2 min

Summer adventures

No vacation? No problem! Use our patio guide as a map to new discovery

Beefy boys (and Phil) on display at the Black Eagle patio — one of many gay spaces worth checking out in Toronto this summer. Credit: InkedKenny

A few weekends ago, I hopped in a car with two friends and drove to Tweed, Ontario, to a gay getaway called Riverside RV Campground. There we stood, in the middle of a mosquito mall, looking at our tents, eating and watching gay campers walk by. We were thrilled to be out of the city and deep in the woods, but then we thought, what have we done? Who are these gay people? Is this going to play out like a romantic comedy or a horror film? 

Later, after lounging around a campfire, we headed over to an adorable meeting area next to the river for the full-moon pyjama party. We had moonshine at midnight, then headed back to our camp for chips and more fire. There was no wild bush sex (that I know of) and it rained that night, then we got up in the morning and took down our tents while discussing the bearlike snorting we’d heard from a few campsites over. I’m talking wild, seven-foot-tall, garbage-eating bear, not Black Eagle beef. The entire experience was hilarious and out of the ordinary. It felt good to get up and go and end up somewhere new.

This is why Xtra’s gay patio guide is so exciting to me. If you can’t find a friend with a car or wrangle a ride into the wilderness, let our guide show you some new places you’ve never visited before. Hell, there are a few on this list I’ve never been to and can’t wait to check out. 

It includes spots from east to west and highlights some of the patios gay folks are loving this summer. Every year some change and some stay the same. When a smoke house opens an adorable patio in the east end, carnivorous queers flock immediately; we’ve heard from many that it’s a hot place to be this season. When an adorable cubbyhole called the Belljar Café opens in the hipster haven of Dundas West, it’s no surprise to find queer guys and gals taking advantage of a precious new space into the evening hours.

Somehow it seems easier to let loose during the summer, doesn’t it? A friend of mine at Medulla & Co on Queen Street West recently dyed my hair platinum blond. I don’t even know why I did it. But I took a chance and this brave little episode has turned out to be a beautifully positive turn for me and my head.

Think of our patio guide as your springboard to taking chances. Check out the patios you’ve never frequented, side-step at some old favourite to keep your footing and then use the rest of the summer to do a handful of other things out of your ordinary.