As we wind our way together through this pandemic, having the opportunity for exercise and breathing in fresh air right in your ‘hood is essential – now, more than ever. Have you read my series COVID-19 & Toronto Real Estate, where I take a look at the varied and numerous impacts that COVID-19 has had on our sense of ‘Home’, how we use our built environments, as well as navigate the neighbourhoods that surround them?
Year-round, parks are a must. In fact, winter can be one of the loveliest times to visit outdoor space. Bundle up, breath in that crisp air, and afterwards enjoy that satisfied feeling and rosy glow that comes from being outside on a winter day.
You know that being outside is good for the heart and soul, but have you given thought to “why”?
The Power of Parks
This study “Neighborhood Greenspace And Health In A Large Urban Center” looked at the health of Toronto urbanites, and found that living in proximity to green spaces – especially those with trees and foliage – plays a role in preserving our well-being. Of course, outdoor recreation improves our physical health, but research shows that simply spending time communing with nature and other living ecosystems improves our mental health as well. (Interestingly, it also improves our self-perception of good health and living well, which is good news if you believe in the power of positive thinking!)
We are particularly lucky in Toronto because there are so many wonderful parks to choose from; Toronto currently has over 1,600 existing parks and 600 kilometres of trails. That’s roughly 8,000 hectares — about 13 percent of Toronto’s overall land area! Thanks to our bountiful tree canopy – which has been painstakingly preserved, even amongst the urban sprawl of the downtown core – Toronto was ranked 5th in a study of the “greenest” cities in the world (MIT, Treepedia).
Between our lush fields, and gardens, there’s no shortage of outdoor opportunities in which to partake; there are community centres, markets, clubs, sports, playgrounds… the list goes on. Even the desire to simply sit quietly in a green, serene space can be fulfilled in every neighbourhood in the city.
In the winter, you’ll find lots of places with gentle slopes for tobogganing, outdoor rinks, nature walks (have you ever tried winter birding? It’s fascinating) and even snow shoeing. Or you can simply gather the fam and make a snowman.
One of our favourites is Massey Harris Park, located at 945 King St. W. This urban oasis is an area of soul-saving respite with green space bordered by condominiums and other trappings of urban life. It’s the hub for the neighbourhood, where people of diverse backgrounds and demographics converge and share in the common benefit of a neighbourhood park.
Massey Harris Park is also interesting from a design perspective. It exists on land that had been occupied by farm equipment company Massey Harris and was a manufacturing hub for the country. Now, generations later, the space has been repurposed to serve the local community. It’s a reminder of how the uses of space, homes and neighbourhoods are infinite, with iterations layering upon iterations, depending on the generation.
The park is designed in layers, with many meandering paths. Some are paved; some are a little more rugged. They diverge and connect, adding visual interest and also a sense of leisure opportunity, with paths to wander and enjoy the surroundings. The park is also notable because of a north-south trellis that provides some shelter and shade, but also is stunning to look at, with its shape, structure and greenery that grows on it. Artist James MacLeod designed the piece so that the roof would change appearance depending on the light during different times of day, adding dimension and texture to the trellis.
It’s still a great outdoor space in the winter, with room to move, contemplate, congregate, and even play, as the snowflakes flutter!
Want to know more? Check out this post about the park’s design!
Another favourite is Stanley Park, located at 890 King St. W. It is sizeable and is split into north and south sections. It offers all the usual park benefits, like leafy tree canopies, trails, and the like. This park is home to several amenities that make it even more enjoyable in the milder months: playgrounds, picnic areas, ball diamonds, setups for shuffleboard and table tennis, tennis courts, and basketball courts.
Stanley Park is also home to an outdoor pool, which – trust us – is an invaluable amenity in the summertime. It’s not huge and it’s not deep, but it’s a perfect respite on a hot summer afternoon – especially when temperatures amongst all the close, heat-absorbing brick and cement buildings in the core can feel extremely stifling (which is sometimes hard to imagine when we are in the heart of winter). But in the season, it can’t be beat!
But it’s not just humans that can get over-heated in the summer and require plenty of exercise for their health; dogs and their owners love, love, love the off-leash area, located in the south end of the park. Given that many area residents live in condominiums, having wide open space for Fido to run and play is essential, and this is one great off-leash park.
Speaking of off-leash parks, if you are a fur parent, you must check out Trinity Bellwoods Park at 790 Queen St. W. – not far from the two above! It’s undoubtedly one of the very best in the city, being so central and expansive – the perfect place for your furry friends to let loose. I’ve written about this off-leash area before in “Looking For Leash-Free Doggy Love At Trinity Bellwoods Park”. Trinity Bellwoods Park, of course, is far more than just an off-leash park. It sprawls over 14.6 hectares and has many, many amenities, like multiple ball diamonds, playgrounds, an ice rink and more. It’s a place for all seasons! When you’re just a stroll away from outdoor space like this, there’s never a shortage of outdoor recreation, regardless of the season. Once the Spring hits, it’ll be prime time to have The Perfect Picnic In Trinity Bellwoods Park!
Think of how your quality of life could be improved by having quick and easy access to your choice of parks, right near your front door! Even more so if you are a dog owner. Fresh air and exercise abound!
Take a peek at The Toy Factory, where we sold, ‘Live The Luxe Loft Life In Liberty Village In Liberty Village’! It’s the perfect spot from which to wander to your favourite park!
This Pristine Perch Overlooking Liberty Village is now leased, but take a peek anyway! For the budget-conscious renter, it’s not always easy to find a residence that reflects your personality and that is located in a neighbourhood designed for your lifestyle, is it?
Contact James Ormston at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Here’s a selection of other blogs we’ve written on Toronto’s fab green spaces!
Unwind In Eglinton Park Near Yonge & Eglinton
A Lotta Love For Toronto’s High Park
Exploring Rennie Park In Swansea
East Lynn Park: The Heart Of A Community
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Thanks for reading!
-The Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000
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