Toronto urban nature and winter walks: down the ravine
Updated: Jan 24
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU? A funky café + a winter walk up and down a boardwalk in Sherwood Park.
De Mello Coffee is one of my favourite roasters in town. Whenever I have a chance, I go to their cool coffee shop on Yonge (2489 Yonge St, open daily 8 am to 6 pm) to stock up.
And whenever I visit a café, I always look for an interesting walk around the place. In this case, Sherwood Park & ravine is the perfect choice.
De Mello Coffee
Behind the funky facade of De Mello awaits a narrow café with a few seatings under a canopy of black umbrellas. Well-trained baristas are busy behind a long counter with scrumptious snacks (tiramisu, mocha chocolate brownies, ham and cheese croissants). And there’s a hidden back store.
That’s where one finds a wide range of De Mello specialty coffees (they have more online), soft caramels, chocolate, brewing accessories and other merchandize.
To get there
If you come by car, the best scenario is to park in the small parking lot at the end of Sherwood Avenue. Then, you walk to Yonge Street and turn left to reach De Mello café (a 15-min walk).
Once you’ve grabbed coffee and treats, head back to Sherwood Park, following the trails up to Bayview Avenue, then back. All in all, it’s a 4.2-km walk. If you’re taking public transportation, the café is a 7-min walk from Eglinton Subway Station. It will add 1 km to the loop. If you prefer a shorter walk, you can find street parking on Yonge or Keewatin Avenue, visit the café, then hop in your car to drive to the parking lot at the end of Sherwood Avenue. It will trim the loop down to 2.2 kms.
The parking lot at the foot of Sherwood Avenue is right by the entrance to Sherwood Park. Note that it’s a hilly park and there’s no winter maintenance, so beware of icy conditions on the paved path and the stairs.
To our right, we normally get to see kids tobogganing all the way down a long gentle slope. The path runs down the ravine. Past a stream, you’ll see staircases. Walk up the stairs, then follow the path ahead of you. There’s seriously no way to get lost!
By the way, this is where the off-leash dog park begins!
We get to admire impressive mature trees and the backyard of some major properties. Soon you’ll walk on boardwalks and go up and down wooden stairs, to the song of Burke Brook.
At one point, you’ll encounter a dream house with two levels of patios and a private tennis court. Past that, take the left trail at the fork to walk to the mouth of the brook, cross to the other side and return to the trail.
Were you to continue up the hill further east, you would reach Bayview Avenue. You could take the pedestrian bridge to your right and walk northbound on the other side of Bayview to access the steep entrance to the ravine leading to Sunnybrook Park. (It’s another wonderful ravine, but the hill going down to the brook gets VERY tricky when conditions are icy.)
This post is a complement to local author Nathalie Prézeau's walking guide: Toronto BEST Urban Strolls. You already own this book? Check Nathalie's WEEKLY WALKS calendar available on her site www.torontourbangems.com/calendar. It's free, easily printable by season, and it includes page references which should help you enjoy urban walks year-round.
Nathalie's guides are available in Toronto’s major bookstores, on torontourbangems.com/shop and amazon.ca or indigo.ca. We also deliver or contact the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a pick up with a discount at 299 Booth Avenue, in Leslieville.