Outdoor places in Toronto

I Love Toronto
Despite Toronto being the 5th largest city in North America it has plenty wonderful outdoor areas to explore for families and many hidden gems. They are just up to you to discover; you might even find your own special gem in the city. Exploring the city via bike makes touring even more special and many of the destinations we suggest are great places to bike to.

Here are our favorite places in the city to explore in the summer as a family:


We love swimming in the city:

Toronto’s beaches: Despite what many Torontonians might tell you, it is safe to swim in Lake Ontario. You are not going loose an arm (-:

9 Toronto Beaches have the international blue flag approval. In the summer time, the city of Toronto tests the water every day. This internationally recognized program awards blue flags to communities committed to maintaining high standards of water quality.

Check out the beaches here

Our favorite beaches in Toronto are: Wards Island (part of Toronto Island) and Cherry Beach. Our favorite hangout is by the beach, “The Beach” in Toronto.

Toronto has many outdoor pools and the best part is they are free. Check them out here.

We love to explore nature in the city


Leslie Spit: Explore wilderness in the heart of the city. It is great for bird watching, biking and hiking. Check out the website.

A wonderful oasis in the city is Brickworks, with hands on activities for kids and adults.  There is a pond and lots of green lands to explore. I encourage you to try walking, biking or take public transportation there. To get the real nature experience the city has to offer. You have many ways to get in touch with nature, via walking the ravine from Davisville subway station. You can walk through the Mount Pleasant Cemetery and then hit Moore Ravine. We have biked there 2 times as a family from the Beach following two different routes. You can go via the Lakeshore to the Don Valley and then turn on Pottery lane and the Brickworks. The other route was through the gorgeous O’Connor ravine connecting to the Don Valley and Pottery RD. A wonderful ride, except for the last 5 minutes, as you are biking on the Bayview Extension. Check out Brickworks for more info.

High Park: A wonderful area to go for hiking trips, zoo and playgrounds.

Explore the Toronto ravine system: I have been lucky to visit and hike many places in the world. However, I have never experienced something as unique as the ravine system in Toronto. It is like having an urban jungle in the city. Our favorite ravines are in the midtown area; the contrast with the city life and the wilderness in the ravine is just amazing. Check out the Toronto Park and Rec for a map


Rouge Park is not as accessible with public transit or by bike, but it is defiantly worth a visit for getting some nature in the city. You can camp, hike, canoe, swim, fish, pick shells or catch crayfish here.  Check out the park site for more info

Toronto Island Beachis not just Centreville; you can rent a bike, canoe, visit a park or swim here. Our favorite destination in the islands is Ward Island. The beach there is small and not crowded, we love having dinner at the Rectory Restaurant. It is also where the residents live. Check out the website

We love to play at the playgrounds in the summer:
Explore Toronto’s playgrounds this summer. Toronto has many great parks for kids and a lot of them have water parks or a wading pool for cooling off. Join Kaboom’s playground challenge this year and win prizes while doing it. From July 3 to August 13, each playground you visit will enter you into weekly drawings for a chance to win gift cards for toys, shoes, ice cream, and more. Read the details here


What is your favorite playground or park in Toronto? Our is Dufferin Grove Park; which is a wonderful park that really shows what a community can do when they work together to make it happen. We love the adventure playground and the awesome sand pit. But most of all, we love that you can have a bon-fire and the sense of community.  Make sure you try to come for dinner on Fridays. Check out Dufferin Grove Park for website details.

What do you like to explore in Toronto?

Kari Svenneby is the founder of ActiveKidsclub.com.

Outdoor play advocate,nature lover, foodie, biker, skier,
gardener, entrepreneur and speaker.

She and ActiveKidsclub.com have been featured for her work on getting kids and adults outside in many publications. The list includes the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Wildlife Federation, Norwegian Public Radio, Backpacker Magazine and Kaboom,

Read Kari's bio