Part of a series on my favourite walking trails in Toronto.
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And now on to the regular post …..
Over the past several months, I’ve written about a number of my favourite walks in Toronto. This time, I wanted to highlight something a bit different.
One of the many great things about living in Toronto is the work that the City has put into exploring its past and making it accessible to a new generation of residents and visitors. One of they ways of doing that is a fantastic program called Discovery Walks.
Each of these walking routes explores some of City’s many natural features like the lakefront or the ravine trail system, and along the way points out the history of the City.
For example, the Garrison Creek walk takes you through downtown Toronto following the route of the now-buried creek that, back in the 1790’s, emptied into Lake Ontario near what today is about Bathurst Street. Following this route takes you through some interesting inner-city neighbourhoods that are full of history, as well as fantastic shopping, bars, and restaurants.
Other Discovery Walks include perennial favourites that I’ve covered, like the Beltline. They also include some lesser known yet well worth the walk trails like the upper west Humber, the eastern ravines and the beaches, or the Don Valley Hills and Dales.
If you visit the City’s website, the list of walks shown includes a map for each route. There are currently 11 of them, and they’re all great. Whether you’re a lifelong resident of Toronto or a visitor with an afternoon to fill, check them out! Toronto is a great walking city (ahem, it’s what I’ve been blogging about for months now!) and these walks prove it.
Length: Each trail is different. They are usually in the 1-3 hour range for a typical walker, and you can jump on/off any of these walks in many places.
Surface: A mixture – mostly they are paved and suitable for strollers and mobility devices, though there can be some gravel portions. Check each route map for details.
Public Transit: Each walk is accessible at start and finish by public transit, usually a combination of streetcar and subway, with some bus travel too. Each route map has details.
Route: See the City website for details. Each route has a detailed map that you can download.
Sights: Each of the walks has many sights to take in. Some are more nature-oriented, like the Humber Marshes, and some are more urban, like the Downtown or Uptown walks.
Any of these walks works well in any season. That said, I’ve always liked Toronto best in about mid-October on a crisp early autumn blue-sky day when the leaves have started to turn but it’s still warm enough for light clothes.
Food & Refreshment:
Most of the routes take you past at least some type of refreshments, either along the route or near the start or finish. Each route map will have some details.
Also, most of the routes take you at least partially through various City parks and trails, and there are public washrooms in most of them. There are also water fountains in most parks. Be aware, however, that these are usually seasonal so they are closed between roughly late October through early May.
Besides the public facilities, Toronto is well-endowed with coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and numerous other places where you can make a pit stop of one kind or another.
- Can I suggest blending some of my Favourite Walks with the Discovery Walks? Check out my list and you’ll see that portions of my favourite walks cover the same trails (the Beltline for example) as one of the Discovery Walks. You can walk my route but use the Discovery Walk for more historical info. Or you can walk the Discovery Walk and use my walk for pictures and maps. Mix and match.
- As the late great Ernie Banks used to say, let’s play two – why stop at one Discovery Walk when you can link them together and make a great outdoor day. For example, the Lambton House walk route is adjacent to the Humber River route.