This Downtown Discovery Walk leads you through the dense core of Toronto. Hidden among the skyscrapers, you will discover a rich variety of parks, gardens and streetscapes. Since the 1960s, most of Toronto's 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. Toronto parks and gardens have design features ranging from traditional to contemporary, from pastoral to urban. Cloud Gardens, Simcoe Park and Olympic Gardens are a few of the many parks noted for their unique design.
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. Many of these parks and gardens have been created over underground shopping concourses and parking lots, where a minimum of five feet of soil is provided for the healthy growth of trees. These parks provide Torontonians places to stop, look and listen are provided in these green spaces, most of which have seating, public art, water elements and nearby cafes and shopping. Even in Toronto a variety of wildlife finds habitat and refuge in these same green spaces, particularly during spring and fall when birds and some butterflies are migrating. Species seen most often throughout the year are pigeons, squirrels and raccoons.
As you continue your exploration, you will encounter trees, shrubs and flowers growing along sidewalks and in planters on both public and private land. In Toronto trees are invaluable assets in improving the quality of urban life by reducing air pollution, creating shade and beautifying neighbourhoods as well as providing wildlife food and habitat. Parks, gardens and streetscapes provide dramatic contrasts with surrounding historic and contemporary buildings. Note the wide variety of building materials used. Fossils may be seen in some of the building stones along this Walk. Murals, sculptures and statues located in the parks, gardens and streetscapes along this Walk are representative of the impressive collection of public art that embodies the spirit of Toronto. On this urban adventure, many hidden treasures, sights and sounds will be revealed to you.
Discover Downtown Toronto, the “City within a Park!”
Toronto Gardens and Conservatories
Toronto Recreation and Facilities
Toronto Island Park
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Toronto: Parks Forestry and Recreation
Have you traveled this trail?
If you have any corrections or new information you'd like to send us, we'd love your input. Also, any photos or videos you may have taken of your adventures on this or any other trail are welcome as well.
Be a part of our trail community!
SUBMIT A STORY
SUBMIT A PHOTO
SUBMIT A VIDEO
Use your Facebook account to comment on this trail and share your experiences below.
By supporting the Ontario Trails Council, you will support trails, enabling delivery of services such as trail promotion, advocacy, creation and maintenance. The Ontario Trails Council is a provincial organization and registered charity. Every donation of $25 or more will receive a tax receipt. Thank you for your support!