High Park: Toronto's Most Romantic Winter Walking Trails
Published: January 1, 2023
Looking for romantic things to do in Toronto this Winter? Consider one of the city’s most incredible natural landmarks: High Park.
After months inside, many of us are longing for a return to nature – to the quiet and solitude of the trees. We can all probably do with some quality time outside. Luckily, Toronto has you covered. High Park is only a 10-minute walk from UP Express Bloor Station, so getting there is a breeze. Once you’re there, you can take part in plenty of winter activities, or just spend some quiet time together outside. It’s the perfect place to spark or rekindle a romance and get out for a winter recharge.
Remember: These days, you need to always check before you go – either by web or phone. Locations may open or close due to changing restrictions.
If you’re looking for romantic places in the heart of the city, a walk in High Park is definitely on the list of Toronto’s best date ideas. When the snow covers the ground and hangs heavy in the trees, it brings a wonderful silence that blocks out the sounds of the city. It’s easy to forget the world and all its troubles and just escape into nature when you’re exploring High Park. There are no distractions – it’s just the two of you and the trees.
High Park offers some of the best winter walks in Toronto, and we’ve all been inside for too long. In fact, it might be one of the few great romantic getaways that’s still open in the city. Grab a thermos full of coffee or tea, get bundled up and get going. Make snow angels, sit on a park bench, have a snowball fight, breathe some fresh air. High Park is amazing – and totally free.
A romantic walk in High Park
Getting to High Park from Bloor Street easily connects you to the park’s West Road. From there, follow the West Ravine Nature Trails that wind along one side of the park. They snake down through the trees to Grenadier Pond and the Hillside Garden paths that overlook it.
To the east, off Colborne Lodge Drive, you can access kilometre after kilometre of Spring Creek Nature Trails – long paths that wind through the trees, and over the streams that run through the park and down to Lake Ontario.
If you’re looking for an easier walking trail, stick to the main roads that you can access from the north. They offer a well-maintained 5.3 kilometre loop, starting and ending at Bloor Street.
If you want something a more challenging hike, start from The Queensway in the south instead. Follow Colborne Lodge Drive to Centre Road and back south, past the greenhouse and the playground; or head down Deer Pen Road through the High Park Zoo. It’s a little more hilly coming this way and a bit more of a challenge, but your chance of encountering some of the park’s wildlife is much higher.
But wait, we have even more winter date ideas!
High Park offers more than just romantic winter walks: your date might also like to try skiing, snowshoeing or skating!
High Park is closed to vehicle traffic on weekends now to ensure people have more room to get fresh air and exercise – so that means you have uninterrupted access to the many roads and trails that wind through the park. Once there is a good base of snow, you can explore the area on skis or snowshoes. Explore the entire park, from Bloor Street right down to the bottom of Grenadier Pond. Be sure to bring a camera and take pictures! Even in winter, there’s still plenty of wildlife to spot or to track in the snow.
High Park also offers a double ice skating area that’s open to the public each year starting in November. You can also skate on Grenadier Pond, providing the ice is thick enough. Be sure to look for the flags that indicate that it’s open and you’re safe to skate.
Romantic things to do before getting to Toronto’s High Park
Pick up some flowers…
Remember, if you really want to impress your date, show up with flowers. There are at least a dozen great florists in the High Park neighbourhood which are still open for shopping, pick-up or delivery in advance. To the east of High Park there are Wildhood, Sweetpea's and several other great options. As you travel west towards Bloor West Village, you might consider Bloor Village Flowers, Bloor & Kennedy Flower Shop or Hong's Flowers near Durie Street.
…Or pick up some treats
There’s definitely no shortage when it comes to incredible bakeries and patisseries in the High Park neighbourhood – and most are open for pick-up or delivery, or are allowing a limited number of customers in at a time. So, consider The Butternut Baking near the park, COBS Bread, Hot Oven Bakery or Bake Sale a little to the west. You might even try your hand at a home bake kit from Sweet Flour Bake Shop for after your romantic winter walk. They are offering a collection of specialty cookie and cupcake kits that you can make at home.
Warm up with your favourite hot beverage…
You’re spoiled for choice around High Park when it comes to cafes. Each is adapting to COVID a little differently, but most are open for take-away. Some of our favourites near the park are Noble Coffee and Bread & Roses Bakery Café (both on Bloor) and The Merseyside on Dundas. A little to the west you’ll find Hannah's Cafe and Bakery, Zaza Espresso Bar and the Koffea Espresso Bar on Willard.
…Or a meal…
From pubs to falafel to sushi and so much more – the High Park neighbourhood is overflowing with amazing and unique meal options. (Pre-order for pick-up or they can deliver on your favourite app.) We highly recommend the Neo Anatolian at Flame Food+Design or great Mexican fare from Aztec's Mine. Then there’s high-end pub fare at The Hole In the Wall or the convenience of MacKenzies High Park right across from the park.
But, no matter how you choose to spend your time, High Park and the surrounding neighbourhood offer some of the city’s best winter walking trails – and is definitely a top choice when it comes to romantic things to do in Toronto this winter.