by Aparajita Bhandari
Spring seems to have arrived in Toronto, which means that we finally interact again with Mother Nature in parks, beaches, and gardens. It can be hard to believe that green spaces actually exist in the middle of the huge concrete jungle of a city that is Toronto. However, we actually have quite a few places in the city where you can enjoy some greenery: here are my top places to enjoy nature in Toronto.
1. Allan Gardens
Allan Gardens is a park and botanical conservatory located in the downtown area. It is actually also an historical site; the original pavilion and surrounding gardens were constructed back in the 1860s. The conservatory comprises six different greenhouses that host many different permanent collections of plants and insects, which are open 365 days a year. Allan Gardens is an actual oasis of nature, especially the greenhouses in the cold winter months. Admission is free, so there’s really no excuse to not to go.
2. High Park
High Park is the city’s largest public park. I consider it to be to Toronto what Central Park is to New York City. The park is really quite big with a huge pond in the middle that houses lots of ducks and geese. The park has tons of things to do, with lots playgrounds, baseball diamonds, a swimming pool, an ice rink and even a zoo! The park also has a beautiful cherry blossom tree garden, which is a beautiful sight to see in the springtime. The peak time to see the blossoms is going to be the next few weeks, so if you can, you should definitely plan a visit to High Park soon.
Keep an eye on this site for the perfect to see the cherry blossoms.
3.Trinity Bellwoods Park
A large and popular community park near Queen Street West, this is actually where Trinity College’s original campus was located, before the college joined with University of Toronto. The park reflects the hip and artsy vibe of the overall neighbourhood it’s situated in. The park is home to the Queen West Art Crawl, weekly farmer’s markets, art summer camps and vintage stores and cafes. The park is close to campus, so head over there whenever you have a spare few hours to enjoy the great outdoors—or even just to people watch.
4. Scarborough Bluffs
The Scarborough Bluffs are relatively far from campus; they are, however, still accessible via the TTC. The Bluffs are a beautiful and unique location so the trip is honestly worth it. It was wintertime when I visited the Bluffs, yet it still was stunning, so I can only imagine how nice the place must be in the spring and summer. The Bluffs themselves are these huge 20-storey cliffs that stretch along 20 kilometres of the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. By the cliffs is Bluffer’s Park Beach, a man-made beach with nice soft sand. If you’re in Toronto when it becomes true beach weather, you should consider making the trip to the Scarborough Bluffs for the beach alone.
5. Green spaces on campus
For those of you that want to enjoy some spring greenery but don’t have the time right now to venture out far we have some great green spaces right here on campus.
The Lester B. Pearson Garden for Peace and Understanding: This small oasis is located behind E.J. Pratt Library at Victoria College and features a pond and fountain. It makes for a great place to take a quick study break when at the Pratt library.
The Meditation Room in the Multi-Faith Centre: In spring the rainy and windy weather make it hard to always want to actually go outside. The Meditation Room in the Multi-Faith Centre has a large green wall and a small waterfall that can be enjoyed even during those April showers.
Philosopher’s Walk: A serene, tree-lined pathway near the ROM and the Faculty of Music, Philosopher’s Walk is a great to go to sit on a bench and do some readings.
So now when the concrete city starts to feel a little too overwhelming, pick a spot on this list, grab a few friends and go enjoy the nature that’s actually pretty abundant in our city!
Know any other great green spaces that aren’t on this list? Comment below to let us know—I’m always looking for more recommendations.