One of the best things about Toronto is how walkable the city is. Not every area is conducive to getting around on foot, but much of the city offers the chance to get outside and explore unique neighbourhoods and scenic green spaces. No matter the season, there’s a good spot to walk in Toronto, encompassing anything from art and architecture, to parks, food and history. Spring and summer are obviously ideal for spending time outdoors, but as long as you dress in layers there’s no reason to bypass a walk during the colder months. Here are seven of the best urban walks in Toronto that you can undertake at any pace you like, spending longer if you want to shop, browse or stop for a coffee or something to eat.
Roncesvalles Village to the Lake
A walk along Roncesvalles Avenue south to the lake is a great way to spend a couple of hours in Toronto, getting to know Roncesvalles Village and ending up by the water. Depending on the season and the weather, build in some time to walk along the lake. The boardwalk will take you all along the water and in the warmer months you can grab a spot on the waterfront patio at the Sunnyside Pavilion Café. As you walk along Roncesvalles, you’ll be able to stop in any number of cozy cafes, specialty foods stores, bars and restaurants if you have time to linger.
West Toronto Railpath
Soon to be extended, the current West Toronto Railpath is 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) long and was completed in 2009. It runs along the Kitchener GO train line from just north of Dupont Street to Dundas Street West and there’s lots to see along the way. The path features public art, as well as Henderson Brewing and the Drake Commissary at Sterling Road. Henderson’s tap room is open seven days a week and has become a popular rest stop along the Railpath for anyone craving a craft beer. Bonus: they're dog-friendly so feel free to bring any four-legged friends. The Drake Commissary offers food and drink all day in a relaxed but upscale setting.
Bloor West Village and High Park
Start your walk at Runnymede subway station and head west through charming Bloor West Village to High Park, one of the city’s most popular parks. Bloor West Village is filled with independent boutiques, cafes, pubs, gourmet food stores and green grocers making for a pleasant walk. Once you hit Keele Street there’s an entrance to High Park, offering numerous hiking trails as well as a pond, public swimming pool, playgrounds, a restaurant, paved walking trails and landscaped gardens. After your walk, have lunch or a drink in Bloor West Village for a full day of fun.
Union Station to the Distillery District
Making your way from Union Station to the Distillery District you’ll pass by the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Gooderham Building (Toronto’s answer to the Flatiron Building) and then make your way to the St. Lawrence Market (just keep in mind the market is closed on Mondays). Take some time to explore—it was voted the number one market in the world by National Geographic. Here you’ll find a plethora of food vendors selling everything from baked goods and artisan cheese, to produce, spices and prepared foods. You’ll eventually get to the historic Distillery District at Trinity St. with its Victorian-era architecture, specialty shops and restaurants - perfect for grabbing a post-walk meal.
Kensington Market and Chinatown
Toronto’s Kensington Market and Chinatown are two of its most interesting neighborhoods and can easily be combined into one of the best walks in the city. Starting at St. Patrick subway station you can walk along Spadina Ave., taking in the Asian markets, dim sum spots and shops selling herbal remedies. Continue heading north until you reach Baldwin Ave. at which point you’ll be at Kensington Market. Take your time exploring the many vintage stores, coffee shops and a mind-boggling array of food from around the world (from empanadas to fish tacos).
Eastern Beaches Boardwalk
The city’s east end is where you’ll find this 2-mile (3.5-kilometer) boardwalk that winds along the city’s eastern beaches from Silver Birch Avenue to Ashbridge's Bay Park, west of Woodbine Avenue. Spend some time walking along the boardwalk, and then just one block away on Queen Street East you change things up by exploring the vibrant east Toronto neighborhood with a small town feel and abundance of shops and eateries should you feel like browsing.
Lower Don Trail and Corktown Common
Recently reopened following a lengthy closure, the lower Don Trail is one of the most popular trails in the city, used by pedestrians and cyclists alike. The 2.9-mile (4.7-kilometer) section of multi-use trail runs along the Don River from Pottery Road to Corktown Common and whether strolling or moving at a faster pace, is a serene and scenic way to spend time in the city. Corktown Common is an 18-acre park located at the foot of Lower River Street and Bayview Avenue and weather-permitting, the green space and largest park in the area, is well worth adding to your walk.