Located on a man-made peninsula, Tommy Thompson park is only a few minutes drive from downtown Toronto, it is also over 500 hectares and extends over 5 kilometers into Lake Ontario.
Originally built as a breakwater, construction of the peninsula began in 1950’s, as Toronto expected an expansion to its existing harbours, thankfully, due to modern containerization technology, the project soon became unnecessary.
However the need for a headland remained and during the ’60s and ’70s development in Toronto exploded, and the Leslie Street Spit, as it’s called, became a convenient disposal site for tons of rubble and earth produced from building projects in the city.
TTP was created as nature had already begun reclaiming the peninsula’s open spaces. In fact, the park has some of the largest natural habitats within Toronto: Cottonwood forests, wildflower meadows, coastal marshes, sand dunes and cobble beaches are just some of the habitats to explore.
Wildlife, especially birds, have flourished and during Spring and Fall, you can find yourself among hundreds of different flocks migrating overhead as it is one of the best preserves within the GTA. As more than 300 species of birds have been identified, 45 of which breed in the park.
TTP is a great break from the city rush and a great place to enjoy an impromptu picnic. Remember, for some great views of the city, stick to shores facing west. Those are some of my favourite spots!
Here’s a map of the trails and check the TTC for best routes via public transit.