With Spring in full bloom and the last few days showering us with much needed precipitation, now is the perfect time to get out and enjoy some of Toronto’s amazing parks. Every neighbourhood in the city has a park that local residents can be proud of, whether they are small parkettes with swingsets and jungle gyms, the stunning ravines or the grand dames like High Park or the Islands.
Most of the signs in Toronto parks are emblazoned with the logo, “Toronto; A City within a Park” and this is not much of an exaggeration. Over four million trees in public parks, boulevards and ravines coupled with another six million trees on private property form what is known as the “Urban Forest,” providing relief from the sun, absorbing pollutants and toxins, and producing oxygen. And of course this verdant canopy and the lands underneath provide a natural habitat for birds and urban wildlife; trees cool our homes in the summer and protect us from howling winds in the winter.
And parks themselves have traditionally been a gathering place for community events. In the winter, many parks have skating rinks, and in the summer, baseball diamonds. Some parks have petting zoos and rides, some just offer a quiet space to read or have a picnic, far from the madding crowd.
Parks are where you can meet your neighbours, walk your dogs or watch your kids splash around in a supervised wading pool. Many parks in the city offer the opportunity to take in outdoor movies at night, play tennis, basketball or soccer, buy produce from a farmer’s market or have a barbeque by the waterfront, all for free! Really an amazing gift. And all anyone really asks is that you respect others right to enjoy the space, they are, after all public places. So keep your dogs on a leash unless it is an off-leash area, pick up after your pet, and don’t litter! Litterbugs suck!
For information on what special activities are available at a park in your neighbourhood, check out this site.
Perhaps you will find an amazing destination that gets you out of your own hood and lets you discover some of the wonderful activities that make our city a place we are proud to call home.