How To Enjoy Summer 2020 in Toronto: Pools, Patios, Beaches

Giovanni Caboto Outdoor Swimming Pool
Giovanni Caboto Outdoor Swimming Pool

A month or two ago, many of us thought that summer 2020 in Toronto would be a bust. Concerts, large festivals, parades and amusement fairs are not permitted this summer and that includes the Caribana parade, the Toronto Pride Parade and the CNE. It also didn’t appear that patios, swimming pools and attractions would be open in time for the hot weather. So how are we to enjoy summer 2020 in Toronto? With Premier Doug Ford ushering the City of Toronto into Stage 2 of the reopening plan effective Wednesday, June 24, 2020, there is a lot to do in The 6ix this summer.

Giovanni Caboto Outdoor Swimming Pool
Giovanni Caboto Outdoor Swimming Pool, photo does not reflect social distancing measures as it was taken in 2019

Outdoor Swimming Pools in Toronto

Effective June 27, 2020, all City of Toronto public outdoor swimming pools will be open. Several social distancing measures have been established for City of Toronto public swimming pools which include:

  • limiting the number of occupants in swimming pools to 25% capacity;
  • requiring visitors to outdoor pools to sign-in with their first name and an email or phone number for Toronto Public Health contact tracing purposes should this be required;
  • limiting the amount of time you can swim to 45 minutes beginning at the top of the hour;
  • requiring swimmers to maintain a social distance of two metres from each other;
  • limiting pool-side seating;
  • closing water slides.

Outdoor swimming pools will operate from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, 11 a.m. – 12 noon for lane swim, and 12 – 8 p.m. for leisure swim. Please note that change rooms and showers will be available if the pool operators can adequately disinfect the facilities.

Patios in Toronto

Patios are now able to open in Toronto. Patios can operate at a maximum of 50% capacity and tables must be situated two metres apart. Don’t be surprised when you don’t hear loud music at your favourite patio; that is forbidden in order to prevent customers from leaning too close to talk. The patio staff will also be collecting your name and email/phone number in the event that Toronto Public Health has to contact you regarding an outbreak.

Going to a Toronto beach such as Bluffers Park Beach is one way to enjoy summer 2020 in Toronto.
Bluffers Park Beach in Toronto

Toronto Beaches

Woodbine Beach, Sunnyside Beach, Kew-Balmy Beach, Cherry/Clarke Beach, Bluffer’s Beach and Marie Curtis Park East Beach are now open to the public. Ward’s Island Beach, Centre Island Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach and Hanlan’s Point Beach will be open on July 1, 2010. Access to beaches will be limited so that visitors can maintain a two-metre social distance. Rouge Beach will be closed this summer.

Toronto Island Ferry

A popular way to enjoy summer 2020 in Toronto is to take the Toronto Island Ferry, which is now taking passengers to the Toronto Islands. The ferry capacity is reduced by 50% and all passengers must wear a face mask. Washrooms on the ferry are closed, but washrooms at the Jack Layton Terminal (where you board the ferry) and on the Toronto Islands are open. Passengers lining up for the ferry must maintain a two-metre distance from others. You must pre-book your Toronto Island Ferry tickets online. Tickets are redeemable only for the date selected. Ferry tickets are Adults $8.19, Senior 65+) $5.37, Youth (under 19 with ID) $5.37, Junior (under 14) $3.95 and Infant (under 2) Free. All prices include return ferry ride.

Toronto Attractions

Toronto attractions are beginning to open. Social distancing measures have been implemented at all of these attractions.

  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has now re-opened;
  • The Royal Ontario Museum will be reopening on Saturday, July 11, 2020 (Thursday, July 9, 2020 for ROM members);
  • The CN Tower is reopening on July 15, 2020;
  • The Toronto Zoo will be opening soon with one-way routes throughout the Zoo. Face masks are required inside the buildings and restaurants.
  • The Art Gallery of Ontario is opening on July 23, 2020. The AGO will be open to Members and Annual Pass Holders on July 2, 2020.

Shopping Malls

Shopping Malls such as Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Mall are now open. Social distancing measures include. For instance, I recently visited Northern Reflections in The Beach (not located in a shopping mall) and noticed they had implemented the following social distancing measures:

  • Customers must use hand sanitizer (provided) when they enter the store;
  • Touching merchandise is discouraged; sales staff will happily hold up items for you to look at when requested;
  • Customers must leave clothing they are not buying in the changeroom so that staff can “cool it off” for 24 hours before placing it back on the floor;
  • Changerooms are disinfected after each use;
  • Customers must maintain a distance of two metres from each other when paying at the cash register.

Beauty and Nail Salons

Are your roots showing so much that people no longer recognize you? Do you want to wear your favourite sandals but desperately need a pedicure? You’ll be glad to know that beauty and nail salons were part of the Toronto Stage 2 reopening. Services including facials, facial hair grooming, eyebrow grooming and makeup, as well as oxygen bars are not permitted under Stage 2.

If you are going to get your hair cut, you’ll have to wash your hair first and they will not be blowing your hair dry since blowdrying circulates germs. If you are getting your hair coloured, they will wash your hair afterwards, but again, no blowdrying. You will have to wear a face mask during your salon visit. The salon must limit the number of customers in the salon to ensure adequate social distancing and salons will require you to book an appointment first – no walk-ins! You may be charged an additional fee to cover the cost of the salon’s PPE (personal protective equipment) and extra cleaning of the salon.

Just as an aside, a nail salon in Kingston, Ontario had a COVID-19 outbreak yesterday. As of publication date, 18 customers and staff have been infected with the coronavirus due to poor social distancing measures taken at the nail salon. Five hundred people had visited the nail salon since it opened two weeks ago and they have all been required to get tested for the coronavirus.

Despite the pandemic restrictions, I hope you enjoy summer 2020 in Toronto. Let me know in the comments section if you plan to do any of the activities mentioned above.


  1. Oh wow. So much pretty places to visit in Toronto. We’ve been wanting to cool off and enjoy a nice holiday in a beach, lake or pool but we have been allowed to do so because of the lock down. If we get the chance to visit Toronto in the summer of next year, I will make sure we check out these places.

  2. I’m happy to hear that most places have reopened! I hope those in Toronto are still able to enjoy a “normal” summer.

    • Well, it won’t be a normal summer in Toronto since all of the concerts and festivals have been cancelled. At least there are a few summer activities to enjoy. Cheers, Lori

  3. We’re also in phase 2 in NYC with outdoor dining, non-essential retail, reals estate. Phase 3 begins next Monday but even so, many people are still adhering to social distancing and no crowding and of course, concerts and large gatherings banned here at least till 2021.

  4. The swimming pool looks really nice and I’m glad to hear that the resort is already open in your area we skip summer getaway this year because of the pandemic 🙁 nice photos.

  5. I miss the outdoor facilities and glad that Toronto is now open! Where are you planning to spend your post-pandemic weekend?

    • Our swimming pools just opened a few days ago. You can swim for only 45 minutes and the pool capacity is reduced to 25%. They are restricting swim times so that more people can swim. I miss swimming too! Cheers, Lori

  6. Toronto is really a lovely place. Sadly in India everything is closed still now, including the pools..

  7. I am not sure if I am open to this idea but I pray for everyone’s safety as they start to go back to their “normal” life.

    Stories like the nail salon in Kingston just scares me and this is the reason why I am still hesitant despite the precautionary measures.

    • I think many people feel the same way as you including me. I won’t be going to a patio anytime soon and I will definitely be taking a pass on visiting a nail salon. Cheers, Lori

  8. Wow, I never imagined Toronto to have such nice beaches and swimming pools, I’m intrigues, saving this for a future trip!

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