Summer is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy an adventure. Even in Canada, the summers are warm and sunny and in our hometown of Toronto there are a lot of surprising activities that will turn your weekend or vacation into an adventure of a lifetime.
Take the CN Tower. It held the record for being the tallest free-standing tower in the world until 2010 . To keep things exciting, the destination recently added the sky-high adrenaline rush known as the Edge Walk. During this activity, you actually walk on the roof of the tower, tethered to a safety harness to make sure you don’t fall. If standing on a glass floor at 356 meters, or 1,168 feet isn’t enough of a thrill, a walk outside definitely do the trick.
For a more down-to-earth (literally) activity, try indoor rock climbing at Joe Rockhead’s climbing gym first. This was our regular haunt when Dave and I lived in the city and it’s a great way to learn to climb in the safety and comfort of a controlled environment. Here you can learn to tie in to your harness, how to use a gri gri, and how to belay your climbing partner. Don’t worry, you’ll know what all of that means after your climbing lesson. Once you’ve mastered climbing indoors, take it outside to the Niagara escarpment. Just 40 minutes from the city, this Unesco World Heritage Site is surrounded by nature and is a great place to climb.
Viewfinder Tip: Avoid the CN Tower when the Blue Jays are home, as parking in the area can be a challenge.
Scenic Flight over Toronto
If you are still craving heights, take a scenic flight over the city. Island Air Flight School offers these tours; most of them from a small Cessna Aircraft. Taking off over one of the Great Lakes, you’ll be able to see the Toronto shoreline, the city’s green space, and the CN Tower from above. Once you are comfortable, you can take over the controls and fly the plane yourself. If that’s not enough for you and you want more thrills and spills, ask your pilot to go weightless, and he’ll go into a free fall that gives you the sensation of floating in space. Dave loved the feeling so much he yelled, “Can we do it again?” Naturally our pilot obliged and we did a second free fall, causing my stomach to lurch into my throat.
Mountain biking is another great activity in Toronto, and there is an amazing network of more than 40 miles of mountain bike trails right in the heart of the city. We consider these trails to be some of Toronto’s best-kept secrets. Most of the trails are intermediate to advanced single-track; ride them and you’ll zip past horse stables, parkland, sports fields and more. If you aren’t ready to explore these trails by yourself, there are rides on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings from the Loblaws Parking lot at 14 Redway Road.
If sun and fun are more your style of adventure, head out to the beaches and play a game of beach volleyball or learn to stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Yes, Toronto has amazing sandy beaches on the shores of Lake Ontario. One of our favorite new activities is SUPing; the protection of Toronto Island creates calm waters and ideal conditions in the harbor. You can even take a paddleboard tour around the Toronto Islands of Muggs, Centre, Algonquin, and Wards Islands. When you are finished, strip of your clothes and head out to Hanlans Point to our clothing optional beach. Now that’s an adventure unto itself.
Mountain Biking in Toronto
Torontonians love summer and when you are at the waterfront you’ll see people taking advantage of the warm weather by sailing, kayaking, or simply taking a relaxing boat tour. Toronto might be one of the most multicultural cities in the world with terrific nightlife, art and theater, but it’s also an adventure-lover’s paradise.
What kind of adventures do you seek when you travel?