Toronto's landscape was created more than 10,000 years ago, but over the past 200 years, urban development resulted in its many changes. But fortunately, a number of Toronto natural areas have escaped these dramatic changes (we are really lucky to have some of the trees that are now more than 150 years old!), and are a living part of city’s history.
Today, it is almost impossible to imagine Toronto without its ravines, shoreline, and woodlands, as they not only offer a welcomed escape from urban life, but they also add new energy to the ecosystem and provide a wide range of habitat for birds and other wildlife.
So whether you are new to Toronto or just looking for some city treasures, here are the most amazing hidden gems great for hiking, biking, and connecting with nature itself.
Glen Stewart Park
The extensive wooden path and stairs of Glen Stewart Park are suitable for every walking lover, and because they are easy to access and follow, they allow visitors to focus their attention on the lush vegetation.
The forest, designated as an Environmentally Significant Area through the City's Official Plan, is dominated by red oak and red maple, which are fed by the nearby Ames Creek.
In the past year, many reconstructions took place to improve trail conditions and to make the site more accessible, using the environmentally sustainable product called Envirolok, which is built out of fabric sandbags.
With unique trees more than a century old, and diverse bird species (26!) nesting and breeding in the area, it’s no wonder that the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority designated Crothers Woods as an Environmentally Significant Area.
Crothers Woods offers an opportunity to escape into, what feels like, a wilderness in the heart of the city. It's truly a paradise for hikers and mountain bikers and it may easily be, with its 10 kilometres of natural trails, the most beautiful place in the city.
Don Valley Brick Works Park
This former quarry site has been transformed into a nature sanctuary with wetlands, wild flower meadows, forest habitats, and steep cliff faces. It is an internationally significant public park, providing crucial natural habitat for a variety of species (for example numerous turtle species who helps to clean the water heading to the Don River).
From narrow ravines to wide-open spaces, Don Valley Brick Works Park offers 11 kilometres of trails perfect for a quiet break.