Your Ultimate Summer Bucket List

From coast-to-coast, here’s your go-to guide to make the most of your summer.
Published June 21, 2016

For those who want to stay close to home this summer, our country – and your local Canadian city – has a lot to offer. From fun to fitness to family-themed events, here’s your must-do checklist to get your summer adventures started.

Thrills and chills, whether on land and sea, are yours for the taking with these exhilarating ideas.

Vancouver: With tons of rides and attractions – including Canada’s most extreme pendulum ride, The Beast --  you’ll definitely feel like a kid again at PNE’s Playland. June 17 – September 18.   

Calgary: No summer is complete without a visit to the Calgary Stampede, a century-old tradition that features rodeos, a midway, and a slew of concerts. July 8-17.

Toronto: The CNE is an annual fair fit for the entire family, complete with midway rides, horse and dog shows, and an International Marketplace with goods from all over the world. August 19 – September 5.

Ottawa: Looking for the ultimate adventure? The Great Canadian Bungee is what you’re looking for. Situated 20 minutes north of Ottawa, thrill seekers can bungee jump off a platform that towers 200 feet over a limestone quarry lagoon throughout the summer.

Halifax: Enjoy the sand and surf at Clam Harbour Beach Sandcastle Competition where hundreds of competitors have sculpted awesome sandcastles for the past 38 years. Whether as a creator or a spectator, it’s sure to be a fun-filled day. August 14.

In the mood for some cool cultural events? Check out these exciting happenings.

Vancouver: The Bard on the Beach festival is a picturesque event on the waterfront in Vanier Park, blending both summer fun and Shakespeare devotion. This year Romeo & Juliet takes the stage, from June 3 to September 21.

Calgary: Enjoy the sweet sounds of tickled ivories at the Summer Street Piano Series, free noon-hour concerts that encourages passerbys to play and listen to some impromptu music. June 2 – August 25.

Toronto: For an all-out street party featuring a sample of the best jazz musicians in the world, the Beaches Jazz Festival is a must-see. July 22-24.

Ottawa: With over 220 musical acts,  including the Lumineers and Brad Paisley, the RBC Bluesfest is one of the largest international musical events in the world. July 7-17.

Halifax: Check out the finest fiddlers in the Atlantic at the 67th Maritime Fiddle Festival. Watch fiddlers go bow-to-bow for cash prizes at various locations around Dartmouth. July 8-11.

From unique outdoor workouts to intense indoor exercise, here’s a list of fun summer fitness activities.

Vancouver: If you’re looking for a serious fitness challenge this summer, consider hitting up the Grouse Grind, a 2.9 kilometre trail straight up Grouse Mountain. Novice hikers should expect a two-hour climb, and be warned: you’ll need $10 to ride the gondola back to base. The Grind is opened from late spring to early fall.  

Calgary: Get your fitness on like an Olympian at WinSport. Zip down the North America’s fastest zipline, try the mountain bike park with 25 km of open and single-track cross-country trails, or cool off and strap on skates at Calgary’s newest Ice Complex and home of Hockey Canada.

Toronto: Pull a Tarzan at Treetop Trekking, Ontario’s original outdoor aerial park. Explore the trees by swinging on monkey bars, zip lines and swinging bridges. Best of all? It’s a family-friendly adventure, too.

Ottawa: Bike, rollerblade or run through scenic routes in Ottawa and Gatineau that are closed to traffic for Nokia Bike Sundays, mornings from May 24 to September 4.

Halifax: If you’re down to get a little dirty while torching calories, then participating in Mud Hero is for you. Climb, jump and slither through tough terrain on over six kilometres long. July 9.

Check out the many awesome ways to spend some quality time with family with these engaging events.

Vancouver: Pack a healthy picnic and take the family to the Celebration of Light, a three-night spectacular pyrotechnic showcase featuring dazzling lights from around the world. Before the show, take in the tunes of local and international musicians. July 23, 27, and 30.

Calgary: The west coast’s largest outdoor pet festival, Pet-A-Palooza, is back with its free pet-friendly festival loaded with tons of swag and goodies fit for the whole family, including Fido. July 23-24.

Toronto: Trade movie seats for a spot on the shores of Lake Ontario where Harbourfront Centre screens an array of movies for the whole family outdoors during their Free Flicks Festival. Join the email list for the summer schedule.

Ottawa: Part of the city’s Music and Beyond festival, Ottawa Family Expo is a free event including over 150 intimate musical performances, as well as a petting zoo and face painting. July 10. 

Halifax: This summer the Atlantic Film Festival's Outdoor Film Experience pays tribute to animated films, including How to Train Your Dragon, at various locations, including Tall Ships Quay and Pondside Amphitheatre. End of June to the end of August.