best Toronto parks

The 10 best Toronto parks to explore while social distancing

While practicing social distancing can be hard, there are ways to make it a little easier. As public areas empty and the city quiets, the state of the world can look pretty eerie. Taking a walk or getting outside in a low-risk area might be the best way to find some peace of mind. Here are some of Toronto’s best parks where you can find tranquillity during this turbulent time.


Edwards Gardens


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by A L E X (@asavrasyh) on

Edwards Gardens is one of Toronto’s largest parks. Located in North York at Leslie Street and Lawrence Avenue East, Edwards Gardens spans over 14 hectares of land. Home to Toronto’s Botanical Gardens, this mass of fauna and flora is the perfect place to get outside, but not run the risk of exposure.


Etiénne Brûle Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tullio Leone (@tullioleone) on

Just north of Bloor Street West sits Etiénne Brûle Park. This historic park was named after an early French explorer, Etiénne Brûle, the first explorer to venture beyond the St. Lawrence River into what we now know as Ontario. This expanse of green space lives along the Humber River from the Old Mill to around the Baby Point neighbourhood in Etobicoke York. You can find designated fishing areas and significant wildlife in this stretch of greenery. It’s sure-fire way to get your mind off the news.


Don River Valley Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by t. (@cpntuna) on

This string of trails along the Don River is usually pretty quiet except for the occasional bikers. The 200-hectare park runs from Pottery Road to the Corktown Common. There is also a ton of public art scattered throughout the Don River trails. This biodiverse spot can be the perfect place to find solitude while still feeling connected to the city.


High Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Orion & Lou (@thegreat_louando) on

The west-end park boasts a ton of natural serenity. It has tree-lined walkways, waterfront views and at this time of year, you might even spot a couple of cherry blossoms. The park is spread out across 161 hectares with smaller more designated parks within. There are off-leash dog parks and several different hiking trails. Unfortunately, the High Park Zoo will be closed during this time, but there are still plenty of walking trails to check out.


Craigleigh Gardens


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Susan Drysdale (@drysdaleandco) on

Located in Rosedale, Craigleigh Gardens park is a beautiful landscape for our Midtown naturalists. A little smaller, this quiet community park is only 3.4 hectares. Not to worry though, to practice responsible social distancing, take a walk through the mature tree canopies or along the ravine trail that connects to the Don Valley Brick Works.


Rouge Urban National Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Rouge National Urban Park (@rougepark) on

As all visitor services have been suspended for foreseeable future, so there is currently no entry fee at Rouge Park. As the park remains open to the public, Parks Canada encourages you to take extra safety precautions when entering the park and to have all essential hiking resources on hand. The monumental park spreads across 7,910 hectares of land connecting Toronto to Markham, Pickering and Uxbridge. There are tons of trails throughout the giant park all filled with some of the densest biodiversity in the GTA.


Sir Casimir Gzowski Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by … (@mrwont) on

Along Toronto’s waterfront, you can find Sir Casimir Gzowski Park. This string of parks follows the water’s edge from Lake Ontario’s Humber Bay to the mouth of the Humber River. This string of parks and boardwalks features bike lanes, beaches and walking trails, perfect for cyclists looking to get outside during self-isolation.


Downsview Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Downsview Park (@downsviewpark) on

Downsview Park is an urban greenspace in the northwest part of Toronto. Located at Dufferin and the Allen Road this 240-hectare park is full of cycling routes, walking trails, ponds and wildlife. With a military history, this massive park has had to constantly adapt over hundreds of years. With various nature walks spread across the park, Downsview is a great spot to find some momentary peace.

Leslie Street Split


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ace Hill (@acehill) on

The Leslie Street Spit is a headland on Lake Ontario full of biodiversity, biking trails and scenic views of the city. This southern extension of Leslie Street is an important bird area, meaning there are tons of different species to check out while exploring.  If you need to get some good content for the gram, this lakeside site has an amazing view of the Toronto skyline. Located on Leslie, south of Lakeshore, access the Spit through Tommy Thompson Park, which serves as an entryway onto the peninsula.


Sunnybrook Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Rudy ? (@rudythepotcake) on

This 154-hectare green space is the perfect place to spend an afternoon out of isolation. Located north of Leaside and south of The Bridle Path, this foliage-full park has 25 different biking trails, an off-leash dog park and many different walking trails. This scenic area is also home to the historic Sunnybrook Farm and stables.

Click here for the top 10 days trips to take near Toronto.


Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO