Beat the Heat, Toronto-style

Travel Tips — By cwood on July 12, 2010 at 1:32 pm

If you’re in Toronto right now, I can only hope you’re somewhere air-conditioned.  If you’re not in Toronto but planning a trip in the near future, I have two words for you.  Tank tops.

Toronto is currently experiencing a heat wave not seen in years.  The average temperature right now is 33C (91F).  And while that might not sound hot to some of our visitors from desert locales, keep in mind that Toronto sits on a giant lake, which means it’s extremely humid too.  Factor in the humidity, and it feels more like 43C (109F – holy heatstroke, can that be right??)

This means that in addition to a shortage of air conditioners and Slurpees in the city, people are trying to think of creative ways to stay cool.  Here are some of my best ideas on how to chill out in Toronto.

1) Jump in the lake!  Or the pool.  Snag one of the coveted umbrellas at the HtO waterfront park for a snooze in the shade.  Head to Ashbridge’s Bay in the east end of the city for some prime beach time, or travel to High Park and splash around in one of the city’s many municipal pools.  If you have a car, it’s worth the trip to Canada’s Wonderland for their giant water park, Splash Works.  (Go on, waterslides aren’t just for kids.)

2) Ice cream.  We need it now more than ever.  Grab an ice cream cone at Dutch Dreams or Ed’s Real Scoop.  Don’t worry about the calories – you’ll be sweating it off soon enough.  Toronto’s Little Italy and Corso Italia neighbourhoods are also home to dozens of gelato shops, like La Paloma.  While you’re there, pick me up a lemon cone, please!

3) Go shopping.  I know, it’s not the most original, but the air conditioning is wonderful!  Head right for Eaton Centre, that wonderful downtown monolith with frosty manufactured air and a Dairy Queen.  In this weather, you might want to skip the outdoor strip of shops on Bloor Street (put the sunglasses on, take the sunglasses off – way too much energy!)  But if it does cool down long enough to head outdoors, my advice would be to try to pick up some of those cheap-but-beautifully-designed fans from a vendor in Chinatown.

And remember, we’re an awesome city, but not worth getting heatstroke over.  Drink your water, wear a hat, and plan accordingly.

[ Photo of yummy, cooling ice cream by Steven Depolo ]

Tags: summer