7 Best Outdoor Spaces in Toronto
As Toronto has done their part to help to flatten the curve of COVID-19, we are now able to enjoy the first days of Spring as outdoor parks and spaces are reopening in the Greater Toronto Area. We at Harrington are happy to share our knowledge with you of the amazing outdoor spaces in Toronto to explore but we do so with caution. Please still respect social distancing regulations, stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others, and keep doing your part to help Toronto bounce back from the effects of this pandemic.
1. High Park
High Park is home to the famous cherry blossom trees, is one of Toronto’s biggest parks and it is now officially open! High Park is located to the west of Downtown, north of Humber Bay, and stretches from Bloor Street West to the Queensway. It’s home to multiple hiking trails, greenhouses, a zoo, and a beautiful restaurant and coffee shop in the middle of the park, The Grenadier. There is truly something to do in High Park for everyone - whether you’re looking for activeness, to take in the beautiful cherry blossoms, to chill out with the picnic or pet a llama - High Park is the place to go!
2. Trinity Bellwoods Park
Trinity Bellwoods is a very popular west-end park, located by Queen Street West on the south and Dundas Street on the north end. This park is where you want to go if you want to chill out for the afternoon with friends, catch a slack line or socialize with other university-aged people. Trinity is also where you’ll want to be if you wanted to experience some of the city’s culture. The park hosts outdoor movie nights for free, live theatre performances, and a weekly farmer’s market on the northwest corner of the park during the summer months!
3. The Don River Valley Park
This is one of Toronto’s (somehow) best kept secret. The Don Valley trails run along the Don Valley River side on the east side of Downtown Toronto and is highly recommended for runners and cyclists. Not only can you enjoy nature as though the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle is miles and miles away but through a partnership with a charitable organization, Evergreen, the Don River Valley Park also has an art scene. There are temporary public works all along the trails for you to enjoy by local artists. Don River Valley Park is so expansive, we actually thought it may be beneficial to give you a resource on how to best take advantage of Toronto’s best kept secret: https://donrivervalleypark.ca/things-to-do/the-trails/
4. The Beaches & Woodbine Beach
If we’re already East, we might as well keep going east towards the unique district of Toronto, The Beaches! This small-town vibe, hip, summer destination part of the city is the closest Toronto will ever get to a “Californian surfer city”. What it is best known for is their International Jazz Festival in the summer. Harrington recommends The Beaches if you’re wanting to get away to a beach town… that’s still connected by TTC. Woodbine Beach is the most popular beach in the area, known for crowded boardwalks, a sea of sunbathers and most notably, the 90 lakeside volleyball courts that takes up most of the western side of the park.
5. Toronto Island
Looking for a beach to chill at, without the crowds of Woodbine? Taking a ferry over to Toronto Island is exactly where you’ll find that. Centre Island is super family friendly, you can rent a bike to get around the entire island in a day, visit the petting zoo, take a dip in Lake Ontario from Centre Island Beach or ride the attractions at Centreville amusement park! Ward’s Island Beach is where you’ll want to head for a great - read: party - day out of the city. What you may not know about Toronto Island is that it actually has a community of over 250 homes on it, a public school...and even an airport! An even better fun fact: Toronto Island is car FREE! It is definitely worth the trip out of the city to experience.
6. Scarborough Bluffs
Scarborough Bluffs is outside Downtown Toronto, lovingly known to locals as “The Bluffs”. The Bluffs is a super unique landscape of escarpment cliffs, blue water and nature… contrasted drastically against the flat concrete jungle of downtown. It includes nine parks along the 15km stretch of trails; Bluffers Park is the only one of these nine that have a beach to enjoy. If you’re more an adventurer, you can travel to the top of the cliff which is 300ft above the coastline! Whether you’re looking to stay lakeside or break a sweat climbing the escarpment, The Bluffs is a great day escape from the city.
7. Riverdale Park
Riverdale Park is a very large park (18-hectare) near Danforth Avenue and Broadview Avenue. It is popular for winter tobogganing and views of downtown Toronto skyline. It includes multiple baseball diamonds, tennis courts, a running track, a soccer field, an ice rink and a pool. Best choice for athletic park-goers with wonderful picnic spots and steep hills for tobogganing.