Illustrations by Michelle Tieu
Bright sunny skies, cool breezes, greenery all around… Lions, it’s time to get outside! While there continues to be restrictions on indoor activities for those of us in Toronto, we can still make the most of this beautiful weather by getting out and exploring the city. Since there are too many places to choose from, we’ve shortlisted 10 spots to explore in Toronto this summer.
Want to go on a long walk or cycle through wooded areas in the centre of the city? The Beltline Trails are a must visit. Once a railway line in the 1800s, this path discreetly slices through midtown Toronto, offering a whopping 9 km route to walk or cycle. This mega trail connects the York Beltline, Kay Gardener Beltline, and the Ravine Beltline. You’ll encounter parks, cross over bridges, and eventually wind your way down into the Don River Valley. The path gets slightly entangled with other trails in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, but aside from that it’s just a straight shot with a few bends along the way. You can follow the trail to our next recommendation!
Love plants, farmers market, exhibits, and coffee? Evergreen Brickworks is where you need to be! Evergreen’s Saturday Farmers Market is open year-round, connecting people in Toronto to local Ontario farmers and producers. The open-air market has been operating throughout the pandemic and is a great place to test local produce, pies, meats and more!
The Evergreen Garden Market combines classic general store, contemporary gift shop and sustainable garden market into one place.
Looking for public art? As a part of Evergreen’s call for public art projects addressing issues of equity in public space, Artist Kristin Li is presenting new work, Prison Dispatches, at Evergreen Brick Works.
Are you looking for hiking trails, tons of greenery, a beautiful lakefront, a zoo, eateries, greenhouses, picnic spots, playgrounds for children and a dog park? Then High Park is perfect for you. Toronto’s largest public park has everything you need for a day out. We’re a bit late to the party on this one, but High Park is also home to gorgeous Sakura trees that bloom in April and May. Save the date for next year!
It looks small on a map but boy is it huge! I took the ferry to Ward Island and walked along the super scenic waterfront to Center Island. The entire way was dotted with beautiful cottages, trees, flowers, and birds! It was one of the most peaceful walks that I’ve been on. The beach at the end of my walk was so inviting! After completing 13,000 steps, I found a breezy shady place under a tree and took a nap!
Don’t worry, you can also cycle around this beautiful island. The beach, views of the lake, perfectly mowed lawns, and eateries will destress you. Toronto Island is also a paradise for bird lovers, so bring your binoculars! Oh, and don’t forget your beach towel and sunglasses!
Downsview Park is quite big, and you can take time out to explore the entire park. However, we recommend that you definitely check out the Sesquicentennial Trail. Built in 2017 to honour the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, the trail showcases Downsview’s history of agriculture, aviation, military operations and Indigenous Peoples in the area. The Trail features twinned paths representing how the cultures of the Indigenous Peoples and settlers would occasionally cross and eventually come together to move forward as one. It also hosts a lake, a pond, breathtaking groves, an orchard and an urban farm!
If you’re visiting Downsview Park for the first time, don’t forget to check out their Natural Heritage Self-Guided Walk to explore the nature and history of the park.
Rouge National Urban Park
Bring your sense of adventure along with your hiking shoes to Rouge National Urban Park. Any time of the year there are natural, cultural, and agricultural areas to explore. Rouge National Urban Park is a great place to go bird watching too. Don’t forget your cameras!
The Scarborough Bluffs Trail is a loop trail that connects Bluffer’s Beach and Bluffer’s Park. If you’re looking for more intense hiking, this may not be the best for you. But, if you love gorgeous white cliffs, the waterfront and the beach, you’ll surely love this walking trail.
Hunting for the perfect Instagram background? Head over to Graffiti Alley in Toronto’s fashion district parallel to the trendy stretch of Queen Street West. You can spot works by iconic artists like Duro the Third, uber5000, and ELICSER.
Harbourfront and the Music Garden
The Harbourfront is known for its live entertainment, cultural arts and crafts exhibits, and its open green spaces and walking paths. Take in the fabulous cultural food and arts festivals at Harbourfront Centre. You should also visit the Music Garden, whose design was influenced by a piece of music by the composer Bach.
Michelle, one of our student illustrators, loves going down to the Harbourfront to explore the different storefronts with her friends. They always get gelato from a tiny shop on one of the corners. The last time she went, she ordered a fancy espresso and delicious food from multiple shops along the Harbourfront!
Craving a beach day? Go down to Woodbine Beach! Woodbine Beach is a popular spot for picnics, sunbathing, swimming and beach volleyball. Looking to walk instead? You can trek the 8.2 km boardwalk and see all sorts of scenic views along Lake Ontario. The trail is quite flat, so all skill levels can enjoy!
Remember that to maintain the beauty of these locations, it is important to keep them clean. So don’t forget to have fun and clean up after yourselves!
Let us know in the comments below what are your favourite spots in Toronto.
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