Summer sunrises in Toronto

The warmer weather makes it easier to stay out longer, and the earlier sunrises makes it all the more rewarding.



As the world turns, the sunrise location gradually shifts over time. In this multi-season series of posts, I will take you through the various sunrise locations as seen from the west end of the city of Toronto, following the sun as it moves throughout the season, and from one season to the next.

[ Winter | Spring | Summer | Fall ]



Summer Sunrises

June 21 – September 21

Summer is in the city from June 21 to September 21. The image on the left is a visual representation (from The Photographer’s Ephemeris) of which direction the sun rises from as seen from the Humber Bay Arch Bridge.

The approximate time of the sunrise is written below the dates. Although the sunrise time gets earlier, you can see that it passes behind the CN Tower and Toronto skyline during the month of September (as seen from the Humber Bay Arch Bridge), allowing us to capture photographs of the sun as it aligns itself to the CN Tower—similar to the spring season.


Summer warmth means earlier sunrises

We may love the warm temperatures of summer, but it can be really difficult to get outside for those early summer sunrises! At the beginning of summer, we see the sunrise as early as 5:36am! Given that my rule of thumb is to always be at your location at least 30min. prior to sunrise, that means we should be there for 5am at the earliest. Give yourself time to wake up, wash your face, and drive to your location and you can expect to wake up as early as 4am depending on where you’re heading.

September 3, 2020: The vibrant colour of a sunrise is fronted by summer greenery at Humber Bay Park East.

June

June sees the earliest sunrises in the city, so it may be difficult to get up, but some mornings can be so rewarding you forget all about that 4:30am wake-up call. Look out for various wildflowers that started blooming in the springtime. They add so much colour and vibrancy to your sunrise photos.

June 30, 2019: The wildflowers bask in the warmth of the summer sun at Humber Bay Park West.


July

July sunrises are still pretty early in Toronto, however you can be blessed with some truly beautiful mornings filled with your waterfowl friends. Earlier in the month depending on where you stand at the park, you can get the sun rising just by the CN Tower.

July 9, 2020: A beautiful warmth glows over the lake as friends enjoy the scenery from Colonel Sam Smith Park.


August

We still have warm temperatures in August so it’s easy to stay outdoors in the morning. The sun rises fairly early still but there is still a lot to photograph with the sun being very close to the city skyline. You can’t deny the beauty of the wildflowers that are starting to bloom at various parks in the city as well. They can make for some great natural additions to your photos.

August 26, 2017: The sun rises directly behind the CN Tower as seen from Humber Bay Shores. The Toronto heart driftwood art installation was a popular subject for photographers however it has since broken down from natural causes.


September

While September is still officially summer, we slowly get the feeling that it is winding down quickly. The atmosphere is a little crisper with slightly cooler morning temperatures compared to earlier in the season. By mid September we also return to fairly reasonable sunrise hours.

September 18, 2016: Beautiful goldenrods fill the fields of Humber Bay Park East, pairing nicely with the golden light of the sun.


With the warmth of the summer sun, the early sunrises, and the blooming of wildflowers nearing the end of the season, there are no shortages of things to photograph at your local parks. Be sure to plan your outings out so you can get the best of the season in your photos.



Are summer sunrises too early for you or do you seek them out too? Let me know how your experience has been so far!

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