Helen Hatzis
Helen Hatzis
July 1, 2024 ·  5 min read

Explore Toronto: Top 10 Must-Do Summer Activities in My Hometown

Toronto, my hometown, known for its vibrant diversity and endless array of activities, comes alive in the summer with a multitude of options for locals and visitors alike. I want to share some of the best ways to experience Toronto during the summer.

From cultural festivals and historical districts to thrilling adventures and serene parks, the city offers something for everyone. To help you navigate this bustling metropolis, we’ve rounded up ten fun and exciting things to do in Toronto this summer. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a taste of the city’s rich culture, these activities promise to make your summer in Toronto unforgettable.

1. Toronto Islands

Reason Why: The Toronto Islands are a tranquil escape from the bustling city, offering breathtaking views of Toronto’s skyline, beautiful beaches, and lush parks. Visitors can rent bicycles, enjoy a picnic, or explore the islands by foot or boat. The islands also feature attractions like Centreville Amusement Park for families and plenty of spots for kayaking and paddleboarding. Read more about the Toronto Islands here.

2. CN Tower EdgeWalk

Reason Why: The CN Tower, one of Toronto’s most iconic landmarks, offers an adrenaline-pumping experience called the EdgeWalk. Thrill-seekers can walk around the outside of the tower’s main pod, 356 meters above the ground, secured by harnesses. This unique attraction provides unparalleled views of the city and Lake Ontario, making it a must-do for adventure enthusiasts.

3. Distillery District

Reason Why: The Distillery District is a vibrant, pedestrian-only village that combines historical charm with modern culture. Visitors can stroll through cobblestone streets lined with beautifully preserved Victorian buildings, art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. The area is also known for its craft breweries and seasonal events, such as the popular summer markets and outdoor art installations.

4. Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

Reason Why: Every September, film enthusiasts from around the world flock to Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). This prestigious event showcases a diverse range of films, from major Hollywood productions to independent and international cinema. Attendees can enjoy screenings, panels, and the chance to see celebrities on the red carpet, making it a cultural highlight of the summer.

5. High Park

Reason Why: High Park is Toronto’s largest public park, offering a mix of recreational and natural attractions. Visitors can explore extensive hiking trails, visit the High Park Zoo, and relax in beautiful gardens, including the cherry blossom trees in spring. The park also hosts outdoor theater performances in the summer, such as the popular Shakespeare in High Park series, providing a perfect blend of nature and culture.

6. Kensington Market

Reason Why: Kensington Market is one of Toronto’s most eclectic and vibrant neighborhoods. Known for its bohemian atmosphere, the market features a diverse array of vintage shops, global eateries, and street art. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, offering a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and flavors. On Pedestrian Sundays, the streets are closed to cars, making it an even more enjoyable experience.

7. Sonic Boom Records

Reason Why: For music lovers, Sonic Boom Records is an iconic record store in Toronto that cannot be missed. Located in the heart of the city, it offers a vast collection of vinyl records, CDs, and music memorabilia. The store frequently hosts live performances and events, making it a cultural hub for music enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking to discover new music or find rare vinyl, Sonic Boom Records is the place to be.

8. Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

Reason Why: The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is a premier destination for art lovers. Home to more than 90,000 works of art, the gallery features a diverse range of collections from Canadian, Indigenous, and international artists. The AGO also offers engaging exhibitions, interactive programs, and stunning architecture, making it a cultural gem in the heart of Toronto.

9. Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

Reason Why: The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is one of the largest museums in North America, known for its extensive collections of art, world culture, and natural history. Visitors can explore fascinating exhibits, from dinosaur skeletons to ancient artifacts. The ROM’s stunning architecture, including the iconic Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, adds to the allure of this must-visit attraction.

10. St. Lawrence Market

Reason Why: St. Lawrence Market is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide array of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and delicious prepared foods. The market, which has been a staple of Toronto since 1803, features over 120 vendors, making it the perfect place to experience the city’s culinary diversity. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or gourmet ingredients, St. Lawrence Market has something to satisfy every palate.

Toronto in the summer is a city alive with activities and attractions that cater to a variety of interests. From the serene beauty of the Toronto Islands and the historical charm of the Distillery District to the exhilarating experience of the CN Tower EdgeWalk and the cultural richness of TIFF, there is something for everyone. Kensington Market and Sonic Boom Records add a unique flavour for those looking to experience the city’s vibrant music and arts scene, while the AGO, ROM, and St. Lawrence Market offer enriching cultural and culinary experiences. These top ten things to do in Toronto this summer ensure an engaging and unforgettable experience in one of Canada’s most dynamic cities.

Come visit! I wrote this guide a long time ago, but it remains useful.

As you embark on your travels, remember that our journey leaves an impact. Embrace eco-friendly accommodations, support local communities, and reduce plastic use. Respect wildlife by observing from afar and conserve resources like water and energy. Choose sustainable transportation, leave no trace behind, and participate in conservation efforts. Educate yourself and others about the environment you’re exploring. Let’s ensure that we tread lightly on our planet, leaving only footprints of kindness and taking home memories that inspire others to protect our beautiful world. Happy responsible travels!