The Six Hot and Trendy in Toronto: Best autumn walks
One of Toronto's best autumn colour displays can be found in the Don Valley. (Photo Courtesy Tourism Toronto)
With an unseasonably warm October, there's no time like the present to take in Toronto's vibrant fall colours with plenty of orange, yellow and red leaves ready to uplift your spirit and help you welcome the new season. Here are my picks for six T.O. walks which will feature the best fall foliage during my favourite month.
1. U of T Campus (27 King's College Cir.)
A gem nestled in the heart of the city that's been the backdrop for many a university-set film, especially in the fall. Start at the top of the Queen Alexandra Gateway (right behind the ROM off Bloor), en route to Philosopher's Walk Amphitheatre and it's like you're in a mini-Central Park with benches and trees aplenty. You'll feel downright collegiate as you sit on a bench in the famed Trinity College Quad whose tree-lined perimeter is dominated by green hydrangea bushes. If limestone, stained glass and history are your thing, you're in the right place. From Trinity, you can continue your campus walk by heading right towards St. George and south to College.
2. Cedarvale Park (443 Arlington Ave.)
Part of the larger Cedarvale Ravine system, this uniquely shaped park - I entered off the top of Pinewood after it crosses Vaughan Road - has its own cricket pitch at the bottom of its sloping hills but on a recent Saturday, there were maybe two dozen people stretched out over its vast perimeter path. If you want to really escape the crowds, you can walk down into the ravine where more fall colours and sanctuary-like peace await. All in all, a win-win.
3. Rosedale Valley Road
Start at the top of Aylmer and Yonge and work your way down past The Group of Seven's famed The Studio Building (some of the best chroniclers of Ontario's famed fall-colour season) and progress on down Rosedale Valley Road where it ends up at the Bayview Extension and then loop back. As you walk among the tall trees with car overpasses overhead, you'll feel a bit like you've been trapped thanks to the new condos sprouting from every available block. Especially with St. James Cemetery - Toronto's oldest - on view. You can also go in the other direction on Rosedale Valley Road and end up in a dog park and trail that rises up to Cluny.
4. Don Valley
Between May to November, there is a farmer's market on Saturday (8 a.m. -1 p.m) and Sunday (10 a.m. -3 p.m.) at Evergreen Brick Works nestled in the centre of Don Valley, one of the best places to see fall colours. Go grab some organic honey or fresh bread first, put it in your car (there's plenty of public parking), and then make your way along one of the valley's many pathways.
5. Mount Pleasant Cemetery (4 Inglewood Dr.)
There are various pedestrian entry points into this enormous, beautiful resting place for the mighty (Eatons, Masseys, etc). But I prefer entering down the lane off Merton Street and walking down the cemetery's various winding pavement paths into the sun past impressive epitaphs buried amongst various trees in all their fall finery before I pop out close to Heath. On the day I most recently visited, I maybe saw a handful of people walking, jogging and biking and there was even a film crew on site. You often feel like you have the entire place to yourself, especially on weekdays. And in a city this big, that is a very good thing.
6. Kay Gardner Beltline Park (378 Mt Pleasant Rd.)
New York City has The High Line and Toronto has The Beltline. If you're feeling particularly robust, you can walk the 4.75 km long Beltline path from the Allen Expressway first BEFORE entering Mount Pleasant Cemetery via Merton. The tree-lined former rail line is full of people walking their dogs, on bikes, or just out for strolls. It's much more populated on the weekends but during the weekdays you can really check out the fall foliage, have a seat on one of many benches or watch squirrels making their way from tree to beautiful tree in search of nuts.