By Ken Hegan for MSN

It’s been a great summer but now it’s last call at the beach bar. You have one last weekend before the kids are back in school and everything gets very, very Syria-ious. Here are 5 essential things to do in Ontario this weekend:

Lake jump


You’ve got three cottage days left before work and school beckons. Use them well. Rest up, sleep in, read a Tom Clancy thriller (or Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle), and then jump into your nearest lake.

Take a good long run down that dock (before the lake freezes over next month). Or you can take your lake jump even higher. Set up a wicked bike ramp, strap a GoPro camera to your head, and vault into the lake like this fearless guy. Or catapult your friends even higher by jumping onto a blob. Check out this crazy amateur video.

Nothing says summer like hurtling wildly through the air and cracking all your teeth and ribs.  


Are you a Torontonian who’s dying to go somewhere this weekend but you can’t afford the time or cash to fly to Anguilla? No fear. Avoid all that hellish cottage country traffic, too, simply by moving into a downtown hotel room for the weekend.

Bring the stuff you’d normally bring to your cottage (like board games that are, of course, missing key pieces) and let someone else clean up when you flee on Monday afternoon.

Sure, hotels have been packed for three months and this weekend’s not much different. But you can still find last-minute deals. For example: the Pantages Hotel on Victoria Street offers a 2-night stay for 25% off your 2nd night. Chic, sleek, and right near Eaton Centre, the Pantages boasts the Shizen Spa and a wicked martini bar.

No availability tonight (Friday) but Saturday and Sunday are looking good. The 1/4-off deal slashes their rate from $270/night to $205.50. Take the extra cash and invest in one last summer pitcher of gin & tonic, then go heckle the cast of CATS at the Panasonic Theatre.



Your diet doesn’t have to start until Tuesday. Till then you can live it up like you’re presiding over the 4th Most Livable City in the World.

Granted, you don’t have to spark it up to have a good time. Cottage Life magazine (yep, there’s definitely a magazine for everything) has compiled a good list of summer recipes, beach cocktails (let’s call them docktails), and even advice on hosting a whisky tasting at your Muskoka mansion.


Don’t post selfies from your dock chair. Don’t photograph your tanned toes in the sand. And definitely don’t try to FaceTime your daughter while she’s partying down at Burning Man.

Just close your eyes, absorb the fleeting sun, and enjoy life as it’s still happening.

2012 Burning Man


Every summer features a song that just takes over the beaches, patios, and cottage docks.

In 1985, the song of the summer was Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds. In 1996, the essential summer song was the Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) by Los Del Rio. In 2006, the hottest summer song was Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. And in 2013, the song of the summer was Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. The lyrics and videos have been criticized for misogyny. Fair enough. And yet still the song rises and rises. Blurred Lines doesn’t just have one killer hook, it has like fourteen.

Now you can see what the fuss is about in person. This Saturday August 31st he’s performing at the CNE’s Molson Amphitheatre as part of Wham Bam 2013. Thicke’s thin opening act: newlywed Avril Lavigne. Tickets are $30.75 – $88.25 (all ages show).

How will you enjoy your last summer weekend?

— Ken Hegan


Read all Ken’s travel stories here

Twitter: @KenHegan

Special thanks to the Pantages for hosting KH one fine summer eve

Photo of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke: REX/MediaPunch