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Everything you need to make the most of the next three months

Illustrations by Simone Noronha

After two years of false starts and ongoing restrictions, the summer of 2022 is looking promising. Music festivals are back, theatres have reopened, and many of us are feeling more comfortable inviting friends and family members to join us at home or at the cottage for beachside board games and al fresco dinners.

But two years of limited fun in the sun might have you feeling a little rusty when it comes to making the most of Canada’s warmest months. With that in mind, the Globe has put together a to-do list of the music, movies, picnic recipes, board games, cottage gear and road trips that will make summer 2022 the best one in ... a while!

Check out a music festival, and put together your seasonal soundtrack

Temples perform during Osheaga on Aug. 5, 2017.Tim Snow

Dedicated festivalgoers — and festival organizers — have had a hard go of it for the last two years, as the pandemic scuppered music festival plans from coast to coast. This year, however, many of Canada’s most beloved, long-running music festivals are back, including the venerable Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ont., which is celebrating more than 60 years (with a little break). Also back this summer: the Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal and the Winnipeg Folk Festival which, alongside tours from The Weeknd and Avril Lavigne, made our list of the Top 10 music events for summer 2022.

Every summer needs a score, and to that end, we’ve put together a guide to this season’s biggest new releases (think: Lizzo, whose About That Time is a strong early contender for song of the summer, plus Metric and The Sadies). Round out your seasonal playlist with picks from breakaway Junos winner Charlotte Cardin, up-and-comer Tesher and a few key tracks from the historic Rolling Stones Live at the El Mocambo, and you’ve got the perfect summer soundtrack.

Book your summer theatre tickets

Luke Kimball, the actor playing Albus Severus Potter, and Trevor White as Harry Potter backstage ahead of the premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Toronto.CARLOS OSORIO/The Globe and Mail

Both the Shaw and Stratford festivals are celebrating big anniversaries this year: The Stratford Festival, which held its first season in Stratford in 1953, is celebrating its 70th season in 2022, while the Shaw Festival, which launched in Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1962, is celebrating its 60th season. The math doesn’t quite add up, since Shaw is counting the cancelled 2020 theatre season, while Stratford is not. In any case, both festivals are mounting celebration-worthy lineups for 2022.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, the summer’s onstage season kicks off with the much-anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the Potterverse-set musical that was scheduled to premiere in 2020. To prepare for the show, which opened May 31 and runs through to December, our theatre critic Kelly Nestruck read all of J.K. Rowling’s original books, and found some unexpected kinship with their titular wizard. Plus, for some behind-the-scenes Potterverse action, the Globe followed actor Luke Kimball, who plays Albus Potter in the play, on opening day; take a look at our photo essay here.

And, on the west coast, Marsha Lederman has three picks for must-see theatre in Western Canada, including the touring production of smash Broadway hit Hamilton.

Cool off with some must-see TV...

For every perfect, sunny summer day there’s bound to be a rainy one — or one so hot you’d rather hunker down indoors. Luckily, As John Doyle reports, summer’s slate of streaming TV offers easy, breezy viewing, like the premiere of Ms. Marvel, a new season of Umbrella Academy and the Game of Thrones spinoff House of Dragons, among other small-screen escapes.

...or a big-screen blockbuster

Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment via AP

With warm temperatures come big, bombastic summer blockbusters. This year’s summer moviegoing season kicked off with Top Gun: Maverick, and will continue with a number of franchise sequels and prequels, including a new Jurassic World film, plus Thor: Love and Thunder and Minions: The Rise of Gru. There’s non-franchise stuff, too, like The Grey Man, starring Ryan Gosling, and the instantly controversial David Cronenberg film Crimes of the Future. Check out Barry Hertz’s full list of the best movie bets of summer 2022 and, if nothing there appeals, consider this slightly shorter list of under-the-radar films coming out over the next few months.

Crack open a book

Summer is made for light, breezy beach reads, sure, but if you’re craving some seriously chilling dystopia, an engrossing memoir or a deep dive into the Montreal Mafia, there’s a new book release this season for you. Emily Donaldson rounds up 38 of the summer’s best reads here.

Put together a celebrity chef-worthy picnic...

Summer dining means one thing: plenty of seasonal produce, and eating al fresco. For some outdoor eating inspiration, Gayle MacDonald spoke to three of Canada’s top chefs — Vikram Vij, Susanne Barr, and Ryan Oabel — to find out what they’re packing in their picnic baskets this year. From butter chicken schnitzel to cauliflower steak, their recipes will add some unexpected, delicious twists to your fresh-air feast.

...paired with a to-go sipper

During the pandemic, single-serve hard seltzers and cocktails skyrocketed in popularity, since they’re perfect for outdoor social gatherings. If you’re not sure where to start with canned mixed drinks, or if you’re looking for something new to try, Christopher Waters offers eight picnic-ready picks. Or, if you’re looking for something more classic, consider the Aperol spritz, which can be easily tailored to suit your tastes.

For oenophiles, there are plenty of wines that taste great on ice. And with summer’s sweltering temps already here in many parts of the country, there’s no time like the present to enjoy a chilled glass (or two). Waters offers some tips on how to enjoy wine on the rocks.

Non-drinkers, or those simply looking to reduce their alcohol consumption this summer, will know that sparkling waters have never been more popular. From the mapley Sapsucker to the cannabis-infused Eau Well, there’s plenty to choose from if you’re abstaining from booze.

Courtesy of CNN

Try Stanley Tucci’s pasta

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Tucci has also been sharing his love of cooking and cocktails on Instagram, either by mixing the perfect Negroni for his wife or demonstrating how to make Spaghetti con zucchine alla Nerano. Christopher DiRaddio asked Tucci for some of his summer hosting tips, including how to pair food with cocktails and what book he’ll be bringing to the beach.

Hit the road

Nicholas Stepchuk/Bartlett Lodge

If you’re looking to travel this summer, but remain wary of airport delays and travel restrictions, why not keep it close to home? For food-motivated travellers, Gayle MacDonald has put together a list of road trip-worthy restaurants across the country, while those looking to explore some of Canada’s lesser-known destinations can pick up some tips from this year’s Hidden Canada travel guide, which highlights under-the-radar travel destinations from coast to coast.

Try a new board game

When you find yourself at the cottage or campground with no wifi, no data, and a rainy afternoon, few activities can beat a board game. And if you’re tired of Monopoly or Scrabble, there are plenty of new classics to turn a rainy day into a memorable one — just ask Vancouver’s Jay Cormier and London, Ont.’s Sen-Foong Li, board game designers who offered their picks for the best games of the summer.

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Gear up

A good summer getaway can become a great one with the right gear. From a portable grill to stylish vegan slides to an impressively powerful Bluetooth speaker, Odessa Paloma Parker rounds up everything you need for the perfect escape from the city.

And finally, don’t forget the sunscreen

Protecting your skin from the sun is especially important in the summer, when the sun’s powerful UV rays, combined with spending plenty of time outdoors, puts you at an increased risk of skin damage. For those who are wary of skincare products with lots of hard-to-pronounce synthetics, there are more all-natural, “clean” sunscreens now available on the market than ever before. Not sure where to start? Truc Nguyen is here to help with her guide to eco-friendly sunblocks.

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