On a sunny autumn afternoon, there’s no better place for a family outing than Trinity Bellwoods Park, a 36-acre (14.6 hectare) span of lush greenery and buzzing activity in the heart of the trendy Queen Street West neighbourhood. Filled with fun activities for the kids and plenty of benches and green spaces for you to relax on, it’s a little slice of paradise in the big city, so drop by for an hour or two and de-stress in the great outdoors.
As you walk up to the park, point out to your kids the elaborate iron gate that forms the entrance–a remnant of the old Trinity College campus. Your history lesson doesn’t last long, as the little ones bolt in the direction of the playground, dodging a parade of adorable dogs along the way. Trinity Bellwoods’ leash-free area is a big haven for dog-lovers, but a warm afternoon also brings out Frisbee players, sunbathers, picnickers and anybody else with a yen for exercise or sunshine. Lined by shops and cafes on Dundas Street and Queen Street West, the rest of the park is surrounded by fine old houses that give it a distinctly “community” feeling. It also has a strong hippie flavour, as you catch sight of a tai chi class and remember that you wanted to check out the farmers market next time you’re nearby on a Tuesday.
When you hit the playground, your kids make a mad dash for the monkey bars, scrambling up the yellow ladder and then pushing themselves down the red slide in a fit of giggles. You take the moment to relax in the shade of a giant tree and people-watch. A woman is hula-hooping nearby, and yet more dogs race by as a group of hipster types ramble past. It’s so pleasant, you regret not bringing a picnic basket full of food — but, you think, that will be something for next time.