Who’s looking for a good city escape?! As a team of city-dwellers, we often feel the need to escape this concrete jungle and reconnect with nature. Take it from us, admittedly a group with no qualifications to speak on this subject, a quick nature fix can go a long way to boost your mental health and general well-being.
Canada is blessed with many beautiful natural spaces but travelling to a National Park may not always be viable. Finding a great nature trail or oasis by the water, however, can also be achieved close to home. Urban parks provide that same connection to nature without having to leave the city. Plus, they're free!
What makes a good urban park? A variety of activities, easily accessible trails, unique landscapes, and a magnificent view of the city skyline, all come to mind.
We put the call out on social to find out which are the best urban parks across Canada. Here's the top five urban parks in Canada!
STANLEY PARK | VANCOUVER, B.C.
WHERE: Located right in the heart of Vancouver.
SIZE: 1000 Acres.
HIGHLIGHTS: Features scenic views of the water, mountains, sky and a variety of majestic trees.
FUN FACT: Vancouver's first and largest park. Recognized as one of the greatest urban parks in the world, Stanley Park welcomes over 8 million visitors each year.
WHAT TO BRING: Tri-Seasonal Tech Shell to stay dry. Leave the removable vest at home for warmer days.
ONTARIO PLACE | TORONTO, ON
WHERE: Originally a theme park from 1971 to 2011, Ontario Place is located on three artificial landscaped islands just off-shore of Lake Ontario. The three islands are just south of Exhibition Place and southwest of Downtown Toronto.
SIZE: 150 Acres.
HIGHLIGHTS: Not only a fantastic green space to hang out with friends, Ontario Place features numerous bike trails and an iconic live music venue with breathtaking views of the Toronto skyline.
WHAT TO BRING: Sutton or Creemore Vest.
HUMBER BAY PARK | MIMICO, ON
WHERE: Located in Etobicoke south of Lake Shore Boulevard West. It consists of two landspits situated at the mouth of Mimico Creek.
SIZE: 300 Acres.
HIGHLIGHTS: Well-loved greenspace with accessible trails and biking paths. Great spots for birdwatching and fishing along Lake Ontario.
FUN FACT: Parts of the park are currently under restoration to provide a critical habitat for native butterfly species.
WHAT TO BRING: The winds off Lake Ontario can get chilly. Bring the Gimli or Charlevoix fleece to stay warm.
ROCKWOOD PARK | SAINT JOHN, N.B.
WHERE: Located in the heart of Saint John. Surrounded by lakes, trees, and trails. You'll forget that you're only minutes away from supermarkets, shopping and Uptown entertainment in the city.
SIZE: 2,220 acres of unspoiled natural beauty, with 10 lakes and 55 trails.
HIGHLIGHTS: What can't you do at Rockwood Park? From mountain bike trails to rock climbing to swimming and so much more, Rockwood Park lets you explore the very best of nature without leaving the city. Camp out overnight and see the most scenic views of Saint John.
WHAT TO BRING: For cozier nights the Canmore Bomber and Chelsea Hoodie will keep you warm around the campfire.
PACIFIC SPIRIT | VANCOUVER, B.C.
WHERE: Located on the west side of Vancouver, close to University of British Columbia, Pacific Spirit Park is a paradise for students looking to get close to nature.
SIZE: 2160 Acres.
HIGHLIGHTS: Equipped with over 73km of hiking trails, Pacific Spirit provides accessible paths for bikers, walkers and even horse-back riders!
FUN FACT: Best place to try forest bathing in Vancouver. Breathe in the forest air to relax the body and awaken the senses.
WHAT TO BRING: The Greta and Leo Airweight Puffers are light-weight and packable to keep you prepared for whatever the day brings.
Don't see your spot on the list and want to give it a shout? Comment below with your favourite urban park and why we should check it out.