As much as I love to document travelling to new places abroad, there’s something about finding joy and adventure in your own home city. In the time that I’ve moved from the suburbs to downtown Toronto, I’ve talked previously about how downtown can sometimes feel too busy for me at times. Some of the best ways to help me feel more at peace and recharged is by spending time in the quieter areas of Toronto, double points if there’s nature to surround yourself in. This is why when I do stumble upon the rare green, quiet spaces in Toronto, I make sure to create a mental note.
With it being the first day of May, I thought it’d be fitting to talk about 3 not-as-often-talked-about places that will help you truly enjoy the spring weather that is upon us. Aside from going there yourself, I think these 3 places would be a great place to go with friends or family, or to bring anyone who’s visiting outside of Toronto. In my opinion, it’s definitely a step-up from bringing them to the touristy attractions like the CN Tower and aquarium.
Here are 3 hidden gems found within downtown Toronto where you can be sure will fulfill your nature-lover’s heart and give you that much-needed break from the city life.
1. Moore Park Ravine
This is a must-visit for someone who loves walking through trails, especially in the fall-time. I came here sometime in September and the leaves were just starting to turn colours, but I’m told that if you come mid-October, you can witness the vibrant orange and red hues for yourself. The quietness and fresh air of this place is like no other and will make you wonder in belief if it’s really only 15 minutes away from the downtown core.
When I came last time with my family, we happened to encounter a group of deer running through the ravine! And even better, this ravine trail actually connects to the Evergreen Brickworks, which is a whole other site in it of itself, containing so much history and a great place to walk around.
2. Allan Gardens
I’ve lived in downtown Toronto for 5+ years and who would’ve known this beautiful botanical gardens existed just a 10 minute walk away from Yonge-Dundas square? It’s all indoors and it’s open every day of the year, so it’s a great place to visit all year-round, not to mention it’s completely free. I find it quite pleasantly quaint, yet it boasts a vast array of plant species with endless tropical and foreign-looking plants that you’d find it hard to believe you’re really in Toronto. Some of my favourites are the beautiful jade vine and the cacti/succulents room. Although be prepared -it can get toasty in there to accommodate for the tropical and cacti plants -make sure you have layers you can take off as you take an incredible nature walk through this garden and what it has to offer.
3. Trinity Bellwoods
Ah, Trinity Bellwoods. This is probably my favourite neighbourhood in all of downtown maybe because it’s still part of downtown, but it definitely doesn’t feel like. While I count myself as a city girl, I also come from the suburbs, and Trinity Bellwoods feels like a happy medium in between. It’s a lot quieter, more laid back, and feels more home-y with smaller, unique businesses open on the streets and lots of green space. In fact, Trinity Bellwoods Park is one of the biggest parks in all of downtown and is one of my favourite places to go on a nice day, especially in the spring or summer.
This would be a great place to bring a book to read, lie on the grass and talk with friends, or bring your dog (there’s plenty of dogs here). Especially in the summer, there is an abundance of special and unique events that happen in the park, from casual drumming sessions to celebrations of indigenous culture! After you spend time at the park, you have endless options of walking around the streets, venturing through the shops, and finding a great restaurant or cafe to grab a bite. There’s just so many great things about this neighbourhood that I may need to write a completely separate post for this later in the future!