Summer is finally here, our days of binge watching television and hiding inside are over. We encourage you to celebrate by exploring the city and spending your afternoons outdoors. What better way to do it than with a picnic? Here are some great spots to spend your summer days in and around the downtown core.
1. Queens Park
On The Way: Hidden and underground, Scaccia is the perfect Italian resto to grab a Panini and pastries.
At the Park: Filled with history and bordered by UofT, in the heart of the downtown core, Queens Park is a great central meeting point for friends. If you’re looking for a great mid-day escape from busy city life it’s the perfect place to take a quick work break and get some fresh air.
2. Sir Winston Churchill Park
On The Way: You don’t have to go far to grab your goodies, just a block or so west, you'll find a giant Loblaw’s centre with an LCBO.
At The Park: SWCP is slightly elevated with a great scenic view of Toronto’s Forest Hill, and Casa Loma, making for the perfect picnic atmosphere. There is plenty of lawn space, a track, dog park and (a serious plus) washroom facilities!
3. Sugar Beach
On the way: There is a wine rack (and grocer) directly across the street. Need I say more?
At The Park: This urban beach/park is a small, sandy hideaway with a waterfront view. Large beach chairs and charming pink umbrellas are spread across the sand; not only offering shade but the perfect Instagram backdrop as well. Sugar beach is the perfect place to eat, relax and catch some rays.
Photo cred - Gianluca Milza
4. Riverdale Park East
On the way: Stop at Rooster Coffee House for gourmet salads, sandwiches and baked goodies.
At The Park: If you’re looking to relax, Riverdale Park offers plenty of lawn space and a beautiful view of the downtown core. If you want to keep busy for the day, two baseball diamonds, three playing fields, a soccer field, running track, tennis courts and a even a pool are offered.
5. Coronation Park
On the way: I am warning you, the menu at Parisco Café may make your mouth water. Stop by for world-renowned cheeses, sandwiches, salads or homemade soups. Don’t forget to ask what the day’s fresh baked desert is before you go!
At the Park: Sit under the maple trees, along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Martin Goodman trail runs through the park making it not only the perfect place to picnic but safely bike or rollerblade along the water.
6. Trinty Bellwoods
On the Way: For small indulgences, from salty spanakopita to sweet treats, stop off at Dufflet. Or if you happen to be picnicking on a Tuesday the park offers a farmer’s market, 3-7pm all summer, rain or shine.
At The Park: A place to truly embrace the culture that is Queen St. West. Trinity Bellwoods is a park packed with friends. It offers a dog off-leash area for your pooch and plenty of greenery.
Not to mention, once you pack up you may just want to pass the time with some good old fashion people watching; Vogue gave West Queen West the title of second coolest street style neighbourhood in the world.
7. Toronto Music Garden
On The Way: On the north side of Queens Quay directly across the street is the Music Garden Cafe. A quaint little coffeeshop, the perfect stop to make for snacks and beverages.
At The Park: The Toronto Music Garden is a place to picnic and be inspired; where the park lacks in space it makes up for it in beauty. There is a winding flower garden and grand grassy stairs leading to an iron dome hilltop. Rich in culture, the park was designed by landscape architects and Yo-Yo Ma to reflect the work of legendary cellist Bach!
Photo cred - HiMY SYeD
8. Christie Pits Park
On the Way: For a bottled cold brewed coffee and some sweets stop at Northwood on your way.
At the Park: This hilly park is huge, half of which is grassed picnic areas. When you’re finished eating, there’s recreational sports areas and an outdoor pool. Perfect place to enjoy an entire day outdoors!
9. Allan Gardens
On The Way: If you're looking to pack healthy, try FUEL+! They have plenty of food and shake options you can feel good about bringing. Even the butter coffee is supposed to be good for you.
At The Park: A great space of lush greenery, perfect to through down a blanket. The park is also home to Allan Gardens Conservatory; a beautiful, glass-domed greenhouse with a permanent collection of exotic plants free for everyone to enjoy.
10. High Park
On the way: Forgot something? The park offers two cafes and is home to Grenadier Restaurant.
At the Park: Perhaps the most obvious park on this list! High Park is the largest picnic point in the city. Offering everything a park can, it's a favourite of many Torontonians; including photographers who head here just for the cherry blossom blooms. If you’ve been before, go again, you’re bound to discover something new each time.