City Walks - Where to go and what to pack on your next urban hike

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We're lucky to live in a vibrant city with lots of green space - parks, ravines, trails, waterfront and neighbourhoods to explore. Although I sometimes envy those who have cottages and country homes to "escape", living in the city, especially now during the pandemic, has meant we've spent many weekends exploring the amazing urban nature scene in Toronto.

With the first long weekend of the spring arriving this weekend, I thought I'd share a list of places that you can explore. I've been to most of these spots but there are one or two I still plan to visit - Guild Park and Glen Stuart Ravine. 

When we hit the road, along with a few urban hiking essentials, we've also been bringing along a small snacky picnic. It's nice to rest for a while so we find a quiet spot and picnic. Now that the weather's warmed up I also bring an iced coffee (iced Arpeggio from Nespresso is my favourite) in this handy travel mug for the road. 

As I'm writing this, rain is in the forecast for Toronto this weekend so I'll definitely be packing a light rain jacket to keep me dry. I've had my eye on this Gore-tex coat from Arc'teryx - it's perfect for the city!

Here's what you'll find in my tote bag when we head out for a walk in the city. 

  • A light raincoat - love this one because it's waterproof and light!
  • Comfy walking shoes are essential. I like these gingham sneakers from my favourite shoe store, Heelboy
  • A coffee for the car ride - iced these days in a travel mug perfect for summer drinks
  • Hand sanitizer, lip balm and Peppermint halo oil and sunglasses are always in my purse or tote! 
  • A water bottle - love the Swell bottles because they keep my water icy cold.
  • Sunscreen - I have this one from Sephora in my basket.
  • A notebook and pen for ideas or inspiration that might strike. I'm old school that way.
  • A field guide is fun. Birding has become quite popular and there are some great areas to bird watch in Toronto including Tommy Thompson Park. 

There are lots of great apps that you can download for walks including history on different neighbourhoods in the city. The City of Toronto's Urban Walks page is a great resource for finding walking tours that focus on architecture, nature, history, culture and more. One app to try is GPS My City - it lets you create your own walks or explore 13 self-guided walk in Toronto. 

There are lots of great locations to explore in Toronto. One of my favourites is East Point Park. It's on the eastern edge of Scarborough and the Scarborough Bluffs. It's a bit of a drive for us in the west end, but it's worth it. There are kilometres of natural shoreline to explore, it's stunning. 


East Point Park & Shoreline

 At the foot of Leslie Street is Tommy Thompson Park aka The Leslie Street Spit. It's a great spot for birding and has a great view of the city skyline. 

Tommy Thompson Park - Winter 2021

Closer to home for me at least is High Park. We're so lucky to live just steps away from this large urban park!

Again, just steps away is the Humber River Trail

Humber River Trail, Autumn 2020

Here's a list of places to explore by foot in Toronto this spring.

  • Evergreen Brickworks
  • The Beach
  • Glen Stuart Ravine
  • Cedarvale Ravine
  • High Park
  • Humber River Trail
  • East Point Park
  • Tommy Thompson Park
  • Toronto Islands
  • Edward's Gardens
  • Guild Park 


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