Summer vacation has a tendency to pass by in a flash. Before we make the annual pilgrimage back to campus and approach the season of pumpkin spice-flavoured everything, there are still summer festivals and events to enjoy. Here are the best ways to take advantage of the remaining summer season:

Watch the Rogers Cup

The Rogers Cup distinguishes itself with its unique rotating model: Toronto and Montreal alternate hosting the men’s and women’s tennis tournaments each year. The men’s event is back in Toronto this summer, boasting an impressive lineup of tennis stars, from top seeds like Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and Roger Federer to home-grown Thornhill Secondary School graduate Milos Raonic.

The dates for the Roger’s Cup have been moved up to July 23–31, making it a crucial precursor to the Olympics as the largest hard-court tennis event before Rio. This could mean a rare treat for fans, as top singles players team up to play doubles in preparation for the Olympic events.

The last time the tournament served as an Olympic lead-up was in 2008 and doubles pairings included British brothers Andy and Jamie Murray; both went on to win gold in Beijing. Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka made another exceptional doubles duo.

While no official pairings have been announced for 2016 just yet, fans can expect the repeat of outstanding doubles action at the Rogers this leap year. The singles also draw promises to be explosive as ever. Keep your fingers crossed for some Swiss magic and mark down dates on your calendar!

— Shrikha Khemani

Go for a run

With a little bit of everything to offer, Toronto is a fantastic city for runners of all levels. Those who run for leisure will never get bored as they explore different terrains, from the paved paths along beautiful Lake Ontario to the rugged trails that crisscross the Don Valley. Those who run competitively will not be disappointed as they can participate in a plethora of organized events, ranging from short 5 km races to full marathons.

If you’re new to the running culture, a good place to start is your local Running Room. Besides being able to advise you on the proper type of footwear, the store organizes free weekly drop-in clinics for anyone who wants to get some fresh air! The next time you have some downtime, why not lace up your shoes and run?

Hugo Vieira

Visit High Park, Harbourfront Centre

Long, cold winters are such a defining part of Toronto life, so I always make an effort to take advantage of the warmer weather by being outdoors as much as possible. One of my favourite activities is biking along the lakeshore, typically from my house by High Park to Harbourfront Centre. This allows a nice visit to Union Summer, an outdoor market above Union station. Alternatively, there are plenty of weekly events like concerts and food festivals at Harbourfront Centre, which are always interesting to check out.

The bike path along the waterfront is almost entirely flat, which makes for a calm, scenic ride. Taking a book along is also a great addition because there are many parks, benches, and pleasant lookout spots by the water to rest — nicer places to do class readings than indoors.

Another one of my favourite summer activities is taking walks in High Park, home of the infamous, recaptured capybaras. Aside from these elusive rodents, the High Park Zoo — open daily from 7:00 am to dusk — also houses bison, wallaby, emu, and many other animals worth visiting. Otherwise, there are plenty of grassy hills in the park on which to read, nap, and soak in the sunlight.

The park’s amphitheatre also hosts the annual Shakespeare in the Park plays, which I’ve enjoyed alongside a family picnic in past years. This year’s shows are Hamlet on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and All’s Well That Ends Well on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at 8:00 pm until September 4. Admission is always pay-what-you-can.

— Linh Nguyen

Cherry blossoms in High Park. MAY LEE/CC FLICKR

Cherry blossoms in High Park. MAY LEE/CC FLICKR

Check out the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition

The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE), which runs from the July 8–10 at Nathan Phillips Square, is Canada’s largest outdoor art exhibition. Art lovers can rejoice as the festival presents the opportunity to view and buy paintings, ceramics, photographs, mixed media, jewelry and more from over 300 artists. TOAE is in its fifty-fifth year; it is also free and open to the public. The non-profit organization will present juried prizes and awards.

University of Toronto graduate student and resident dance artist Jenn Goodwin returns to the festival to showcase “If I Should Stumble II,” a sequel to her 2014 performance, during the final two days of the festival. Goodwin is a profound artist and curator that serves as a co-lead programmer for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche; she has recently received the 2016 Reesa Greenberg Curatorial Studies Award.

— Daniel Samuel

To do this summer: visit the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. CHUNG HO/CC FLICKR

To do this summer: visit the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. CHUNG HO/CC FLICKR

Go paint-balling

If you’re anything like me then you are constantly looking for ways to get exercise and actually have fun at the same time. Now that the weather has finally decided to cooperate, I urge you to try paintball if you have never done it before.

Paintballing is an adrenaline-fueled, high energy sport that usually involves classic games like capture the flag. Instead of having to tag players out with your hands though, you get to shoot them with high speed balls of soapy ‘paint.’ If you’ve ever played laser tag before, then you are already accustomed to the style and structure of the game; the only difference is that paintballs sting when they hit you, which raises the stakes and makes it more intense.

There are plenty of good paintball fields in the GTA. For outdoor fields there are Combat Pursuit paintball in Pickering, Flagraider’s Paintball in Kitchener, and Ultimate Paintball Park located just outside of Guelph.

If it’s raining or these locations are too far, there is also the wonderful indoor field Sgt. Splatter’s Paintball; it is located in downtown Toronto and can be conveniently reached by the TTC.

All of these locations offer rental equipment and most fields offer walk-on play during weekends, so you can simply show up and enjoy an exciting day of paintball.

— Andrew Lee

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