There’s no denying that Toronto is an attractive destination for action-loving urbanites. But if you’re someone who prefers the thrill of a nature hike or a peaceful lake view, you might want to steer clear of typical Toronto “top 10” lists. Sure, there’s the CN Tower, Dundas Square and the Rogers Centre, but what about the city’s greener side?
It’s true—even in the big city, you can get in touch with nature. Here’s how:
Check out Toronto’s greenspaces
Woven throughout the skyscrapers, sports arenas and high-fashion shops are beautiful, natural landmarks. Let us take you through a few of our favourites:
Toronto’s ravine system
Believe it or not, the ravine system is one of Toronto’s most distinctive geographic features. With a cross-city network of ravines, Toronto has earned itself the nickname “the city within a park.”
The 11,000 acres of ravines travel north-south, connecting the northern parts of the city to the waterfront, then spreading east and west. With deep ravines running throughout 20% of the city, Toronto is basically a large urban forest. Keep an eye out for the scattered valleys and forests—they make for convenient city escapes when you need a breath of fresh air.
Some popular ones include Crothers Woods, Moore Park Ravine, Cedarvale Ravine and Rouge National Urban Park, which we mention later on.
Escape the noise and commotion of the city in Toronto’s largest public park. High Park offers the perfect combination of recreation and natural landscape. Take a dip in the outdoor pool or hike the trails for a unique wildlife experience.
In the springtime, take part in one of the park’s most popular events and watch the cherry trees blossom! What started as a gift from the Japanese ambassador to Canada in 1959, grew into an annual celebration for thousands of visitors. Experience Sakura Hanami, a centuries-old tradition of cherry blossom viewing, in High Park.
Trinity Bellwoods Park
Popular among locals, Trinity Bellwoods is a beautiful, inner-city neighbourhood park. Surrounded by lush greenery, the park features a paved walking path for easy-strolling. Whether you’re playing lawn games in the grass or settling in for a picnic, you won’t regret spending an afternoon here.
The best part? Trinity Bellwoods is nestled along one of the city’s trendiest streets—Queen Street West. Take a break from window-shopping and explore this natural hotspot.
Your next beach vacation is just 15 minutes away by ferry! No Toronto visit is complete without a trip to the islands. With 15 to explore, there’s something for everyone. Centre Island is the main tourist hub, offering amusement park rides and a petting zoo, but if you’re set on reconnecting with mother nature, there may be better options for you.
Rouge National Urban Park
While in Toronto, check out Canada’s largest urban park. Breathe in the fresh air and take in the beauty of the great outdoors. Not only does this national park offer a wealth of biodiversity, it’s home to some of the last working farms in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The region offers unspoiled beaches, incredible hiking opportunities, one of the GTA’s largest marshes and human history dating back over 10,000 years, including some of Canada’s oldest known Indigenous sites. If this sounds up your alley, then add Rouge National Urban Park to your to-do list.
To sweeten the deal, Parkbus offers a free shuttle bus to the park! Reserve seats online in advance or test your luck with the “walk-on” seats. Either way, you can make the trip hassle-free.
Stay Near Parkbus Stops
If Toronto’s greenspaces have you craving more natural beauty, then get out of the city and explore Ontario’s breathtaking landscapes. The best part is, Parkbus will take you there!
Parkbus connects city dwellers with nature through accessible transportation options. One of Toronto’s more central pickup points is located at 34 Asquith Ave. in Yorkville. If you’re planning a day trip or wilderness expedition, book your accommodations close to a Parkbus stop!
Here’s where to stay:
The Anndore House
This 11-story, boutique hotel offers the best in neighbourly hospitality. The hotel was reborn from a 1950s brick residence that offered shorter and longer-term stays. To pay homage to its roots, the redesign combines retro and classic aesthetics. Having been built for residents, the rooms are incredibly spacious, with generous-sized closets.
If you want a place to settle into, you’ll love the hotel’s rooms, designed to feel like industrial lofts and outfitted with homey décor. Everything about the rooms is digitally streamlined—guests have control over the lights, heating and doors. You’ll even notice little Instagrammable touches scattered throughout.
With more space than the average hotel, these rooms are perfect for sharing. In the morning, get your group up and walking—the Parkbus stop is just 8 minutes away.
The Annex Hotel
Take a century-old building, add some fine local art and what do you get? The Annex Hotel. Here, guests are offered the comforts of home, from a hands-off approach. This self-check-in boutique lodging boasts a modern and local feel, right off the Annex’s main drag. If you can do without the typical frills, this place is for you. The accommodations are welcoming and well-lit, but lack room service, building amenities like a pool and gym, and a parking lot. Keeping up with the times, each room has an iPad Pro, a record player and speakers, instead of cable TV.
In the lobby-turned-restaurant, you can order a shareable snack and your choice of biodynamic organic wine from around the world. Enjoy your night in and push back your wakeup time—the Parkbus stop is only 14 minutes away by subway.
Where historic charm meets upscale living. The Kimpton Saint George Hotel, owned by the InterContinental Hotels Group, offers a unique experience in the Annex. Get a true feel for Canada’s biggest city with Kimpton Saint George’s subtle nods to local memorabilia.
Take in eye-catching creations handmade by local artisans as you relax in the lobby. Sip a cup of coffee in the morning and take advantage of “wine hour” in the evening. At the end of the day, unwind in a simple yet chic room, outfitted with soft bathrobes and luxe linens.
As a final perk, take your time in the morning—the Parkbus stop is just 9 minutes by subway.