Our Favourite Places to Ride in Toronto
Posted on 17 August 2021
Ok, so you have your brand-new bike! Congrats! Now where will you ride it?
Toronto is full of parks, roads, trails and hidden places that make it a joy to explore by bike. With most of the city boundary falling within a 10km of Lake Ontario, pretty much everything is within bikeable distance!
We've collected our staff's favourite places to ride our bikes in this list. Read on to follow our tire tracks to some of the coolest trails in Toronto!
HIGH PARK AND THE RONCESVALLES NEIGHBOURHOOD - BLOOR & PARKSIDE
This is a great place to get your feet wet and ride quieter roads while taking in the sights. High Park is a favourite early-morning ride for roadies completing lap intervals, but it's also a wonderful place to bring your kids and see some amazing nature along the way in its 400-hectare footprint.
(Photo: Narciso Arellano)
Visit the High Park Nature Centre, the High Park Zoo, or the amazing Jamie Bell Adventure Playground with little ones, or take your four-legged friend to the Off-Leash Dog Park. If you're after some quiet and solitude, the High Park Labyrinth provides a great respite from city life.
(Photo: Alex Laney)
Roncesvalles is known for its main street with tons of cute shops, but it's also a gorgeous neighbourhood full of century brick homes with carefully-tended gardens. Take a meandering ride on the side streets along Indian Road to enjoy all this area has to offer.
For after-ride snacks, treat yourself to Tibetan momos in the northern section of Little Tibet in Parkdale, along Queen between Sorauren and Brock.
(Photo: Rajat Sarki)
THE LESLIE SPIT AND CHERRY BEACH - LESLIE & COMMISSIONERS
Tommy Thompson Park, lovingly known by locals as the Spit, started as a breakwater built from Toronto's construction waste to protect the downtown shoreline from erosion damage. Left to nature, the brutalist concrete and rebar jetty is now home to grasslands, young forest, and tons of birds. As the site is still being built out, it's only open to the public on weekends, and the significant wildlife population means no pets are allowed on the property.
(Photo: Tanya Mok)
Be sure to ride both sides round the lake in the middle, making time to visit the fingers along the eastern edge where you can see the foundation of the Spit made of bricks, telephone poles and 1930's building facades. The southernmost tip features a small lighthouse and the western side of the jetty offers great views of the city and Toronto Islands.
On your way back to the city, follow the 3km Martin Goodman Trail to Cherry Beach, which takes you through a forested path and feels reminiscent of a Vondelpark cycling path in Amsterdam.
THE DON VALLEY TRAIL SYSTEM - LAKESHORE TO LAWRENCE, BAYVIEW TO WARDEN
The Don Valley used to be full of homes, but in 1954 Hurricane Hazel flooded the area and destroyed everything in its wake. The City of Toronto set aside the Don Valley as naturalized park space to mitigate future flood damage, at the same time gifting Toronto with a huge swath of connected trail systems that are the central artery of the city.
The Don Valley trail is made up of three main sections - the Lower Don, the Upper Don, and Taylor Creek.
The Lower Don stretches from the lakeshore north to E.T Seton Park near the Ontario Science Centre at Don Mills Road and has winding sections along Riverdale Park and the Don River. Some highlights of the route include the towering Prince Edward Viaduct and a sculpture garden featuring copies of gargoyles found on buildings all over Toronto.
(Photo: Catriona Jeffries)
If you're out riding on a weekend, be sure to stop in at the Evergreen Brickworks and visit their farmer's or artisan's markets, happening on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Beyond E.T. Seton Park, the trail turns into the Upper Don and drops into the Sunnybrook Hospital grounds, which feature walking trails, a horse stable, and an off-leash dog park. Take the picturesque Wilket Creek Park trail on the eastern side of the grounds north to Edwards Gardens and the Toronto Botanical Gardens, an island of quiet in the city. If you can't get enough trail time, Sherwood Park off Bayview Avenue to the west of Sunnybrook Hospital offers a walking trail and off-leash dog area that connects to John Muir Gardens at Lawrence Avenue. Beware though - Sherwood has a ton of stairs and is not bike-friendly!
(Photo: Bruce Christie)
If you want to ride the Taylor Creek Trail, continue following the Lower Don east under the Don Valley Parkway underpass instead of turning onto the Upper Don at E.T. Seton Park. Ride the trail along the river all the way to Victoria Park Road before dog-legging north around the Dentonia Park golf course to rejoin the Gus Harris trail in Warden Woods and finish your ride at Warden & St. Clair East.
THE TORONTO ISLANDS - JACK LAYTON FERRY TERMINAL
For a bite-sized respite from city life, look no further than the Toronto Islands. This 4.6km-long stretch has something for everyone, including Centreville amusement park for small children, swimming beaches, and several restaurants and patio pubs.
For history buffs, the island is also home to the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, the oldest standing building in Toronto (built in 1808) and home to a prominent ghost story.
(Photo: Tijana Martin)
THE HUMBER RIVER TRAIL - LAKESHORE AT THE HUMBER BAY ARCH BRIDGE
This is a wonderful trail for a long ride with lots of opportunities to take breaks along the river. Like the Don Valley, it's full of trees, gardens, and parks and makes for a beautiful summer or autumn ride.
(Photo: Tanya Mok)
A quick 600m detour onto Weston Road is required to continue the trail at Cardell Avenue.
(Photo: Glenn Sumi)
Just west of the Humber Valley Pond, the trail forks left and right. The leftward trail crosses Albion Road and continues for 10km to the Humber Arboretum and Humberwood Park. You can even dog-leg your way to the Claireville Conservation Area. The rightward trail takes you north to Kipling and Steeles.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get out and explore your city!