Toronto winters are every outdoor runner’s nightmare. If it’s warm enough to maintain feeling in your fingers, it’s too slushy to keep your footing. But every year when spring rolls around, I’m reminded why I still live in this city that’s icy cold and grey for a good chunk of the year: we’ve got some pretty gorgeous parks, trails, and outdoor rec spots going for us.
In celebration of seeing the sun again for the first time in a while, here are my favourite spots to go running (or biking) when the weather finally turns:
1. The Kay Gardner Beltline Park & Trail
This midtown trail takes you along some old railway tracks, through Mount Pleasant Cemetery, all the way to Evergreen Brick Works. In addition to giving you a full eight kilometres to run your heart out on, the Kay Gardner Beltline leads you through some of our oldest, most scenic green spaces and ravines.
2. The Don River Trail
Stretching for almost 20 kilometres, with a mostly uphill section at the north end, the Don River Trail packs a great leg workout. Depending on where you start, you’ll also get to cut through a bunch of beautiful parks, including Sunnybrook Park, E.T. Seton Park, and Taylor Creek Park.
3. The Martin Goodman Trail
Running parallel to Lake Ontario, the Martin Goodman Trail stretches from the Humber River in the west all the way to the Rouge River in the east, making it the perfect trail for those looking to explore Toronto’s scenic waterfront. If you’re hoping for a serene, quiet run in the otherwise busy Harbourfront area, stick to the lower-traffic section by the beautiful Toronto Music Garden.
4. High Park
Choose from a bunch of criss-crossing paths in beautiful High Park, which sits between Bloor and the Queensway to the north and south, and Parkside Drive and the neighbourhood of Swansea to the east and west. The main perk of this one: instead of doing a boring cool-down, you can relax by Grenadier Pond or visit the High Park Zoo.
5. Queen’s Park
Probably too short to be considered a “trail,” Queen’s Park is located right in the heart of our city, making it an ideal spot to squeeze in a quick jog during your lunch break (or between classes, for U of T students). Featuring plenty of greenery and some massive trees, the park offers a more scenic alternative to the high-rise condos and office buildings surrounding it.
No matter where you live or work in the GTA, there’s a gorgeous outdoor trail close by. Take a break from the treadmill this week, and treat yourself to a run in the sun!