Explore the Best of the Outdoors and Eco-Friendly Culture in Toronto
Uncover the great urban outdoors in Toronto, Canada’s most bustling city, to enjoy leisurely days of swimming, hiking, and kayaking complemented by delicious, eco-conscious restaurants and city excitement.
Among the best things about Toronto, is how it’s so well-connected to the natural world, and overall more eco-conscious than most urban centers, in addition to being Canada’s largest and most populous city. You’ll discover a variety of lush green spaces, as well as expansive urban parks, beaches, and islands that are a short drive or ferry ride away. From biking across Humber Bay Arch Bridge and birdwatching at Ashbridges Bay Park to hiking at Scarborough Bluffs and taking a dip in Lake Ontario, this three-day itinerary will help you enjoy the outdoors while visiting a dynamic and eco-friendly metropolis. Plus, throughout it all, you’ll get a taste of the sustainably minded way of life here.
ItineraryPLAN YOUR TRIP
Day 1Welcome to Toronto
Begin your adventure by taking the ferry over to the Toronto Islands, a group of 15 islands off the mainland. Interconnected by pathways and bridges, the islands are easy to explore by hopping from one island to the next, and the canals in between offer excellent canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Get some sun on the islands’ four beaches, stop by Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, which dates to 1808, and dine alfresco surrounded by flowers on the patio of The Island Cafe.
Head back to shore to High Park, a 400-acre wilderness that’s accessible right from the subway system. Roughly two-thirds of High Park remains in its natural state, making it dreamy for hiking and wildlife watching. You’ll also find a zoo, tennis courts, ice skating rinks in the winter, playgrounds, and a plethora of gorgeously manicured gardens.
Nearby, Humber Bay Arch Bridge, created as part of Martin Goodman Trail, offers both pedestrians and cyclists stellar views of the skyline and Lake Ontario. Earn your supper by zipping along the pathway. Then dig into a mushroom Caesar salad with potato crumble and a burger made with dry-aged Esker Ontario beef at The Dog & Tiger, a restaurant and bar dedicated to using regional, ethical ingredients.
Day 2Enjoy an Urban Beach Day
On your way back into the city, stop at The Beaches, an eastside Toronto neighborhood that’s a summertime haven for locals and tourists alike. Cool off at bustling Woodbine Beach and check the calendar for year-round outdoor festivals. On the waterfront, Ashbridges Bay Park serves as a popular destination for picnics, bird watching, fishing, and hiking. Nearby, Sugar Beach Park, filled with whimsical, pastel-pink umbrellas, presents another opportunity for fun by the water’s edge. Play in the sand, watch the boats float by, or cool off in the maple leaf–shaped splash pad.
In the evening, dine on seasonal, contemporary Canadian dishes that reflect the country’s diverse terroir at Canoe. The spectacular panoramas from the restaurant, set on the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower overlooking Lake Ontario, are as memorable as the menu with dishes including smoked sablefish with pickled chanterelles and vermouth cream, braised short rib with burnt birch bordelaise, and wild blueberries with dark chocolate ganache.
Day 3Explore Toronto’s Public Parks
Back in the city, grab lunch from the Saturday Farmers Market or Picnic Café at Evergreen Brick Works, a year-round public space and event venue that inspires visitors to live, work, and play more sustainably. While you’re there, catch a gardening demo at the Evergreen Garden Market and admire the outdoor art.
This afternoon, join a guided walking tour of the award-winning Toronto Botanical Garden, during which you’ll learn all about the plants, pollinators, and history of the property’s 17 themed gardens. Afterward, unwind at Trinity Bellwoods Park where locals enjoy meeting up, picnicking, and hanging out. You’ll also find tennis courts, volleyball courts, picnic tables, and an artificial ice rink in the winter.
Savor a final meal at Union, a neighborhood restaurant that highlights organic farm-to-table fruits and vegetables. Look for seasonal fare like dressed Ontario peaches with goat cheddar, panzanella with heirloom tomatoes, and Eton mess strawberries on the daily menu to celebrate your trip.