Happy Summer Solstice!

Jun 20, 2024

Happy first day of summer! Also known as the summer solstice, the first day of summer marks the longest day of the year. It’s also the day when our solar panels have the longest opportunity to soak up the sun! Have a look at how our systems are performing in real time here.

In the Northern hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs every year on June 20th or 21st. Leading up to this day, the tilt of the earth shifts from being parallel with the sun to facing the sun directly. This movement leads to increasingly long days leading up to the first day of summer, at which point the northern axis points directly at the sun and the day is the longest one of the whole year. In Toronto, this means the day will last just over 15 hours and 26 minutes; further north, in Kenora, Ontario, the day will be nearly 16 hours and 20 minutes.

Source: timeanddate.com

Since, in the days around the summer solstice, Earth’s northern axis is pointing more directly at the sun than it does the rest of the year, the sun’s rays fall on the Northern hemisphere at a steeper angle. This increased intensity causes the earth to warm and brings us the lovely summer temperatures we appreciate so much in Ontario.

Source: timeanddate.com

To celebrate not having to bundle up in 6 million different layers every time we go outside, here are 6 suggestions for fun, outdoor activities you can do to appreciate the beautiful weather. Just make sure to wear your sunscreen!

  1. Play in the water

There’s lots of fun ways to cool off with water in the summer; swimming in a lake, jumping in a pool, and instigating a water gun fight are some of our favourites! We’re lucky in Ontario to have so many lovely lakes to swim, paddleboard and canoe in, not to mention all of the public pools and splashpads (for those of us who live in more urban areas and might not have easy access to a lake). To find the public pool closest to you, check out your municipality’s website! Many cities have a page with a map to help you plan your next pool or splashpad expedition.

  1. Go camping

Camping is one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in nature – it’s just you, the trees, and the stars. And all the bugs, of course. Camping is a very soul-nourishing and enjoyable experience for many, and there lots of different kinds of camping experiences to suit lots of different needs. Camping in Ontario lets you filter campgrounds by location, services (water, electrical and sewage), and facilities (swimming, laundromat, playground etc.), and also lets you see which campgrounds have ready-for-camp options for rent such as RVs and cabins (click on roofed accommodations under site type). If you’re looking for the true, rugged, pee-in-the-woods camping experience but don’t already have a tent, you can rent one from Camp Rentique.  If comfort and luxury are more your speed, check out this list of glamping (glamorous camping) experiences in Ontario.

  1. Make lemonade

When it’s hot, there’s nothing like a cold, refreshing glass of lemonade to get your spirits back up. And it’s only three ingredients – water, sugar, and lemons, of course. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add some mint and ice for an extra fresh taste, or you can add some cranberry juice to make pink lemonade.

  1. Have a picnic

For some reason, food always tastes better when it’s part of a picnic. When thinking about what to pack, pick foods that are easy to eat and usually eaten at room temperature, and prepare them ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about any waste. Finger foods like pre-cut veggies, sandwiches and brownies work well! Don’t forget to pack napkins, water (and cups), and a cooler for any food that needs to be chilled. To elevate your picnic experience, bring pillows to sit on and some ambient lighting (like fairy lights) for when it gets dark!

  1. Fly a kite

Up through the atmosphere / up where the air is clear…if you’re trying to usher more Mary-Poppins-style whimsy back into your life, this is the perfect activity for you. Wait for a windy day and go to a wide-open space where your kite can’t get stuck on any trees. Then run with your back to the wind… and voila! With a bit of maneuvering (ok, maybe a lot), your kite is up and soaring through the air.

  1. Read a book outside

There’s nothing like lying on a hammock or sitting under a tree with a good book – the sun warming your legs, the breeze cooling your face, the birds chirping above, and not a care in the world except what going to happen in the next chapter. If you’re looking for recommendations, no romance has a more perfect title for this occasion than Beach Read by Emily Henry. If romance is not your style, then perhaps Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile (set on a cruise on the Nile River) is the right summer page-turner for you.