Life Beyond the Patio: Great Outdoor Activities in Toronto

When you live in a city, your version of the outdoors can be limited to that space between Starbucks at your office. Not exactly the inspiring and invigorating space that nature enthusiasts rave about. Yet, Toronto is 630.2 square kilometres, which means that there ought to be a green corner or two.

For those starved for a different rhythm, one where the sun is boss and not your smart phone, you need not go far for the great outdoors in this world class city. The Beaches area in Toronto (or Beach for those who like to be literal) feels more like a lakeside resort, complete with boardwalk, crashing waves and feuding ice cream trucks. 

There is also diverse vegetation, plant life and a long winding network of trails that wind through Toronto's largest public park, High Park. There are several waterfalls in the middle of the Hillside Gardens. There are also Sakura cherry trees that were given to Toronto as a gift from Tokyo in the 1960s. The gorgeous sight of exploding pink blossoms is only for a matter of weeks and on very cold years, it doesn't even happen at all. But if you are lucky to take a stroll through the pink dotted wonderland, breathing in the sweet odour, you are one lucky tourist indeed.

Recent studies have declared that communing with nature makes you healthier. Although Toronto makes it possible to stay inside all the time, it is time to see the great, close outdoors.

Spadina House is an upper-class historic home, built by businessman James Austin in 1866. An ideal place to visit in the summer, the six-acre grounds have Victorian and Edwardian gardens. From chestnut trees to forget-me-nots, it is an...  Read More

Although you may not be corresponding with nature in the same way you would by hiking, going to the Docks is a good way to get outdoors without having to log lots of kilometres on your car. Just minutes from the downtown core, you can dust off...  Read More

On the West End of Toronto, on the shores of Lake Ontario, is a lakefront district that was the "bees knees" in the 1950s. Although it no longer has the amusement park that made this area hopping back in the day, it does have a beach and park...  Read More

Getting to the Toronto Islands takes just a 10-minute ferry ride, but it transports you to an entirely different world. The small, interconnected Toronto islands provide a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. These islands...  Read More

This 18-hectare park near Toronto's Danforth area is a delightful slice of the outdoors with a stunning view of Toronto's looming skyline. Considered a fantastic place to grab a picnic, watch the sunset and declare your undying love, it also...  Read More

Evergreen Brickworks is a former industrial site that has become a love letter to the green movement. Download a self-guided tour brochure or pick one up at the welcome desk and trod your own path along 40 acres of wilderness. Breathtaking...  Read More

How often have you been to a heritage river that has also been directly connected to the subway line? The Humber River and associated trails are a special point of interest in the Toronto landscape. It travels 100 kilmometres through rural and...  Read More

West Toronto

High Park is Toronto's version of Central Park in New York. Toronto's largest 161 hectare public park has been the jewel in Toronto's park system with historical buildings, amazing hiking trails, a free zoo and playgrounds. A park highlight is...  Read More

The Beaches

It is a competition in Toronto to see how early people will get in their shorts. There is usually one hardy Canadian who shows their pasty legs as soon as it goes above zero Celsius. Ashbridge's Bay is a way for Toronto to shake off their winter...  Read More

East Toronto

Part historic site, part protected wilderness, Rouge Park is comprised of 47 square kilometres of historic farms, wetlands, undisturbed meadows and forests. Bordering Lake Ontario, the park even has a great beach. Hiking and camping are popular,...  Read More


Meet Courtney Sunday

Courtney Sunday has lived in England, Switzerland, Canada and the US, finding her way into the professions of freelance writing and yoga teaching in between travel opportunities. She learned...  More About Courtney