One of my favourite things to do, especially in summer and fall, is hiking. We've hit a phase where the kids are too heavy, independent and rambunctious for a longer stretch in our hiking carriers and not quite endurance focused enough to tread along side us for a lengthy or complicated trail.
We've been seeking out nearby parks and trails that are toddler friendly to help better prepare them (ahem) for "the roads ahead" and hopefully provide them with an appreciation of something that we can do together as a family.
Our first hike was at James Gardens in Toronto. Most Torontonians know James Gardens as the wedding photo destination in the west end because of it's pretty flowers and convenient location. James Gardens will always hold a special place in my heart because it's where I launched down a giant hill in roller blades in the 1990's, unaware that the breaks had been removed, when I fell and slid into a giant mud puddle. Did I mention I was wearing overalls? As I stomped through the grounds of the gardens (in bare feet because I wasn't smart enough to bring shoes) looking like Swamp Thing, I was way too busy blaming the events on my high school boyfriend to really enjoy James Gardens.
Below are some things that make James Gardens a great destination for hiking training for kids, general site seeing and working on biking skills before you hit the main streets with a novice cyclist. (James Gardens is TTC accessible from Royal York station. Take the Royal York bus 73 to Royal York Road, walk east on Edenbridge Road.) I'd say our trip was a success!
Plenty of ducks for feeding/ freaking out your children when they come a little too close for comfort.
Scenic paths and bridges.
Open fields and many gravel paths beside the bike paths to ensure that little hikers don't get in the way of cyclists or out of control roller bladers.
Great picnic spots. We managed to "hike" for about half an hour before it was time to jump on mom and dads shoulders.
A giant turtle sculpture for climbing.
To read about a baby wearing hiking adventure click here
Any suggestions for short/easy kid friendly trails around the city would be greatly appreciated as we build our hiking and nature appreciation skills.