Where to Run in Toronto
Known for being the most culturally diverse city in the world, the running scene in Toronto reflects the eclectic nature of its population. Finding routes where you don’t have to dodge people, cyclists, and streetcars however? Tough. Thankfully, there are several routes that allow you to stretch your legs and run within the city limits, as long as you know where to find them. These are our community members’ favourite places to run the six:
- The Beltline
The Beltline is a 9 km path that used to be an old commuter railway in the 1890s. It was meant to service the neighborhoods of midtown Toronto but after a couple of years with no profit, it closed down. Starting at Caledonia station and extending all the way to Bayview with access points all along the way, it is a great place to run essentially free of cars (except for the occasional street crossing). It consists of the York Beltline Trail, the Kay Gardner Beltline Park, and the Ravine Beltline Trail. Part way along the route, you can take a detour and add on some mileage through Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Sounds morbid, however this is a beautifully done space where it is not uncommon to see members of the University of Toronto Track Club and other elite Canadian runners doing tempo runs through its winding paths.
- The Don River Trail
This paved trail is just shy of 10 km from end-to-end. It starts at the Beaches at Lakeshore and Cherry Street and extends all the way to Edward Gardens. Want to add some extra kms? Jump off the path and head into the short little trail system at the Don Valley Brickworks. Pro tip - the section at Brickworks connects to the Beltline Trail if you feel like changing up your route.
- The Martin Goodman Trail
Stretching across 56 km of Toronto’s waterfront area, the Martin Goodman Trail is a beautifully scenic spot for long runs, tempo runs, intervals - really, whatever you’d like! This paved path with dedicated lanes to direct flow of traffic runs from the Humber Bay Arch Bridge to the Rouge River. This path is actually part of the 730 km Waterfront Trail that extends around Lake Ontario, so really, you’ll never have a reason not to go just a little bit further.
- High Park
With 400 acres of places to roam, High Park is a great place for runners! It has paved paths that wind their way through the park, but also many small off-shoot trails throughout for a little extra adventure. Easily accessible via the TTC, High Park is a fantastic place to escape the bustle of the city centre, where you will find yourself running through lightly forested areas, gardens, and even a zoo! Bonus: From the southeast tip of the park, it’s a short jog across the Gardiner Expressway to get onto the Martin Goodman Trail.
- Toronto Island
Looking for a fun weekend run? Hop on the ferry at Jack Layton Harbour over to Toronto Island. With paths and boardwalk, there’s plenty of space to run and explore, not to mention a fantastic view of the Toronto skyline. You can also check out this 14-kilometre out-and-back run. With lockers available, plenty of restaurants, cafes, and other fun activities to do, you can easily make a day out of this one. It will be slightly more crowded on summer weekends but still very a relaxing mini-getaway from the city.
Not all of these trails are fully maintained in the winter, but since when did a little snow ever stop a Canadian? So whether you’re midtown, downtown, in the Beaches, or Liberty Village, there are plenty of places to get out there and run the six!
Your favourite route not listed here? Let us know in the comments!