In 2015, I’ve decided to explore more of Toronto through visiting a park I haven’t been to yet in each of the city’s 44 wards.
Toronto is overwhelming large. When I moved here from Vancouver in 2010, I remember going out “exploring” from my apartment in the Annex on my bike or on foot. I would end up in the Junction or at Woodbine Beach and return home thinking I had really seen a lot of Toronto. Then I would look at a map and realize I had barely made a dent.
Whenever I travel to a different city, I plot my visit around different parks. It’s my way of exploring a neighbourhood. That and bookstores. As shared public spaces, parks are a great window into a neighbourhood–they seem to absorb the personality of the community around them. And they can also reveal the history of a city in their names and natural environments.
Toronto has over 1,600 parks, covering roughly 13% of the city’s total land area of 630 square kilometres. That’s a lot of parks in a lot of different neighbourhoods in a very, very big city. I’ve been to many parks in all four corners of the city since moving here, but there is still a lot I haven’t seen.
It’s easy to get stuck in your own geographic work/home bubble. I live in the Annex and work downtown at Richmond and Spadina, both in Ward 20. I know that there are amazing things happening in parks across Toronto, many done by volunteer-led local park friends groups, and I want to get out and see some of that firsthand.
I don’t really have many rules about how this will work, but here are some:
- I can’t have been to the park before
- The size of the park doesn’t matter
- I will try to meet up with a local resident if I can
- I will walk, bike, or take transit, but if someone offers me a ride I won’t say no
- I will try to write about each park
And if anyone has any suggestions of particular parks you love that I should check out, big or small, then let me know: jgarrett(at)parkpeople.ca.
You can read the Toronto Star profile here.
(started January 17, 2015 and finished December 22, 2015)
- Ward 1: Panorama Park (visited Apr 18)
- Ward 2: Pine Point Park (visited Nov 14)
- Ward 3: Centennial Park Conservatory (visited Feb 8)
- Ward 4: Route 22 (visited Oct 10)
- Ward 5: Tom Riley Park (visited Sept 22)
- Ward 6: Colonel Sam Smith Park (visited June 20)
- Ward 7: Acacia Park (visited Nov 14)
- Ward 8: Shoreham Walkway (visited June 17)
- Ward 9: Downsview Dells/Giovanni Caboto/Heathrow (visited Nov 15)
- Ward 10: Earl Bales Park (visited Jan 17)
- Ward 11: Black Creek (visited Aug 15)
- Ward 12: Queen’s Greenbelt (visited Nov 15)
- Ward 13: Malta Park (visited Oct 10)
- Ward 14: 17 different parks (visited Nov 18)
- Ward 15: York Beltline (visited June 7)
- Ward 16: Woburn Park and Brookdale Park (visited Sept 20)
- Ward 17: Davenport Village Park (visited Apr 25)
- Ward 18: Davenport Diamond parks (visited Nov 29)
- Ward 19: Under Gardiner (visited Dec 22)
- Ward 20: Under Gardiner (visited Dec 22)
- Ward 21: Hillcrest Community Garden/Medicine Wheel Garden (visited Oct 13)
- Ward 22: Glenn Gould Park and Amsterdam Square (visited May 26)
- Ward 23: Dempsey Park (visited May 1)
- Ward 24: Don River Trail (visited Sept 7)
- Ward 25: Edwards Gardens (visited June 13)
- Ward 26: Flemingdon Park (visited Aug 15)
- Ward 27: Ramsden Park (visited Mar 1)
- Ward 28: Winchester Park (visited June 3)
- Ward 29: Cottonwood Flats (visited Aug 23)
- Ward 30: Joel Weeks Park (visited May 10)
- Ward 31: Taylor Massey Creek (visited Apr 4)
- Ward 32: Fairmount Park (visited Dec 19)
- Ward 33: Betty Sutherland Trail (visited Sept 7)
- Ward 34: Betty Sutherland Trail (visited Sept 7)
- Ward 35: Warden Woods & Victoria Park-Eglinton Parkette (visited Jan 24)
- Ward 36: Rosetta McClain Gardens (visited Aug 28)
- Ward 37: Scarborough Butterfly Trail (visited Sept 27)
- Ward 38: Scarborough Butterfly Trail (visited Sept 27)
- Ward 39: Chester Le Park (visited Nov 21)
- Ward 40: Terraview Park/Willowfield Gardens Park (visited Nov 21)
- Ward 41: Milliken Park (visited Mar 29)
- Ward 42: Rouge Park/Toronto Zoo (visited Oct 3)
- Ward 43: Morningside Park (visited Feb 14)
- Ward 44: Rouge Beach (visited Dec 6)
The map of Toronto’s parks in the title image was made by my colleague Kyle Baptista and you can buy a copy at the Spacing Store at 401 Richmond Street West.