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Summer in Canada: What To Expect

Psst I’ll let you in on a little secret…
Summer in Canada = Paradise!

I’d never seen so much snow in my life when I first moved to Ontario in January 2017.
After several months of sub-zero temperatures and blizzards blowing in my frozen red face, I had lost all memory of how the warm sun feels on my skin…

However, if you’re planning on spending summer in Canada, prepare yourself for an amazing cry-with-happiness surprise! Canadian stereotypes are not all they seem…

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The snow melts, temperatures soar, the never-ending lakes call your name and the most fun and festive events erupt around every corner!

So as the days start to warm up, here are my Top 10 things to do in Toronto (and GTA) during the Summer Season.


1.  Join the crowds at a Toronto festival


As soon as the temperatures start to climb, street festivals begin to take place throughout the city. Check out the full list of the best HERE.  This year, my favourites were:

  • Taste of the Danforth


After phoning into Virgin Radio for Battle of the Exes and winning a $100 coupon to spend there (hilarious), how could I resist?! Walk along the huge street festival, sample as much Greek food as you can stomach and dance along with the live entertainment. So much fun.

  • Kensington Jazz Fest

Being a fan of both cool and quirky Kensington Market, and of live jazz music, this festival is absolutely made for me. After initially being quite disappointed with every venue charging high prices for entry, we discovered multiple alleyways where live jazz bands erupted like flash mobs and performed to excited crowds for free.  As one of my favourite memories living in Canada so far, I cannot recommend this festival enough!

  • Polish Festival

Are pirogues not the most amazing food ever made? If you’re a fan of sauerkraut, kielbasa, potato pancakes and cabbage rolls – Look no further than Roncesvalles, Toronto! It’s like you’ve grabbed a day flight to Poland and there’s enough traditional food, ice cream and music for everyone to enjoy.

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2.  Set your clocks to Lake Time


If you’re lucky enough to know somebody who owns, or whose family owns, a property in Ontario cottage country – Don’t let them out of your sight!
Alternatively (and perhaps less stalker-ish) you can also rent lake cottages for weekends on listing websites such as CottageRental. Get your booking confirmed quickly as they sell out fast, and for good reason…

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Words cannot express the feeling of relaxation when you’re surrounded by pure silence other than the sound of rippling lake water and the occasional boat or jet-ski flying by.
Try your hand at water-sports, soak away your woes in the hot tub, top up your tan and be one with nature! This is true Canadian living.


3.  Let your inner child run free at the Fair


Fairgrounds appear all around the GTA during summer months offering crowds tasty treats, fun games and exhilarating rides. Towns such as Port Perry host their traditional smaller fairs where you can get to know local farmers and their animals and see old-school tractor pulls(!)
If large-scale is more your thing, check out The Ex at Exhibition Place in Toronto – The biggest fair I’ve ever been to with huge rides, food stalls and games stretched for miles!
Either way, I’m in love with the spirit and energy found at fairgrounds and both kinds are totally worth a visit.


4.  Go on a city graffiti tour


There are some incredibly talented artists in Toronto who decorate the city with colourful murals that are waiting for you to discover. Take some time to walk around on foot and spot the various artworks. My favourite graffiti hotspot is Rush Lane, Spadina at Queen – Every building, staircase and trashcan is covered in brightly-coloured images and inspiring quotes (and it’s great to brighten up your city photo album.)


5.  Be a red-neck at Truck Pulls and Smash-up Derbys


I admit that at first, I was (VERY) sceptical about the prospect of sinking my boots into deep mud and watching vehicles burn out as they smash into each other or try to pull heavy objects…  After attending several events like this throughout the summer, I actually found them to be so much fun! All ages attend, cheer on the drivers and yell in delight over the sound of screaming engines. Speed, dirt and the smell of gasoline surround you as you stand under the hot sun sipping on a beer with friends. It’s a pretty cool way to meet locals and add to your red neck experience!


6.  Exercise and soak up the nature at High Park, Toronto


One of the things I love about Toronto is that there is still so much nature around you. Far from the concrete views of some cities in the world, there are lots of areas with ancient trees and large parks to explore. One of the best is High Park.
If you need a place to run, join the many others burning calories around the various circuits amongst the trees. If you have children, there’s a large lake with ducks to feed and an impressive playground area. I absolutely loved getting some fresh air and catching up with a friend as we walked for hours. A great day out in the sunshine!

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7.  Grab a cocktail with a view


As temperatures climb, so many bars and restaurants open up their patios for business, and if you can grab a seat on a rooftop patio – Even better! There’s nothing quite like the skyline of Toronto. Add a mojito into the mix and you’re pretty much in heaven.

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8.  Get that beach-life on the Toronto Islands


Escape the bustle of city life and board a boat across to Wards Island! You can grab the most amazing photos of the city skyline on your journey across the water and the rewards just keep on coming. It’s as though you’ve taken a road trip out of the city to a National Park…

Get surrounded by kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders, sunbathers, swimmers, families enjoying picnics and building sand castles, friends cycling along the wooden boardwalks, soccer games and more. What an incredible place to be able to escape to – So close in distance to the city and yet you can sit on a picture-perfect beach watching the waves lap at your feet. Bliss.

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9.  Brush up on your Country Music


After arriving in Canada, I was not prepared for how huge country music is here! When a popular country song comes on, everybody knows all the words and I felt like Cady in Mean Girls when she thinks a band on the radio is the Spice Girls…
“I love her. She’s like a Martian.”

KX96 is an awesome radio station to listen to and get acquainted with the genre. You’ll soon be loving it and there is actually nothing better than laying in the sunshine, drinking a beer and listening to a country classic. It’s like the theme tune of summer time.

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Not only this, there are various country events you can attend that you can really throw yourself into it. Boots & Hearts is a huge multi-day Country Festival that takes place annually in August. Join thousands of plaid-wearing revellers and see all the biggest country stars perform live.

Alternatively, keep an eye out on TicketMaster for individual stars performing at Air Canada Centre or Rogers Centre. I was lucky enough to see Jason Aldean this summer and the crowds gave off such an addictive atmosphere of free-spirited happiness – I’m hooked.

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10.  Cheer on the Blue Jays!


OK so I’m not really a sports fan, but it’s impossible to avoid the passion in the air during baseball season in Toronto! I struggled to attempt my commute to work as I was entirely surrounded by fans dressed in white and blue on a daily basis as they headed to the Rogers Centre to watch their beloved team. The atmosphere in the city is definitely energetic and you can hear the cheers from the crowd for miles.

If you’re lucky enough to grab tickets, it’s not just about the sports game. Entertainment and competitions take place throughout and you can load up on the tastiest game classics: beer, nachos and hotdogs. It’s definitely a great experience.

 

COMMENT BELOW
What is your favourite thing to do in the city in the Summer?

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    littlemissexpat
    October 28, 2017 at 5:52 am

    I actually love this post! The lake looks amaaaazing, and the graffiti tour is definitely something I want to do next summer.

  • Reply
    Madi Rowan
    March 29, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Canada seems amazing! I have only been to Niagara Falls (lame I know LOL), but I have heard so many great things regarding Canada! I’m not sure if you have heard of Kaitlyn Bristowe (from the Bachelorette) but she’s from Canada & always raves about it!

    • Reply
      Kate - TheHomeWanderers.com
      March 29, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      It really is! You should definitely come and visit and let me know when you do 🙂 I haven’t actually seen the Bachelorette I have no idea how I’ve managed to avoid it this long haha

  • Reply
    Marni
    March 29, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Wow! Bikinis are not something I think of when I think of Canada! Your pictures are so beautiful. I would love love love to visit Canada one day! It’s on my bucket list!

    • Reply
      Kate - TheHomeWanderers.com
      March 29, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      I never in a million years thought I would be in Canada in 40degrees Celsius but it happened !!!! I swear this is a hidden secret that not many people actually realise… YAAS bucket list – Make it happen girl!

  • Reply
    Holli Shaw
    March 29, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Great post! I never thought of Canada and summer together. Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Reply
    Madsy
    March 29, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    My husband and I have talked about going to a Toronto for years. This makes me want to set some plans in stone! So many great things!

  • Reply
    Sunrita
    March 29, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    What a fabulous list. We are planning on going to Toronto this list will come so handy!

  • Reply
    Alyssa
    March 29, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    I have always wanted to visit Toronto! Add in the part about lake cottages and I am so there!

  • Reply
    Dose Of Inspiration246
    March 29, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    This post is ideal for me cause I’m yet to go, sigh! I plan to in the near future though and your post has me even more excited.

  • Reply
    Nadalie Bardo
    March 30, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Hahaahaha this post is great! After reading through your article and through the posts it’s really funny to see how a lot of people believe it’s always cold here, it’s not. Summers start off slow but can get quite unbearable at times. These are some great options, also besides just renting a cottage, you can get the full outdoor experience with camping in some great national parks. I know we have country festivals and concerts but I wouldn’t say its a huge as it is in the US. We also have some great waterfalls, beaches, and lakes people should check out if they are down for an adventure.

  • Reply
    tachira wiltshire
    March 30, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    My favourite summer activity is going to the beach of course but I live on an island. when I think about Canada the first thing that comes to mind is snow and winter. I love the fact that you totally sold it as a summer destination. It looks like so much fun.

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