Snow is the number-one reason why kids love winter. They may put up a fight when it’s time to put on all their layers (see Thomas’ Snowsuit by Robert Munsch for reference), but once they’re outside all is forgiven and forgotten. The rush of the downward sled, the thrill of looking down from the top of the hill, and the friendly sled racing bring out the smiles, the laughter, and the rosy cheeks.
No matter where you are in the city, there is a tobogganing hill nearby. We are here to point you in the right direction. Below is a list of the best hills in the GTA, categorized by neighbourhood.
This massive park crosses the border between the west end and the York-crosstown, making it part of two neighbourhoods. At the south end, just a short walk from the Warren Park Junior Public School, there is a small hill perfect for little legs. For the big kids, there is great tobogganing near the Humber River or a larger hill behind the Lambton Arena (which also has scheduled public skating if you want to spend a whole day doing winter activities).
4100 Dundas St W. (at the Humber River), Toronto
This is a great alternative to High Park and often has less hill-goers. It is also a better distance to walk for those living west of High Park who normally have to circumvent Grenadier Pond. The hill isn’t too big, but it has a nice incline, so the kids can pick up a little speed. The hill is just behind the Swansea Community Recreation Centre; while one of the kids has lessons inside, take the other ones out for some downhill adventuring. If you’ve got kids with different tastes in fun, there is also an outdoor skating rink on the other side of the park.
1 Rennie Terrace (near Windermere Ave. and Morningside Ave.), Toronto
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.
1873 Bloor St. W., Toronto
This park on the west side of Keele Street, 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.
55 Oakmount Rd. (at Keele St.), Toronto
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.
375 Sumach St. (near Gerrard St. E.), Toronto
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.
155 Crawford St. (between Queen St. W. and Dundas St. W.), Toronto
This little park is walking distance from Christie Pits (and only four minutes from Christie Station), so it often ends up being a less-crowded option. The park is shaped like a bowl, which basically means it is perfect for downhill sporting; the tobogganing happens anywhere from the edge of the rim downwards. You’ve got a great view from the top, of the kids tobogganing and of the CN Tower, so don’t forget to snap some pics.
400 Grace St. (just south of Bloor St. W. at Christie St.), Toronto
Midtown and Uptown
This park is only about a five-minute walk from St. Clair West station and there are several hills for a variety of ages and tobogganing-skill levels. If you’re looking for speed, head up the path from the intersection at St. Clair and Spadina to find some steeper hills (one of the steepest in the city in fact). On your way to the hill, stop off at the massive Loblaws and grab some snacks to enjoy hillside.
301 St Clair Ave. W. (near Spadina Ave.), Toronto
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.
750 Bloor St. W. (at Christie St.), Toronto
Rosehill Reservoir at David A Balfour Park
This green space is like a city-centre oasis. The sloping trails and numerous hills offer great tobogganing for families and ample winter hiking opportunities. Each hill is different, although most have gentle slopes that are better suited for younger kids. You can access the reservoir from Summerhill Station (10 minutes) or St. Clair Station (5 minutes). After a busy morning of snowy voyaging, take in an afternoon matinee at the nearby Cineplex.
75 Rosehill Ave. (near St. Clair Ave. E. and Yonge St.), Toronto
This park is adjacent to the North Toronto Memorial Arena and has two outdoor skating rinks. It’s not a wild and crazy ride, but on a snowy afternoon, it provides a gentle downhill jaunt and lots of space to build snowmen or pretend you’re Elsa and Anna. And if you become weary of the snow, take shelter at the nearby Yonge Eglinton Centre and treat yourselves to books, toys, food, and a movie.
200 Eglinton Ave. W. (near Avenue Rd.), Toronto
This 18-hectare park has some of the best views you can get while sledding in Toronto. The downtown skyline and the snowy hill remind you just how awesome it is to live in this city—a perfect harmony of urban and suburban. Riverdale Park East has a long wide hill with pretty steep inclines, perfect for older kids who love a thrill. Or you can stick to the gentler slopes for a milder ride. After a day in the cold, you can take the kids for a walk up to the Danforth to find a treat.
550 Broadview Ave. (south of Danforth Ave.), Toronto
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.
725 Logan Ave. (south of Danforth Ave.), Toronto
Greenwood Park is best known as the home of Toronto’s first covered outdoor skating rink, but the locals know it also has some pretty decent tobogganing hills. And, as all parents and caregivers know—any hill will do when it’s covered in snow.
150 Greenwood Ave. (at Gerrard St. E.), Toronto
This quaint little park is perfect for all ages. During the day the younger ones come out to enjoy the mid-sized hill, while the big kids usually wait until after dinner when they can amp things up a bit. The park is also right off the Danforth, which means you have access to many cafes and culinary delights.
1949 Danforth Ave. (near Woodbine Ave.), Toronto
This 1.6-hectare park is popular with dog owners for its off-leash area, but also has a small, gentle slope for tobogganing. Not for thrill-seekers, but perfect for younger kids.
69 Cassels Ave. (at Gerrard St. E.), Toronto
These small hills are found right behind the Fairmount Park Community Centre, which means you can go from sledding to swimming in a matter of minutes. And when the weather permits, you can also partake in a little outdoor skating.
1725 Gerrard St. E. (east of Coxwell Ave.), Toronto
You can take your kids and your dog to this hidden gem of a park in Oakwood Village/Forest Hill. 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.
443 Arlington Ave. (near Vaughan Rd.), Toronto
This park is a tucked away treasure in the Mount Dennis neighbourhood. Also known as Jasper Park, Westlake boasts great city views and is really popular with the locals. The hill is mostly straight and considerably steep, so it is best left to older kids who have more control over their sledding vehicle.
86 Jasper Ave. (near Weston Rd. and Black Creek Dr.), Toronto
Tucked away near Leaside High School at the edge of Howard Talbot Park is a hidden sledding gem with a great hill for a day of snowy fun. Be cautious of the little ones due to minor obstructions in a few spots, and keep an eye out for wandering dogs. Otherwise, enjoy yourself; this hill is the perfect size for family-style tobogganing.
635 Eglinton Ave E. (near Bayview Ave.), Toronto
This park has a short hill great for younger kids or those who don’t want to climb up high. If you and the kids are feeling adventurous, there are more intense thrills to be had at the nearby ravine.
1132 Leslie St. (near Eglinton Ave. E.), Toronto
Just past the arena you’ll find a hill that isn’t too steep, but will do in a pinch. Kids with steerable sleds and racers will find the wooded areas a good place to practice their driving, just be sure they’ve got their helmets on! Considering the size of the park, there is a good chance that explorers will find other sled-able hills as well.
260 Dawes Rd. (near Woodbine Ave. and O’Connor Dr.), Toronto
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.
125 Seneca Hill Dr. (near Don Mills Rd.), North York
A short walk north from Linus, Willesden Park is a great alternative. There’s lots of room to play and run around and just enough slope to get going. This is a great starter hill for first time sledders or for kids who prefer a slower pace.
88 Willesden Rd. (near Finch Ave. E. and Leslie St.), North York
This stellar tobogganing hill can be found near Port Union Road and Highway 401. There is a shelter, a playground and plenty of open space to build snowy masterpieces. For those of you brave enough to go nighttime sledding, this park comes complete with lights to guide your way!
2 Rozell Rd., Scarborough
Tucked away in Scarborough is a fantastic sledding hill at L’Amoreaux Park South. 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.
3079 Birchmount Rd. (north of Finch Ave. E.), Scarborough
This small triangular park behind the Blantyre public outdoor pool has a variety of small hills, both sloping and steep. The steeper hills have obstacles, so have the kids avoid them unless they are wearing helmets.
80 Fallingbrook Rd. (near Victoria Park Ave. and Kingston Rd.), Scarborough
This little neighbourhood park has a nice small hill, perfect for little ones just learning to sled. And in the middle is a field where bigger kids can build forts and make snowmen. There are a few trees on one side, so be cautious.
99 Chartland Blvd. S. (near Midland Ave. and Huntingwood Dr.), Scarborough
Right down on the shores of Lake Ontario, you’ll find Colonel Sam Smith Park. If you’re not there to enjoy the amazing 250-metre ice skating trail, then you should check out the hill just west of the path. It often gets busy, but is still a nice way to spend an afternoon by the lake.
3145 Lake Shore Blvd W. (at Kipling Ave.), Etobicoke
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.
256 Centennial Park Rd. (at Eglinton Ave. W.), Etobicoke
This is your typical neighbourhood hill, perfect for families looking to have a day of tobogganing and used mainly by people who live within walking distance of the park. The park is also home to the Memorial Pool and Health Club and the Central Arena. Plan a whole day to incorporate sledding, swimming and skating at Tom Riley Park.
4725 Dundas St. W. (at Islington Ave.), Etobicoke
Right beside the Humber Valley Village Junior Middle School, this steep hill is a great place for some downhill sliding. And for those who don’t much care for trudging through the snow, there are stairs to make it nice and easy to get back up to the top. The park also has an outdoor rink for families wishing to make it a multi-sport day.
54 Anglesey Blvd. (west of Royal York Rd., north of Dundas St. W.), Etobicoke