The 13 Best Parks to Explore in Toronto [2022]

Toronto is a bustling metropolis with a diverse population and plenty of things to see and do. And what better way to explore all that Toronto has to offer than by visiting its many parks? From massive urban green spaces to pretty city gardens, here are 13 of the best parks to explore in Toronto. We chose these based on their size, amenities, reviews, and accessibility.

Parks are great places to people watch, get some fresh air, and take in the sights and sounds of the city. They’re also perfect for picnics, Frisbee games, and lazy days spent lounging in the sun. So whether you’re looking for a place to play or just want to relax, be sure to check out one of Toronto’s many wonderful parks.

Many of Toronto’s parks are also great for table tennis. If you’re looking for a place to play, here are some of the best spots for outdoor table tennis in Toronto.

13. June Callwood Park

The pink concrete and crab apple trees scattered in the small but whimsical June Callwood Park.
Photo by Eric Sehr
This award-winning park is named in honour of June Callwood, a Canadian activist, author and established journalist known as “Canada’s Conscience”. Completed in 2014 by the gh3 architects through an international design competition, its clever layout embodies the issue of environmental responsibility through a bright pink concrete jungle. The layout is in the shape of a pink voiceprint from an audio file of her last interview where Callwood simply stated “I believe in kindness”. While a great place to take extraordinary photos, anyone can enjoy its maze-like walkways and crab-apple trees. Just recently, the city announced a new park improvement plan with construction coming this summer 2021. A 5-piece playground, a seating wall and brand new benches will become some of its well-worth additions!

12. Greenwood Conservation Area

Walking along the falling leaves in autumn at the Greenwood Conservation Area.
A little out to the east in Ajax is this vast and lush space as part of the Greenwood Conservation Area. This place is great for dog walks, fishing, family hiking and even traversing through more experienced trails. It’s forests are amazingly coloured in the fall and have a quaint stream where you may catch salmon near September. It’s shorter trails are around 1-2 km while their longer ones are around 4 km or more. There is plenty of parking so you can stay the day and have a picnic at their wide park space afterwards.

11. Christie Pits Park

A warm, summer evening biking and relaxing with friends at Christie Pits.
Photo by Bobcatnorth.
Just a walk away from Christie subway station is the widely popular picnic and socializing spot Christie Pits Park, at the intersection of Bloor and Christie. You’ll find lots of sports activities to do here, including a basketball court, volleyball court, table tennis, wading pool in the summer and an ice rink during the winter time. They’re most well known for their attractive baseball diamond that has seen the likes of the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team season to season. Not to mention the playground and labyrinth at Christie is a kid favourite.

10. Kariya Park

The cherry blossoms are in full bloom at the zen Kariya Park in Mississauga.
Photo by Ms_Geek_Chic.

If you want to catch a glimpse of Kyoto in Toronto, then take a visit to Kariya Park. Inspired by the Japanese pavilions, Kariya Park in Mississauga is an official sister city to Kariya in Japan. A beautiful gazebo with cherry blossom trees and an enchanting duck pond offers an ideal background for casual pictures or professional photography for special occasions like a wedding or prom. This park is the place to spend some quiet time strolling past bridges, stone sculptures and basking in the sun. This year will mark the park’s 40th anniversary of friendship with its sister city Kariya, Japan which you can catch live, virtually on July 7 at 8PM EST via the City of Mississauga’s Youtube Channel.

9. Sunnybrook Park

The bridge within one of the trails captured in the summer at Sunnybrook Park.
Photo by Francis N.

For those interested in watching birds we also recommend visiting Sunnybrook Park at the intersection of Leslie and Eglinton Ave E. It is rated the number #1 spot for birdwatching by the City of Toronto’s Biodiversity Series booklet. They have 25 trails to explore via biking or walking. Those with pets can bring their buddies along to their large off-leash area. Nearby is a riding school, so if you’re lucky you might see some horses. This is a gem if you’re looking for a safe place to barbeque, since it has plenty of picnic tables and grills on the grounds. Here, you can end your day playing football in one of its huge fields.

8. Port Union Waterfront Park

The sunset glows off the sandy, Rouge Beach nearing the end of the Port Union Waterfront trail.
This beautiful boardwalk overlooking lake Ontario is a must-see Ontario park at the Port Union Waterfront. It stretches about 4km from Highland Creek to the Rouge Beach at Rouge National Urban Park, another favourite on this list. Many families come to enjoy its scenic bike route, stoney lookout points and park bordered by its residential area at the Port Union Village Common. You can start the route right at the Rouge Hill Go Station stop, you can travel east which will take you onto the steel bridge and underpass towards Highland Creek. Opposite that is a 10 minute bike ride west amongst the cobblestone edge of the lake towards the beach, where you can stop and have a picnic against the sand and pond. The rocks are a great spot to take photos or dip your feet in the cool water.

7. Toronto Island Park

An iconic view of the Toronto CN Tower and Rogers Centre placed in the background of the Toronto Island Park.
Photo by **Mary**.
You can catch the whole Toronto skyline in one horizon at the famous Toronto Island Park, a 10 minute ferry ride from either the Jack Layton Ferry or Ward’s Island Ferry Terminal. If you missed a regular ride on the ferry schedule, you can try boarding a themed water taxi for only $10. These come every 2-5 minutes and are less packed for a more personal boat ride to the island. On Toronto Island, you can rent kayaks, canoes, and two-person bicycles to explore the amazing greenery and lakefront. You can visit the petting farm and see over 40 different species of animals or explore the fun hedge maze in the area – a landmark built to honour Canadian centennial year. On the tip of the area is Ward’s Island, where you can enjoy a variety of cafes and food joints. Choose to stay on the grass near the tennis courts and fountains or on the sand at Hanlan’s Point, you’ll never be bored at Toronto Island Park.

6. High Park

A picture perfect day under an urban orchard and maple leaf garden in High Park
Photo by Benson Kua.
This wide space is Toronto’s biggest park and offers a variety of bike trails, a dog park, a diverse waterfront, and even an outdoor theatrical stage for Dream in High Park. They’re best known for their famous Sakura cherry blossom trees that bloom for a limited time around the last week of April. Kids can enjoy the castle themed playground along with the High Park Zoo nearby. This is the ultimate spot for a picnic near the water of the Grenadier Pond and with its many species of birds you may even see a great blue heron on your next visit. It’s easily accessible through the 501 streetcar if you’re coming through transit.

5. Rouge National Urban Park, Rouge Beach and Marsh

One of the agricultural field views to catch at the Rouge National Park.
Photo by The Cosmonaut. 
Spanning the Scarborough, Markham and Pickering area, you can find this huge green space and go-to hiking gem, the Rouge National Urban Park. Located in the area surrounding the Toronto Zoo, this 79.1 square kilometres of land is situated in the midst of a large wildlife biodiversity and some 255 species of birds. We recommend walking the Vista Trail, a short 1.5km with a great view of the valley of trees in the autumn, or the easier 1.6km Northeast trail with sights of the marshland and agriculture. It’s great for the whole family to enjoy, while also providing challenging terrain and interesting plant life for more of the adventure seekers. This park is more a place to explore than to sit and relax so make sure to prepare light snacks and food to bring along with you.

4. R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant

The top of the hillside view at the historic R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant. The view of the
Photo by Jeff Hitchcock.
A little known hidden gem for picnics and sunset walks is the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant park, a short drive away from the Scarborough Bluffs. Nicknamed “The Palace of Purification”, this historical site built in the 1930s-40s is the largest architectural collection of Art Deco buildings as well as the city’s largest water treatment plant. It offers a spectacular view and much less crowded view of Lake Ontario, apart from the bluffers area. Walk a bit towards the shore and you’ll see the serene views of the RC Harris Waterworks Beach. You can really spend your whole day chilling at the top of the hill amongst the classic columns and foliage.

3. Humber Bay Park West

The blue sky and Lake Ontario as the backdrop to the Arch Bridge at the Humber Bay Park West area.
Photo by Wladyslaw.
Known for being another underrated lakeside spot is Humber Bay Park West, which has similar stunning views of the Toronto Skyline to Toronto Islands – a little closer than a ferry ride. This park is well kept and clean with safe pathways for a morning stroll with your kids, pets, or friends. You also have a luxurious view of the Etobicoke Yacht club and Mimico Cruising Club boats by the dock. The walkway features stoney shores and a lighthouse which we recommend you snap a picture of! 

2. Riverdale Park East

Sitting at the park bench with the view of the metropolitan city structure and green space of Riverdale Park.
Photo by wyliepoon.

As one of the best places to catch the sunset, Riverdale Park East is a 6 minute walk from Broadview subway station. The view is more than just breathtaking, as you can sit atop the hill while the weather is warm or toboggan down its slope in the winter. Grabbing a bite to eat is really easy at Riverdale Park, since many great local places like Rooster coffeehouse are within walking distance. It’s truly the best lookout spot in the city, with a magical view of the skyscrapers that make up the city.

Take a stroll amongst the lush greenery, classical music, and culture of Toronto’s Lakeshore at the Riverscape pathway in the Toronto Music Garden.
Photo by Randy Landicho.

Lastly, at number 1 on our list of the best parks in downtown Toronto is none other than Toronto Music Garden, an urban oasis and hidden park in the middle of Lakeshore East and West. Designed by Julie Messervy with the help of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department and in part by the famous cellist Yo Yo Ma, the landscape was inspired by Bach’s Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello which also spawned a 6-part film series. The sweeping sounds and grooves of each suite of the symphony dance within the huge grass steps of its outdoor amphitheatre, perfect for a brunch with friends. In the summer, you can see live concerts by international classical performers of the Summer Music in the Garden series provided by the Harbourfront Centre.

The list of the Best Parks in Toronto are:

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