While Toronto is home to more than 1,500 parks and around 600 kilometres of nature trails, High Park is the city's largest. Its most defining feature is a beautiful maple leaf-shaped flower bed – an iconic Canadian symbol that both adorns the national flag and lends its name to Toronto's ice hockey team.
In addition to manicured walking trails, gardens, ponds and a zoo, the 161-hectare High Park is home to a beautiful array of 'sakura' or Japanese cherry blossom trees, which never fail to attract a crowd when they bloom pale pink in spring (late April to early May).
The Hillside Gardens, Hanging Gardens and Sunken Gardens make up the park's west. Take a stroll through the tranquil Hillside Gardens, which offer a great vantage point of the maple leaf along with waterfalls, quaint bridges and a variety of beautiful blooms.
Also on site is Grenadier Pond. The picturesque spot is popular with keen anglers in the warmer months but if you do want to cast a line, you will need a valid Outdoors Card and fishing license tag. If you'd rather BYO, High Park has 18 designated picnic sites marked with wooden poles.
The High Park Zoo on Deer Pen Road is open year-round from 7am until dusk. The small but lovely zoo is home to bison, reindeer, llamas, peacocks, yaks and more, and has been a part of High Park since its early days in the 1900s. Visit highparkzoo.ca for more information.
If you're having coffee at one of the cute cafes on Bloor Street, consider getting it to go and taking a stroll through the park. Already in the park? The Grenadier Cafe is open from 7am until 8pm for breakfast, lunch and early dinner, overlooking the beautiful gardens and its pond namesake.
In warmer months, baseball diamonds, tennis courts and children's playgrounds are abuzz with activity. In April, September and October, you can jump aboard the scenic 'trackless train', which will take you on a pleasant half-hour journey for under $CAD5.
Getting there: Catch the Bloor-Danforth subway and disembark at High Park station – the park is an easy two-minute walk from here. The 508 Lakeshore or 506 Carlton streetcars will also get you there.