5 Running Routes with Views of Toronto

Discover more of the city’s neighbourhoods and views while getting a good sweat in.

by Meghan Yuri Young

Experience a side of the city you may have never seen before while doing something for your mind and body. Do it in a way that embraces breathing in the fresh air and stretching your legs. A way that pushes you to keep moving forward even as the world stands still.

The city’s ActiveTO program was only in some parts of the city and it proved how much people are craving all of the above.

Whether you live in Toronto, are visiting for the first time or everything between, there’s a running route made for you below.

Scarborough Bluffs

If you want to feel like you’re somewhere unexpected, this is the running route for you. From the cliffs to the beaches, you won’t feel like you’re in Toronto anymore. When the weather cools, you’ll enjoy the natural beauty longer as you keep warm jogging from one end to the other, taking some time for pictures and maybe even feeding the ducks.

Start at the Bluffer’s Park Lookout and end at the Bluffers Restaurant, with its sustainable ingredients and views of the marina. You’ll certainly enjoy both after that 6 km run! And after fueling up, you can always consider running through the neighbourhood just above. The houses are stunning, the streets quaint and you’ll catch the Bluffs from another vantage point.

Toronto's Humber Bay Bridge
Stop at the Humber Bay Bridge for a photo

Sunnyside

Take control of what you can and look on the sunnier side of life. This route is inspired by that! Starting at Sunnyside Gus Ryder Pool, which is a beautiful piece of architecture on its own, you’ll make your way west until you hit the iconic Humber Bay Bridge for that must-take portrait. I encourage you to run with a partner or a portable tripod for this shot!

From there, continue west into Etobicoke for a stunning far-off view of the city—CN Tower included—as well as beaches, ponds and even Butterfly Park. Although there may not be too many butterflies fluttering about during the fall. Along the way, there are a few restaurants and cafes to grab a drink or some food.

When heading back, you’ll follow a parallel trail hugging the lake. You can loop around Sunnyside beach to end or continue running east for a longer route! Maybe aim for Ontario Place for its outdoor programming.

Midtown 

Have you ever run in a cemetery before? If not, this is your chance to do so. Mount Pleasant Cemetery has long been considered one of the most beautiful running routes in Toronto with its winding roads lined with flowers and trees. Whether you run its perimeter (3 km) or continue along the Beltline Trail for a longer distance—closing 14 km if you circle all the way back—this is a stunning trail that will be even more beautiful as the leaves change colour in the fall. 

Afterwards, stick around uptown to explore the local shops for treats and souvenirs. Some of my favourite shops just south of St. Clair are Tuck Shop Trading Co., Want Apothecary and Gee Beauty.

Uptown

If you haven’t been to the architectural masterpiece that is the Aga Khan Museum yet, this is the time to do it. Although much more than what meets the eyes, for those of us who are refraining from spending too much time inside public spaces, this outdoor area will fulfil your itch for more arts and culture. Just exercise restraint when taking photos in between the museum and Ismaili Centre since it is considered a sacred place.

Once you’ve roamed around this majestic area, which is geographically directed toward Mecca, make your way south to the Don River Trail and then immediately north to Edwards Garden. This former estate boasts a range of award-winning themed gardens that many locals don’t take advantage of. From there, end this 7 km run at CF Shops at Don Mills, a refined outdoor shopping centre and park offering a fun way to browse through store windows.

Downtown Core

It’s easy to get lost in this concrete jungle without hitting some of its best assets. Never been to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)? Or Kensington Market? Have you seen the social distancing circles at Trinity Bellwoods yet? You’ll hit all of these and more on this running route in Toronto.

Starting at the AGO, admire the building before heading north towards Little Italy, which has some of the top restaurants in the city. Stop for a drink or bite if you have time at one of the many welcoming and safe patios in this neighbourhood. From there continue south-west until you find yourself surrounded by the greenery of Bellwoods—and don’t forget to take a deep breath.

Then make your way across Queen West to Kensington Market and Chinatown before looping around the Ontario College of Art and Design’s (OCAD) modernist wing on the way back to the gallery where you began. Although that all sounds simple enough, you’ll want to run with a backpack for some great thrift shopping in between.

See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.

#OPENYOURCURIOSITY

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