Summer in Ontario is a good time to visit Ontario or one of the big attractions, like Blue Mountain resort.
Ontarians will tell you summer's way too short. Maybe they're right - but there's a real pleasure in having four clearly recognizable seasons. Each one unique and each beautiful in its own way.
Ontario’s summer starts in late May, when the cold clear arctic air mass that’s been overhead since the previous November retreats, though fighting all the way, before an advancing muggy air mass from Florida and temperatures soar and dive by the day, sometimes by the hour. The weather in these early weeks can be thunder and lightning, hailstones, torrential downpours, frost and, occasionally, tornadoes. One day it's shorts, the next back to wearing a parka, and then back to shorts.
From June on, the sun and air are so hot that Ontario’s lakes become the center of life for most people. Cottages, opened at the end of May on the Victoria Day long weekend, become Ontarians’ second home or home away from home. Once little more than fishing or hunting shacks, these ‘cottages’ are now sophisticated family homes, with satellite TV, internet access, and a host of motorized toys to keep even the hardest-to-please teenagers happy.
What used to be peaceful lakes and beaches are, today, noisier than motorways with jet-skis, power boats, all-terrain-vehicles, dirt bikes, 4x4’s and powerful sound systems, ensuring the weekend ‘up north’ is just as frantic as your week in the city. Play harder than you work, is the rule here.
One downside to all the lakes and pools in Ontario is the number of biting bugs early in the season, like mosquitoes, blackflies, and deerflies, which bring many people out in swollen lumps. Insect repellent is a must in these early days of summer.
One of the many upsides to all those lakes is the quieter parts of Ontario lakes are covered in waterlilies and the incessant twittering of insects gives Ontario’s summer evenings a wonderfully tropical feel. Sitting out under the stars of a night in summer in Ontario is like being in a jungle movie.
Another upside to all that water is it's perfect for lazing in the shade by the side of the lake or river with a book and a fishing rod. Or maybe, as in this photo, in a boat on the water.
And with all the heat and sunshine, sunscreen is even bigger business than insect repellent. Indoors, however, in the air-conditioning, folks generally shiver as if it was January. North America must be the only continent where people wear warmer clothes indoors in summer than they do outdoors in winter.
By August, summer in Ontario is a hundred degrees in the shade and a hundred per cent humidity. If you’re not a cottage person, you'll likely have a pool in the backyard and your hotel or resort certainly will.
If cool water isn't your thing, and it isn't particularly mine, one really good way to avoid the heat is to attend any one of Ontario's many theater events. The big two are the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and the Niagara on the Lake Shaw Festival, but there are plenty more. Ontarians seem to love theater.
Canoes and kayaks were the home-grown transport of the native peoples before Europeans arrived with their sail and later power boats. Modern enthusiasts have added houseboats and whitewater rafting to ensure every square inch of water is available for some watery pastime.
Ontario even has a canal system, built in the 1800’s for transportation, but now in use as recreation routes from Trenton in the south-east to northerly Georgian Bay on Lake Huron -- the Trent-Severn Waterway, with a branch off to Ottawa, the nation’s capital, and another from Kingston to Ottawa -- the Rideau Canal.
The last official day of summer in Ontario is Labour Day, the first weekend of September, when everything ‘up north’ goes quiet. Kids return to school, families close up the cottage, and seasonal businesses go into sleepy mode waiting for the ‘fall colors’ tours and hunting season to begin.
And for a hotel in Ontario or anywhere else:
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