The 400-acre (161-hectare) High Park is Toronto’s biggest green space entirely within city limits. It is famous for its wildlife, rare trees and manicured gardens as well as sporting and recreational activities. Traverse the hilly landscape via a series of paths and walking trails or relax with a picnic under the trees.
In 1873, British-born architect John George Howard gave his land to the City of Toronto to be used for public recreation. The area opened as High Park in 1876.
You’ll find woodland, wetlands and prairie habitats. Don’t miss the black oak savannah, a preserved slice of a nearly lost ecosystem that once covered most of southern Ontario. Spot cormorants and Canadian geese at Grenadier Pond.
Bring sports gear for exercise in the fresh air. Sports enthusiasts will appreciate the park’s range of facilities. These include tennis courts, baseball diamonds and soccer fields. There is also an open-air swimming pool during the summer. In the winter, the outdoor ice skating rink is a fun alternative for the whole family.
Plan a picnic in one of the 18 designated areas in the gardens of High Park. Look for wooden poles marked with a number. Alternatively, Grenadier Café, in the heart of the park, is a good place to buy lunch and eat indoors.
Take younger children to the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground to enjoy the slides and swings. Then visit the High Park Zoo to see bison, yak and deer, among other animals.
Attend a cultural event in the park. Dream in High Park is a summer production of Shakespeare’s famous plays, taking place at the outdoor amphitheater. Check the Canadian Stage Company website for the schedule. Join a guided tour of the park on the first or third Sunday of each month.
High Park is a 15-minute drive west of downtown. The park is always accessible, but the zoo is closed at night. Free parking is available at designated areas, but is prohibited from shortly after midnight until sunrise. Public transportation options of bus, streetcar or subway are all within easy reach.