courtyards toronto

The top 5 hidden courtyards in Toronto

Hidden courtyards in Toronto are reminiscent of a city that ran at a slower pace. Some of them are serene pockets of nature enclosed by historic buildings, making you feel lost somewhere in Europe, while others are a more modern hideaway in the middle of Toronto's concrete jungle.

Here are my picks for the top hidden courtyards in Toronto.

Knox College, 59 St. George St.
It's like a scene from a Harry Potter novel: this little pocket of greenery is boxed in by the gothic architecture of a historic UofT building. With cloister windows that overlook the lush, well-kept grass and gardens, the Knox College courtyard is a serene hideaway as much as it is a step back in time.

Canadian Opera Company, 227 Front St. East
Enclosed by the ivy-covered walls of the COC, this courtyard is truly a hidden gem. Enter through ornate iron gates off Nicholson Lane and discover a 19th century French gazebo, baroque-style lighting fixtures and a statue. It's technically not public property, but the gates are occasionally open, so you can sneak in for a quick jaunt or lunch break.

20 Victoria Street
Right outside Metropolitan Resto Bar is this quiet spot, where diners and drinkers chill out next to floral arrangements and three wacky art installations that double as water fountains. It's a modern yet cosy haven, and although it's in the heart of downtown, it feels far removed from the busier streets.

Anne Johnston Courtyard, 2177 Yonge St.
This eco-friendly courtyard is nestled at the foot of the Minto Midtown condos at Yonge and Eglinton. The residence's two high-rise towers make the space feel hidden, and with an illuminated water fountain and a single cluster of lush trees, it's a strangely peaceful concrete hideout.

Trinity Square
Although it neighbours one of the city's busiest hubs (the Eaton Centre) and Old City Hall, Trinity Square is a reminder of a quieter Toronto. The courtyard has access to the historic Church of the Holy Trinity, an ornamental pond and a circular labyrinth at the centre surrounded by trees.

What courtyards did I miss? Add your suggestions to the comments. Photo of Knox College by Vik Pahwa.


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