You may have the impression that relocating to the big city means you’ll have reduced access to the outdoor fitness and leisure activities that you love. This all those skyscrapers and all that pavement, where’s the space, right? Have no fear! In Toronto, like most big cities across Canada, fitness and recreation are priorities. In fact, the Toronto Parks Forestry and Recreation Division is responsible for about 1,473 named parks, 839 sports fields, 140 community centers and about 670 recreational facilities! That’s enough to keep any newcomer to Toronto on her feet and focused on fitness.
Here’s a look at some of the many options for Toronto public recreation.
This low impact, high heart rate activity is accessible across Toronto. Enjoy more than 100 indoor and outdoor pools, along with splash-tastic kids’ options like wading pools, splash pads, and Kidstown Water Park. In the winter months, you can beat the cold weather blues by doing laps in an indoor pool. Not only will being in the water help you forget about the bitter conditions outside, but boosted endorphins will help you combat mild seasonal depression. Some of the best indoor pools are:
- Harrison Pool, on Queen Street West. This 20-metre pool has time reserved for recreational swim, and for laps.
- At the Joseph J. Piccininni Community Centre Pool, on St. Clair Avenue West, the ladies can enjoy a weekly female-only swim time. There are also tons of fitness classes offered here, from lessons to aqua fitness.
- In East York, the East York Community Centre Pool has plenty of adult and youth swim options, from classes to free swim. It’s also a great spot to go for more extreme training, like Ranger Patrol and CPR training.
- The Regent Park Aquatic Centre on Dundas Street East is one of Toronto’s newest public swimming facilities, so you can be sure it’s in tip-top condition. Here you’ll find leisure and lane swim options, as well as Aquafit classes.
Who needs a fancy country club membership to enjoy a day on the greens? The city of Toronto has five public golf greens, perfect for practicing your swing without the big price tag. As an added bonus, they are all accessible by public transportation, and they offer something for everyone, from the seasoned pro to the total newbie. Take advantage of this fabulous Toronto public recreation option!
- Dentonia Park has won awards for being on of the best par three golf courses in the greater Toronto area. Each of the 18 holes has a unique elevation, and prices don’t go over $25. If you’re looking for some special attention, try a pro lesson on site.
- The Don Valley Golf Course has scenic charm and access by subway. As one of the city’s oldest golf courses, its known for its classic design. Slightly more expensive, at $58 for an adult, this is the perfect park to spend a weekend day at.
- Another award-winning golf course, Humber Valley is a great green for all levels of players, even total newcomers to the sport. It’s got valleys, land holes and links to keep you on your toes. Adults can enjoy 18 holes for $46.
- While Scarlett Woods’ course is not as long as some of the others, it’s diverse and tricky. Here, you’ll finish a game quicker, so it’s a great spot to get a game in before the workday. An 18-hole game is $33 for adults.
- The Tam O’Shanter city course is family friendly, and offers ladies’ leagues, too. At $46 for 18 holes, it’s less expensive than most courses in the Greater Toronto Area.
If you’re like me, as in not a “winter person,” one of the best ways to appreciate the season is to get out and have some fun. Public skating rinks are popular across Canada, and they can help bring out that childlike sense of winter wonder that’s been hibernating inside you. When it’s too warm outside to make ice, there are plenty of indoor public rinks for recreational skating and community hockey, but come the cold season, 52 artificial outdoor skating rinks and dozens of natural ice rinks. For a unique experience, spend an hour or a day exploring four rinks with skating trails! Here are a few outdoor skating options.
- Colonel Samuel Smith Park is hands down one of the coolest places to skate. It features a figure-eight skating trail that winds next to buildings that used to be part of a psychiatric facility. It’s free to skate here, and there’s even free weekend parking.
- Here’s an idea, spend the day shopping, then relax with a leisurely skate at Don Mills. You’ll have a truly metropolitan winter experience, as the rink is surrounded by city stores.
- For a beautiful, scenic spot to skate, head to Natrel Rink at Harbourfront Centre, nestled into the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Skating is free, and there are heated indoor changing rooms and locker rooms. Getting your heart pumping on this natural rink is sure to melt those winter blues.
- To find another natural ice rink, click here.
These are only the beginning of the great Toronto Public Recreation options. To learn more about parks, sports fields, recreation centers, and all that the city has to offer, visit the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division website.
From all of us at Settle-in.com, stay fit and have fun!
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(Photos: Agência Brasília via Flickr, Special Collections Toronto via Flickr, Special Collections Toronto via Flickr)