Toronto isn’t all concrete, cars and skyscrapers. A walk through one of the city’s greenspaces can be a refreshing break from everything urban. Let your feet crunch on some trails and crane you neck toward the trees while enjoying one or more of our ten favourite spots for an autumn stroll.
There are plenty of opportunities to see the fall colours in Toronto (photo by Craig Moy)
East Don River Trail
See the East Don River completely devoid of railways and expressways as you walk this path just west of Leslie Street, between Steeles and Sheppard avenues. Maple and willow trees rise above the undergrowth where foxes and other wildlife make their home.
Steps away from High Park and Dundas West subway stations, the city’s largest public park is home to forests, Chinese gardens and wildlife galore (not to mention a small zoo). Keep a camera handy to snap shots of one the park’s waterfalls, and stroll alongside Grenadier Pond and see ducks, geese, grebes, and maybe a frog or two.
Natural areas and ornamental gardens are open for your strolling pleasure at the Humber Arboretum, located on the West Humber River at Humber College’s North Campus (205 Humber College Blvd). A relaxing jaunt along the trails and boardwalk will take you through forests, meadows and wetlands. You’ll also get to inspect the work of the school’s horticulture apprenticeship students, who maintain landscape design projects on the grounds.
Kay Gardner Belt Line Trail
What used to be commuter railway line in the 1890s is now a gorgeous, tree-lined path through Forest Hill. Runners, dog-walkers and even some folks on bicycles share this path that runs between the Eglinton West and Davisville TTC stations.
You’re at the hub of Midtown Toronto. Shoppers and workers pack the sidewalks. If only there was some way out! You duck down Heath Street East, descend a staircase, and find yourself beside a creek in the middle of a forest. The ravine holds diverse wildlife, woods, and wildflowers; perfect for your urban escape.
Rouge River Park
For a more rustic stroll, take on the trails at the Rouge River Park near the Toronto Zoo. Walk through wooded areas, peaceful meadows and lush wetlands. Just be prepared to share the space with foxes, rabbits, squirrels, muskrats and woodchucks.
Towering 65 metres over the shore of Lake Ontario, the Scarborough Bluffs offer some stunning natural scenery in the city’s east end. At the foot of Brimley Road, Bluffers Park walking trail wends through parkland and naturalized areas in between the cliffs (formed by erosion of the packed clay firmament) to the north and water to the south.
The path in this uptown retreat (east and west of Bayview Avenue, just south of Blythwood Road) will lead you through grassy and wooded areas for a relaxing reconnection with nature. You can follow the trickling stream or stretch your legs on gentle hills if you want to get off the main trail.
Feel the cool breeze coming off Lake Ontario on your stroll along Sunnyside Beach. The path here is part of the Waterfront Trail network and leads through parkland alongside sandy and grassy beaches. The offshore breakwaters make perfect perching places for gulls, ducks and migrating geese.
The Toronto Islands
Enjoy a ferry ride and a leisurely amble on a trip to Centre Island, where you can stroll along the boardwalk between Ward’s Island and Hanlan’s Point. You’ll pass sand dunes, ponds, lighthouses, and of course the waves of Lake Ontario are in full view along the way.