The top parks in Toronto offer an escape from the city's innumerable skyscrapers and construction zones. Whether you're on the hunt for the perfect picnic spot or want to take a swing at sports, these green spaces have got you covered.
Here are my picks for the top parks in Toronto by neighbourhood.
Jean Sibelius Square Park is a small park between Spadina and Bathurst south of Dupont. You won't find any massive sports complexes or swimming pools here, but if you're on the hunt for some R&R in the Annex, it'll do just fine.
BAYVIEW & LEASIDE
Sunnybrook Park has a lot of things going for it. It's massive (154 hectares!), has 25 bike trails, four multipurpose fields and everything else you could possibly want. Bonus: The park connects to the Toronto Botanical Gardens, if you're on the hunt for even more greenery.
Kew Gardens is the most picturesque of all the parks in the Beaches area. Its perks include a baseball diamond, bowling greens, outdoor fitness equipment, tennis courts, a shuffle board court and a wading pool. It's also home to two Beaches landmarks: the Garder's Cottage and the Kew Gardens gazebo.
Head just south of Bloor on Dufferin and you'll come across Dufferin Grove Park. The 5.3 hectare space is equipped with a multipurpose sports field, fire pits, a basketball court, a picnic area, a wading pool, a playground and an ice rink, so there's plenty to do.
BLOOR WEST VILLAGE
It goes without saying, but High Park has got it all. The mammoth 400-acre space flaunts lots of running and hiking trails, cherry blossom trees, a zoo filled with animals (that occasionally go MIA), gardens, sporting facilities and pretty much everything else under the sun.
Riverdale Park West may not have quite as many amenities as its sister space across the Don River, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the more popular parks in the city. It's got four baseball diamonds, four bike paths, a cricket field, a pond, a wading pool, a bake oven and an off-leash area for dogs.
If you're looking for bike trails, Canoe Landing Park has five to offer. It also has two multipurpose sports fields and many walking paths, for those who aren't into cycling. Aside from athletics, the park flaunts a few stand alone art pieces by Douglas Coupland, one of the park's designers, including massive canoe that allows you to see over the Gardiner to the lake.
Corktown has turned what used to be not-so-pretty industrial lands into a sweeping park by the name of Corktown Common. There's a marsh, lawns, urban prairies, playgrounds and a splash pad, as well as less common park perks like a permanent barbecue and a fireplace.
Earlscourt Park is well-equipped for aspiring sportsmen and sportswomen. It boasts a lit artificial turf soccer field and multipurpose sports field and track, a baseball diamond, four tennis courts, a basketball court and a volleyball court. Of course, if you like to just kick back on the grass, there's plenty of room to do that, too.
Withrow Park is an 8 hectare park with all the bells and whistles. You'll find two baseball diamonds, a multipurpose sports field, two tennis courts, a volleyball court, a dog park, a wading pool, a playground and an ice rink.
Riverdale Park East gets a lot of love from athletes. It's got two baseball diamonds, three multipurpose sports fields, a running track, seven tennis courts, an artificial outdoor ice rink, ball hockey pad and a pool. If you're you'd rather save working out for the gym, it's got an awesome view of the Toronto skyline that you can scope out from almost any spot on the hill.
Monarch Park flaunts an off-leash area for canine companions, an outdoor pool, a wading pool and a playground, making it one of the better options in the East Danforth area. In the winter, there's the added draw of an artificial ice rink.
If you're looking to play ball in the east, Stan Wadlow Park is where to go. The park boasts six baseball diamonds, one of which has lights for those who prefer to play at night. If you're not training to be the next Bautista, it's also got an outdoor pool, sports field, playground, off-leash dog park and a handful of other amenities.
Centennial Park is one of the busiest parks in Toronto, and for good reason. Its perks include the Etobicoke Olympium, a ski hill and chalet, the Centennial Park Conservatory, and a BMX bike park (plus countless other amenities).
If you're all about the views, heading to the Harbourfront is kind of a no-brainer. Sherbourne Common offers the trifecta of Toronto sights: city buildings, plenty of lush greenery and Lake Ontario. Post up on the grass east of the Corus Quay building and brace yourself for pure bliss.
Baird Park, located just south of the Junction, boasts bowling greens, a playground, a wading pool and an off-leash dog area. It may not be the biggest park in the city, but there's still enough grassy space to enjoy a picnic or summer study sesh.
Campbell Park is a 1.3 hectare park close to Lansdowne Avenue and Dupont Street. It offers three sports fields, a basketball court, a wading pool, a playground and an ice rink that pops up in the winter. The park regularly plays host to the Really Really Free Market, so keep your eye out.
Despite a slightly sketchy rat infestation issue in 2015, St. James Park is still a pretty sweet space to kick back downtown. While it doesn't offer sprawling grounds like High Park, it's got the picturesque St. James Cathedral on its side, making it scenic and very 'grammable.
Not only does Stanley Park have a stellar off-leash dog area, it's also one of the top parks to meet people in the city. But hey, if you're feeling anti-social, you can always attempt to make use of the basketball court, shuffleboard court or table tennis set up on your own.
No surprises here. Christie Pits Park takes the cake for best park in Koreatown thanks to its three baseball diamonds, sports field, basketball and volleyball courts, ice rink, playground, wading pool and community garden. It also regularly plays host to community events like outdoor movie screenings.
After hitting one of the neighbourhood's coveted brunch destinations, take a trip northeast to Greenwood Park for some R&R away from the crowds. There's two baseball diamonds, a sports field, a dog off-leash park, a community garden, a playground and one of the city's best outdoor pools.
Head a few paces east of Little India and you'll find Fairmount Park. It's got two ball diamonds, a multipurpose sports field, five outdoor tennis courts and a wading pool, giving park-goers plenty of options. I suggest steering clear close to the 4 p.m. mark as the kids from Bowmore tend to takeover the space.
Sherwood Park boasts two wading pools, running trails, picnic tables and a sizeable playground, making it well worth a visit. It's also got a pretty impressive dog park, if you like to bring your pooch along on outings.
Downsview Park is well-loved not just for its amenities, but for the multitude of events that are held on its grounds. The former Canadian Forces Base has hosted Slide the City, VELD and Riot Fest - just to name a few.
Tommy Thompson Park offers a real retreat from city life. Its grounds are filled with wildflower meadows, cottonwood forests, coastal marshes and plenty of critters - so if you're into nature walks, this is the one. It's also got one of the best views of the 6ix you could ask for.
Sorauren Park is a favourite of Roncy residents. It is equipped with a baseball diamond, two tennis courts and an off-leash area for canine companions. It also hosts a kick-ass farmer's market where you can pick up locally sourced good and your weekly stock of fruits and veggies.
Near Castle Frank Road and Bloor Street East you'll find Craigleigh Gardens - a gem that's often overlooked because it's located a mere kilometre away from the Brick Works. This park doesn't tend to get very crowded, so if you're looking for a little privacy, this may be your spot.
Hail from the east end? Guild Park and Gardens is where to go to get your greenery fix. It's got plenty of flora and fauna, the Guild Inn, a collection of remnants from the city's lost architectural monuments of the 20th century and was even the backdrop of a Drake vid.
ST. CLAIR WEST
Sir Winston Churchill Park is equipped with 10 outdoor tennis courts, a massive dog park and a playground for the kiddies. It also has a gigantic and visually impressive reservoir hidden under its lawn, built during the 33-year term of R. C. Harris.
WEST QUEEN WEST
Trinity Bellwoods is the favourite park of pretty much every twenty something that lives in Toronto. It's also home to three baseball diamonds, eight tennis courts, two volleyball courts, an artificial ice rink, a dog off-leash area, a picnic area, a wading pool and a children's playground.
What did I miss? Add your favourite Toronto park to the comments.
by Alice Prendergast via blogTO