In the summer heat, Toronto’s downtown can seem like a sun-baked, arid domain of asphalt and glass. Scattered throughout the concrete desert, however, are a few oases of green. The Downtown Discovery Walk links the squares, parks and parkettes that can be found in the city’s busy core. And don’t worry too much about the heat; there are plenty of places to duck into for shade, refreshments, and air-conditioned comfort along this route.
One of the jewels of downtown parks is Cloud Gardens. This Richmond Street spot features a tropical greenhouse overlooking a well-treed spot with a relaxing waterfall. Nestled in a little space of the Bay Adelaide Centre, it’s a favourite outdoor eating spot for nearby cubicle dwellers.
St. James’ Park is the biggest patch of green on this walk. It’s a combination of mature trees and well-manicured flower gardens; a good place to relax in the shade, picnic in the sun, or play with the kids and pets.
There are plenty of other little patches of green in the city where you can find respite from the bustle of the downtown core. This is also a great walk to take with out-of-town visitors. The CN Tower, City Hall, St. Lawrence Market, the Flatiron Building—all of the downtown tourist destinations can be found along this Discovery Walk. And while you’re downtown, don’t forget to check out Fresh Wednesdays and Tasty Thursdays at Nathan Phillips Square.
One point about this walk: currently, construction is blocking access between Simcoe Park and Metro Hall Park. You’ll have to find an alternate route, either on John or Simcoe Streets to get around this obstacle.
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