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Sports & Play

5 underrated parks in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / August 25, 2014

parks torontoToronto is home to over 1,600 green spaces. Ranging from large-scale destination spaces like High Park to tiny neighbourhood parkettes, it's hard to know all that's out there based merely on the scale of options. A handful of parks tend to get all the attention, while others serve primarily the communities in which they're located. There's nothing wrong with this per se, but it does mean that there are worthwhile parks that fly under the radar, lacking the appreciation they deserve.

Here are five underrated parks worth visiting in Toronto.

Ireland Park
Finally reopened this summer after an extended closure due to construction at the foot of Bathurst St., this waterfront park serves up sweeping views of the Toronto skyline and a host of sculptures marking the Irish Potato Famine and those who emigrated to Toronto as a means of escape. Continuing construction is set to shut the park down again come the spring, but once compete this will again be one of the most tranquil places in the city.

Chorley Park
Currently the site of controversy in Rosedale as residents fight a proposal to install a switchback trail connection the park to Mud Creek and the nearby Don Valley Brick Works, Chorley Park started as Ontario's Fourth Government House until the city purchased it in 1960, knocked down the stately old mansion on the grounds, and converted the grounds into a park. Overlooking the Don Valley, the park offers sweeping views and is rarely populated by more than a handful of dog walkers and area residents out for a stroll.

Glen Stewart Ravine
Located just south of Kingston Rd. in the Beaches, Glen Stewart Ravine received a $1 million revitalization a few years ago that's made it one of the more accessible ravine spaces in the city. Highlighted by an elevated boardwalk that spans the 11 hectare space, the ravine is an absolutely gorgeous place to take an early morning stroll, and one of those rare places where it is possible to forget completely that you're still located in one of the largest cities in North America.

Crothers Woods
I can't stop singing the praises of Crothers Woods. A haven for mountain bikers, hikers, and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, the 52 hectare green space has received some major TLC from the parks and forestry department over the last decade, improving trail markings and preventing erosion in environmentally sensitive areas. It's still terribly under-utilized given what a treasure it is, but that also contributes to the feeling that it's hidden space for taking respite in nature.

Four Seasons Mist Garden
Technically a POPS (Privately Owned Publicly-Accessible Space), the mist garden outside the Four Seasons on Yorkville Avenue is both a gorgeous-looking space and also a great place to cool down in the midst of a summer heatwave. Mistings take place once every few minutes and last for about a minute until the next interval, during which time the park is engulfed in a white veil that makes everything look more appealing. If you're having a crappy day, spend 20 minutes here and things won't look so bad.

What did I miss? Add your suggestions in the comments.

Photo by EvidencE in the blogTO Flickr pool.



Wait for it.... / August 25, 2014 at 11:12 am
A gold medal for the first person to complain that they have been to World Class New York City, and we don't have a World Class Central Park boo-frickn-hoo.
Todd Toronto / August 25, 2014 at 11:27 am
We only have one overrated park: High Park.

Granted, it's a beautiful space, but it's often compared to the likes of Central Park, Stanley Park, Mount Royal and Hyde Park.

It pales in comparison to all of those spaces.
bob replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / August 25, 2014 at 11:45 am
I think Trinity Bellwoods is more overrated. What a shit hole that is.
Zan / August 25, 2014 at 11:48 am
Humber Bay Shores park...
Colonel Samuel Smith Park..
Both are waterside oasis
realtalk / August 25, 2014 at 11:56 am
shut up, Todd.
Robert Lendvai / August 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm
I'd rather not say. I'm happy to have my favorite Toronto parks all to myself.
skeeter / August 25, 2014 at 12:52 pm
I wish BlogTO would caption their photos. The one above looks nice but I have absolutely no idea where it is because there's no caption.
Deric / August 25, 2014 at 01:05 pm
The connection of parks that run along the Don Valley South of Eglinton (not including Sunnybrook that is a beast in itself) are some of the best IMO. Provide trails for hikers, bikers, walkers, and actual parks and playgrounds in branched off parkettes.
Ray / August 25, 2014 at 01:26 pm
Good list.

It's true that Toronto has some great parks, large and small, that often seem somewhat hidden. I guess it's a combination of the topography and street layout.
McRib replying to a comment from Robert Lendvai / August 25, 2014 at 01:26 pm
just you and the other doggers?

EvidencE replying to a comment from skeeter / August 25, 2014 at 01:40 pm
Hi skeeter Glen Stewart Ravine
McHappy / August 25, 2014 at 01:42 pm
What's this? BlogTO writers DARED to venture north of BLOOR?! East of Pape?

hHas hell frozen over?
Joe Q. / August 25, 2014 at 01:43 pm
What are the best parks in the city for forest walks with young kids? The Brickworks is nice, but gets crowded.
HBstyle / August 25, 2014 at 02:13 pm
Just to clarify….The Chorley Park controversy is about an invasive over engineered switchback which that was designed by the city. The City removed many beloved trees and was intending to put in a fenced asphalt trail with 8ft tall armours stone supports in sections with 7 tiers to the switchback down to the ravine. The neighbourhood would like a less invasive woodland trail in keeping with this lovely tranquil natural park setting. A more aesthetic and natural trail is currently in the works more suited to a steep pitch ravine hill. It is a lovely park and ravine and park users would like to keep it that way.
Rob Ford / August 25, 2014 at 05:01 pm
Parks are for peeing 'n drinking 'n shooting up 'n whores!
Todd Wins the Prize / August 25, 2014 at 09:40 pm
Way to go, Todd; you were the first to bitch about not having World Classy parks like NYC, etc..
You are indeed Special, Todd. Stand up and take a bow.
stopitman / August 25, 2014 at 10:09 pm
A note about Ireland Park - there is a matching group of sculptures in Dublin along the River Liffey in front of the Customs House showing the people leaving.
lowrez / August 25, 2014 at 10:12 pm
God dammit, Todd.
MeMe replying to a comment from skeeter / August 26, 2014 at 10:25 am
I keep saying the same. Like it's rocket science...
Ravines / August 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm
It's probably a photo taken anywhere along the incredibly extensive ravine system that stretches north through our entire city. 99% of Torontonians seem clueless that it even exists yet would go crazy for it if they were shown something like it in a different city. The lesson I first learned when I moved to Toronto ten years ago is that the grass is ALWAYS permanently greener anywhere else than Toronto.
Rob Ford / August 26, 2014 at 03:41 pm
Most under rated pee park-DOUG FORD SR. PARK! Designed for FordFamilyDrunkenPeeing!
Kholby / August 26, 2014 at 06:22 pm
The Leslie Spit.
John Mason / August 26, 2014 at 06:28 pm
Guild Park is one of Toronto's hidden gems. Pierre Berton wrote that a walk in Guild Park was like "a walk through history."
Rob Ford / August 26, 2014 at 09:29 pm
Yoiks! Leslie Spit, perfect for peeing straight into Lake Ontaritoilet! Guild Park was Berton's pee bowl! Yowzir!
Other Cities: Montreal