parks toronto

5 underrated parks in Toronto

Toronto 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.

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