Visiting Toronto this summer? Welcome! And apologies for the heat.
Toronto summers, like much of the north east, are HAWT. In addition to a freak thunderstorm last week (aka nature’s way of saying “Hey, this city needs more rivers!”) we’ve been experiencing temperatures that crack the 30 degree celsius mark before 8 a.m. Then humidity rolls in, and your plans for a nice hair day turn into this.
These kinds of temperatures make wandering a city a tad uncomfortable, but there are many options to beat the heat! Here’s five of my favourites:
1. Fountains at Yonge-Dundas Square
Located right in the heart of the city, across from the Eaton Centre, Yonge-Dundas Square always has events happening which are worth checking out. It hosts concerts, film screenings, and various festivals, with a nice sprinkling of free giveaways throughout the year as well. On the far side of the Square lie a series of fountains which generally operate 24 hours a day during the summer. If you’re debating where to wander to next and need to cool down, take your planning discussion into a fountain. Don’t worry about getting soaked – you’ll dry off about 30 seconds after you exit the spray. Just be sure to keep your phone and camera tucked away in a dry place (same goes for your wallet).
2. Lounge Under a Tall Tree
There are no shortage of parks in Toronto, many with gorgeous older trees just waiting to offer you some shade. Trinity Bellwoods is located on Queen Street West and is a great spot for people watching, art perusing, picnics or picking up treats from the farmers’ market. Grab an iced tea or coffee from the Tampered Press, my favourite coffee shop in the city and find yourself a large leafy tree to sprawl out under.
3. Cool Down With Ice Cream
Toronto does ice cream well. Ignore the bells of the ever-present ice cream trucks or the lure of a chain shop and head to Ed’s Real Scoop (try the pumpkin, if they have it), Bakerbots (delicious ice cream sandwiches), The Big Chill (can’t go wrong with banana or chocolate mint) and Hibiscus (for dairy-free fans out there).
4. Take a Dip
Toronto has many outdoor pools, but one of my favourites is Donald D. Summerville Outdoor Pool, located right on the beach near Woodbine Park in the east end. I have fond memories of going to that pool as a child, and it offers great views of the lake, depending on how high you decide to jump off the diving board. Unfortunately, the pool is closed at the moment (and if you’re thinking “Dang, why did she mention it?” should it re-open I’d highly recommend checking it out), but another great option is Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool in the west end, by Sunnyside Park. Overlooking the lake and next to the Martin Goodman Trail, you can cool off, go for a walk and get a great view of the skyline, all in an afternoon.
5. Bone Up on History
Toronto has some amazing museums and galleries! The big guns, the Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum offer an eclectic collection of permanent and guest exhibits and are great ways to spend a hot afternoon. Interested in clothing or design? Check out the Textile Museum of Canada, Design Exchange, Gardiner Museum or Bata Shoe Museum. Keen to learn more about the history of Toronto and its past residents? Visit Mackenzie House or Casa Loma. This is just a small sample – there are lots of great options!
Enjoy your visit to Toronto – and keep cool! If you have any other suggestions for places to chill out, leave them below!