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    The Port Lands might have once seemed overlooked, but this area by the water is getting new life thanks to myriad arts and music festivals.

    This weekend, NXNE takes over a lot in this neighbourhood with three days of music and later this year, we'll see the Design Exchange's inaugural EDIT festival at an old detergent factory nearby. 

    Now there's even more in store. Since the Toronto Islands are flooded, the lot at 51 Commissioners in the Port Lands will also become home to the popular Electric Island festival on July 1, over the Canada Day long weekend. 

    Electric Island pops up on each summer long weekend. It moved its Victoria Day event to Woodbine Park. It's still on the city's east side, but this time, it's even closer to the water.

    The Toronto Islands remain closed to the public until at least July 31. 

    Electric Island tickets are still available, starting at $50.

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    Escape room games have taken Toronto by storm. With so many different themes, variations, and options, they've grown into a must-try experience.

    Here are my picks for the top escape room games in Toronto by neighbourhood.


    Visitors have three different missions to choose from at Mysterious Minds Escape. Follow the clues, solve the puzzles, open the locks and beat the clock to earn bragging rights. 

    The Beaches

    Escape Station on Queen East boasts four different escape rooms that range in difficulty. There's Spaceship Command, Police Interrogation, Museum Heist, and Secret Agent-themed rooms. 


    The Great Escape has rooms with intriguing themes that range from theatrical (The Da Vinci Code) to lifelike (The Hangover). For added excitement, TGE offers the option of playing while fully costumed with themed attire.


    With four different rooms, Escape Zone is a solid choice if you're going with a group of friends that want to get competitive. Word to the wise, the staff gives hints if you're really stuck (but don't tell the other group!).

    Danforth East

    Looking Glass Adventures is a family-friendly escape room, with kid-appropriate puzzles for little ones. The immersive and interactive game is perfect for any skill level and is played in groups of four.


    With eight rooms, ESC-IT is the best option if you have a huge group. They have fun, well-produced games and offer a discount if you pay in cash. 


    Not only does DeCode have multiple themed rooms, but they regularly host special events and partner with charities like the United Way to give back to the community. 

    North York

    Located near Downsview Station, Escape Games bills itself as the largest escape facility in North America, at 10,000 square feet. It may also be one of the most intense, with a heavy focus on realistic props and settings. 

    Queen West

    Lost Canada is a great pick for those looking for a variety. They have upwards of seven rooms ranging in difficulty. If you're a beginner, opt for The Gallery Codex or if you're looking to impress your friend give The Lost Den a try. 

    Richmond Hill

    In addition to their six rooms with escape games ranging from 45-60 minutes, Freeing Canada has a large lounge with free board games and popcorn to decompress after the adrenaline wears off and the hunger sets in.


    Not only does Mayze offer three different immersive escape rooms they also have a variety virtual reality games. So once you've escaped you can get your VR on. 

    St. Clair West

    Escape Casa Loma scores points for being located inside Toronto's famous castle. The fun story line with integrated characters as well as the novelty of being in a historical building make it a game worth trying.

    West Queen West

    Real Escape Game was one of the first escape rooms to hit Toronto and remains one of the best. Each new game is consistently engaging, with high-quality puzzles and stories.

    Yonge and Dundas

    Roundabout uses high-tech props and intricate sets to create a convincing, realistic vibe to complement each room's theme. It's definitely your best bet if you're looking for a full immersive experience. 

    Yonge and Wellesley

    In addition to multiple escape rooms, Riddle Room has an attached cafe that offers board and video games along with food and drinks. This is an ideal spot if you're looking to make a full day out of competing with your friends and family.

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    Strawberry picking in and around Toronto is a summertime tradition and a source of nostalgia for anyone who grew up in southern Ontario. In most cases, you'll have to leave the city proper to go pick your own berries, but it's a totally delicious and fruitful experience.

    Here are my picks for the top farms to go strawberry picking near Toronto.

    Brooks Farms

    Just an hour drive from Toronto, this farm has a great selection of strawberries to pick. The season runs from mid June to mid July and the pick your own pricing will set you back $2.55/lb.

    Downey's Farm Market

    Head to the fields for strawberry picking at this Caledon farm from mid-to-late June. It'll cost you $3 to enter the patch, but that fee is deducted from the price of your strawberries when you cash out.

    Brantwood Farms

    While you'll find strawberries in this farm's market from spring to fall, the strawberry fields are open to the public from about mid-June into July. Bring your own containers or buy or borrow when you're there.

    Stonehaven Farms

    This picturesque farm is found in Campbellville, Ontario. Pick you own strawberries typically runs from mid June to mid July and containers used for berry picking must be pre-purchased before picking.

    Reesor's Farm Market

    At this farm, market, and bakery on Ninth Line in Markham, you can pick your own berries when they're in season or just select the perfect pint at the market. You should also check out the strawberry pies and crumbles featuring the season's best.

    Forsythe Family Farms

    Pick-your-own strawberries are the big draw at this family farm in Uxbridge. But strawberries are just the beginning; as summer progresses, peas, beans, tomatoes and pumpkins are all available for DIY harvesting.

    Organics Family Farm

    This Markham farm opens to the public annually at the beginning of strawberry season. It went organic back in 2001 and now grows crops free of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers.

    Watson Farms

    Call the "crop report" to check picking conditions and hours of operation before heading out this U-Pick farm in Bowmanville. It's open for strawberry picking starting in mid-to-late June each year.

    Andrews' Scenic Acres

    Nestled southeast of the Niagara Escarpment, this Milton farm boasts 35 acres of strawberry fields. While you're there, pick up a bottle from the Scotch Block Winery to sample berries in wine form.

    Applewood Farm & Winery

    Strawberry picking season at this Stouffville farm begins in mid June. The farm is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until all the strawberries have been picked.

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    Outdoor swimming pools in Toronto let you beat the heat without even turning on the AC. When the weather is too nice to stay indoors, but too hot to handle, these refreshing, chlorinated meccas are where to go for a cool down.

    Here are my picks for the top outdoor pools in Toronto.

    Sunnyside Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool

    This lakeside pool gets wildly busy on hot summer weekends, but it's amazing for people-watching.Though you'll be in close proximity to Lake Ontario, a swim here will let you skip the murky waters for something clear and chlorinated.

    Alex Duff Memorial Pool

    The thing that sets this Christie Pits Park pool a part from the rest is its two-storey water slide. Though it doesn't rival any of the slides at Canada's Wonderland, it's definitely fun, especially for the younger crowd. If you're not into that, there's also a diving board and shallow splash area.

    Monarch Park

    This outdoor spot is a jack of all trades as far as public pools are concerned. It offers a two-storey water slide, a diving board, a separate wading area for children, and a raised area with seating for those who are not aquatically-inclined.

    Alexandra Park

    Here's a destination that is ideal if you want to do more than just swim. This outdoor pool offers the perfect cool-down opportunity after indulging in a game of baseball or volleyball in the park. Expect to find it packed during leisure hours on hot summer days.

    Rotary Peace Park

    Here's a great option if you live in the west end. This Etobicoke swimming hole hosts classes for every age and offers both lane and leisure swims. When you're finished you can always find a sunny spot in the park to dry off.

    Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pools

    The Olympic Pool draws crowds to the Beaches come summertime due to its proximity to the water. If you aren't brave enough to test the waters of Lake Ontario, this pool makes for a great alternative. For thrill seekers, it features both 5 and 10 metre diving boards.

    High Park

    The public pool at this Toronto park offers both lane and leisure swims, so you can opt to work out or veg out, depending on your interests. Once you've gotten your fill of swimming, you can indulge in a nature walk or visit the animals at the zoo.

    North Toronto Memorial Community Centre

    In a more northern area of the GTA? No problem.The outdoor pool at this community centre has plenty of space for you to cool down. If you're looking to strengthen your swimming skills, they also offer a number of classes for every age group.

    Riverdale Park East

    This outdoor pool is the perfect place to cool down after a jog around the track or a picnic in the park. Take a dip in the water or, if you feel like making the most of the sunshine, lay out in the elevated seating area.

    Greenwood Park

    Once you're done taking advantage of one of the two baseball diamonds, head to the pool for a swim. This expansive outdoor swimming hole will do the trick to cool you down.

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    A lakeside walk isn't the same as hanging out by the waterfront. The idea is to stroll for at least a half an hour without a major detour from the lake. Despite many kilometres of pristine waterfront spots spread across the city, only a few areas make for good walks along the water. What better way to spend a summer evening than to seek them out?

    Here are 5 serene lakeside walks to do in Toronto.

    Ontario Place

    The new Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail at Ontario Place offer awesome views of Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline. You can walk along the meandering lakeside trail before stopping by the granite bluffs or cap off an evening walk with a visit to the waterfront fire pit.

    Marilyn Bell Park to Sunnyside Boardwalk

    Perched right atop Lake Ontario, Marilyn Bell Park makes for a beautiful walk in its own right, but if you want to take in more of the waterfront, keep heading west to Sunnyside where you'll connect with the western boardwalk and a lovely view of Humber Bay.

    Leslie Street Spit

    A trip out to the tip of the Spit lets you take in lake vistas on both sides, not to mention the fascinating ways in which nature has reclaimed this human-made peninsula. Stop to inspect bricks rounded by decades of erosion and contemplate the effects of time. Or just walk to the lighthouse for one of the best view of the city's skyline.

    Humber Bay Shores

    This lakeside stretch has everything. Start at the Humber Bay Arch Bridge and head west all the way to Mimico waterfront promenade. If you want to go for a long stroll head out and back, making sure to cross the Santiago Calatrava-designed bridge over Mimico Creek. The return trip will offer some beautiful views of the Toronto skyline.

    Eastern Boardwalk

    This is the quintessential destination for a lakeside walk in Toronto. If you want to people-watch, go on a busy weekend afternoon. If a romantic stroll is what's desired, pay a visit after 11 p.m. on a warm summer night. The crowds will have thinned, and you can walk in peace under the perfectly-lit pathway.

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    Ice cream sandwiches in Toronto are being taken to new heights by ditching the cookie for more outrageous pastry offerings, one being the donut. Lucky for us, some of Toronto's tastiest donut purveyors and eateries have taken it upon themselves to offer this epic creation.

    Here are my picks for the top donut ice cream sandwiches in Toronto.

    SanRemo Bakery

    This Etobicoke institution goes beyond classic Italian sandwiches. Their donut panini consists of a plain donut that comes stuffed with a generous scoop of gelato. Then it gets sandwiched in a panini press and drizzled with toppings like Nutella.

    A post shared by Nia (@hotpotpapi) on

    Uncle Betty's

    This is where to get your hands on a donut ice cream sandwiches near Yonge & Eglinton. Ice cream is nestled in between their famous donut, drizzled with chocolate or caramel sauce and a selection of toppings.

    A post shared by isabelle (@allons.y) on


    After you're done chowing down on lobster at this Financial District establishment, opt to end things on a sweeter note with their ice cream sandwich. Vanilla ice cream is nestled into a glazed donut.

    Glory Hole Doughnuts

    As one of Toronto's best donut spots, it's no surprise that this Parkdale bakery has taken their delicious offerings to the next level with the addition of ice cream. Pick any donut that isn't stuffed and have it filled to the nines with soft serve.

    Lamanna's Bakery

    This Scarborough bakery is easily one of the most authentic Italian bakeries the city has to offer. Among their wide array of Italian goodies, the bakeshop offers donuts filled with gelato - you can even pick more then one kind!

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    There are plenty of options for weekend getaways from Toronto if you want to keep your driving time under the two hour mark. It's at this range that you can get yourself to wine country, up north to ski and mountain bike, and to the warm shores of Lake Erie for excellent swimming. 

    Here are my picks for the top weekend getaways two hours from Toronto.

    Get dramatic at the Stratford Festival

    The Stratford Festival should be on every Ontarian's bucket list. The productions are top notch, the town is quaint, and there are plenty of reasonably priced accommodations. The river that runs through the town is also a perfect picnicking spot, but beware of the swans (they take no sh*t but make lots of it).

    Check out the Taste Trail in Prince Edward County

    There are 26 restaurants and wineries along Prince Edward County's Taste Trail, all of them calling your name. Book off a few days and enjoy some of the best pinot noir in Ontario. For food, I suggest you start at The Hubb, owned by young siblings Alexandre and Melanie Fida, and spend the night in their adjoining inn, Angeline's.

    Get romantic (and wasted) in Niagara-on-the-Lake

    Niagara-on-the-Lake is a perfect destination for a romantic weekend getaway. There are cosy accommodations for pretty much every budget, and more than enough wineries and restaurants to keep soaking up earthly pleasures all vacation long. Looking of culture? The Shaw Festival remains one of the best modern theatre hubs in the world.

    Explore your heart out at Blue Mountain

    If you're the kind of person who likes to soak in nature and party at the same time, this scenic spot should be a go-to. Stay somewhere in or near the Village (I recommend the Grand Georgian) for quick access to an array of activities, restaurants and entertainment. For the non-claustrophobic, the Scenic Caves are also worth checking out.

    Be charmed by Port Stanley

    Port Stanley is one of the best places to swim in Ontario, particularly in August. Lake Erie can gets wonderfully warm and crazy waves are enough to lure vacationers to Port Stanley's world-class Main Beach. Beyond the water, visitors also come for the town's potent arts scene, which includes the charming Port Stanley Festival Theatre.

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    Lineups in Toronto are getting more and more outrageous, especially when the temperatures begin to rise. From ice cream purveyors to popular bars, I've narrowed it down to the worst of the worst queues.

    Here are my picks for the worst lineups you can expect in Toronto this summer.

    iHalo Krunch

    The latest ice cream craze to hit Toronto is black ice cream. Yes, you read that correctly. It's proving to draw huge crowds and filling up Instagram feeds with its shocking appearance. 

    Saving Grace

    As one of Toronto's best brunch destinations it's no surprise that when the weekend comes around you'll have to wait to chow down on waffles and French toast

    Bang Bang Ice Cream and Bakery

    Even on chilly days this Ossington ice cream shop boasts a pretty hefty line. People are eagerly waiting to get their fill of delectable ice cream sandwiches and must-try cones. Although the lineup may eat up your time, everyone who visits guarantees it's well worth the wait.

    Pinky's Ca Phe

    The restaurateur behind Hanmoto and OddSeoul now also boasts this Vietnamese snack bar tucked away on Clinton St. All restaurants remain popular but as the newest, Pinky's draws the longest wait times.

    Sweet Jesus

    When Sweet Jesus opened its doors near King West, it set Instagram aglow with its epic cones. Now the tiny shop connected to La Carnita has a a cult-like following resulting in a lineup all along John St. Pro tip: the wait is much shorter at its Riverside location.

    The Slip

    Looking to grab a seat at this popular lakeside patio? Get in line. On the sunniest of days this outdoor establishment draws major crowds for its spectacular view of the waterfront, tasty pub grub and of course alcoholic beverages. 

    Queen St. Warehouse

    If you want to spend your evening chowing down on $4.95 meals and guzzling cheap drinks, you're going to have a wait. This restaurant regularly sports a massive line on Queen West.

    Adamson Barbecue

    This BBQ joint at Bayview & Leaside is always bustling with hungry carnivores. Arrive early if you want a chance to taste the brisket; it usually sells out first.

    Eva's Original Chimneys

    Throughout the winter this Annex shop was sporting crazy long lines so it will be no surprise when Bloor St. is filled with people waiting excitedly to get their hands on their infamous doughnut cone

    The Porch

    The rooftop patio at Rock 'n' Horse Saloon draws major crowds throughout the week and especially on weekends when the weather cooperates. If you want to guarantee spot, arrive early. 

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    The Toronto Pride parade route takes over parts of Church, Yonge and Gerrard on June 25. 

    The streets become ground zero for protests, messages of love, loss, hope and frustration. The annual parade is a chance to give voice to a community that still needs to be heard and understood. 

    Here's a roundup of key information about this weekend's Pride parade. And, yes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be there. 

    Pride Parade - Sunday June 25

    One of North America's largest pride parades starts at 2 p.m. with over 150 participating groups.

    While last year's was historic and might have been the best one ever, the 2017 parade will also prove interesting after what happened between Pride, Black Lives Matter and the Toronto Police. It seems all three groups are still dealing with the events from one year ago.

    The parade starts at Yonge and Bloor and ends at Yonge-Dundas Square. A large portion of Bloor Street, east of Bay will be closed as floats and marchers prepare to proceed down Yonge Street.

    The parade has known to run over three hours, so arrive early to get a good viewing spot. Artist Kent Monkman is the grand marshal this year. 

    toronto pride parade

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    Drive-in movie theatres in and around Toronto, conjure up images of an idyllic past, Riverdale and the John Travolto belting his heart out in Grease. Speed back in time to capture that nostalgic feeling of cozying up in your car to watch a double feature under the stars.

    Here's a round-up of drive-in move theatres in and around Toronto.

    The Docks

    The only drive-in in Toronto property is located by the water. There's also a driving range on-site. This retro spot is open year-round on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays. 

    5 Drive-In

    With three screens showing the latest new releases, you'll definitely want to stay for both feature films. Oh, and along with the movies, this Oakville drive-in has an impressive diner and snack bar.

    The Stardust

    The Stardust, north of the city in Newmarket, is under the same ownership as the 5 Drive-In. It plays first-rate movies and along with its name, it maintains a 60s vibe.

    Mustang Drive-In

    Cruise down the 401 to London (or head here after spending a day at the beach in Grand Bend) and relax at this drive-in that play first-rate new releases. 

    Can-View Drive-In

    This drive-in megaplex in Fonthill includes four screens, and each one plays a double feature. You can see 'em all for less than $15, meaning you can watch movies from dusk until dawn.

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    The top parties in Toronto this July will host you in every fun corner the city has to offer including parks, the waterfront, museums, new outdoor party gardens, parking lots and pools. It's all about coming together and spreading the love with music, food, and friends. 

    Events you might want to check out:

    Apollonia & Friends (July 3 @ Sunnyside Pavilion & Cafe)
    A holiday Monday daytime dance party right next to the lake? Yes, please. Special guests Apollonia from Paris are joined by some local DJs for this day of house music under the sun.
    First Thursday (July 6 @ AGO - Art Gallery of Ontario)
    Celebrate the breadth and the diversity of the Canadian experience at the AGO with headliner Bear Witness, plus Esie Mensah, Manifest Destiny's Child and way more.
    Course Of Time (July 8 @ Omaw)
    One of the best dance parties in the city finds a new home at Omaw. Expect big house sounds, club beats and an inclusive crowd that shows up to dance and be wowed by visuals.
    Light up the Night (July 8 @ Fringe Club)
    This is a dance party under the stars in a park, and it's free from the folks at the Fringe Festival.
    Budweiser County Fair (July 14 @ 525 King Street West)
    Find a country fair in a parking lot in the middle of the city. There'll be live country bands, mechanical bulls, so much beer and lots of BBQ.
    A-Trak (July 22 @ Cabana Pool Bar)
    Cabana Pool Bar can be a lot to handle, but sometimes it's worth heading down to see a certain DJ and party the night away. A-Trak is that DJ.
    Bastid's BBQ 2017 (July 23 @ 525 King St W)
    What's this? Another parking lot party? It's true, but this one is the seventh annual Bastid's BBQ, and besides all the yummy food and drinks, the crowd and the music here are unmatchable.
    Uniiqu3 (July 14 @ The Baby G)
    Behold the Jersey Club movement for one night in Toronto. The first lady of Jersey club music Uniiqu3 blesses Toronto with a show and set from Chippy Nonstop, Coco Supreme and Sexton. This might be the moth's sweatiest party.
    Camp Summerdaze 2017 - Toronto Island (July 28-30 @ TBA)
    A three day experience of music, meditation, reiki, oracle readings, workshops and crafting at a secret location to be announced.
    Soul Sunday street party (July 30 @ Trinity Common)
    Car-free, kid-friendly, bee-loving, organic and cosmic, it's the Sunday dance party in the street during Pedestrian Sunday with soul, funk, disco, afro-beat, beers and snacks.

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    Vegan ice cream in Toronto is anything but basic. You can find dairy-free, yet creamy treats all over city and at some of the most popular ice cream spots currently appearing on you Instagram feed. 

    Here are my picks for the top places to get vegan ice cream in Toronto.

    Cosmic Treats

    With a menu full of vegan comfort food, there's lots to choose from at this Kensington Market spot, including, of course, eight flavours of cashew-based ice cream,

    Bar Ape

    Thanks to its rotating roster of seasonally-inspired flavours, you never really know what to expect at this St. Clair West gelato shop. Vegan flavours have included chocolate-covered strawberry basil gelato bars, Ontario pear soft serve, and watermelon soft serve.

    Bang Bang

    Brace yourself for Bang Bang's infamous lineup, but know you'll be rewarded with a scoop of vegan ice cream wedged between vegan cookies, also known as the ultimate vegan ice cream sandwich.


    Head to this all-vegan bakery to grab a cone filled with chocolate, vanilla or chocolate-vanilla swirl soft serve. It's the perfect nostalgic treat for a hot and sunny day.

    Sweet Jesus

    Sure, you can grab an over-the-top decorated cone here, but you can also find humble-looking cones topped with swirls of dairy-free soft serve here.

    Wong's Ice Cream

    This ice cream shop in Chinatown East describes itself as Asian-themed and it has a variety of vegan flavours that you won't find anywhere else in the city - think vegan coconut mango sticky rice and vegan lemongrass lime sorbet. 


    There's absolutely no dairy at this North York ice cream shop. Instead it makes creamy treats with frozen bananas in flavours like spiced date and rose pistachio.

    Seven Lives Paleteria

    For Disney Land-inspired Dole Whip, visit this Kensington Market offshoot of Seven Lives. This fruity soft serve is seriously refreshing, especially when you get it as a float with pineapple juice. 


    Bloomer's serves ice cream from Pleasantville Creamery, grab it by the pint or get it on top of a crumble pie or a pecan tart for an extra indulgent and cruelty-free tree. 

    Hibiscus Cafe

    The made-in-house ice cream at this cozy Kensington Market cafe feaures a coconut milk, mung milk or almond milk base and it all comes served by the scoop.

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    There's something about the Toronto skyline that maintains allure even as it risks becoming a cliche thanks to the thousands of times it's photographed each day. Never is this feeling more palpable than when you stumble upon a hidden vantage point that few before you have enjoyed. Bring a love interest. These are great spots to explore together. 

    Here are 5 secret spots to view the Toronto skyline.

    Kensington Market parking garage

    It doesn't look like much from street level, but climb to the top of this parking garage on St. Andrew St. at dusk and you'll be treated with one of the best views of Toronto you'll ever witness. Unlike lakeside vantage points, this view shows off Toronto's dense urbanity.

    crothers woods

    The skyline hovers over Crothers Woods. Photo by Derek Flack.

    Crothers Woods

    One of the most truly hidden spots on this list, you'll need to hike about 200 metres from the upper trailhead (at the Loblaws parking lot) to the top of the hill that local mountain bikers once dubbed K2. Curl around the trail for different skyline angles of the CN Tower and Financial District, which hover over the lush Sun Valley.

    toronto skyline

    The view of Toronto above Davenport Rd. is magnificent. Photo by Derek Flack.

    Regal Road School

    Perched atop the old Lake Iroquois shoreline, this lookout offers a stunning panoramic view of Toronto. You'll need to walk up the mostly hidden path from Davenport Rd. to avoid being encumbered by the fence, but once you've found it, you'll surely go back again. It's that good.

    toronto skyline

    This parkette is a great place for a picnic or a game of chess. Photo by Tony Mo.

    Miles Road End Parkette

    A number of south Etobicoke streets terminate at little lakeside parkettes, but the one at Miles Rd. is my favourite. There are two benches and a chess table (which also works for a picnic) here, meaning it's a comfortable spot to lounge for an hour or two with the city shimmering in the distance.

    toronto skyline

    A trip to the Chester Hill Lookout is required for any Torontophile. Photo by Evan Russell.

    Chester Hill Lookout

    Chester Hill isn't as well kept a secret as it once was, but if you pay a visit, you're still unlikely to encounter others doing the same. Tucked north of Broadview and Danforth, this lookout offers a view of Toronto that's at once natural and profoundly urban, where the Bloor Viaduct serves as a visual dividing line between the valley below and the skyline.

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    The top weekend getaways from Toronto for couples don't have to be cheesy spas and all-inclusive resorts. On the contrary, the ingredients for a romantic escape tend to be simpler. All you really need to do is pair a beautiful setting with some good food and wine. Throw in some seclusion, and you have the makings of a memorable weekend for two.

    Here are my picks for the top weekend getaways from Toronto for couples.

    Escape everything in Algonquin Park

    Located on scenic Joe Lake in Alongquin Park, Arowhon Pines is a dream couples getaway, complete with cozy accommodations, gourmet meals, and stunning lake views. The resort is at its best in late summer and early fall, when cool nights beckon for a fire, some star gazing, and a healthy dose of wine.

    Soak up the charm of Niagara-on-the-Lake

    There was a time when couples went to Niagara Falls for romantic getaways, but if you're not a fan of kitsch, the better bet is nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake, which boasts nicer restaurants, the Shaw Festival, excellent wineries, and some gorgeous vintage inns. Stay at the Harbour House for an unpretentious but still luxurious hotel experience.

    Spend a weekend at the vineyard

    There's plenty of hotels and inns to choose from in Ontario's various wine regions, but for a unique experience, you can stay on the grounds of a winery in Prince Edward County. The Inn at Huff Estates is located right next to the vineyard, which is both pretty and practical. There's also a restaurant with a patio overlooking the winery.

    A cozy cabin in the forest

    Is there really any better romantic getaway than renting a secluded cabin in the forest? Fortunately, there are some sweet rustic cabins near Toronto that feature wood-burning stoves, warm wood interiors, and all the privacy you could ever want. One of my favourites is located in Maynooth, but there are also other good options further afield.

    Travel back in time on Shaw's Creek in Caledon

    If you're looking to minimize driving time, one of the most romantic getaways from Toronto can be found at the Millcroft Inn. The former textile mill is now home to a luxurious but rustic hotel that also features a restaurant overlooking the creek. When not spending time indoors, head to the Forks of the Credit for a hike or picnic.

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    Free events this week in Toronto give us reasons to celebrate Canada with a waterside concert, a free day at the ROM and a very Canuck movie screening in the heart of the city. Leave your wallet at home and take it all in. 

    Events you might want to check out:

    City Cinema (June 27 - August 29 @ Yonge-Dundas Square)
    Watch a movie for free and under the stars and neon signs of Yonge-Dundas Square. Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas as Canada’s most famous hosers will kick off this summer’s film series with Strange Brew around 9 p.m.
    Shad in concert (June 28 @ First Canadian Place)
    Shad Shadrach Kabango graces the city with a free concert at 5:15 p.m. so run out of the office and catch this show. Toronto DJ Famous Players will open the after-work show with high energy mixes and mash-ups.
    Shakespeare in High Park (June 29 - September 3 @ High Park Amphitheatre )
    Directors Alistair Newton and Tanja Jacobs bring us their modern takes on King Lear and Twelfth Night, for free, in the middle of one of the city's largest parks. Shows start at 8, but get there early to grab a coveted seat in the woods.
    Canada Days at Nathan Phillips Square (June 30 - July 3 @ Nathan Phillips Square)
    This is a four day celebration of Canada's 150th birthday with live music and nightly fireworks. Headliners include Barenaked Ladies, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ron Sexsmith.
    ROM free admission day (July 1 @ Royal Ontario Museum)
    To celebrate our home and native land, ROM is opening their doors for free. Check out their permanent galleries, some live performances, and the Anishinaabeg: Art & Power exhibit happening all summer.
    Wavelength Canada Day (July 1 @ Humber Bay Park West)
    Celebrate our country with a giant concert by the bay. Presented by the folks behind the Wavelength fest, you'll see shows from Most People, The Magic, and way more. Bike Pirates are hosting a bike tour that rides you to the show.
    Redpath Waterfront Festival (July 1-3 @ Sherbourne Commons)
    This waterfront festival gets a special mention this year for one key reason: the world's largest rubber duck, which will make its first appearance at HTO Park at 11:00 a.m. on July 1.