25 ways to make the most of summer in Toronto, part two

The Camp Toronto summer series continues with beach tennis, BBQ tips from the top, and stargazing 101

Get your activities badge by trying these campy summer sports in Toronto

Little known to many Torontonians is the Toronto Archery Range, which is located beside the Ontario Science Centre in E. T. Seton Park. The range is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is one of a handful of free public archery ranges in North America.

One doesn’t need to travel far to do some ropes courses. Treetop Trekking operates a course at Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area in Stouffville in York Region. The park features five aerial ropes courses up to 40 feet in the area with zip lines, wooden bridges and Tarzan swings.

Beach tennis
Although the sport is in its infancy in Toronto, it is growing quickly, and a club was established a couple of years back. Outside of the pandemic, there is beach tennis available year-round. This summer, head down to Ashbridges Bay to check out this fun sport.

Treetop Trekking at Bruce’s Mill

Get your BBQ badge by perfecting these recipes and home grilling and smoking tips from the city’s top pitmasters

The 3-2-1 rub
“With most barbecue recipes, I recommend starting with the 3-2-1 rub. It’s the easiest way to flavour food and also the easiest way to add your own spin to the recipe. It’s called 3-2-1 because of how the ingredients are broken down: three portions of each base ingredient — salt and sugars, two portions of each of the central ingredients — these are the main flavours that will be present in your rub, and one portion of each of your accent flavours — these are the flavours that work best in limited quantities, such as cloves, cinnamon or cayenne pepper.” —David Neinstein, Barque Smokehouse 

Temperature control
“Get a really good thermometer. If you watch any amount of food television or visit a barbecue contest, you will see that almost everyone uses a thermometer from Thermoworks. I personally have about five of them. There’s even one in the glove compartment of my car. You can cook a five-star meal on a $15 dollar hibachi with a good thermometer.” —Jason Rees, Earlscourt BBQ

It’s not about the pit but the pitmaster
“Don’t get grill envy. All you really need is two sticks, a match, a good thermometer and some patience to make great barbecue. I’ve seen people roll up at a barbecue contest with $250,000 invested in their barbecue rigs to lose to a guy in a beat-up minivan with a couple of ugly drum smokers. The best barbecue is the one that you are comfortable using. I own between 10 and 14 different cookers at a time, and some of the best barbecue comes off my Weber kettle that I got on Craigslist for $50.” —JR 

Cottage couture: Get your camp fashions at three Muskoka-inspired boutiques

Offering up a selection of carefully curated and ethically sourced lifestyle goods, including dresses, cashmere, loungewear and coats, Tuck Shop Trading Co. on Yonge Street is your one-stop shop for summer cottage gear. The shop’s oversized cottage coats and flowy summer dresses would make for the perfect additions to your cottagecore collection.

Located on Yonge Street near Summerhill Road, Putti Fine Furnishings is the boutique of all your shabby chic dreams. The shop is full of romantic Victorian-era home accessories, clothing, and jewelry, and it’s also home to a varied selection of cheerful party items perfect for your next “cottagecore” picnic.

Carrying a wide variety of brands and styles, 6 by Gee Beauty is one Toronto boutique you’ll want to hit if you’re looking for some one-of-a-kind cottagecore pieces. Don’t miss their Daily Sleeper linen dresses in pink and white gingham, which would be the perfect getup for a fanciful frolic through the fields.

Stargazing: Learn about galaxies far far away without watching Star Wars again

Although the lights of the city make it difficult to do any serious stargazing in Toronto, there are options. One is to head to the far end of the Leslie Spit that juts into Lake Ontario where light pollution from the city will be curtailed. For a truly dark sky experience, head north to Torrance Barrens. And check out the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for great stargazing and astronomy events at local spots such as Richmond Hill’s David Dunlap Observatory and the Ontario Science Centre. There is a visible solar eclipse scheduled for June 10 and a meteor shower July 27–28.

Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve

For more in our Camp Toronto series click here.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO