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In the Spotlight: High Park
If you’re after a one-stop spot for some of Toronto’s best nature, attractions, and activities, High Park is the place to be. This massive urban park has tons of activities ranging from the outdoor pool to extensive hiking trails, a playground, manicured gardens, and so much more.
Located at the western end of the city of Toronto, this park is a convenient spot no matter where you’re staying in the city—not to mention the slew of attractions like restaurants, a zoo, picnic areas and lakefront views. Learn all about how you can make High Park the go-to destination for you and your family.
Things to see at High Park
High Park is chock full of awesome things to do, whether you’re a young couple looking for a fun date night, a family with young kids, or a pair of parents desperately trying to entertain a couple of teenagers. It’s impossible to turn your nose up at this impeccably designed park, filled with activities that will keep you and your family happy, entertained and enjoying the outdoors.
On a walk around High Park, you’ll be met with an onslaught of trails to explore and monuments to check out. Don’t skip over the High Park Labyrinth, where you can enjoy a walking meditation or simply watch the clouds go by. This peaceful spot is right near Hawk Hill, where the robust collection of wildflowers draws in the local birdlife. You could see anything from a regal hawk soaring above to a miniscule hummingbird pollinating the flowers nearby.
For families with young ones, keep walking north to end up at the wading pool, splash pad and playground, where your kids will be entertained for hours. This section of the park is dedicated to keeping your young ones entertained and stimulated and there’s a convenient washroom right next door. Take a stroll to the southern end of the park next, where you’ll find kid-friendly attractions like the Children’s Garden and Teaching Kitchen. The High Park staff need your little ones to help the community garden thrive and they can learn all about how plants grow in the process.
Nearby is the High Park Zoo, which maintains free admission through generous donations from visitors and community members. This small zoo is home to tons of impressive creatures, like peacocks, emu, llamas, highland cattle, bison, capybaras and yaks. There’s no shortage of impressive antlers and wacky horns to get up close and personal with at this zoo, which welcomes visitors of all ages with open arms.
Next door is the High Park Greenhouse, where you can see the growing process of the beautiful flora that decorate the park. They’re on an even more illustrious display over at the Hillside Gardens, where you can walk among landscaped gardens and watch butterflies and birds flit by. Hillside Gardens also offers lovely waterfront views of Grenadier Pond, with trails that take you right to the water.
In the centre of High Park, the High Park Amphitheatre is one of Toronto’s iconic outdoor music and theatre venues. Catch a play or a live show in this spacious outdoor arena. Nearby, the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground offers a different type of entertainment for your young ones. This old-school wooden playground is filled with nooks and crannies that will ignite your kids’ imaginations and keep them playing for hours.
Places to eat near High Park
With cafés in the park and tons to explore nearby, you won’t go hungry on your visit to High Park. Check out our recommendations here.
The Grenadier Cafe
Known for their breakfast and excellent views of the park, the Grenadier Cafe is High Park’s staple for food. With an expansive patio to accommodate park visitors, a menu featuring tasty classics and plenty of coffee drinks to choose from, everyone will be happy with a visit to the Grenadier. Plus, this spot serves breakfast all day—what else could you ask for? 200 Parkside Dr.
It is what it sounds like! This simple but delicious lunch spot serves your favourite comfort foods, like stacked up sandwiches and home cooked lasagna. Lunch Box is located right at the northeastern corner of High Park, so it’s an easy stop on your way in or out of the park. 1731 Bloor St. W.
Sunnyside Pavilion Cafe
On the other side of the highway, this waterfront café has classic Canadian fare and tasty drinks to complement your afternoon in the park. With a beautiful view of Lake Ontario and close proximity to High Park, Sunnyside is a go-to. 1755 Lake Shore Blvd. W.
A few blocks from High Park, this indie microbrewery is the perfect place to stop for a pint after your visit to the park. Once an auto shop, this well-designed brewery is now a trendy place to get a beer or a bite to eat. They’ve got a wide range of beers to choose from, as well as bar snacks and food to die for, plus a cute patio where you can spread out with your friends. 2125 Dundas St. W.
Fun facts about High Park
- High Park is Toronto’s largest park
- The High Park Zoo was originally established as a deer paddock in 1893
- 600,000 people visit the High Park Zoo each year
- High Park has several cherry trees that blossom each spring
- Kids helped design the jungle gym at Jamie Bell Adventure Playground
How to get to High Park
Located in the western end of Toronto near Swansea, High Park is easily accessible from anywhere in the city. Here’s how to get to High Park.
By car: Drive along Bloor Street or the Queensway to High Park. Turn onto High Park Avenue or Parkside Drive to get to the park entrances. Limited parking is available onsite, but the Kipling and Kennedy subway stations have free parking on weekends so you can ride the bus to the park.
By streetcar: Take the 508 streetcar to Parkside Drive or Colborne Lodge. Alternatively, take the 506 streetcar to the High Park stop inside the park.
By subway: Take the Bloor-Danforth line to High Park Station. The park is a short walk from the station.
By bus: Take the 80 bus to Howard Park Avenue and Parkside Drive. The park is a short walk from the stop.
By bike: There is a Bike Share Toronto bike rack in the park. You may also bike within the park and there is plenty of bike parking available.