10 beautiful winter parks in Toronto to escape into nature
Now that we've been thrown back into the swing of things for the new year, it can be tempting to fall into hibernation mode as temperatures drop especially with more snow and slush is on the way.
However, finding an urban park and going for a winter walk is a great way to boost your mood, unplug from your screens, and soak up some much-needed vitamin D during the colder months.
Here are ten amazing parks in Toronto for a quick escape into nature.
As Toronto's largest public park, High Park has tons of things to do and see during the winter season and is one of the best places for an escape from the city's hustle and bustle. Bring your skates and go skating on Grenadier Pond (weather permitting), hike or snowshoe on one of the many trails, visit the animals at the zoo or stroll along the lakefront.
Located on a man-made peninsula known as the Leslie Street Spit, Tommy Thompson Park extends 5 km into Lake Ontario and is over 5 km² in size. There are 10 km of accessible trails perfect for a brisk stroll, though they are not maintained in the winter so wear appropriate footwear.
Tommy Thompson is considered one of the best places for bird-watching in the city and has picturesque views of the Toronto skyline which is often frozen in magical ice formations.
For some picturesque forested solitude, head to Glen Stewart Ravine just south of Kingston Road in the Beaches. With its elevated boardwalk through the ravine, you'll be surrounded by steep hills with red oak and maple trees. There are lots of stairs which will get those legs burning, but keep in mind they can get slippery.
Don River Valley Park is a massive urban 2 km² park spanning Pottery Road to Corktown Common. This downtown escape has beautiful river views and six trails that lead you through various Toronto neighbourhoods.
There are also some interesting art installations to see along the trail, such as the gargoyle statues scattered throughout the park.
Embrace the beauty of Edwards Gardens in the winter, located on the southwest corner of Leslie Street and Lawrence Avenue East. With scenic bridges, mature oak trees, a rock garden, and ravine trails, it's the perfect place to stretch your legs and admire the serenity of the landscaped gardens covered in snow.
Trillium Park is a large waterfront park located right along the eastern edge of Ontario Place. The park has incredible Toronto skyline views via the main elevated bridge or at The Summit, located at the southern tip of the park with the area's highest elevation.
There is also a small forest with accompanying interpretive signs that have insight into the area's history to discover as you walk along the lake.
Christie Pits is an 8.9-hectare (0.1 km²) park which was once a huge sand pit. Today, the park is one of Toronto's most loved parks due to its many recreational uses.
If you're looking for a cheap thrill, Christie Pits becomes one of the city's tobogganing hot spots in the winter with its sloping hills. There is also an artificial ice rink to go skating on. The Toronto subway has a dedicated stop for the park, making it easily accessible for a quick escape.
Rouge National Urban Park is one of the city's largest and most beautiful green spaces as well as the largest park of its kind in North America. The sprawling park has tons of trails with breathtaking views, though they aren't maintained in the winter so take caution.
The park is popular for bird-watching, viewing wildlife, hiking, and snowshoeing in the winter.
Earl Bales Park is a large green space spanning over 0.5 km² and is home to the West Don River, a large network of trails, and a massive reservoir. The hilly natural area is one of the two ski hills in the city, with the other located in Centennial Park.
The Gravel Pit Loop is a 2.3 km packed trail which winds through the woods to the south. The elevated trail provides a stunning panoramic view of the park below and a nice view of the reservoir.
Bluffers Park is a large waterfront park and one of the best places to see Lake Ontario's famous Scarborough Bluffs. The Scarborough Bluffs are a significant geological feature formed by the natural processes of wind and water erosion from Lake Ontario, which stretch for about 15 km along the Lake Ontario shore.
In the winter, you can take a serene walk along the Bluffers Park Trail which winds through the Bluffers Park Marina and the naturalized areas between the trail and the bluffs.
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