The best way to experience a vacation is by using your senses; the following activities just go to show that Toronto is a city that should be tasted, smelled, seen, felt, and heard – all summer long!
Taste… all you can eat ribs at Toronto Ribfest in Centennial Park, which has tents, carnival rides and live music; an overwhelming selection of boozy beverages at Toronto’s Festival of Beer; eye-watering goodness at the Hot & Spicy Food Festival at Harbourfront Centre in July, which has an Iron Chef event and a Taco Takedown competition; local farmers’ produce during Fresh Wednesdays at Nathan Phillips Square; international delicacies in that same square during Tasty Thursdays (July 12-Aug 30).
Smell… the freshly cut grasses in the morning at one of Toronto’s many golf courses; the herbs in the Herb Garden at the Toronto Botanical Garden or the adjacent arboretum and rhododendrons at the Edwards Gardens (free tours in summer); the ever-colorful blossoms at the Allan Gardens Conservatory greenhouses; trouble in the air when you can’t resist buying yourself a present at one of the hundreds of independent businesses in Kensington Market’s Pedestrian Sundays.
See… a film you’ve never seen before at the Toronto International Film Festival, which also offers summer camps and special ‘In Conversation’ guest talks; how dinosaurs lived and ate at Dinosaur’s Alive!, part of Canada’s Wonderland; an outdoor theater performance during the Cooking Fire Theatre Festival in Dufferin Grove Park; the Air Show at the Canadian National Exhibiton; 5000 animals, including alligators, lions, kangaroos and penguins, at the Toronto Zoo; the clear summer stars at York University’s Observatory.
Feel… the excitement of Bumper Boats, Twirling Tea Cups or the Antique Carousel at Centreville Amusement Park across the harbor; the relaxation of waterfalls at the Hillside Gardens in High Park; the sun on you (all of you) at Hanlan’s Point nude beach on Toronto Island; Lady Luck on your side at the CNE Casino (July 30th-Sept 3); the thrill of plummeting 306 feet on Leviathan, one of the biggest roller-coasters in the world.
Hear… a brave man attempt to play all 32 of Beethoven sonatas in one day at the Luminato festival; lessons on how to be a brewmaster at Toronto’s Festival of Beer; swing bands play at Mel Lastman Square during Sunday Serenades; nothing but your own pedaling on some of Toronto’s best bike paths.