Getting away from it all in Toronto is surprisingly easy, but there are some places that feel like more of an espace than others. We all know the favourites - Tommy Thompson, High Park, Crothers Woods - but if you're looking for a more secluded retreat, it's worth a trek to one of these little sanctuaries from the urban bustle.
Here are my picks for the top parks to get away from it all in Toronto.
Colonel Danforth Get lost in nature for a few hours in this east-end park, where a ton of trails, green space and a ravine are all submerged in lush forestry. Rogue Park tends to get all the glory, but this nearby green space has a host of bike and walking trails that run alongside and around picturesque Highland Creek.
Wilket Creek Park With 44 hectares of undisturbed woodland, this one is actually classified as a "wilderness park." Two kilometres of bike trails let you cruise through the trees for a while, or you can cosy up by one of the public fire pits and pretend you're off in cottage country.
Guild Park and Gardens For an unconventional day in the park, spend an afternoon in this historic sculptural sanctuary. Guild Park is home to a collection of rustic stone pieces of art and architecture from Toronto's past, a greenhouse and a colourful garden. This is a little gothic paradise that's both eerie and relaxing all at once.
Cedarvale Park This park is reminiscent of summer camp -- seemingly far removed from all things urban and industrial. It houses multiple bike and hiking trails as well as sports facilities, but it's when you get to the park's centre that you realize it feels like the city has been left behind. If it hadn't been for activist's like Jane Jacobs, this green space would be the Spadina Expressway.
Craigleigh Gardens This quiet gem in the middle of Rosedale is the perfect place to be a hermit for a day. Craigleigh Gardens is hidden beneath a canopy of trees, and has access to the Don Valley Brick Works and a ravine trail. Best of all, however, is that it's basically never busy, so it's a good spot for some quiet, alone time.
What did I miss? Leave your suggestions in the comments.
Whose bright idea was it to pave the Gordon Glaves Memorial Trail?
Although a paved trail gives better access for those in wheelchairs and motorized scooters, it also provides another road for e-bikes to use. And that is not a pleasant experience when you are using the trail to walk your dog or accompanying children on bikes.
You cannot hear e-bikes coming from behind. Every cyclist I meet on the trails rings a bell or says, "Bike coming up behind you." Not so for e-bike riders.
Did anyone think about the temperature of asphalt in summer? If it's too hot for your feet, it's too hot for your pets, too.
But don't fear, because in early spring the trails will become a lovely ice rink.