We made it. The polar vortex tried to kill us all off, but we made it. The first day of summer.

Here are a few tips to help you maximize what is sure to be a fleeting season, because, let’s face it, before we know it, it’s October and we’re looking for Halloween costumes that work well on top of a parka.

(Note to self: Do NOT go as a kilted “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Again.)

But, I digress. The list:

  1. Sit outside and watch the stars. Barring light pollution…
  2. Go camping. Ontario’s provincial parks are beautiful and are all waiting for you in this list right here.
  3. Go swimming. Toronto’s outdoor pools are now open, but if you and the sun aren’t best friends (don’t worry, I’m a ginger and I know your pain) the city just waived its fees for indoor swimming.
  4. Hit up one of the many, many (many) festivals that Toronto will host. For a list of what’s going on on any given day, click here.
  5. Join a recreation league team of some sort. Softball, ultimate, flag football, it doesn’t matter. Just get outside. Toronto Sport and Social Club has a full offering right here. It also gives you an excuse to embrace patio season with your new teammates to celebrate the big win, or not getting injured. (Not responsible for incidents of damaged pride.)
  6. Go for a walk. Even better, volunteer at Toronto Animal Services and take one of the shelter dogs (and a possible new best friend) with you!
  7. ‘Tis the season for long bike rides. Point A to Point B is all well and good, but summer is the time to go for a pleasure cruise on some of the trail systems in the city. You could even go for a spin on one of those old-time bikes.
  8. It won’t be upon us until Aug. 15, but … the CNE! Midway rides! Terribly-conceived foodstuffs! (Possibly fixed) games! Poorly-constructed stuffed animals! Everyone wins.
  9. With gas prices sky-rocketing to record highs, it might not be the best time for a classic summer road trip. However, if your wallet can endure the gouging, why not try and hit a ridiculous landmark or two? Perhaps one of these roadside attractions will strike your fancy. I, for one, will try and see the “unfeasibly large binoculars.”
  10. Bottom line: Get off the internet and do SOMETHING. If need be, heed the advice of every parent everywhere and go fly a kite. Take off, eh!

What is on your summer to-do list? Let us know in the comments below.