North York has some of Toronto's most beautiful parks, many of which were formerly private estates donated to the city around the turn of the 20th century. The lower density of this former borough means that green spaces tend to be large and less manicured than you find closer to downtown. There are also excellent sporting facilities to be found here including soccer fields and cricket pitches.
Here are my picks for the top parks in North York.
This is a park that absolutely buzzes with activity on summer weekends, as families get together for sprawling barbecues, cricket matches take place on three different fields, cyclists zip along the gently curving roads, and horseback riders trot along on their steeds. It's a park that has it all.
The nearby Downsview Urban Park tends to get all the press, but it's the Dells where all the scenery is at. This, in fact, is one of Toronto's most picturesque parks with wetlands, bike trails, and a natural setting along Black Creek that seems wholly separated from the urban environment in which it's embedded. The fire pits are a nice touch as well.
G Ross Lord Park
This massive park is for the sports lovers out there. In addition to three soccer fields, there's also a couple of cricket pitches and an extensive network of bike trails. There's less lush terrain here than other parks on this list, but that's because this green space is designed for more than just hiking and picnicking.
One of the city's most underrated parks, Windfields connects to the Canadian Film Centre, which is probably one of the best places in all of Toronto to plan a secluded picnic on a weekend. There's hardly ever anyone around. Windfields itself is a valley surrounding Wilket Creek that's also quiet and picturesque, though there's tennis courts and a community centre at its easterly edge.
One of the most beautiful places in Toronto, Edwards Gardens features beautiful flower beds as well as scenic bridges, mature oak trees, a rock garden, and ravine trails. Yes, it gets very busy on weekends from spring to fall, but just go in the morning to enjoy the place without throngs of other visitors.
What did I miss? Add your favourite North York parks in the comments.
Photo of Sunnybrook Park by Ilona in the blogTO Flickr pool.
by Derek Flack via blogTO