Fitness & Health

Graphic: Marta Kierkus.
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Two of the most popular locations for University of Ottawa students to spend their summers is right here in the city, or perhaps back home in the Greater Toronto Area. Here are ten fitness activities you can take advantage of in either location this summer!


Running throughout the city

Take advantage of the beautiful Ottawa weather and the scenery the city has to offer while getting some cardio in. There’s a wealth of places around campus to lace up your sneakers and get moving—of course a commonly used place is along the Rideau Canal, but with a newly opened footbridge across the Rideau River, running from Strathcona Park to Riverain Park in Vanier is much more accessible now.

Hikes in Gatineau Park

Only minutes away from Downtown Ottawa is the sprawling Gatineau Park, where you can spend a day hiking, running, biking, or just out for a stroll. It’s one of the closest and best places to escape the bustle of the city to get a workout in the sun and fresh air in your lungs. There are various events happening throughout the season in the park—just watch out for the bears.

Parliament Hill Yoga

From May to September, you can take a midday stretch on the lawn in front of the Peace Tower. Not only is it great to get out and be active, but you can do it somewhere that others across the country could only dream of. Why not take advantage of being in the nation’s capital by bringing your mat to Parliament and enjoying summer freedom. More information will be announced on lululemon Ottawa’s Facebook page.

Shoot some hoops at public courts

Grab a ball and some friends and head out to one of the hundreds of public basketball courts across the city. One of the benefits of living in a city is the accessibility of various facilities everywhere, so a pickup hoops game is not hard to execute throughout the summer. You may not be good enough to play for the Gee-Gees, but practice makes perfect.

Take a swim at Britannia Beach

A 15–20 minute drive from campus, Britannia Beach is a favourite summer spot for Ottawans and visitors alike. Catch some rays and take a dip in the Ottawa River to get some exercise (and a tan) on a hot day.

Greater Toronto Area


City of Toronto: Break out the running shoes

Toronto Marathon weekend is always a massive event in the city. On May 1, you could kick the summer off with going after a personal best in one of the offered races. There’s a full marathon, a 10k, 5k, and relay, so even if you’re not quite in 26.2 mile shape, there’s still something for you. There’s over 14,000 runners each year, so if you’re in the GTA, take the leap and participate in the weekend.

Durham: Watersports on Lake Scugog

If you’re looking to spend the day on the water to cool down this summer, head to Port Perry, along the shores of Lake Scugog. Conveniently located less than an hour from Downtown Toronto, you can kayak, canoe, waterski, wakeboard, and fish to your heart’s desire all summer long. You can also take part in organized events on the water. The annual Canoe the Nonquon in June is the longest-running canoe race in Ontario, and the Port Perry Dragon Boat Festival is one of the biggest events in Durham all summer.

York: Community and Rec Centre fun

Community centres are the heart of many neighbourhoods in York Region, so it’s a good idea to check them out to keep fit this summer. Most centres like the Thornhill Community Centre and Mount Joy Community Centre come with a full-size multipurpose gym, which can be used for a number of sports such as basketball, netball, indoor hockey, and much more. They also have multi-purpose turf fields for various activities. If sports aren’t your thing, there’s always Zumba, aerobic fitness, and many other classes to pique your interest.

—David Agbaire

Peel: Hit the links in Peel

With numerous golf courses throughout Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon, it should be easy to get out and swing the clubs this summer. Golf is a very underrated sport, as it offers a solid workout, and if you skip the golf cart you’ll get even more exercise walking across the course. If not for the workout, playing a round of golf gets you outdoors and enjoying the beautiful weather.

Halton: Peddle through the westside

Visiting or living in Halton Region means that you’re in the cycling epicenter of the GTA. If you want to hop on your bike and get active this summer, both Kelso Conservation Area and Hilton Falls Conservation Area in Milton offer some of the best mountain biking anywhere in Ontario. Halton is also home to the Mattamy National Cycling Centre, a state-of-the-art velodrome, where you could try your hand at Olympic cycling.