Summer is here, and unbelievably we’ve been cooped up since winter binge-watching TV shows and binge-baking bread. Some of us have had trips abroad cancelled and now we are wondering just what summer may hold. What is normally the season for connecting with the great Canadian outdoors, at a cottage, in a boat or in a tent, could become the season of backyard camping.

It may also be a good time think small, so we can save big for later. Studies have shown we can gain satisfaction from saving and spending on experiences rather than a material purchases, and that we may derive value just from the anticipation involved with travel.1 “Being tethered to your house right now doesn’t mean that you can’t start planning for an epic future vacation,” says Stephen Inskip, Regional Vice-President of Financial Planning at TD Wealth. “In fact, some great travel deals can be had right now if you’re booking well in advance, many with no change fees. Consider putting the money you may save this year on travel into a TFSA, so that you can put money towards a bigger, better trip when the time comes. It will give you something to look forward to.”

But what will we do this summer, with our kids officially done school and drifting away from their laptops and virtual classrooms? We asked seven TD Wealth planners from across the country to tell us what they’re looking forward to doing with their families this summer. Here are some ideas from financial pros for an epic summer staycation.

Build a backyard garden

Katrina McDonald, Certified Financial Planner, Ottawa
Mom of Zayne, 10, and Maddex, 8

“We created two garden beds in our backyard for the boys to enjoy growing their own food this summer. Zayne planted snap peas and carrots, and Maddex planted a watermelon and chives. They are so proud to show us their progress and the growth from the week before. We also have a creative summer photography challenge in which we will take a “Photo of the Day” for the entire summer. The photos can represent a moment, an activity, a delicious summer treat or simply a feeling that the boys wish to capture. At the end of the summer we will print and put together a photo book from our 2020 summer to remember all of the great things that happened despite COVID-19. This was particularly important to us this year to help our boys focus on all the goodness that continues to surround us.”

Be a tourist in your own city

Houri Balasanian, Senior Financial Planner, Montreal
Mom of Joseph and Karl, both 7

“This was the year we were going to travel to Europe. We had booked a trip to South of France and planned on staying in Cannes for nine days, and visiting different cities along the Cote d’Azure. From there, we would stay three days in Provence and five days in Barcelona. But due to non-essential travel restrictions, that was cancelled earlier in the spring.

Montreal is about as European as you can get so we’ve changed our plans to travel in our neighborhood on our bicycles. We made a list of city landmarks we plan to visit with our kids. Montreal has a lot to offer: We plan on enjoying the Old Port area, the Mount Royal Park, Le Plateau Mont Royal borough, as well as biking along the Lachine Canal.”

Discover a new bike route

Matthew Reimer, Financial Planner, Burnaby, BC
Dad of Toma, 9, and Kota, 7

“This summer we figured with money we are saving while not really doing much, we could invest in bikes for my wife and myself. Then we could go out biking as a family, and it would be a great way to stay active together. We plan to find new local parks and green spaces: We recently found a couple of nice parks relatively close by to us that we never knew were there and they always seem to be quiet. Google Maps satellite view has been a great resource for discovering these new places.”

Make a splash in the backyard

James McArthur, Financial Planner, Uxbridge, ON
Dad of James, 8, and Nora, 4

“We are just finishing the installation of an in-ground pool in our backyard. A pool has always been a goal of ours. I grew up with one at my parents’ house so we always wanted to have one. To fund the pool, we recently sold a rental property we used as an investment. And now for the last year-and-a-half we have also been saving from our paycheques to pay for the landscaping. This will be the perfect summer to get the most use of it!”

Get lost in the great outdoors

Aleisha Thomas-Lebid, Financial Planner, Campbell River, BC
Mom of Edwin, 5

“I am fortunate enough to live on beautiful Vancouver Island, a vacation destination for many. We live with wilderness at our backdoor and love to take full advantage of it. This summer, with many lakes, camping spots and hiking trails not far away, we plan to spend our time exploring areas we haven’t before. I think it’s so wonderful to get my son away from the distraction of a TV or tablet and teach him to fish or play in the dirt. Last month we bought him his own kayak and he’s loving paddling around different lakes.”

Start a family band

Eliane Mbakop, Financial Planner, Montreal
Mom of Gaël, 5, Max Allan, 13, Lyne, 19, Serena, 20, Amandine 20

“We have a big family, and it’s challenging to undertake different activities that can involve everyone because of the age gaps. One of the things we’ve done is form a little amateur jazz band. My daughters play trumpet, clarinet, tenor sax and flute, and my boys are learning the piano. We plan to practice a few pieces, singing and playing together. After we have mastered those, movie days, baking, picnics, scavenger hunts and water fights in the backyard will fill out a great summer.”

Plan your next epic adventure

Natasha Kovacs, Senior Financial Planner, Windsor, ON
Mom of Nico, 4, and Jenson, 2

“This summer we are planning to act like tourists in our own area and go for drives and then just explore. We explain the history of the area to the kids, they get to choose what they want to wear or dress up in, and they can also bring whatever they want. My son normally needs his walkie-talkies, his binoculars and his police uniform just in case he needs to help out! To feel a little less confined, we also research a new destination we’d like to travel to every month and research how we’d get there, what to do, and talk about it over meals or bedtime to keep the excitement of our future travels.”





  1. Cornell University. Waiting for Merlot: Anticipatory Consumption of Experiential and Material Purchases. August 21, 2014. Accessed June 16, 2020.