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Kennedy’s Toronto Summer Bucket List

Do you want to know how I know that it’s finally summer out? When I can’t get through my day without sticking to things. I know that it’s summer when the bottoms of my thighs pop forth from plastic with a slurp, and I still don’t know how to remedy this without feeling like a swamp monster instead of the girl-human I am.

I never know how I’ll feel about summer until I’m smack-dab in it and even then it can be hard to part the haze that’s a residual effect of wanting to do absolutely everything in order to have The Best Summer Ever. Your hottest accessory for this season has got to be a pair of blinkers, because you’ll never actually enjoy yourself if you focus on the fun you’re supposed to be having instead of you know, actually having fun.

Here’s my list of chill situations for Summer Sixteen:

  • Do you guys know that we have an island in Toronto? I kinda just forget it exists until someone brings up the idea of going to the island and then everyone nods and coos, “We should totally go!” and then nobody actually goes because flopping down in Trinity for the fourth time seems much easier than buying a ticket and taking a ferry. This summer I actually want to make good on the hypothetical island picnic day that I’ve been telling myself I would do for years.
  • Beyoncé is playing the Rogers Centre on May 25. I missed the initial round of ticketing but I have one tab open for seats in the nosebleeds and I think I’m going to pull the trigger because I want to scream-sing Lemonade with thousands of other fans.
  • Rediscovering reading for pleasure has been wonderful and I want to widen my scope to include more Canadian writers like Sheila Heti and Leanne Shapton. The Toronto Public Library beckons and I foresee many afternoons spent using the air conditioning at the Bloor/Gladstone branch.
  • There has never been a better time to see stand-up comedy in this city. There is SDTC’s own Jess Beaulieu’s feminist comedy show on Sundays called The Crimson Wave, and I recommend it because it’s nice to laugh without having to stomach rape jokes.
  • Food tastes better in the summer, and that’s a certified science fact. I plan on attending as many food-related events as I can because they make me sound much nicer than my other interest, which is not talking to people. I’m really excited about The Stop’s Night Market (June 17 & 18) at 158 Sterling Rd. The event is all you can eat and drink and features food from some of Toronto’s best restaurants and supports The Stop itself, a community project that aims to increase access to healthy food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds health and community, and challenges inequality.
  • I have started a Twitter DM to sketch out the logistics of one of the truest tests of adult friendship: renting a cottage together. Sometime late in August, I plan on bullying my friends who know how to drive into carting a bunch of us to some quaint fudge and ice cream town so we can get to know each other’s deep dark secrets and summon some spirits, because that’s what you’re supposed to do at a cottage, right? Nah, we’re probably just gonna eat ice cream for breakfast and do some very light Ouija on the floating dock.
  • The idea of most outdoor music festivals is enough to activate the same fear response in my brain that evolved to protect me from tigers. Even though I can appreciate how much other people enjoy them, they’ve just never been my jam. I don’t really consider Field Trip to be in the same category as the ones I avoid, because it focuses on so much more than music and questionable drug experiences. Parents walk around with infants strapped to their chests and there’s a focus on art and local talent, so there’s more to do than sweat under a hot sun as you stand in line to charge your phone.
  • Do you like moving pictures? Do you prefer nature to A/C and slurpees? Do you like bringing your own blanket situations? Toronto has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to watching movies outside, and I plan on hitting up as many screenings as I can. There aren’t a lot of concrete dates quite yet, but I’ll be watching the websites of Harbourfront, The Open Roof Festival, TIFF In The Park, and the Regent Park Film Festival.
  • Not only do I not know how to drive but I also do not have one clue when it comes to riding a bike in the city. Sure, I know how to actually ride a bike. I can sit on it and pedal forward and get myself from point A to B well enough, but when it comes to the part about dodging cars and not dying, I could use some pointers. Commuting by cycle terrifies me because of all the variables I have to account for, like distance from parked cars, a lack of bike lane infrastructure, other cyclists, motorists, car doors opening and closing, helmets that leave my head safe but my hair flat. It’s a lot! I want to set baby goals for myself in this department – things like making it from Dufferin to Bathurst on College will have to wait until I can bike defensively.

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