Free activity: The Beach at the Scarborough Bluffs

Scarborough Bluffs

The Beach at Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough

Is your sunscreen packed along with your beach ball and parasol? If so, make your way to Bluffer’s Park. Scorching weekends tend to make Scarborough residents head to the Bluffs, and for good reason. It’s a great place for uncomfortably hot sand to get between your toes — just cool off properly in Lake Ontario.

Bluffer’s Park is a part of the 15-kilometre stretch that is officially known as the Scarborough Bluffs. It’s a beautiful area for boating, barbecuing, swimming, and playing volleyball, but it is challenging to get there via transit.

Difficult to reach without a car

We took the 12 bus and got off at Brimley Road and Kingston Road. From there, you need to walk south for about 20 or 30 minutes to get to the lake. Unfortunately Brimley Road is a winding, narrow road that has no sidewalks or bike paths. I could practically feel the cars grazing past my legs.

Dangerous walk on Brimley Road

It was a stressful walk. For anyone trying to get the beach while pushing a stroller on Brimley Road should cancel their plans — there is simply not enough room on the road.

Bluffer’s Park Marina

Scarborough Bluffs Marina

When you finally reach the lake, you will not be met by the beach. Instead you’ll come across the Bluffer’s Park Marina. It’s a very quaint sight, but when I finally reached it, I was impatient to get to the beach area.

Bluffer’s Park Beach

Walk east about another 10 to 15 minutes and you’ll find the beach area. Your reward! Tents are being pitched, music is blasting, meat is barbecuing and frisbees are whirling.

Scarborough Bluffs

Look west to see the cliff, look east to see the lake. Continue reading

Linkfest: Up and coming Toronto blogs

Toronto CN Tower

Blogs about Toronto

If you’d like to read some informative blogs about Toronto to help you get to the know the city, look no further. You’ll never be without adventure if you turn or scroll through the pages of these magazines.

Two big, established magazines about The 6ix:

  • Now (an unbeatable, must-read print and online resource)
  • blogTO (good for “10 best whatever in Toronto” online articles)

Up and coming Toronto blogs

There are excellent, smaller-scale publications in the Toronto blogosphere such as the ones listed below. I am in the company of emerging bloggers at my University of Toronto course on Digital Strategy, and I’m happy to promote them here. My classmates have produced these Toronto-themed blogs that are packed with ideas for your next weekend:

Your favourite Toronto blogs?

Which blogs help you navigate the city? Where do you get your tips and tricks? Please share your thoughts!

 

Free activity: KidsStop at Cedarbrae Library, Scarborough

Cedarbrae Library

Got a toddler who needs to explore with their hands? Your kid can get their senses stimulated at KidsStop which is found in 9 Toronto libraries. They can enter free of charge into these colourful, tactile settings that are perfect for making early childhood memories. They’ll find child-sized furniture along with a great selection of books.

Cedarbrae Library KidsStop

At Cedarbrae Library’s KidsStop in Scarborough, the theme is River Express. They tried to get creative with the water-themed flooring, but that’s far from the best part.

There is the cutest little reading nook inside. As you can see, your wee one can stand up and turn the pages of this storybook.

Cedarbrae Library

It’s usually peaceful and cozy inside, away from the bigger, more rambunctious kids. Your little one can do a number of touch-and-feel activities. Continue reading

Free Activity: Toronto Statue of Norman Bethune

Norman Bethune Toronto statue

The Norman Bethune statue at University of Toronto

Another fun, frugal activity in Toronto is doing history-themed sight-seeing! I recommend seeing the s**t-disturber doctor Norman Bethune at the University of Toronto. This doctor, born in Gravenhurst in 1930, left his small Ontario town to become a hero in China.

Education at the University of Toronto

The great Norman Bethune studied in Owen Sound, and later enrolled at University of Toronto for medical studies.

Norman Bethune Toronto statue

Northern Ontario with lumberjacks and miners

He took a few gap years though to be a labourer­-teacher at remote lumber and mining camps throughout northern Ontario. He taught workers to read and write English. Continue reading

Review: Toronto Fringe Festival 2016

Toronto Fringe Tarragon Theatre

The Toronto Fringe Festival 2016

For only $12 you can see original, independent, daring theatre, and you need to go before the weekend is over. The Toronto Fringe Festival is THE time to see what’s on stage. High ticket prices are not an issue, but sold-out shows sure are. Since this is the final weekend, the most-loved plays risk being out of reach for you slowpokes.Toronto Fringe George Ignatieff Theatre

The most hilarious play I saw was a kids’ play at the George Ignatieff Theatre: Twelfth Night … A Puppet Epic. It’s a Shakespearean romantic comedy performed by puppeteers. Basically, Girl 1 dresses up like a boy and falls in love with Boy 1. Boy 1 is not reciprocating because they’re simply buddies. But he loves Girl 2. And this Girl 2 doesn’t love Boy 1 back. Girl 2 actually loves Girl 1 who is dressed up as a boy. See what havoc can be wreaked after putting on somebody else’s clothes? Continue reading

Free Activity: Toronto’s Taylor Creek Park

Toronto Taylor Creek Park

Taylor Creek Park in East Toronto

Looking for a green, peaceful trail where you can ride your bike, walk your dog and have a picnic? Taylor Creek Park is where you want to be!

Bike your way across the east end

An awesome cycling path can take you from the Don Valley Parkway to the Victoria Park avenue area. On weekends it gets busy, so cyclists should ring their bells when they swish by the pedestrians.

Taylor Creek Park cycle path

Off the beaten path

Off the main path are skinny little trails for the most adventurous. You’ll see your share of wildflowers and get some itchy legs too. Continue reading

Free Activity: Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works

Evergreen Brick Works pond

Everybody smiles when they talk about Evergreen Brick Works. It’s a huge green space in the Don Valley run by people who are into greening up our urban environment. For fresh air, exercise and eco-inspiration, you can spend the whole day here. It’s a marvelous, family-friendly day trip during which you can ride your bike, walk your dog, have your kids roll up their sleeves and do gardening and enjoy the sunshine.

How to get there: shuttle bus from Broadview

Go to Broadview subway station and grab the shuttle bus.

It leaves for Evergreen Brick Works every thirty to forty-five minutes. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to listen to 1980s hard rock on your way. You should check the schedule before leaving your home.

Evergreen Brick Works shuttle bus

The Children’s Garden

Evergreen Brick Works Children's Garden

When I stopped by the other morning, kids were making bee hotels. Apparently solitary bees (not the usual honey bees that go into hives) can leave their eggs inside these branches. Continue reading

Free Activity: Rouge Beach in Scarborough

Rouge Beach Lake Ontario

Rouge Beach, a quiet, sandy Lake Ontario beach

If you think it’s too crowded at the Woodbine beach in The Beaches, just head east to feel the sand between your toes. I’ve been to Rouge Beach only once, but from what I saw, it’s a well-kept, non-rowdy sandy beach that’s mostly frequented by families. It’s wonderfully serene.

 

Accessible by the TTC – Bus 54A

Also, it’s easy to get to. Get the 54A bus eastbound on Lawrence Avenue East and get off at the very last stop called Starspray Boulevard. Walk east on a pathway to the beach.

roadway to Rouge Beach

You’ll see the Rouge River on your left. The street walkway will turn into a nice pedestrian pathway.Rouge River

After walking about five minutes, you’ll be able to launch your canoe or kayak into the Rouge River. Kayakers can either stay on the Rouge River by turning left, or turn right to head into Lake Ontario. Continue reading