Toronto’s transit system is extensive and spreads across the huge and diverse city with Subway lines, streetcars, and busses. There is so much you can do within the City of Toronto — from city parks to world class museums to incredible views of Lake Ontario that will have you forgetting you are in a city at all. Let the Toronto Transit Commission take you to your next adventure without ever having to worry about traffic or parking.
#Livegreen this summer and explore Toronto on the TTC!
There are many options to reach many of the below mentioned places on the TTC. One basic directions to get to the destination from Union Station is given in the article.
Children 12 years of age and under ride free on the TTC.
Visit the famous Scarborough Bluffs from Bluffers Park, which was designed to give the public better access to these scenic cliffs. Bluffer’s Park features a sandy beach, picnic areas, lookouts, and even a boat launch and visitors dockage — Toronto’s only full-service Marina. This Scarborough park is the full beach package. If you’re looking to spend a hot day at the park, try to get there early as the beach can become busy. But transit users are in luck — you won’t have to worry about a full parking lot!
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway line towards Finch Station and transfer at Bloor-Yonge Station to the #2 Subway towards Kennedy Station. 175 Bluffer’s Park bus will run between Kennedy Station and Bluffer’s Park Beach approximately every 15 minutes during the daytime and early evening on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays until Sat., Oct. 6.
Tommy Thompson Park
Tommy Thompson Park advertises itself as “Toronto’s Urban Wilderness”. Easily accessible by transit, this park gives you the sense of trekking into the wilderness without leaving the city. Visit this park to catch a glimpse of birds, turtles, rabbits and many other woodland creatures, then spend time at the lake and take in the waterfront views or head out on the water for a fishing expedition. The four objectives of Tommy Thompson Park are to preserve the significant species in the area, protect the environmentally significant areas, enhance the natural habitats for wildlife, and provide public recreational opportunities. Head out to this park to have a taste of it all, without ever straying too far from the city.
How to get there: From Downtown Toronto, take the #72 Pape bus towards Pape Station, then get off at Carlaw Ave @ Commissioners St. From here you are a short walk from Tommy Thompson Park.
The Toronto Zoo
Where else but in Toronto would you expect to find the largest zoo in Canada? Split into seven geographical regions (Indo-Malaya, Africa, Americas, Tundra Trek, Australasia, Eurasia, and the Canadian Domain) and featuring new exhibits all the time, the Toronto Zoo is an adventure that you’ll want to revisit time and time again. See how many of the over 5,000 animals (over 500 species) you can spot as you meander through the 710 acres of zoo — and don’t miss the tiny rhinos and the new western lowland Gorilla baby. The Toronto Zoo also features a zipline and canopy adventure for those looking for an extra thrill.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway line towards Finch Station and transfer at Bloor-Yonge Station to the #2 Subway towards Kennedy Station. Disembark at Kennedy and catch the #86 Scarborough Bus towards the Toronto Zoo.
The Guildwood Gardens
Visit these gardens to see the sculptural sanctuary the reflects a history of art and politics in Toronto — or to take in the picturesque pillars and delicate sculpture work that is laid throughout the park. If you bring a picnic, you’ll feel as though you are eating amongst history, with angels looking over your shoulder and remnants of Toronto’s Temple — which was once Toronto’s tallest building — standing above you.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway line towards Finch Station and transfer at Bloor-Yonge Station to the #2 Subway towards Kennedy Station. Disembark at Kennedy and board the 116A Morningside towards Conlins Road via Ellesmere. Exit the bus at Guildwood Parkway @ Chancery Lane.
250 acres of natural wonder exist at the Humber Arboretum on the edge of Humber campus. With botanical gardens and conservation areas, this forested walk is a sublime way to enjoy a sunny day in the big city. Humber Arboretum wants to make your exploration as easy as possible, and has trail maps and information about self-guided activities available online. Learn about the plants that thrive here and become educated on urban ecology. You might even take home some information you can use to make your own space a little piece of nature in the city.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway Line towards Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station and transfer at St. George Station to the #2 Subway Line towards Kipling. At Kipling Station take the #191 rocket bus toward Steeles and disembark at Humber College. From the transit terminal, walk towards the back of campus. The Arboretum entrance and the Centre for Urban Ecology are past the green bubble building at the far end of Parking Lot 1.
The Ontario Science Centre
Built down the side of a wooded ravine, the Ontario Science Centre is literally founded on the interesting ways the world works. Hundreds of exhibits with varying levels of interactiveness are housed in the Ontario Science Centre, including exhibits on geology, the natural world, space, music, technology, human anatomy, and communications and bias. The centre also features travelling exhibits and an Imax Dome theatre with rotating films. Currently, the museum is celebrating the 150th birthday of Canada with a Canada 150: Discovery Way exhibit. This exhibit is temporary, so get out and catch it before the next exciting dose of science moves in.
How to get there: Take the #1 Subway Line to Eglinton Station and transfer to the #34 Eglinton East bus. Get off at Don Mills Road. Alternatively, take the #2 Subway Line to Pape Station and transfer to the Don Mills (route 25 or 185 Express) bus. Get off at St. Dennis Drive.
Colonel Samuel Smith Park
The Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Etobicoke is a great urban getaway, especially for those travelling with children. There is plenty to do on these park grounds, including a playground, a hiking trail with access to the Lake Ontario Waterfront, and beaches that are perfect for looking out at the lake or spotting the birds of the area. If you’re looking for that ideal Toronto photograph, check out the panoramic view of the CN Tower on clear days. You can also spend time watching the wildlife from one of the many lookout spots. Easy to get to and a wonder to explore, the Colonel Samuel Smith Park is your gateway to nature.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway Line towards Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station and transfer at St. George Station to the #2 Subway Line towards Kipling. At Kipling Station take the #188 Bus towards Lake Shore. Disembark at Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive.
Aga Khan Museum
Located in North York, the Aga Khan Museum is a museum of Islamic Art, Iranian Art, and Muslim culture. This museum is housed in a 10,000 square metre structure and is surrounded by gardens and a park, making it an indoor and outdoor experience. Come by the Aga Khan before July 2nd to experience The World of The Fatimids exhibit before it moves on. Visit before October 1st to see the Suspended Together exhibit, which showcases the stories of Saudi Women’s experiences with travel restrictions. There are also permanent collections, which include rare artifacts and art pieces.
How to get there: Take the #1 Subway Line to Eglinton Station then take the #34 Eglinton East bus towards Flemingdon Park. Disembark at Wynford Dr @ Garamond Crt.
High Park is Toronto’s largest park and features so much to see and do, you’ll be surprised that it can exist in the heart of the city. From lake lookouts to a mini zoo to dog parks and playgrounds for anyone who’s coming along for the adventure, there is something for everyone at High Park. Come in April or May to see the cherry blossoms, or come any time in the spring or summer to enjoy the many gardens and forests that cover the land. When you’re done exploring the sights, stop at one of the 18 picnic sites to refuel before your adventure continues.
How to get there: From Downtown Toronto, take the #504 streetcar and get off at Roncesvalles Ave @ Fermanagh Ave. You can also take the #1 Subway Line from Union Station towards Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station and transfer to the #506 streetcar at Queen’s Park Station.
Rouge Beach & Marsh
There are eleven swimmable beaches in the city of Toronto, and Rouge Beach is one of them. Part of the Rouge Urban National Par, this beach is made by the Rouge River flowing into Lake Ontario through a sandy channel and creating an expansive area for you to lay out your beach towel and hang out on. This is the easternmost beach in the city and features a beach trail that connects to a waterfront trail where you can birdwatch and explore marshes and wetlands by boardwalk or canoe. There are plenty of biomes and ways to explore them at Rouge Beach and Marsh.
How to get there: Take the #2 Subway Line and get off at Kennedy Station. Connect to Bus 116 Morningside Towards Finch. Get off at Morningside Avenue @ Lawrence Avenue. Catch Bus #54A on Lawrence Avenue east and get off at Starspray Loop. From there, Rouge Beach is a two minute walk away. Or take Lakeshore East Go Train and get down at the Rouge Go Station.
Evergreen Brick Works
Evergreen Brick Works is a story unto itself. In 2010, Evergreen took deteriorating heritage buildings and transformed them into a public space that focuses on green design and outdoor learning. Here, you can visit the public markets, participate in a conference or an event, or explore the ravine system. This is a space for ideas designed around making Toronto as environmentally friendly as possible. If you are interested in sustainable living or appreciate the natural world that encompasses the city of Toronto, you will want to stop by Evergreen Brick Works.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway Line towards Finch Station and transfer at Davisville Station to the #28 Bayview South bus, which will take you Evergreen Brick Works.
Rosetta McClain Gardens
The Rosetta McClain Gardens have a little bit of everything: flowers, walkways, a rock fountain, and views of Lake Ontario from the Scarborough Bluffs. Bring a book and read in a gazebo or on one of the park benches, or bring a picnic lunch to enjoy among the blossoms. This park also has washroom facilities and a drinking fountain so that you can spend the better part of a day here. If it’s views and a relaxing natural walk you’re looking for, this Scarborough park is the perfect location for you.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway line towards Finch Station and transfer at Bloor-Yonge Station to the #2 Subway towards Kennedy Station. Disembark at Victoria Park Station. From there, take the Kingston Road East bus #12 to the Rosetta McClain Gardens
Edwards Gardens and the Toronto Botanical Gardens
The Edwards Gardens are adjacent to the Toronto Botanical Garden, making this trip a two-for one. The Edwards Gardens feature perennials, roses, and wildflowers galore along the multi-level green space. Spot the small falls and the geese who like to hang out by the water, or book one of the free tours that are offered weekly through the summer. The Toronto Botanical Gardens has 17 different gardens and both indoor and outdoor learning opportunities. There is also a garden cafe and a Farmer’s Market held on Thursdays for you to enjoy before you leave.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway Line towards Finch Station and get off at Eglinton Station. Transfer to the #54 East bus towards Orton Park. Disembark at Leslie St @ Lawrence Ave East. From there, you’re only a five minute walk away from the gardens.
The Centennial Park Conservatory
The Centennial Park Conservatory grows over 300,000 annual and perennial plants that are used in parks around Toronto, and is a sight to behold. Come to the conservatory to experience the three main areas: the main greenhouse, the arid house in the south wing, and the display house in the north wing. Within this complex there are flowers, fruit trees, cacti, succulents, and local trees and shrubs. Goldfish, turtles, and birds also make the conservatory their home.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway Line towards Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station and transfer at St. George Station to the #2 Subway Line towards Kipling. Get off at Royal York Station and transfer to the #48 West bus towards Mill Road. Disembark at Rathburn Rd @ Elmcrest Rd.
Hidden in Leaside is the natural getaway that is Crothers Woods. 52-hectares of land straddling the Don River await you here, with trees encompassing the area and helping you forget that you are in the city. This area used to have a landfill, but in the spirit of allowing the woods to live to their full lush potential, the landfill area is now part of a project to expand the forest. Spot the abandoned CN Rail Bridge as you make your way through the winding trails and canopies of trees, and feel the history that this up-and-coming park still holds onto.
How to get there: From Union Station take the #1 Subway line towards Finch Station and transfer at St. Clair Station to the #88 bus towards Thorncliff Via Overlea. Disembark at Millwood Rd @ Redway Rd South. From there, you are a ten minute walk from Crothers Woods.
Black Creek Pioneer Village
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in Canada at the time of confederation? Black Creek Pioneer Village offers you the world of the past, complete with animals, heritage buildings, and tools from early Toronto. With costumed interpreters to guide you through the park, you’ll feel as though you have travelled back in time. There are events that run through the year at Black Creek, so check out what’s happening online, be it halloween events, yule specialties, or even a nighttime Escape adventure that runs through the summer. Experience confederation at Black Creek Pioneer Village.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway Line towards Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station and disembark at the Pioneer Village station. This ride takes approximately 50 minutes.
The Charles Sauriol Conservation Area
After camping in the woods as a child, Charles Sauriol fell in love with the natural world within Toronto — and especially with the Don River. This conservation area is named in his honour to celebrate his commitment to preservation. Today, this area features an experimental water purification project at the Forks of the Don known as the Elevated Wetlands. This area is also ideal for hiking, with many shady resting spots and changes in elevation. Open year-round, this 3.9 kilometre hike is the perfect way to get yourself active and out of the house.
How to get there: From Union Station take the #1 Subway line towards Finch Station, then transfer to the #2 Subway towards Kennedy at Bloor-Yonge Station. Disembark at Cowell Station, then take the #70 Bus towards Warden Station. Get off at Coxwell Ave @ Oconnor Drive.
Take a tour of Ontario’s legislative building! There are many summer programs for you to enjoy including free 45 minute that tour takes you through the historic building, providing a glimpse into Ontario’s Parliament including walkabout of the grounds of Queen’s Park exploring the architecture, notable statues and monuments.
End your day with a visit to Royal Ontario Museum, Gardiner Museum, or Bata Shoe Museum, both within walking distance of the park.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway Line towards Finch Station and disembark at Museum Station.
Sheldon Lookout and the Humber Bay Shores/East West Parks
Head to the western beach of the Humber River along the Toronto Waterfront Trail to experience one of the best views of the Toronto skyline over the water — Sheldon Lookout. Here, you can sit by the water, fish, bike, or stroll along the waterfront and take in the peaceful area, all while the Toronto skyline glistens on the other side of the water.
Humber Bay Shores Park itself has been listed as one of the top 13 places to see birds in Toronto and connects to the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat, where you can view and learn about the butterflies who live here.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway Line towards Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station and disembark at Osgoode Station. Catch the #501 Streetcar towards Humber and disembark at The Queensway @ Windermere Ave. From there you are a ten minute walk from the lookout.
The Glen Stewart Ravine
Picturesque views, rare forest types, stairways that could be straight out of a storybook — you’ll be amazed that the Glen Stewart Ravine is in Toronto, and even more amazed that you haven’t been here before. This ravine features Red Oak and Red Maple forests as well as natural Witch Hazel. Joggers who enjoy the challenge of stairs are drawn to the many flights that weave throughout the ravine, though you’re always welcome to take your time, stopping for a picture or to breath in that oxygen-rich air. Wild raspberries are common here, though you can also find the occasional wild blackberries.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #504 Streetcar towards Victoria Park and disembark at Kingston Rd @ Glen Manor Dr.
Ashbridges Bay Park
Ashbridges Bay Park is a true rags to riches story: this marshland used to be used as sewage disposal area and become polluted with waste from nearby industrial development, but in 1912 the marsh was drained to give the land a fresh start. With revitalization from Waterfront Toronto, this park is now full of beautiful trails and scenic views, with plenty of birds to watch and fishing opportunities. There is also a public boat launch for those interested in boating, or for watching the boats sail out and come back in. With a skate park at Woodbine park and a beach, this is a great place to spend a day with the whole family.
How to get there: From Union Station take the #1 Subway line towards Finch Station and transfer at Queen Station to the #501 streetcar towards Neville Park. Disembark at Queen St East @ Coxwell Ave.
If you’re feeling sporty, Downsview Park is the place for you. With opportunities for Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Hockey, and even go-karting, this indoor and outdoor facility will have you tuckered out in no time. Make the most of your day by exploring the wildlife of the park — which include deer, groundhogs, woodpeckers, geese, frogs, and maybe even a snowy owl! You can also find out what events are happening here, such as the Canada Day Fireworks show, music festivals, and movie nights. No matter what you do in Downsview Park, there will always be something else to draw you back out again.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway Line towards Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station and disembark at the Downsview Park Station.
“Casa Loma” translates from Spanish to mean “Hill House” — though Casa Loma is certainly more of a castle. This Gothic Revival style mansion is located in midtown Toronto and is now a museum, complete with hidden passages, tunnels, and grand rooms that show how Sir Henry Pellatt lived his life when he owned this massive estate. There are self-guided multi-media tours available to lead you through the four levels of this house as well as around the grounds and gardens.
If you’re interested in the historical estates of Torontonians in this area, check out the next door Spadina House Museum and the famous Baldwin Steps, evidence of a life of luxury now rooted in the past.
How to get there: From Union Station, take the #1 Subway Line towards Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station and get off at Dupont Station. From there, it’s a nine minute walk to Casa Loma.
Kidstown Water Park
The only water park operated by the City of Toronto, Kidstown is a great place to take your kids on one of the many hot summer days of Ontario. This park includes a tipping bucket, spray rings, animal shaped squirting fountains, a wading pool, and more. The grassy area surrounding the water park is the perfect place to sit out with a book or a picnic while the kids cool off in the water. Kidstown opens mid June and runs until the Sunday of Labour Day weekend. Stop by the Scarborough splash pad for the ultimate summer experience with the kids.
How to get there: From Union Station take the #1 Subway line towards Finch Station and transfer at Finch Station to the #42 bus towards Middlefield. Disembark at McNicoll Ave @ Birchmount Rd.
The Toronto Islands
Take the ferry over to the Toronto Islands for a getaway that’s not far from the city. Whether you’re looking to spend your day at the Centreville Amusement Park, Hanlan’s Beach, or exploring the parklands, you’ll love the car-free world that exists on these islands off the shore of the city. There are plenty of equipment rental opportunities on the islands: look into kayaking, biking or paddle boating if you want to get active on your day trip. There is also a clothing optional beach on the west shore for those looking for a little out-of-city freedom and a day lying in the sun.
How to get there: From Union Station, it’s a short walk to the Ferry, which will take you onwards to the Toronto Islands.
There is so much to do in Downtown Toronto. Whether you want to check out the views and glass floor at the top of the CN Tower, or you want to stand underneath the sharks at the Dangerous Lagoon exhibit at Ripley’s Aquarium, you’ll find yourself amazed at what this city centre has to offer. Go shopping around Yonge-Dundas Square, which has been compared to New York’s Times Square, and then grab a delicious bite to eat at one of the hundreds of restaurants that surround you. Toronto is a city full of life and adventure, and you can feel it all when you explore downtown.