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June 28, 2019

Local Treasures Are Just A Walk Away!

Eager to get your walking shoes on? Discover the treasures that are a walk away and get to know your neighbourhood on foot.

You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find! When it comes to starting out as a walker, one of the first suggestions I make is to start where you live. Your neighbourhood is your home turf, so you can take a spin without a big drive or a big plan.  Just head out the door.  Your neighbourhood might hold many familiar sights and sounds, but, look a little closer and you might find a whole world you didn’t know was there.

My neighbourhood in Scarborough’s West Hill area backs on to Highland Creek. When I moved there, it was like a candy store of discovery for a regular walker like me.  I could get to Lake Ontario with a 25-minute walk and on the way, be serenaded by all kinds of birds.  It became my regular jaunt.  But, there were parts I never got to until I started walking with my cousin who has also lived in the same neighbourhood for over twenty years. She brought me to streets literally down the road from me that I had never touched.  From there, my curiosity about my own ‘backyard’ took hold.

Choosing your routes 

I have multiple routes and combinations to satisfy my desire on any given day.  Depending on how much time I have, what my mood wants, how much sidewalk or greenspace I want, or what works better in the evening or in winter, it’s all right from my doorstep.  I especially love walking in the evenings in winter when the neighbourhood is lit up with holiday lights and decorations all unique to the families in each house.  Right now, I love seeing everyone’s front gardens and checking out what they’ve got growing.

Tips and resources

  • Check Google Maps of your neighbourhood to get that bird’s eye view of the streets and green spaces immediately around you.
  • Try using Map My Walk to put routes together and track distances and pace.
  • Let someone know you’re heading out for a walk.
  • Bring water and your charged cell phone.
  • Music is a great walking companion - I like to listen to SiriusXM or Spotify from the phone speaker so I can also hear what’s going on around me.
  • Start off with a pace and distance that’s comfortable for you and increase when it’s feeling too easy.
  • Walking in the evening? Wear a high visibility vest or other reflective and contrasting item.
  • Add walking poles to add speed and engage your upper body.
  • Look around when you’re walking to see who else is out. Say hi! Maybe you can start to walk together.
  • Use parks to link streets together – Toronto has more parkland than we realize and even a ‘pocket-sized park’ can be the perfect connection and ‘green break'.
  • Like any outdoor activity, dress for the weather, be aware of the hottest times of day to walk in the summer and use sun protection
  • Say yes to your walk as your appointment with yourself – it’s easy to let other things get in your way.
  • Walking year round lets you see how your neighbourhood changes with the seasons.

More walking inspiration: Explore Toronto's beautiful neighbourhoods.

Urban Gems: Explore 9 Toronto Neighbourhoods by Susan Oliver 

Susan is a city dweller who has lived in the City of Toronto's Davisville Village for over 20 years. She has discovered you don’t need to leave the city to find beautiful urban trails to explore. Check out some of the gems she has discovered on her weekend adventures. Simply stunning. 

(Photo Credit:  Susan Oliver)


Check out our Athlete Advisor, your online athletic business directory. Find, rate and review programs, local community offerings and businesses that will help you do your thing.  

Need a place to connect and coordinate with fellow walkers? Start a group. Explore events. Check out our SWSCD Hub.

Look for advice, stories, news and more on our Walking activity page.  

Tell us about your favourite urban walking trail or route or even about your greatest walking moment. Share your highlights directly on our Discover blog or by using #seewhatshecando on social media and inspire others to get active. 


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