toronto labyrinth

Toronto's labyrinths hide in plain sight

There are labyrinths scattered all over Toronto, but if you don't know where to look for them, it'd be possible to miss them altogether.

Designed as places for quiet contemplation, these typically unicursal paths aren't meant to be solved like the maze you'll find on Centre Island, but instead to foster quiet contemplation.

Labyrinths of this kind have one path that meanders towards the centre and can be found in parks, churches, wading pools, public spaces, and even traffic islands. Because they're usually just markings on the ground, sometimes the only way you'll spot one is to see someone doing a circuit.

While the labyrinth figures in Christian iconography dating back to the Medieval period when such patterns were marked on cathedral floors, it's cultural reference points are wide-ranging and many contemporary proponents of the labyrinth-as-meditation are thoroughly secular.

Beyond any spiritual element, the very idea that these patterns can be found hiding in plain sight around Toronto is fascinating in and of itself. What a pleasure it is to stumble upon these mysterious markings and to think of how many times you failed to notice them before.

There are, in fact, open walks organized at the Toronto Public Labyrinth at Trinity Square Park during each equinox and solstice as well as a few other occasions designed to draw attention to this often hidden aspect of our urban fabric.

Here's a few labyrinths to seek out in Toronto. There are many more out there, though some can be hard to access. For a thoroughgoing list of labyrinths across the province, check out the Labyrinth Community Network's directory.

Toronto Public Labyrinth at Trinity Square Park

The city's most popular labyrinth and the site of official events is tucked away behind the Eaton Centre at Trinity Square Park. It has a 73 foot diameter, making it one of the biggest in the city.

High Park Labyrinth

Located on the site that was home to High Park's first restaurant, this Labyrinth dates back to 2001. Surrounded by trees, the setting is ideal for quiet contemplation.

Kensington Market Labyrinth at Bellevue Square Park

One of numerous labyrinths in Toronto painted on the surfaces of wading pools, the one at Bellevue Square Park is worthy of extra note because it was recently re-painted and meandering along its path offers an escape from the bustle of the market.

Metropolitan United Labyrinth

You can check out this indoor labyrinth Monday through Friday between noon and 3 p.m. when there's not much activity at the church. It's based on the famous labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral.

Toronto Harbour Lighthouse Labyrinth

This one's a bit faded, but quite possibly boasts the coolest location in the city at the very tip of the Leslie Street Spit. Just look for the lighthouse.

Christie Pits Traffic Island

The Christie Pits wading pool has a nice labyrinth, but for proof that you can find such patterns in unexpected places, head to the traffic island across from the TTC subway entrance. There's a seven circuit pattern there.

Lead photo by

The Real Maverick

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