Outdoor places to stay cool in Toronto let you experience the best of both worlds. Camping out in air conditioning on the hottest days of the year is a good way to miss summer altogether, so the key is knowing where to head outside that won't turn you into the human version of a melting popsicle.
Here are some outdoor places to stay cool in Toronto.
Leslie Street Spit
Something remarkable happens when you head far out onto the Leslie Street Spit on a hot day. The further you get from the mainland, the more comfortable it seems. It's not just the ample breeze. As the spit juts out into the lake, you can easily feel the effect of the water temperature, which makes it feel a few degrees cooler.
Sheraton Centre Pool
The Sheraton Centre is swimmable the entire year. That means on a hot spring day when the lake is too cold to dare wade into and most city-run pools have yet to be filled with water, you can alternate between sunbathing and refreshing dips. The only catch is that public access in $95 a month. Looking for a one-off option? Try the Hyatt-Regency. It's $39 for a day pass.
David Balfour Park
With one of the deepest ravines in the city, David Balfour Park provides one of the best ways to get outdoors without being exposed to the power of the sun's rays. The tree canopy here is thick enough that you can conceivably hide from the sun for hours. The depth of the ravine also keeps it cool, particularly in the morning.
The patio at Amsterdam Brewhouse
Located right on the water, this patio benefits from the cool lake temperatures and ample umbrellas for shade. Naturally it can get busy on summer weekends, but the best bet is to set up shop in the late morning and ride out the afternoon with a prime spot that benefits from the lake breeze. A similar situation can be had at Against the Grain by Corus Quay.
Humber Bay East
Both sides of Humber Bay Park jut out into the water for a nice breeze and the cooling effect of the lake, but the eastern park has way more mature trees for shade. Find a lake-facing spot under some foliage and you have one of the best picnic spots in the city.
Rotary Peace Park Pool
All of Toronto's outdoor public pools are great places to cool down when the mercury rises, but this west end pool takes the cake because it's consistently crowd-free. If throngs of people make you feel cramped and over-heated you won't have to worry about that here.
Marie Curtis Beach
It's not too often that you find a beach that boasts ample shade in the afternoon, and that's why Marie Curtis is such a desirable place to be in the midst of hot and sticky weather. This is a small, somewhat protected beach landscape-wise, so the breeze off the lake isn't super strong here, but it hardly matters when you've escaped the sun.
Located at the southern tip of High Park, Grenadier Pond benefits from shores with tons of mature trees and its proximity to the big lake, which offers a couple of degrees of relief without even factoring in the impact of the breeze.
The Four Seasons Mist Garden
There is nothing quite so refreshing as being hit with a cool spray of mist on a scorcher of a day. Fortunately, there's a publicly accessible place where you can have this experience in Toronto. The Four Seasons mist garden is a small plot of land in Yorkville, but if you're in the area when it's hot out, relief awaits.
Hanlan's Point Beach
The best way to stay cool is to shed as many layers of clothing as possible, right? Well, you can't do better than a clothing optional beach in this capacity. Even if you're a bit shy, Hanlan's can be one of the coolest places in the city when the breeze is coming from the west (the direction the beach faces).
What did I miss? Add your favourite outdoor spots to cool down in the comments.
Photo of Against the Grain by Jesse Milns.
by Derek Flack via blogTO