Parks in and around Toronto
Toronto is described as “A City Within a Park.” All year-round, enjoy more than 1,400 named parks across the City.
Toronto Park System
Highlights of Toronto’s park system include:
- the Village of Yorkville Park
- One of the closest parks to campus, the Village of Yorkville Park is named for the old Village of Yorkville which was annexed by Toronto in 1883. The centre-piece of the park is a 650-tonne rock that was transported to Toronto on 20 flatbed trucks which serves as a popular meeting place and lunch destination.
- High Park
- Just west of Downtown is High Park, a 400 acre natural area featuring playgrounds, a small zoo, swimming, skating in the winter, and kilometers of trails to explore.
- Riverdale Farm
- Admission to this 19th-century style farm is free, and they’re open year-round from 9am-5pm.
- Bluffers Park
- A bit of a hike from campus (about an hour by public transit), but this park offers an amazing view of the Scarborough Bluffs, described as a geological wonder unique to North America.
- HTO Park and the Music Garden
- One of Toronto’s first urban beach’s, the HTO Park offers beach-lounging in the heart of Downtown Toronto. The park has umbrella-shaded muskoka chairs and a small park behind it.
- Both these parks make up part of Toronto’s Waterfront Park System.
- Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat
Take the ferry from the Harbourfront Terminal to one of three ferry docks on the Toronto Islands, and enjoy a car-free day in one of Toronto’s most popular parks. The Islands have several beaches (Water Quality Reports), bike rentals, the Far Enough Farm, Centreville Amusement Park, the oldest stone building left in Toronto (and the oldest lighthouse on Lake Ontario), a clothing-optional beach, and more!
Toronto has 12 beaches along Lake Ontario, and many of them are safe for swimming! Stretching from the Marie Curtis beach in the west to Rouge Beach in the east, and including the four beaches on the Toronto Islands, there’s probably a beach near you.
Eight of our beaches are certified Blue Flag beaches. Blue Flag is an internationally recognized standard awarded to beaches for water quality, environmental education, environmental management, safety and service.
Beaches are tested regularly from June to September. Results can be found here.
Not too far from the skyscrapers of downtown Toronto, urban dwellers can see a different landscape where historic farms, century-old trees, peaceful meadows and lush wetlands await you at your transit stop.
Rouge Park is over 47 km2, protecting two National Historic Sites and a variety of ecosystems joining the post-glacial Oak Ridges Moraine, roughly 50 km north of Toronto, and the City’s biggest wetland, where the Rouge River empties into Lake Ontario.
One of the backbones of Toronto’s Park System are its ravines. Following the paths of the Humber and Don Rivers, as well as numerous creeks and tributaries, the ravines are great places for long walks, and exploring Toronto. Many of Toronto’s Discovery Walks follow or cross our ravines!
Municipal Golf Courses
Love to golf? Toronto runs five golf courses in the city (in addition to the multitude of privately-run courses).
Conservation Areas around Toronto
The Toronto Region Conservation Authority has established a number of Conservation areas in the Toronto region. Many of them lie on flood-planes, and were designated after Hurricane Hazel destroyed entire neighbourhoods that were built along our rivers and streams in 1954. They offer trails, camping and more.
Provincial & National Parks
Looking to go farther afield? Ontario Provincial Parks offer camping, hiking, canoeing, and plenty of summer and winter activities.
The closest National Parks to Toronto are a few hours away by car, but offer spectacular views and experiences!