Best GTA and Toronto Picnic Spots

Best GTA and Toronto Picnic Spots - SavvyMom

So we’re a few weeks into summer and you’re probably on the hunt for new ways to keep your kids occupied. And while Toronto is packed with fun ways to entertain your family (have you checked out our July events roundup yet?), here’s another suggestion: A picnic in the city. Sure, it’s a simple activity but that’s part of the appeal. It’s something you can pull off last- minute, at minimal cost with relatively low effort (don’t worry about making some kind of Instagram-worthy spread; most kids will be happy with sliced up fruit, some chips, and a sandwich). Plus, depending on the age of your children, you can get them involved by having them help pack the picnic bag. Below we round up the best Toronto picnic spots and other destinations where your family can easily picnic. All our suggestions are kid-friendly and all either have washrooms on-site or very nearby.

GTA & Toronto Picnic Spots

Bluffer’s Park

1 Brimley Rd., Toronto

Part of the highly scenic Scarborough Bluffs, this park features a large, grassy picnic area that’s home to multiple tables. Either before or after you eat, hike the bluffs, which can be surprisingly kid-friendly. Or chill with your family on the adjacent sandy, lifeguard-supervised beach that’s surrounded by dramatic cliffs. Regardless of what activities you end up doing, be prepared to come early as this place gets busy and competition for parking can be tougher than snagging one of the park’s charcoal grills.

Centre Island

Toronto Islands, Toronto

Turn your picnic into an all-day adventure with an outing to the Toronto Islands. While Ward Island is an adorable destination and a perfectly nice picnic spot, families with kids will likely prefer Centre Island where you’ll find a splash pad, a playground, a farm and of course Centreville Amusement Park. Tons of picnic tables and shady spots can be found around the island, along with a few food options, in case you need to top your picnic off with an ice cream or a cold drink. The island also has some terrific trails for biking (or for pushing the stroller around). On warm, summer days, it can get busy, so we suggest pre-buying your tickets and hopping on one of the earlier ferries.

Chorley Park

245 Douglas Dr., Toronto

This Rosedale-area park is ideal for families who are looking for a pretty, peaceful spot that feels like it’s miles removed from the big city. In addition to plenty of picnic tables, shady trees, and lush vegetation, this spot even features a marsh that sometimes offers wildlife spotting opportunities. While there’s no playground or splash pad here, there are terrific walking and cycling trails that connect to the Don Valley and Evergreen Brick Works, in case your family is up for a longer adventure.

Corktown Common

155 Bayview Ave., Toronto

Enjoy a picnic, or even a barbeque, at one of the city’s coolest parks. Besides picnic tables and open (but shaded) spots, Corktown Common is also home to a splash pad, a playground and some unusual natural features, including a marsh and what the City calls “urban prairies.” This is also one of the lucky parks that features a firepit that you can rent.

Dufferin Grove Park

875 Dufferin St., Toronto

We love this spot for a picnic because it makes things so easy. It’s accessible by transit or park across the street at Dufferin Mall. If you forget pretty much anything, or just want an iced coffee, the mall and its many stores are right there to help you out. And then there are the park’s many amenities that are sure to keep the kids busy, including a big playground, a wading pool, and a mud kitchen. As a fun bonus, Dufferin Grove Park also features fire pits that you can book and use to turn your picnic into a cookout.

High Park

1873 Bloor St. W., Toronto

We couldn’t round up the best Toronto picnic spots without including one of the city’s best parks. Covering over 161 acres, High Park is packed with spots to spread out a blanket including near the splash pad and wading pool, found just south of Bloor Street, or in and around the Hillside Garden, located near Grenadier Pond. Or try your chance at snagging a picnic table. With some luck you can often find one near Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, the giant, castle-themed play area that we know your kids will love. And just in case your picnic meal doesn’t turn out, the park offers multiple food options, including ice cream and other food trucks that like to hang out near the Adventure Playground.

Humber Bay Shores Park

15 Marine Parade Dr., Toronto

Turn your picnic into an educational experience at this lakeside park. Here you’ll find the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat, home to monarch butterflies, dozens of native plants and other local wildlife including waterfowl and if you’re lucky, minks and muskrats. Explanatory signage will help your family learn about this special space, including how you can help butterflies flourish in the city. The park also offers access to the lake, a beach (though warning, it’s kind of rocky), tons of great spots for photos and plenty of open green space.

Kew Gardens

2075 Queen St. E., Toronto

Sure, Woodbine Beach is great, but if you want somewhere to eat that’s a little less crowded, head to Kew Gardens. Located steps from the Kew-Balmy Beach, this park features a playground, a wading pool and plenty of shade-providing trees. There are also some fun historical touches in this area, including the charming Gardener’s Cottage and a renaissance- style drinking fountain. And while we’re sure you’ll pack a yummy picnic, Kew Gardens also offers ice cream, in case you want to end your meal on a sweet note.

Milliken Park

5555 Steeles Ave. E., Toronto

Take advantage of this park’s three playgrounds (including one site that was renovated in 2022) to entertain your kids while you set up your delicious spread at one of this park’s spacious and often shaded picnic areas. Other activities available include a splash pad, walking and biking trails and a pond that’s home to some of our local wildlife. With so much offered here, it’s no surprise that this spot is a popular one for big family gatherings.

Mystery Picnic from AmazingCo

Trinity Bellwoods Park, 790 Queen St. W., Toronto

Here’s something a little different: An interactive experience that will have your family exploring Queen Street West while collecting items for a delicious picnic. These tours are self-guided, so your family can move at its own pace (but allow around three hours for the full experience). They can also accommodate dietary restrictions. Once you’ve collected all your food, head over to the always popular Trinity Bellwoods Park, and enjoy your discoveries (the kids can also busy themselves at the playground and in the splash pad). The cost for a family of four starts at $160.

Sunnybook Park

1132 Leslie St., Toronto

Go for an easy hike, watch the birds (Sunnybrook is one of the city’s top spots for birding) and then enjoy a picnic on one of Sunnybrook’s many wide-open spaces (there are also a few picnic tables available). Want to take your picnic experience up a notch? Then snap up one of the park’s charcoal grills and have a proper cookout. Just note that this park is a very popular one for big gatherings, so we recommend heading there early, especially if you want a grill and a picnic table.

The Toronto Zoo

2000 Meadowvale Rd., Toronto

Okay, this suggestion isn’t exactly cheap (admission to the zoo starts at around $20 for a child) but if your family is planning to visit the zoo, note that you’re free to bring in your own food and drink and enjoy a picnic at one of the attraction’s many picnic spots. Tables can be found throughout the property, many of which are shaded and some of which even offer a view of the animals. Just watch out for the seagulls. They know exactly what it means when you start pulling food out of your backpack!

Trillium Park

 955 Lake Shore Blvd. W., Toronto

The future of Ontario Place is a hot topic these days but one fact we can all agree on is that Trillium Park is a lovely slice of Toronto that’s ideal for a picnic. Get the kids to pose for photos with the city skyline and then let them burn off energy by climbing along the park’s rock “bluff.”

The William G. Davis Trail, which snakes its way through the park, is a great spot to practice your kids’ cycling skills or to just take an easy walk before spreading out your picnic blanket on one of the rolling hills. Parking is usually plentiful here and, on the weekends, there’s even a spot to buy cold drinks, frozen treats and even some hot items (and sometimes special events). If you want to make your picnic extra-special, book the park’s fire pit, possibly the most scenically located one in the city.


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