Having proximity to green space in an urban locale is a must for our physical and mental health; is there anything more refreshing than a walk in the park?
Being able to wander and commune in a natural setting in urban pockets is beneficial. This study “Neighborhood greenspace and health in a large urban center” looked at the health of Toronto urbanites, and found that living in proximity to green spaces - especially those with trees and foliage - plays a role in preserving our well-being. Of course outdoor recreation improves our physical health, but research shows that simply spending tme in commune with nature and other living ecosystems improves our mental health as well. (Interestingly, it also improves our self-perception of good health and living well, which is good news if you believe in the power of positive thinking!)
We are particularly lucky in Toronto, because there are so many wonderful parks to choose from. In fact, Toronto currently has over 1,600 existing parks and 600 kilometres of trails. That's roughly 8,000 hectares — about 13 per cent of Toronto’s overall land area! In fact, thanks to our bountiful tree canopy - which has been painstakingly preserved, even amongst the urban sprawl of the downtown core - Toronto was ranked 5th in a study of the "greenest" cities in the world (MIT, Treepedia).
Bewteen our lush, fields, and gardens, there's no shortage of outdoor activities to partake in: community centres, markets, clubs, sports, playgrounds... the list goes on. Even the desire to simply sit quietly in a green, serene space can be fulfilled in every neighbourhood in the city.
One of our favourites is Massey Harris Park, located at 945 King St. W. This urban oasis is an area of soul-saving respite with green space bordered by condominiums and other trappings of urban life. It’s the hub for the neighbourhood, where people of diverse backgrounds and demographics converge and share in the common benefit of a neighbourhood park.
Massey Harris Park is also interesting from a design perspective. It exists on land that had been occupied by farm equipment company Massey Harris and was a manufacturing hub for the country. Now, generations later, the space has been repurposed to serve the local community. It’s a reminder of how the uses of space, homes and neighbourhoods really are infinite, with iterations layering upon iterations, depending on the generation.
The park is designed in layers, with many meandering paths. Some are paved; some are a little more rugged. They diverge and connect, adding visual interest and also a sense of leisure opportunity, with paths to wander and enjoy the surroundings. The park is also notable because of a north-south trellis that provides some shelter and shade, but also is stunning to look at, with its shape, structure and greenery that grows on it. Artist James MacLeod designed the piece so that the roof would change appearance depending on the light during different times of day, adding dimension and texture to the trellis.
Want to know more? Check out this post about the park’s design!
Another emerald in Toronto's green space crown is Stanley Park, located at 890 King St. W. It is sizeable and is split into north and south sections. It offers all the usual park benefits, like leafy tree canopies, trails, and the like. However, this park is home to a number of amenities that make it even more enjoyable: playgrounds, picnic areas, ball diamonds, setups for shuffle board and table tennis, tennis courts, and basketball courts!
Stanley Park is also home to an outdoor pool, which - trust us - is an invaluable amenity in the summer time. It’s not huge and it’s not deep, but it's a perfect respite on a hot summer afternoon - especially when temperatures amongst all the close, heat-absorbing brick and cement buildings in the core can feel extremely stifling. But it's not just humans that can get over-heated in the summer and require plenty of exercise for their health; dogs and their owners love, love, love the off-leash area, located in the south end of the park. Given that many area residents live in condominiums, having wide open space for Fido to run and play is essential, and this is one great off-leash park.
Speaking of off-leash parks, another notable is Trinity Bellwoods Park at 790 Queen St. W. It's undoubtedly one of the very best in the city, being so central and expansive - the perfect place for your furry friends to let loose. I’ve written about this off-leash area before in “Looking For Leash-Free Doggy Love At Trinity Bellwoods Park”. Trinity Bellwoods Park, of course, is far more than just an off-leash park. It sprawls over 14.6 hectares and has many, many amenities, like multiple ball diamonds, playgrounds, an ice rink and more. When you're just a stroll away from a green space like this, there's never a shortage of outdoor recreation, regardless of the season!
Let's not take our neighbourhood parks for granted! Any green space in the city holds the potential to elevate and improve well-being, inmproving quality of life for all who share in it!
How incredible would it be to live in a location where you can pick and choose which one of these parks you visit on any given day, because they're all in your 'hood?
Check out our 2bed 2bath listing in DNA Condominiums at 1 Shaw Street - just steps from City Market! We call it, A Cool, Contemporary Sky-High Suite On King West, offered for $650,000!
It boasts a panoramic CN Tower vista and a gas barbecue on its own private terrace!
Want to learn more about the King West 'hood? Here's our Neighbourhood Page including census data, our 'flavour video', and blogs on great go-to amenities, like: Independent City Market, Brioche Dorée, Soma Chocolatemaker, and The King-Liberty Pedestrian Bridge!
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