Best Walks Downtown Toronto

Brent Mccoy
• Wednesday, 13 January, 2021
• 8 min read

The boardwalk will take you all along the water and in the warmer months you can grab a spot on the waterfront patio at the Sunnyside Pavilion Café. As you walk along Roncesvalles, you’ll be able to stop in any number of cozy cafés, specialty foods stores, bars and restaurants if you have time to linger.

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Henderson’s tap room is open seven days a week and has become a popular rest stop along the Rail path for anyone craving a craft beer. Bloor West Village is filled with independent boutiques, cafés, pubs, gourmet food stores and green grocers making for a pleasant walk.

Take your time exploring the many vintage stores, coffee shops and a mind-boggling array of food from around the world (from empanadas to fish tacos). The 2.9-mile (4.7-kilometer) section of multi-use trail runs along the Don River from Pottery Road to Yorktown Common and whether strolling or moving at a faster pace, is a serene and scenic way to spend time in the city.

Not every area is conducive to getting around on foot, but much of the city offers the chance to get outside and explore unique neighborhoods and scenic green spaces. No matter the season, there’s a good spot to walk in Toronto, encompassing anything from art and architecture, to parks, food and history.

Spring and summer are obviously ideal for spending time outdoors, but as long as you dress in layers there’s no reason to bypass a walk during the colder months. Here are seven of the best urban walks in Toronto that you can undertake at any pace you like, spending longer if you want to shop, browse or stop for a coffee or something to eat.

Fuel up for your day of walking with huge portions of standard breakfast fare including omelets, pancakes and eggs Benedict. The central location leaves you with a short stroll down Yong Street to the Eaton Center.

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Alternatively, start your day at the St. Lawrence Market at the corner of Front Street and Jarvis. The Toronto Eaton Center is a popular tourist choice, as it features over 300 stores in a four-level glass-domed retail complex.

Exit the center on Queen Street and turn right, heading west toward Spading. The department store features a variety of Canadian, including t-shirts and mittens featuring the iconic maple leaf and most notably the colorful striped HBC Point Blanket, originally created in the 1600s for fur traders. Continuing west, Queen Street begins to become more akin to New York City's Soho district.

Queen Street is unabashedly hip, featuring an eclectic mix of galleries, boutiques, trendy eateries, and bargain buys. Walk along Queen until you run into Spading, turn right, heading north to Sundas.

Once Queen Street hits Spading, you are in the heart of bustling Chinatown and endless lunch possibilities. Budget choice lunch spot is Chinese Traditional Buns (Read review) at 536 Sundas W. Two can easily re-fuel for under C$20. If it's a particularly nice day, and you want to stay outside, or if you really want to save on cash, pick up a Vietnamese Sub for C$1.50 at Band Mi Nguyen Hung, 322 Spading (left-hand side). You also have the option to stay inside and indulge in their delicious dim sum. Almost any of the restaurants along Spading that are busy are bound to be good.

The AGO is a superb document of Canadian art heritage but features masterworks from around the world, spanning 100 AD to the present. After the AGO, either grab a drink at one of the trendy eateries on nearby Baldwin Street or head east down Sundas back to Yong. If you're too tired or hungry to walk, grab a Sundas streetcar. Jane McLean After a long day of sightseeing, Baton Rouge is a warm, cozy place to settle down for a leisurely dinner.

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This export from Montreal is a hot spot for locals and tourists alike. Famous for its slow-cooked ribs and steaks, the restaurant offers a wide selection of stir-fries, salads, seafood and more.

A wide variety of ramen bars, Middle Eastern take-out joints or even the renovated Eaton Center food court will satisfy you and go easy on your wallet. Scott McLean Finish your night off with some great Swing Jazz and Jump Blues at the intimate Reservoir Lounge at 52 Wellington Street East.

You'll always know where and when to find them. The Reservoir Lounge has seen its share of celebrities, including Tom Jones who gave an impromptu performance for more than two hours. Toronto is blessed with many beautiful places to walk, from pretty streets to lakefront promenades.

For all the choice we enjoy, there are a number of spots that are particularly stunning for those times when you're looking to dial up the romance or just want to soak up a bit of nature in the midst of the big city. Ontario Place Trillium Park Certainly the nicest new place to walk in Toronto, the William G. Davis Trail at Trillium Park meanders along the waterfront offering sweeping views of the lake and skyline.

Edwards Gardens Wicket Creek winds through this lush natural landscape near Lawrence and Leslie. You'll cross the creek over several scenic bridges as you take in the array of pretty flora that mark area.

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The Sun Valley offers a pretty and easy walk through the Brothers Woods area. Enter off of Bayview Avenue, near Despite Drive, and you'll encounter a double-track trail that circles around the pretty valley that was once a garbage dump long ago.

David A. Balfour Park This ravine just east of Yong and St. Clair is beautiful at all times of the year, but reaches its peak in the fall when the leaves tend to hit a saturated yellow hue. The stairs can get a bit slippery after a rainfall, but otherwise it's smooth sailing at this beautiful green space.

Once you round the north end of the circle, you'll see the skyline hovering over the campus in a picturesque scene of old and new. The trail that runs alongside Grenadier Pond is one of the prettiest in High Park.

This Discovery Walk leads you on a loop through the West Humber River valley on a mixture of paved, hard-packed and grass trails. This delightful walk takes you through ornamental gardens, to an environmentally significant woodland and along the West Humber River, an area once travelled by First Nation peoples.

This Discovery Walk leads you on a loop through the Humber River Valley from approximately Bloor Street south to Lake Ontario. Afterwards, you’ll visit riverside parkland, charming neighborhoods, the Humber River and its marshes.

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View the Humber River, Old Mill & Marshes route map and additional walk details. Although you can begin this walking tour at any place along the route, a good starting point is the restored Lamb ton House (originally the Lamb ton House Hotel) on Old Sundas Street.

From Lamb ton House, walk clockwise through historic neighborhoods to Étienne Brulé Park. View the Lamb ton House Hotel & Lower Humber River route map and additional walk details.

Afterwards, you can wander along the Western Beaches Boardwalk, visit the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion, and the Humber Bike/Pedestrian Bridge. View the Western Ravines & Beaches route map and additional walk details.

Explore wooded Don River ravines and follow a lost historic rail line. Discover industrial heritage and the splendid park like environment of Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

After leaving the station, the route leads you along the Belt Line Linear Park. The trail then crosses Yong Street and enters Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

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After exploring the cemetery, you will enter a system of natural ravines, which lead you to the St. Clair Subway Station. Although you can begin this Discovery Walk at any point along the route, a good place to start is the Lawrence Subway Station (see top of map).

This Discovery Walk leads you on two overlapping loops through the Don Valley and nearby neighborhoods. Along the way you can visit Riverdale Farm, Prince Edward (Bloor Street) Viaduct, Chester Springs Marsh and Todmorden Mills.

This Downtown Discovery Walk leads you through the dense core of the City. Hidden among the skyscrapers, you will discover a rich variety of parks, gardens and streets capes.

Since the 1960s, most of these parks and gardens have been created through building demolition, land exchanges, street closures, lease agreements, land purchases and through the City’s development approval process for major projects. These parks and gardens have design features ranging from traditional to contemporary, from pastoral to urban.

Other open spaces include a Victorian garden, a sculpture garden, a cloud forest in a greenhouse, a historic railway round-house park and ceremonial squares, all within the core of Canada’s largest City. Follow this ravine down to the Lake Ontario shore and explore the Eastern Beaches and its boardwalk.

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Along the way, you’ll visit an Art Deco water treatment plant and a charming Beaches neighborhood. Although you can begin this Discovery Walk at any point along the route, a good starting point is Christie Pits Park (see top of map), across the street from the Christie Subway Station.

The route leads you along the now-buried Garrison Creek valley from the park down to Lake Ontario. You’ll visit other parks including Trinity Bell woods and one of Toronto’s premier historical sites, Fort York.

At that time, Garrison Creek flowed in a large deep ravine with several tributaries, from north of St. Clair Avenue to Lake Ontario. The British built Fort York at the mouth of the creek to guard against possible American attempts to invade Canada.

This Uptown Discovery Walk leads you through neighborhoods just north of the City’s core. Hidden among the low-rise and high-rise residential, commercial and institutional buildings, you will discover a rich variety of parks, gardens and streets capes.

Since the 1960s, many of these parks and gardens have been created through building demolitions, land exchanges, street closures, lease agreements, land purchases and the City’s development approval process for major projects. These parks and gardens have design features ranging from traditional to contemporary, from pastoral to urban.

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At Allan Gardens, admire the extensive horticultural displays both outdoors and inside the ornate greenhouses. Queen’s Park provides a picturesque forested setting for the Provincial Parliament buildings.

You will visit extensively landscaped institutional grounds and the remains of a ravine where Saddle Creek once flowed but is now buried in a sewer.

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