Summer Stuff

Every year I make a summer wish list of stuff to do between mid-May and early October (a time period I have referred to for the past 4 years as ‘Summer of Jenn’). It can’t be all sangria hangovers and park naps y’all (ok, it can be a little  – but I’m trying to branch). Some are silly, some involve a bit of travel and some are purely indulgent, but most of them are geared to savouring what’s supposed to be a very hot Toronto summer.

  • Make friends with boat people. Then go on their boats. Seems simple, but MM and I have tried (mostly through telepathy, but ‘A’ for effort, right?) to befriend boat people for the past few years. On a trip to Vancouver we thought perhaps we could make friends via proximity to water. So we just sort of lurked there. No dice.


  • Take a class in something art-y. Or art-adjacent. A few years back, MM and I took a clay class at The Gardiner Museum. I tried to act out Ghost on the pottery wheel but there was a line-up. For ‘Ghost-ing’.

Clay class at the Gardiner Museum.

  • Get on a lake and enjoy some water sports. Perhaps in some sort of canoe. Anything that floats, really.

Jenn + Canoe = Fun

  • Learn how to BBQ. I can’t keep making R cook all my veggie burgers. Well, I can. But I think she might throw one at me soon.
  • Try some new beers. I had a blast with MM and K at the Granville Island Brewing Co. in Vancouver. And I love beer. Especially wheat beer on a hot summer day.

Beer samplers at the Granville Island Brewing Co. in Vancouver. I swear these aren’t pints. They were tiny. Well, tiny-ish.

  • Go to Canada’s Wonderland. It’s been about 12 years since I’ve been, and I really want to go on some roller coasters and slam down some funnel cake. AT THE SAME TIME.
  • Marathon Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy (for rainy days and hangover Sundays).
  • Turn 30. Stay classy. Oh lordy.

Time to turn 30.

  • Play tourist in my own city. I love Toronto, and even after living in the city for 10+ years I still feel like there’s so much more to see. I get a kick out of playing tour guide to friends and family visiting Toronto because I get to explore new areas and restaurants too. Though I rarely venture north of Dupont, I’m looking to explore the North end of the city a bit more this summer. R and I spent a day in the St. Clair and Bathurst area last summer and had a blast. She scored an amazing denim jacket from the Salvation Army and I ate 3 cupcakes. It was a good day.

Hamming it up on the Danforth (Greektown).

  • Enjoy some outdoor movies at Harbourfront during their Free Flicks nights. Last summer I saw Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Annie Hall. And brought my own wine. Win-win.
  • Get a day pass for one of the hotel pools around the city. Maybe one from this list? I have my eye on the Radisson.
  • Got to some outdoor concerts and music festivals. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I have a fear of two things: Porta Potties and clowns.  A clown IN a Porta Potty would probably render me dead. MM and I are going to see Brand New in August and we typically get out to see some bands and go to some parties during North by Northeast (NxNE). I think maybe this year I’d be up for an all day outdoor concert type of thing. Unless it’s raining. Or too hot. Or there are clowns there.

My 2010 NxNE Media/Priority Pass

  • More brunches. More mimosas. Self explanatory.
  • Hit up some food festivals. Yes, the crowds can be a bit overwhelming, but I’ve done the Taste of the Danforth and The Taste of Little Italy and enjoyed both. It’s nice to wander around stuffing your face in a crowd of people also stuffing their face. Solidarity, fatties! This year I’d like to drop by the Vegetarian Food Festival too.
  • I think I would like to maybe rent a cottage for a weekend this summer. My friend L has a gorgeous cottage on the lake that we went up to last Labour Day weekend and had a blast. There’s something so peaceful about being on a lake. Unless you’re playing Yahtzee with a bunch of crazies. Inside joke.

Down by the lake at L’s cottage.

  • Road trips! My cousins and I are driving to Boston for Canada Day weekend (but I’m flying back because Porter was having a sale – holler!). I’d also like to maybe take some day trips to places like Elora and St. Jacobs and maybe some of these places too. I used to go to St. Jacobs all the time when I was a kid because it was near our summer place, but it’s been awhile and I could really get on board with buying a supply of pies from a man wearing a lot of wool.
  • Run. As I’ve mentioned, I’m doing my first run in October. It’s only a 5 km run but that’s kind of a lot for someone who’s never run. IT IS! I’m so focused on making this a running summer that I opted out of tennis lessons this summer. But I’ll probs hit up Howard Park and High Park to play if I get a chance. Though my tennis partner is currently in Spain…..(lucky girl).
  • Go ziplining again. I had a blast ziplining in Costa Rica last year and would like to do it again without having to go to Costa Rica because as it turns out I don’t like getting robbed. I’m also down for repelling. If you know of a good place to do either within a 2 hour drive from Toronto, please let me know!

Ziplining in Costa Rica – April 2011.

  • Give golfing another go. I stupidly assumed that being able to actually successfully connect golf club to golf ball at various driving ranges meant that I could golf. Oh, how harsh reality can be. My brother, sister-in-law and I went golfing last summer on what turned out to be the hottest day ever. I was not good. But I had fun. And I’m ready for round 2. Look at me, making golf puns!
  • Go to The Ex. As a kid, I never went to The Ex. According to MM, this is blasphemy. But I’ve been making up for lost time over the past 5+ years because we visit at least twice when The Ex comes to Toronto each summer in mid/late August through Labour Day weekend. We hit the food building  a lot. Hard. Roti, perogies, pickles on a stick. Yum. There’s also some fun shopping. Overall, it’s just a great place to hang out for a few hours but I generally avoid going on closing weekend (Labour Day) and prefer to go after work during opening week (bonus: it’s also cheaper during the week – $5 after 5 pm from Monday-Thursday). Don’t say I never did anything nice for you.

Our favourite ride at The Ex.

  • Hit up the Toronto Islands. The Islands are a place I generally try to avoid on weekends, as the overcrowding on the ferry to get there gives me Titanic anxiety. But once you’re there it can be a really great place to have a picnic and walk around. Also, what’s not to love about an oversize chair. AMIRIGHT? bring your bike and ride around. Drink some wine down by the lake. It’s a great place to bring kids, as there are wading pools and an amusement park. Just don’t bring them to the nude beach part. It’s mostly full of creepy old men. Don’t ask.

Me on the big chair on the Toronto Island.

  • Get another tattoo? Debating. My most recent tattoo was done last summer in Montreal. I have some ideas, but I think my mom may start getting actually angry…..or as close to angry as she gets which is like an eye twitch.

Getting tattooed – August 2011 (Montreal).

End result – FOI. It’s the French word for faith.

  • Make a point of visiting farmers markets more vs. buying my produce from the grocery store. Torontonians LOVE farmers markets. We’re fancy that way. My favourites are the Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market (Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m on Dufferin Street across from the Dufferin Mall) and Wychwood Barns (Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Christie Street at St. Clair). I’ve also heard about one in Liberty Village that I want to check out.

So that’s my summer fun wish list. What’s on yours?


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