High Park at its fairest

Toronto got its first heavy snow fall just 3 days before our flight back to Amsterdam.  I remember standing (kneeling, actually) by the glass door that looked out to my parents’ backyard with my four-year old niece standing to my left and her older sister to my right, watching the snowflakes sparkle as they drifted down from the evening sky.  All three of us were giddy with excitement—each one with a plan on what to do with all the fine white powder accumulating outside.  That same night, my nieces managed to convince their dad to go outside and “help” him shovel snow from the driveway, although my brother will attest that there were more snow angels made and snow balls thrown than snow actually being shovelled.  The girls were still fast asleep the following morning when I headed out to get my own playtime in the snow—armed with my new Nikon D600 that I got for Christmas, I headed out to High Park: my favourite spot in all of Toronto.

Snow-covered pine branches, houses and trees in and around High Park Toronto


High Park is the biggest public park in Toronto.  I lived but a few steps from it for five of the eight years I lived in Canada — three years at the north end of the park in an apartment building by the subway, and two years at the southern tip by the lake.  It’s hard not to fall in love with the park:  In the Spring, tourists and locals flock to it when the many cherry blossom trees bloom so thick with flowers that with every gentle breeze, pink and white petals rain down on people strolling by.  During the long days of Summer , the park is filled with a flurry of runners, bikers, picnic mats, baseball leagues and even the thespian types catching an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Come Autumn, the park lights up ablaze as the leaves turn to bright yellow, fiery orange and deep red—a scene I really miss now that I’m living in Amsterdam.  And finally Winter comes and the park dons its most beautiful skin as it gets covered in powder white snow.


We entered High Park from a pedestrian entrance at Bloor Street West, and we were immediately greeted by snow-covered park benches, fences and pathways that lead into the park—inviting us to enter a pocket of Winter Wonderland in the city:

Snow-covered bench in High Park Toronto's Bloor West entrance

Snow-covered pathways leading into High Park Toronto

Taking the snow-covered pathways to High Park Toronto

Once inside, we were greeted by the wide open space which is a real luxury in a congested city such as Toronto.  The tall trees looked so serene standing silent against the bright white ground and the soft blue skies.  Their bare branches reach up to the skies and create this eerie yet beautiful canopy of crooked lines:

Tall trees with bare branches reaching out to the sky in Toronto's High Park

Canopy of crooked lines in High Park Toronto


Walking further inside, we started to see people carrying out their own playtime agenda: Families attempting to build snowmen, runners doing their loop around the park and couples enjoying a quiet stroll:

Family making a snowman in High Park Toronto

Runner in High Park Toronto

Couple enjoying a stroll in High Park Toronto

Deeper in the park we came across branches hanging so low from weight of the snow.  The image of pine needles piercing through the white is just so beautiful.

Pine branches hanging low heavy with snow in High Park Toronto

Pine branches heavy with snow in High Park Toronto

Pine needles piercing through the blanket of snow in High Park Toronto

Hearing high pitched shrieks and laughter told us that we were getting closer to the park’s secret playground in the winter: A 45-degree slope that’s oh so perfect for ski doos, sleds and toboggans.  I could not count how many little pink puffy cheeks and big smiles were going up and down the slope, but the giggles that rang around the park suggest that beautiful memories were being made in the even more beautiful High Park:

Children getting ready to toboggan in High Park Toronto

Kids armed and ready to toboggan

Secret winter playground in High Park Toronto

Winter playground

Dad helping daughter with ski shoes in High Park Toronto

Sleds, skis, ski doos and snow shoes abound

Eight years ago back in 2004, my siblings and I made our very own fond memory in High Park.  We were strolling around the park when we came across a couple of broken, discarded ski doos.  Without any hesitation, my brothers jumped on them and slid down the slope.  On our second round, the ski doos started to fall apart.  A few bruises and mouthfulls of snow after, we left Winter Wonderland bodies hurting, as well as our bellies from all the laughter:

Ski doo with my siblings in High Park Toronto

Playtime in the snow with my siblings

If you’re ever in Toronto, I recommend stopping by High Park.  Whatever the season is, it will have something to give you.  And if you’re lucky, you’ll be create a fond memory or two.

4 thoughts

  1. I really loved High Park. It was one of my favorite things about visiting you guys there. Lovely post, Jec! I wished I had known of your writing back then. Lovely pictures, and I really like the layout of your blog. Wishing you all the best, you married woman, you!

    • Thank you, Mieke! :) I think if we ever move back to Canada, I’ll still live somewhere around High Park. It’s a piece of quiet in the middle of crazy Toronto. And thank you for reading the blog. The fact that you like it means A LOT. :)

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