Things will naturally be a little different this summer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of it!

As Ontario enters phase 2 of reopening, some businesses remain closed, while others are open but are operating under strict protective measures for our safety.

Here are 8 ways to enjoy summer while being mindful of social distancing:

1. Watch a movie outside

Purchase a backyard movie projector and have a movie night outdoors! Blow up an air mattress, grab some blankets, pillows and snacks and watch your favourite Netflix film under the stars. Check out these DIY outdoor screen tutorials.

You could also visit the Sunset Drive-In Barrie which recently re-opened. Watch the latest Hollywood films from the comfort of your car. Tickets must be purchased ahead of time on their website as they are no longer accepting payments at the door.

2. Take a Hike

Get active in the great outdoors and hike a local trail!

Simcoe County Trail Guide

When hiking, it’s important to follow social distancing protocols. If you happen to cross someone on the path, be sure to do your best to keep a safe 6 ft distance.

Here are some local hiking trails that are within 45 minutes from Barrie

  • Copeland Forest (Several entrance points throughout Horseshoe Valley)
  • Ardagh Bluffs (Parking available at Holly Community Centre and Park, Barrie)
  • Scouts Valley (Parking at 15th Line N, Orillia)
  • Grant’s Woofs Loop Trail (Parking at 1485 Division Rd W, Severn Township)

Click here to download a printable Simcoe Country Trail Guide for more local trails, and detailed maps.

3. Order take out and watch the sunset

Wasaga Beach Sunset
Photo credit:

Call your favourite local restaurant, order take out and enjoy it picnic style while watching the sunset. Grab a blanket, or two, and head over to Minet’s Point Park, Johnson’s Beach or Centennial Beach and watch the sun go down next to the lake. If you’re up for the 30-minute drive, Wasaga Beach is famous for its beautiful sunsets that literally dip behind the water.

4. Play a round of golf

Photo credit: Horseshoe Resort

Although most sports have been cancelled, golf is an activity you can play safely while keeping a distance from your group and other players.  A fair warning, a lot of courses are booking well in advance, so plan your golf day ahead of time. Golf Now has some great deals on rounds, and you can pre-book times to ensure you’ll get your day on the greens.

5. Plant a garden

It’s extremely rewarding planting seeds and watching them sprout, and even more so when you grow fruits and vegetables and get to consume them in late summer.

Starting a garden doesn’t have to be complicated, you could start with a few potted tomato plants, and keep it simple.

6. Learn to run 5k

Strava App

Running has many health benefits, and it’s also an activity that can be done safely at a distance from others.

It’s important to start slow! If you’re not a runner, don’t expect to run 5k straight on your first attempt. For complete beginners, it’s advisable to start with a brisk walk, and as your progress, add in some stretches of running. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your body adapts to longer distances.

Download the free app, Strava to track your progress. It’s can be really motivating to see your achievements, and ‘per kilometer’ time go down as you become a better runner.

7. Have a backyard fire and make some s’mores!

Since entering phase 2, Ontario has allowed social gatherings of up to 10 people. It’s still advisable to keep a safe distance when possible, which makes having a campfire a great activity because it’s easy to spread out, while still enjoying each other’s company. 

Pick up some marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers and make some smores together around the fire. Tip: try making s’mores with chocolate covered cookies, it’s a real game changer.

8. Get on the water!

There are plenty of ways to get active on the water this summer. Consider kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddle boarding.

Located on Centennial Beach in Barrie, Happy Paddling will be opening their rental services on July 10th. Book your rental online prior to arriving to avoid disappointment.

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