downsview park toronto

Downsview Park in Toronto is a massive urban park around an artificial lake

Downsview Park is a massive urban playground in the middle of the city that comes with plenty of walking trails around an artificial lake and hilly terrain offering expansive views.

The 291 acres of parkland smack-dab in Toronto's Downsview neighbourhood used to be a Canadian Forces base before it was declared Canada's first urban national park in 1999.

The park continues to draw plenty of visitors, boasting a large sports centre, an urban farm, flea market and a recently built dog park aptly named Dogsview Park.

downsview park toronto

Hills provide vantage points of the natural area. 

The former military base is still home to Downsview Airport and continues to be used by Bombardier Aerospace, with two airplanes set atop tall metal beams paying homage to the fact.

downsview park toronto

The park is still home to Downsview Airport. 

For those in search of some natural reprieve from city life, the walking trails provide reason enough to pay the area a visit. A 2.7 outer loop perfect for biking, jogging, roller skating or scootering, circles the entire park with various other offshoot trails to explore. 

downsview park toronto

A nine-acre man-made lake is a feature of the south end of the park. 

In the park's south end, the asphalt walkways circle around a small man-made lake that has accumulated from stormwater. The nine-acre artificial pond flows out to Downsview Dells and eventually into Black Creek.

downsview park toronto

There are plenty of spots to sit and take in the view. 

With boulders, Muskoka chairs and lookout points set up around the water, there's a number of different spots you can sit to enjoy the view.

downsview park toronto

Plenty of geese, ducks and seagulls hang around the shores of the pond. 

Lunchers flock here after picking up a bite to eat from one of the nearby restaurants. Just don’t let the geese, ducks or seagulls bully you into handing it over.

downsview park toronto

There are views of the lake the entire way as you cross over bridges and boardwalks. 

Head up around the south side of the water to cross over a quieter boardwalk section before hitting a picnic area atop one of the many hills in the area.

downsview park toronto

A number of picnic tables are placed on top of one of the hills in the area. 

A couple of picnic tables are nicely situated under five large trees that provide a good amount of shade. 

downsview park toronto

An orchard in the park includes rows of fruit trees, growing apples, apricots and plums. 

It's toward the southwest section of the park that you'll find an orchard. Fruit trees bearing apples, apricots, plums and plumcots grow here and a total of 400 trees will pack the orchard when completed. Keep in mind the fruit isn't for picking. 

downsview park toronto

Boake's Grove is a section of trails leading through mature trees. 

One of my favourite parts of the park has to be Boake's Grove just northeast of the lake. Forest trails covered in wood chips lead you through mature stands of silver maple and walnut trees. With nothing more than the sound of birds chirping through the area, it's a surprising forest oasis in the middle of the park. downsview park toronto

You'll find a few perfectly placed Muskoka chairs overlooking the water where you can take in the view. 

If coming by TTC, Sheppard West is the closest subway station with buses 84A, 84C, 106 or 101 as options to get you the rest of the way.

downsview park toronto

Fresh City Farms operates the urban farm found in the park. 

Make sure to reserve a couple of hours for exploring as the expansive park takes some time to cover. Use the online map to help you get around and take your garbage with you when you leave.  

downsview park toronto

Downsview Park spans over 570 acres. 

Also, please remember to respect the park during your visit by picking up your trash to leave the area just as beautiful as you found it. 

Photos by

Olivia Little 

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