By: Jim Bamboulis
People ask the same question every September. Where did the summer go? This year, we here in Toronto had an incredible stretch of sunny, hot and overall amazing weather. But it wouldn’t be Toronto without a bunch of people complaining that it was too sunny and too hot.
For those good people who aren’t big fans of summer heat, this is the most wonderful time of the year. The weather is still nice, temperatures are still comfortable and breathtaking colours of the season take centre stage.
That being said, here are five of my favourite vantage points in Toronto to take in all those shades of red, orange and yellow.
View the valley from the Bloor Street Viaduct or Leaside Bridge. Or make your way down to Evergreen Brickworks, grab a bite and a coffee and continue along the paved trail along the Don River. No matter which direction you decide to go and no matter how you prefer to enjoy the fall colours, the Don Valley gives you a spectacular colour show at every turn.
In the west end, I always love hitting the Humber Valley. I cross the Humber Bridge and find the trail that goes underneath the bridge, then underneath the Gardiner Expressway and then heads north.
Sure, you can go further west to Humber Bay Park or a bit northeast towards High Park which is near by. But I always seem to follow the trail north, along the Humber River all the way to Old Mill Subway Station. Deer are a common sight as are salmon jumping for their very lives, swimming upstream. Here, you’ll get the feeling of being covered by a canopy of bright coloured trees all while feeling the crisp fall air hitting your skin.
In the summer, the islands are loaded with people, festive with picnickers and concert goers. It’s awesome. But if you prefer a much calmer, serene environment to go along with the feeling that you’re the only one on the islands, then the fall is the absolute perfect time to take the ferry and visit. Walk around without the madness of the crowds and really take in the beauty of the bright colours while enjoying an unobstructed view of the lake at the same time.
Head east, to the Scarborough/Pickering border, near the Toronto Zoo and you’ll find the Rouge. This park is Canada’s first national urban park. It’s massive, gorgeous and features more than 1,700 species of plants, more than 225 types of birds to go along with fish, mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians. Oh, and it’s been around for about 10,000 years.
If you want a closer look of the fall colours at the Rouge Valley, make sure to check out the Rouge Valley Conservation Centre. They offer daily tours that offer you a chance to learn and explore one of Toronto’s most beautiful parks.
Kay Gardner Beltline Park
Even some people who live in midtown Toronto, around the corner from this absolute gem of a park, have no idea that it even exists. Hard to believe but yes, this is one of the best hidden gems in the city, especially during the fall.
The Beltline Trail is about 9 km long and follows an old railway line from Allen Road in the west to Mount Pleasant Cemetery in the east. It’s an easy, straight and peaceful trail that allows you to walk, jog and cycle. It’s a perfect stretch and offers a natural oasis right in the middle of the big city.
Check the map below for exact locations of each of the spots mentioned above.
There are definitely other places in the city that deserve a mention. If you have a favourite, please share it below. Thanks all and enjoy the season.