The Best Outdoor Activities in and Around Toronto, Canada

Toronto's close proximity to Lake Ontario makes it a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts
Toronto's close proximity to Lake Ontario makes it a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts | © Bill Brooks / Alamy Stock Photo

This diverse city that sits on Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore is bustling with jaw-dropping architecture and plenty of Canadian charm, especially for those keen to explore the outdoors.

One of Canada’s most diverse cities, Toronto is a hive of cultural activity that any travel enthusiast will want to experience, and its proximity to Lake Ontario makes it an adventurer’s dream destination. Here is Culture Trip’s guide to the best outdoor activities in Toronto.

Walk, run or bike the Waterfront Trail

Hiking Trail
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© Bill Brooks / Alamy Stock Photo
One of the first things you’ll want to do is head down to the lakeshore and check out the Waterfront Trail. It’s divided into three sections and runs from Etobicoke in the west, to Toronto central and Scarborough in the east. The trail is hugely popular and great for cyclists, particularly because of the mixture of asphalt and off-road surface. There is also a boardwalk for pedestrians. If you do head to the section of the trail at the foot of Lower Spadina Avenue, look out for the Wavedeck installations.

Sunbathe in Bluffer’s Park

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Looking west from Cathedral Bluffs Park out over Bluffers Park marina in eastern Toronto, Ontario
© All Canada Photos / Alamy Stock Photo
Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough is one of the city’s most beautiful beaches and is extremely popular, especially on the weekend. It’s perfect for families because there is a supervised area with shallow waters, making it perfect for swimming. While there, make sure you check out the Scarborough Bluffs, a nine-mile (15km) white cliff that rises 300 feet (90m) above Lake Ontario’s waters.

Head to the Toronto Islands

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Visitors leaving the ferry at Toronto's Centre Island park
© Steven Chadwick / Alamy Stock Photo
The Toronto Islands are a must-do on any itinerary. Take a ferry ride to this chain of 15 small islands where you could spend all day wandering around. Once you get there, there’s plenty to see and do. Lay on the beach, have a picnic, play frisbee, rent a bicycle or get lost in the William Meany Maze. There is also plenty for the kids to do, including the educational Franklin Children’s Garden and Far Enough Farm. If one day isn’t enough, there are camping options available, too.

Have a picnic in High Park

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Spring in High Park, Toronto.
© BiR Fotos / Alamy Stock Photo
This is the city’s largest park, boasting nearly 400 acres (162ha) of open green space. There are a number of walking trails, a playground for kids and designated picnic spots where you can sit back and enjoy nature. If you happen to be in the city in late April or the beginning of May, look out for the blooming cherry blossoms near Hillside Gardens, while from mid-June until the end of August the park hosts a number of outdoor Shakespearean performances. These are free events, and the performances are known for being of excellent quality. Those who want to get in on the action should arrive early to get a spot – and don’t forget to pack a picnic to enjoy while you watch.
These recommendations were updated on October 12, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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