With the weather improving, there are a lot of events going on in the city. Known as a former farming community before World War II, Etobicoke has an unassuming, yet appealing nature that makes it a vibrant part of the GTA. If you're looking to scope out Toronto in spring, these are the top 10 things to do in Etobicoke. All of them make excellent options for a weekend getaway or fun day trip.
1. Humber Bay Parks
When deciding what to see in Etobicoke, this is a popular place to start. Spanning Lake Ontario’s shores in Toronto’s west end, Humber Bay Parks (East and West) extend into the water, creating a scenic atmosphere for hikes or a picnic with your loved ones.
There’s also Humber Bay Shores Park, which provides a jaw-dropping look at the Toronto skyline. You’ll get to meet some high-flying friends along the way as birds and butterflies are always nearby. Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat, also located in Humber Bay Shores Park, showcases butterflies in various developmental stages as well as unique plants and flowers.
There are a few trails for you to hike, including the Martin Goodman Trail, featuring the Humber River Arch Bridge, which is a picturesque place to enjoy a stroll.
2. Colonel Samuel Smith Park
This former weekend getaway spot for Victorian Torontonians is located along a stretch of wooded shoreline in the Kipling and Lakeshore area.
You will find plants and animals in abundance at the park, plus trees, birds, and wildlife, making it one of Etobicoke's more active areas. There is an off-leash dog park, plus stretches for you to cycle, run, and hike.
3. Centennial Park
This multi-purpose facility is filled with exploration and sporting areas sure to keep you active throughout each day. There are sports fields, playgrounds for the children, baseball and softball diamonds, picnic areas, and a wading pool. Furthermore, there is a 27-hole golf course inside the Centennial Park Golf Centre, catering to golfers of all levels. Then, you can check out the Etobicoke Olympium, a multi-use facility and 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games training venue, which facilitates and promotes amateur competitive sports.
There is also the Centennial Park Conservatory, housing a plethora of plant collections and hosting seasonal flower shows, in addition to many greenhouses.
4. Cheese Boutique
This picture perfect food institution on the edge of Etobicoke will not only have you saying cheese, but you’ll also be looking at, eating, and taking it home if you wish.
In existence since 1970, the Cheese Boutique is a sanctuary for globally-imported cheeses and has a produce section with fruits, vegetables, and specialty products. They age their cheeses, cure their own meats, and boast thousands of imported ingredients.
There is an ageing room you can visit to see how cheese is preserved as well. Humidity and temperature levels are controlled in this specially-climatized area, showing you how these cheeses are able to last for years. You can also enjoy freshly-prepared pizza, desserts, and espresso.
5. Tom’s Dairy Freeze
This vintage ice cream shop on the Queensway has been operating for 50 years and is a go-to spot to start the spring season.
It's renowned for its soft-serve ice cream filled with real cream, featuring chocolate (using cocoa) and vanilla (mixing the cream with vanilla beans). Your children may also get a Sesame Street flashback when they see the ‘Cookie Monster,’ a vanilla soft-serve dipped in tangy blue raspberry, rolled in crushed Oreos. It's a visual masterpiece that tastes as great as it looks.
There are also burgers, fries, and milkshakes to enjoy at Tom’s Dairy Freeze, a real throwback to the ice cream places of decades ago.
6. Black Oak Brewery
Creating fresh brews since 1999, this brewery in the heart of Etobicoke offers weekly tours and tastings as well as parties to showcase new releases. There’s also live music and space to host private events, such as weddings, bachelor parties, and other social gatherings.
7. Village of Islington
Also known as the Village of Murals, this outdoor art gallery is encapsulated by a series of murals along Dundas Street. These paintings can normally be found on the sides of buildings, though some are painted on bridges along Mimico Creek.
The murals display Islington’s evolution across several generations, from young ladies singing to kids playing golf to vintage spots such as Gordon’s Dairy and others. It’s a blend of art and culture that will keep you interested as well as informed.
8. Montgomery’s Inn
Built around 1830, this former home to an Irish family is now a museum open to visitors worldwide. The inn hosts art exhibitions during the spring as well as market days every Wednesday afternoon throughout the year. You can also enjoy beer or wine to the sounds of traditional music during their Thirsty Thursdays concert series. There are also operas, teatimes serving up fresh meals, and lots more.
9. Fantasy Fair
Located inside Woodbine Shopping Centre, this amusement centre has over a dozen rides and attractions for all ages. Plus, you can plan parties and events your kids will love or head over to the three-level playground for a day of unbridled fun.
10. Woodbine Racetrack
Of all the must-visit places in Etobicoke, this might be the most well-known. You can watch live racing here each weekend or on Wednesdays, check out special events, or scan their array of slots and betting tables. There are also dining options, including Champions Bar and Patio, where you can eat while watching races, the Finish Line Bar, and other areas to enjoy.