No matter how you feel about snow now that you’re a grown-up, it’s a given that children love it. And there are not many winter activities in this city that top an afternoon spent sledding in the fluffy white stuff. It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to get fresh air and exercise for the entire family.
You don’t have to go far in this city to stumble upon a great sledding slope. In fact, look no further than Toronto’s awesome ravine parks. Once the snow flies, these hills are fantastic for tobogganing.
1. Lithuania Park
This park on the west side of Keele St., just north of High Park is one of the best in Toronto for sledding, and a favourite of the west-end parents we asked. Why is that? The width of the hill accommodates lots of tobogganers (no lining-up for a turn), plus there are long sledding runs without scary trees at the bottom to worry about.
Lithuania Park (http://www1.toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/complex/125/index.htm), 155 Oakmount Rd.
2. Christie Pits Park
The slope across the street from the entrance to Christie subway station is prime sledding territory in this deep Toronto park. Tweens and parents with school-age kids dominate this side, so head to the less-steep south slope if you’re with tots and preschoolers. After sledding, stop at Tim Horton’s across the street, get a quick slice at the neighbourhood pizza place kitty-corner to the park, or do a little noshing in Koreatown. Christie Pits Park (www1.toronto.ca/), Crawford Ave W.
3. L’Amoreaux Park South
Tucked away in Scarborough is a fantastic sledding hill at L’Amoreaux Park South, near Kennedy Rd. and McNicholl Ave. The peak of the hill is quite high up, with a lovely panoramic view to boot. This is a superb hill for older kids and your more experienced (or speed-loving) sledders, as it’s one of the steeper descents on this list. L’Amoreaux Park South (http://tobogganhills.com/hills/68-l-amoreaux-park-south), 3079 Birchmount Road.
4. Cedarvale Park
You can take your kids and your dog to this hidden gem of a park. It’s got a large fenced off-leash area for four-legged friends, overlooking a sloping pit that’s suitable for kids of all ages, and not too busy. Park for free, right next to the hill in the lot of the Phil White arena, a city-owned indoor skating rink. There aren’t any convenience stores or coffee shops in the immediate vicinity, so bring the requisite snacks and hot chocolate with you. Cedarvale Park (http://www1.toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/complex/477/index.htm), 443 Arlington Ave.
5. Withrow Park
Lucky Riverdale residents enjoy the recreational perks of Withrow Park in the warm months, and the winter is no exception. There’s an outdoor skating rink, an off-leash area for dogs, and wonderful hills for sledding with small kids. Head to the south end of the park and walk further down Logan Avenue to grab coffee and hot chocolate at the Riverdale Perk, a kid-friendly neighbourhood café. Withrow Park (http://www1.toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/complex/306/),725 Logan Ave.
6. Centennial Park
Not only does this sprawling Etobicoke park offer dedicated hills for sledding, it’s got an affordable city-run ski hill with full ski-equipment rentals, and a gentle bunny hill for beginners. Parking is free and plentiful. If you’re sticking to sledding, skip the ski slope area (tobogganing is forbidden there) and head to the other side of the park marked Designated Toboggan Area. For beverages, snacks and a place to warm up, head over to the onsite ski chalet. Centennial Park (http://www1.toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/complex/798/), 256 Centennial Park Rd.
7. Linus Park
This northeast city park goes by two names: Linus Park and, unofficially, Crestview Park. The latter moniker gives you an idea of what you’ll see when you get there: a view of the Toronto cityscape below. Located south of Finch Avenue below Don Mills, this location has a lot to offer including hills that are lit up in the evening, ample parking, and uncrowded, wide and relatively gentle slopes. In other words, fantastic conditions for families with young kids. Linus Park (http://www1.toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/complex/341/index.htm),125 Seneca Hill Dr.
8. Riverdale Park West
Not to be confused with Riverdale Park East, which is near Broadview and Danforth (and also offers nice sledding slopes), Riverdale Park West is actually in Cabbagetown, east of Parliament street. In fact, it’s just a few steps below Riverdale Farm. Thrill-seeking sledders can’t get enough of this hill, it’s very steep, smooth and fast, but parents can breathe easy because there is a very long, flat run-off area. Riverdale Park West (http://www1.toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/complex/344/index.htm), 500 Gerrard St.
9. Trinity Bellwoods Park
This popular Queen West park has that busy exuberance that embodies downtown city living. Trinity Bellwoods offers a wide, shallow sledding hill that’s great for everyone. After tobogganing, famished families can dine at nearby vegetarian-friendly food outposts Fresh and Nadège Another draw is Type, the lovely independent bookstore across the street that has a nice kids’ section in the back. Trinity Bellwoods park (http://www.trinitybellwoods.ca/), 155 Crawford St.
10. High Park
This huge park has been a tobogganer’s favourite for more than 100 years. Head to the hill at Howard Park Avenue and Parkside Drive to take advantage of High Park’s designated toboggan hill. For babies and toddlers too young to fly downhill, all those open, undulating fields also make High Park the city’s best spot to pull them around in a sleigh while you stretch your legs and enjoy the crisp winter air. High Park (http://www.highpark.org/), 1873 Bloor St W.