at heart than actual kids, but that’s up to you: admission is open to all ages.
$28 advance each day. $48 advance weekend pass.
Sure, that fresh corn your friend picked up looks pretty good, but most of those road side stands don’t also offer heirloom tomatoes, artisanal bread and ten varieties of lettuce. Enjoy the bounty of summer produce at any of Toronto’s many farmer’s markets.
Murder at the ROM Scavenger Hunt –
Escape rooms are fun, but what about a scavenger hunt through the Royal Ontario Museum? Working in groups of 2-6, gumshoes must solve a murder and crack a cryptic code. Though designed for adults, kids as young as 10 have participated. Tickets are $39.99 and include admission to the ROM.
Presented by the Chinatown Business Improvement Area, this festival (the 18th of its kind) along Spadina Avenue on August 18 and 19 promises free walking tours, a free movie screening and plenty of delicious food, like Taiwanese style fried chicken, bubble waffle ice cream and barbecue skewers.
In its 36th season of outdoor performances, Canadian Stage presents both Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the High Park Amphitheatre. Performances of Romeo and Juliet are on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8PM and A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays also at 8PM. Suggested donation is $20 but for only $5 more, you can reserve a premium seat with a cushion by ordering online or by phone.
You only have until August 19 to see the exhibit of artwork curated by Banksy’s former manager Steve Lazarides. It’s the largest exhibition of its kind and includes some of the graffiti artist’s most iconic works. Tickets are up to $35.
The Ex –
The iconic symbol of Toronto summer fun is back from August 17 to September 3. Tickets are $24.99 when you purchase in advance. Less into rides, gut-busting foods and carrying around an oversized Tweety Bird all afternoon? The casino is open now.
This free outdoor festival in Grange Park on August 10 offers something for everyone in the community. Highlights are expected to include a fire show, tai chi demonstration, and visits from the Ontario Falconry Centre and a reptile petting zoo. Take the family to the nearby AGO afterwards for a full day of activities.
It’s the 25th anniversary of this beloved street festival August 10-12. It welcomes approximately 1.6 million visitors and local restaurants are offering up “tasting menus” for no more than $6 for attendees to enjoy a variety of treats. The musical entertainment is programmed by NXNE, sports challenges from the Leafs, Raptors, Argos and Toronto FC, and a kid’s zone – but the most fun seems to be the “It’s All Greek to Me” area, where visitors can join in the “age-old tradition of smashing plates”.
And the fun doesn’t stop there! There’s yoga at the zoo, jazz at the aquarium, e-biking along the waterfront, and ghost stories at old City Hall, to name a few.
So think twice before getting jealous of that friend on the dock – they might be wishing they weren’t missing out on all the action back in the city.
Have FUN… Chris and Jim