Here are my picks for the most tranquil places in Toronto.
There are plenty of pockets on the Islands that will get you away from the crowds but Ward's Island is one of my favourites for peace and quiet. The northern tip of Centre Island can also work. In these places you'll find a majestic view of the skyline, less people, and benches to hunker down for a couple of hours.
Leslie Street Spit
This is probably my favourite place in Toronto on a blistering hot day. You feels as though you're in the middle of the lake with a cooling breeze skimming off the water. You have to walk or ride a kilometre or two before it gets more secluded, but then you're bound to find all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore.
Glen Stewart Ravine
Want to do something that will restore your belief that beauty exists in this world. Head to Glen Stewart Ravine at first light, when the mist begins to slowly rise from the lower reaches of the green space and unveils a lush tree canopy broken by a vein-like trail that cuts through the heart of its gorgeous expanse.
The Humber Arboretum is one of those places that doesn't get quite enough credit for being beautiful and secluded. From the botanical gardens to over six kilometres of walking trails that criss cross the natural area, this is a place to lose yourself for a day.
The courtyard at Knox College is one of a few at U of T that's secluded and serene. I imagine that relaxing here 100 years ago would have been much the same as it is today. Semi-hidden, it's an ideal place to get away from it all right in the heart of the city.
Miles Rd. End Parkette
Chances are you don't know about this place unless you live in the area. It's a tiny, tiny park at the end of a street that terminates at Lake Ontario. There's only a couple of benches and a chess table, but the view of the lake is fantastic and the location is almost entirely secluded save for the private residence behind you.
The Palm House at Allan's Gardens
Head to Allan's Garden's on a weekday morning, and you might be lucky enough to have the Palm House all to yourself. There you can take in the exotic world enclosed by its glass, and breathe in the moist, oxygen-thick air.
Air India Memorial
This is a solemn place, devoted to the victims of Air India 182. Every time I've visited, it's struck me as a quiet place to collect my thoughts and wonder about my own mortality. Removed from the rest of the action at Humber Bay park, it's a serene escape to pay respects and think about life.
Marilyn Bell Park
My favourite time to visit this lakefront park to the west of Ontario Place is at night when only a few people will be found watching the dark and glassy water. If you fix your gaze to the south west, you can pick up the lights of the Burlington Skyway on a clear night.
The beach itself can get rather busy here at the eastern edge of the city, but if you follow the waterfront trail in either direction, there are lots of spots to set up and take refuge from the crowds of swimmers and sunbathers. It's a particularly peaceful spot on weekday mornings and evenings.
What did I miss? Add your suggestions in the comments.
Photo of the Humber Arboretum.
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