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To enjoy summer, despite the heat wave: evening walks and other tips

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU? A reminder of a few ways to enjoy our city despite the heat wave!

Summer nights...

Those who live in Toronto's old houses (many of them dating from the 1920s) know that the AC isn't strong enough to push the cold air up the second floor, where one usually finds the bedrooms.

Lucky us, evening walks got dreamy thanks to the lively street patios and the little strings of lights throwing their glow on the sidewalk! It greatly adds to the fun of walking our city.

Any street with small restaurants, where there was no patio before the pandemic looks much better now, once the sun sets. In the east side of town, the Danforth East neighbourhood has come to life, past Main Street. Same thing for Gerrard Street East, around Logan. I'm sure the same happened in your neighbourhood.

Evening walks by the lake

Nothing beats an evening walk by the lake, listening to the sound of the waves brushing the shores at any of Toronto's beaches.

Thanks to the well lit boardwalk in The Beach neighbourhood, passing by Woodbine Beach, Kew Beach, Balmy Beach, you get to see where you walk! And there's the Leuty Lifeguard Station standing as a beacon for the walkers. I would expect that Sunnyside Beach's boardwalk is the same.

On a windy day (or night) by the lake

In addition, on a windy day, it is always cooler by Lake Ontario, because it is a deep one! University of Toronto Scarborough professor Mathew Wells explains: "There is a thin layer of warm water on top on Lake Ontario, a band of cooler water below and the coldest water, which gets down to 4 degrees, is at 30 metres and deeper. When wind blows across the Lake the top layer of warm water moves and is replaced by the layer of cold water from below."

We always bring an extra layer when we go for a long walk on the beach.

Shaded trails (thank you trees!)

Trails nested within trees in ravines or by a river are noticeably cooler! Even better before 11 am and 1 pm, when the sun is casting a longer shadow.

I still remember the day I realized that. As a girl from Montreal, it was love at first sight with Toronto's ravines, but it's only when my son was four and I was doing research for my first local parents guide Toronto Fun Places, that I dragged ourselves down Moore Park Ravine during a heat wave (just south of Mt. Pleasant Cemetery). We instantly felt the cooler temperature. What a blessing.

Not all the ravines are set within a wooded park. Here are a few I can think of, which would do the trick:

The trail running down Grenadier Pond in High Park, south of Bloor West

• David A. Balfour Ravine (my favourite acces is at the foot of Shaftesbury Ave)

• Crothers Woods (accessible from Loblaws' parking lot at. 11 Redway Rd) (You might want to read my blog post about the hidden stairs on Crothers Woods.)

• Necropolis Cemetery in Cabbagetown (especially the eastern part)

• Lower Don River Trail, north of Queen East

• Colonel Danforth Park (south of Old Kingston Rd in Scarborough) (See my blog post about my summer stroll in Colonel Danforth Park and my other one about my last visit there during the fall colours.)

A good tip to remember, wherever there's a paved path, expect to find a side dirt path nearby, usually amidst the trees or closer to the water streams.

This post is a complement to local author Nathalie Prézeau's latest walking guide: Toronto BEST Urban Strolls available in Toronto’s major bookstores, on and or We also deliver or contact the author directly at to arrange for a pick up with a discount at 299 Booth Avenue, in Leslieville.


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