High Park is famous for many things: the cherry blossom trees which draw thousands of visitors to its grounds in the spring, for example, or its amphitheatre, home to the annual event Shakepeare In The Park.
But as one of the oldest and largest parks located in the city, you can imagine that this 4oo-acre property has plenty more attractions scattered across its hilly terrain and along its tree-lined paths than just trees and theatre.
Stretching from Bloor Street down south to the Queensway, with Grenadier Pond on the west and Parkside Drive to the east, this park is a place where visitors can pass whole hours, full days, even, amusing themselves with all the features this city-operated park has to offer.
Whether you're looking for facilities, family past-times or scenic getways, High Park has something for everyone from kids to experience explorers.
Here are all the things to see and do in High Park.
Covering over 35 acres, this massive pond sits at the western edge of the park. It's been revitalized multiple times over, making it a functional and improved area for water quality.
It's the largest at High Park, making it a popular destination for fishers, who usually set up their gear on the viewing dock.
There are many paths leading from the pond upwards toward ground level, making it a good spot to start or end your visit.
Skating usually isn't allowed on the pond during winter, though many people do it anyway each year. Just beware the $125 ticket you might get from a bylaw officer if you get caught.
A popular spot for impromptu IG sessions and professional photoshoots alike, these gardens feature hedges, bridges, and an abundance of flowers, with scenic little paths to take you through the grounds.
Located just west of the off-leash dog park, this gathering space is marked by a circular meditation piece where people hold get-togethers and ceremonious events, like the celebration of the fall equinox.
Not so much of a maze as it is a spiritual structure, the labyrinth is used by school teachers and camp leaders alike to offer a sort of therapeutic presence to the park, along with a sense of spiritual wonder.
There are two soccer fields at High Park, which are often occupied by local little leaguers during the summer. Permits for the soccer pitches can be obtained via the High Park website.
The park features six public tennis courts, with the opportunity for a private membership via the Howard Park Tennis Court Club. Non-members are able to play as well, but expect a 30-minute wait at least on busy days.
There are several sculptures dispersed around the park, most notably around the park's north end, in area near the tennis courts where the Toronto International Sculpture Symposium was once held.
Today, five of the ten original pieces installed in 1967 remain, including The Hippie by William Koochin, a mysterious but intriguing structure located by the High Park Nature Centre.
It's hard to believe, but High Park is home to 109 allotment gardens. Opened in 1974, these little plots allow local gardeners to grow fruits, veggies and flowers.
High Park Zoo
Not far from the main parking lot is this small zoo, which sits at the bottom of Deer Pen Road. Animals like yak, llamas, and bison make up this limited zoo, but its collection exotic yet friendly animals are well worth the visit.
Open during the summer until Labour Day, this pool area includes a water slide, splash pad, and wading areas. It's free to use and open all week, plus it's supervised by lifeguards at all times during open hours.
Off-leash dog park
A massive park for dogs to run off-leash is located in the centre of the park, operated just northeast of the main intersection where the concession stand and Grenadier Cafe are.
by Tanya Mok via blogTO