Toronto is filled with sights and attractions that are well worth your time any day of the year, but there are a few that really shine come spring. Everything gets a little easier in the spring, days are (mostly) brighter and people are (generally) happier. This translates into an air of excitement in the city making spring a great time to get out and explore. Here are a few of the best places to visit in Toronto or add to your warm weather itinerary this season.
Toronto Flower Market
What’s more spring-like that being surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers? Having beautiful blooms around brightens up any room (or any day for that matter) and you can get some of the best in Ontario-grown plants and flowers at the Toronto Flower Market. The market takes place monthly May through October (the first market of the season happens May 7) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and you can find it at Shaw Park at Queen and Ossington. The fun thing about this market is that no two are alike – you’ll simply find was what was grown locally that month.
The Toronto Zoo is always a worthwhile attraction in the city, but it can be particularly fun when the weather warms up. One of the reasons that makes this spring a great time to visit is the influx of baby animals – and who can resist baby animals? Currently on view are the giant panda cubs, an Indian rhino calf, a polar bear cub and white lion cubs.
Just keep in mind that there are specific viewing times for the babies so check the schedule before you make plans.
Spring in High Park means watching one of the city’s most loved parks come to life after a long winter. The cherry blossoms should be popping open any day now, plus you’ll start to see the landscaped areas of the park getting cleaned up in preparation for planting.
Not to mention, the area around Grenadier Pond gets more colourful each day as spring progresses. High Park’s trackless train, a fun way to see the park (especially for kids) also gets up and running in the spring. Stops along the way include High Park Zoo, Jamie Bel Adventure Playground, Grenadier Restaurant, Grenadier Pond and Hillside Gardens.
Watch as trees slowly start to wake up from winter at the Humber Arboretum. The arboretum, located behind Humber College’s North campus, is open to the public and is home to the Carolinian Bioregion, the most diverse ecosystem in Canada. Here you’ll find over 1700 species of plants and animals in the 250-acre site. Explore via the six kilometres of trails, which should take you around two hours to complete. Entrance is free.
While summer might be prime time for taking trips to the Toronto Islands, going in the spring can be just as enjoyable. Centreville Theme Park opens at the end of April and features over 30 rides and attractions. There’s also Far Enough Farm to visit, Gibraltar Point Lighthouse (the oldest landmark in Toronto) and once the weather warms up some more, there are great beaches to explore on the Islands including Wards Island Beach and Hanlan’s Point.
Spring means the start of Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market. The eclectic area is always worth exploring, but it’s that much more fun when there are no cars in the vicinity. Pedestrian Sundays take place on the last Sunday of every month (beginning this spring on May 29) and mean music, artists, street performers, food vendors and other fun activities and events.
Tommy Thompson Park
Spring in Toronto is the perfect time to visit Tommy Thompson Park. The justifiably popular greenspace in the city is where you’ll find some of the largest existing natural habitat on the Toronto waterfront, an area that’s home to sand dunes, cobble beaches, wildflower meadows and coastal marshes among other habitats. Tommy Thompson park is a great one for birdwatching in Toronto and you can take part in guided morning bird walks between April and June and then again between mid-August and mid-November.
Head to Toronto’s historic Distillery District this spring for car-free cobblestone streets, Victorian-era buildings, over 80 shops and boutiques, art galleries, theatres and a whole host of restaurants and bars to choose from. This spring you can look forward to the Distillery Sunday Market, which runs on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. beginning May 29. Also this spring in the Distillery will be Artfest Ontario happening May 21 to 23. The juried art show will feature 75 artists and artisans showcasing everything from pottery and glasswork to jewellery and textiles.
Another beautiful place to be come spring in the city is Sunnyside Park on the waterfront in Toronto’s west end. It might still be too chilly to take advantage of Sunnyside Beach and Gus Ryder Pool won’t be open until the summer, but being by the lake is always a good idea. The lakefront park has a boardwalk for pedestrians and the Martin Goodman Trail for cyclists, the aforementioned Sunnyside Beach, playgrounds and the Sunnyside Bike Park should be open May 15. Sunnyside Café should also be open by mid-May and their beachfront patio is perfect for people watching. If you’re feeling adventurous take a stand-up paddleboarding lesson with Sunnyside Paddling Club.
If you’ve got kids, a good option for a spring family activity in Toronto is to make your way to Black Creek Pioneer Village. Now that the weather is warming up, take the opportunity to learn about history by watching it come to life and see how people lived and worked in mid 19th century rural Ontario. Spring sees several events happening at Pioneer Village, you can opt for a guided tour or to explore the expansive grounds on your own, visit the heritage gardens or check out the historic brewery where you can actually learn how to brew beer like they did in the 1800s.