parks people watching toronto

The top 5 parks for people watching in Toronto

People watching in Toronto isn't confined to busy patios. Well-placed parks also serve as ideal places to take in the bustling scene of people going about their day. With so many people using public space in their own unique ways, a park is like almost like a massive, interactive piece of art, meant to be observed and appreciated.

While I could tell you, once again, about Trinity Bellwoods or a place like Hanlan's Point (both great people watching spots for different reasons), this list aims to diverge from the most obvious choices in favour of quirky spots that are full of interesting characters and general bustle.

Here are my picks for the top parks for people watching in Toronto.

Bellevue Square Park
A place as quirky as Kensington is bound to attract some interesting characters, especially on Pedestrian Sundays. Lounge here for a few hours and take in the sights and sounds of musicians in the grass, impromptu swing set pull-up competitions and other intriguing happenings.

Village of Yorkville Park
This beautiful park is often flooded with locals ranging from fashion-savvy pedestrians to rizty romantics to the dog walkers who look almost identical to their pets. Against the backdrop of the park's unique landscape architecture, it's a great place to be a peaceful fly on the wall

Ryerson Community Park
Located right in the middle of campus, this park is a hub for students, professors and locals alike. You can catch impromptu skating boarding performances, student drama, and just a general flow of people thanks to the University and the proximity of Yonge-Dundas Square. You don't need to occupy yourself with a book with so much to look at.

Humber Bay Shores Park
With a small harbour, six busy trails and a dog park, and tons of nearby condo dwellers out for a stroll, there's tons going on here. The Humber Bay Arch Bridge serves as a sort of focal point (thinking tourists, wedding pictures, and spandex-clad cyclists), but the adjacent shore-facing park is also full of action.

St. James Park
The days of Occupy Toronto might be long gone, but St. James Park remains a good spot for people watching, particularly at lunch time, when the green space fills with those who work in the surrounding area. The most interesting thing here is the eclectic mix of people hanging out, from suit-wearing office workers to George Brown students.

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

Photo of Bellevue Square by Dan Cronin


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