top of page

A hidden local forest near Riverdale Park East, for a cool spring stroll

Riverdale Park East is famous as one of the best spots to catch a sunset over Toronto. I just discovered a new reason to love this urban gem! It sits right next to a small forest featuring two surprising sights. It is peppered with lilac trees, and includes some nature art installations.

Follow the trail!

If you follow the trail north of the running rack in Riverdale Park East, you will stroll through a forest, reaching Dundas Street East in 12 minutes.

I went there, having heard about some recent nature art installations (more about this further in the text). Then I got my first whiff of lilacs!

lilac season only lasts from May to early June.

The entrance to the little forest is inviting. Many mature trees in there! And lots of dirt sidetrails. I wanted t to stretch my legs first so I walked straight to Dundas St, passing over the Don Valley Parkway ramp on the pedestrian bridge.

Along the way, I noticed a peculiar tree... looking at me. Someone made very good use of googly eyes! As we get closer to Dundas, we pass by the City Adult Learning Centre.

On the way back, the green hues were quite luscious. I explored the side trails, found many more lilac trees along with other trees in bloom.

Art in nature

Most of the artistic installations are located closed to the wooden fence by the park. From the main trail, we get to see one marking the the spot. I recommend walking up along the wooden fence to discover the rest of the installations.

It appears that the anonymous artist dwells in a tent nearby. Some might find it intimidating. Come with a companion. I assume that the installations are there to be admired and left untouched.

Walking amidst the little clearing and all the way up leads us to the only public beach, just souht of Riverdale Pool.

While you are here

This is roughly a 3-km walk, excluding the exploration of the side trails. A nicce way to extend your walk is to cross over to Riverdale Park West, using the pedestrian bridge which runs over the Don River and highway. Riverdale Farm and Cabbagetown await on the other side.

Don't miss the several sculptures on the west flank of Bridgepoint Hospital (just south of the park)!

Rooster Coffee House is the perfect stop, before or after your walk.

This post is a complement to local author Nathalie Prézeau's walking guide: Toronto BEST Urban Strolls. (currently SOLD OUT!) and Toronto Street Art Strolls (still available). You already own the BEST Urban Strolls guide? Check Nathalie's WEEKLY WALKS calendar available on her site It's free, easily printable by season, and it includes page references which should help you enjoy urban walks year-round.

Visit to subscribe to Nathalie's coming newsletter and follow the author on social media to find out what latest urban gems she's found for you and to keep posted on her next guide.


bottom of page