Exploring Tommy Thompson Park

Hello blog friends! I’m glad you are here. I hope you have time for a chat over a cup of coffee or tea. This past week, the weather started off on the cool side on Monday and Tuesday, then from Wednesday to the weekend, the high temperatures reached 20C (68F) with sunny skies.

The nice weather brought a big smile to my face. I decided to cycle to Tommy Thompson Park where I know there is a lot of open space and nature trails for cycling and walking. I had visited this park a few times during the summer.

About Tommy Thompson Park

Aerial view of Tommy Thompson Park
Source: Tommy Thompson Park web site

Park Location: Tommy Thompson Park is located at 1 Leslie Street, near Unwin Avenue, on a man-made peninsula, known as the Leslie Street Spit, which extends five kilometres (3.1 miles) into Lake Ontario.

Park Name: The name “Leslie Street Spit” was coined by local residents and remains the unofficial popular name. In 1985, the Spit was officially named Tommy Thompson Park to honour Toronto’s former Parks Commissioner.

Park Special Features:

  • The land on which the park lies is completely man-made using the sand/ silt dredged from Toronto Outer and Inner Harbours and the Keating Channel.
  • Tommy Thompson Park features a trail system that spans 18 kilometres (11.1 miles) with three types of trails that were designed for various user groups: Multi-use trail (7.4 km), Nature trails (3.3 km), and Pedestrian trails (7.3 km).
  • Tommy Thompson Park is considered one of the best places for bird watching in the city with more than 300 recorded species and a good spot for fishing.
  • Tommy Thompson Park has a Nature Centre and Bird Research Station. Unfortunately they are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic so guided interpretive tours and educational programs are unavailable at this time.

Exploring Tommy Thompson Park

Multi-use trail in Tommy Thompson Park
The multi-use and main trail in Tommy Thompson Park

From the park entrance, I followed the main trail that runs through the centre of the park. This flat paved, multi-use trail accommodates leisure cyclists, joggers, pedestrians, rollerbladers, and strollers.

The main trail has intermittent speed bumps and is approximately 5 km (3.1 miles) long from the park entrance to the Lighthouse. Wildflower meadows and cottonwood forests appear on both sides of the trail. I noticed a unique Please Brake For Snakes sign, a reminder that this park is Toronto’s urban wilderness.

In previous visits to the park, I walked the nature trails to see wildlife such as birds, butterflies, toads, etc. The Nature trails are narrow trails, only half a metre wide, are not graded and may be uneven. They’re intended for walking or hiking and target user groups such as nature watchers and photographers.

Pedestrian Bridge at Tommy Thompson Park
Pedestrian Bridge at Tommy Thompson Park

About half way through the park, the main trail crosses the small Pedestrian Bridge. The views on both sides of the bridge are amazing.

View of the Toronto skyline from Pedestrian Bridge
View of the Toronto skyline from Pedestrian Bridge
Unobstructed view of Lake Ontario and some rock stackings
Unobstructed view of Lake Ontario and some rock stackings

Continue on to the end of the main trail, there are rock boulders to sit on and gaze out to beautiful Lake Ontario. The water along the cobble beaches is clear with several rock formations that may have been built by previous visitors. It’s a nice spot for a break or a picnic.

One of many Nature trails in Tommy Thompson Park
One of many Nature trails in Tommy Thompson Park

From the main trail, I followed one of the Nature trails to reach one of the coastal marshes that provide critical habitat for wildlife. There are a wide variety of turtles and fish species found in and around Tommy Thompson Park, including Northern pike, largemouth bass, yellow perch, and lake trout.

Heading home....Love a curvy trail
Heading home…Love a curvy trail

It was delightful to be outside cycling and walking in the sunshine. Exploring Tommy Thompson Park was an excellent way to spend a morning. As I headed home, I was grateful once again for the wonderful places we have around here to enjoy.

How did your week go? I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking here.

Copyright © 2023 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.

65 thoughts on “Exploring Tommy Thompson Park

  1. Ally Bean November 8, 2020 / 6:25 am

    Tommy Thompson Park is gorgeous. It has an interesting history, too. I can see why you *needed* to go there on a warm November morning.


    • Natalie November 8, 2020 / 8:25 am

      Ally, Yes, I like to come to this park as it has a lot of space, trails, nature, and surrounded by water. I think how the park is created from sand/ sift is a good ‘recycling and reuse’ example.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill Weatherholt November 8, 2020 / 9:55 am

    What a wonderful outing, Natalie. The park is so beautiful. I think I’d have a hard time leaving. We’ve been visiting our local parks lately. It’s nice to see our tax dollars spent on something that provides to much pleasure to people. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos.


    • Natalie November 8, 2020 / 1:17 pm

      Jill, I could spend the whole day at this park and come back again. I’m glad you’ve been visiting your local parks, too. I agree with you about seeing our tax dollars spent on something that provides so much pleasure to people. I think a park is a long lasting legacy that wealthy people who can afford it should consider leaving behind.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sagittarius Viking November 8, 2020 / 12:59 pm

    The lake and surrounding trails looks lovely! I’m amazed that you got to enjoy such warm temperatures this week. I’m OK if the snow could wait until the second week of December (until I finished moving,) and then come down in massive amounts, and stay the whole winter 🙂 Have a fabulous new week!


    • Natalie November 8, 2020 / 1:20 pm

      Maria, Yes, the weather this week is unusual for November here. It’s still sunny and warm until Tuesday then by next Wednesday, the forecast calls for more seasonal temperatures. I hope it stays dry for you on your moving day. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Antoinette Truglio Martin November 8, 2020 / 6:18 pm

    Lovely. YOu do find beautiful places to discover.


    • Natalie November 8, 2020 / 6:39 pm

      Thank you, Antoinette. This park is unique and interesting. I try to go there as often as possible.


  5. Joanne November 8, 2020 / 7:41 pm

    Oh I just love those views from the Pedestrian Bridge!


    • Natalie November 8, 2020 / 8:03 pm

      Yes, the views from the Pedestrian Bridge are amazing.


  6. Deborah November 8, 2020 / 8:02 pm

    I like the the trail is an established path as it makes it great for cycling! I’m not a fan of snakes (very phobic) so the snake sign would freak me out but it looks like a lovely spot!


    • Natalie November 8, 2020 / 8:11 pm

      Yes, the main trail is great for cycling. This park is well known locally for birds, butterflies, and fish and I’ve seen a lot of them during my visits. I haven’t seen any snake there yet although they’re probably hiding in the wooded areas.


  7. msomerville2014 November 8, 2020 / 8:14 pm

    What a wonderful park. You always do a good job of describing all that is available and great pictures. I love the picture of the rock stacking near the water, too. My life has been extra busy lately, some good changes and some challenges, so just trying to get back into reading and writing. I always enjoy your posts and pictures. Michele


    • Natalie November 8, 2020 / 8:32 pm

      Thank you, Michele, for reading my post and commenting despite your busy schedule. I hope more good things come your way and you’re able to enjoy reading and writing at a comfortable pace. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. csuhpat1 November 8, 2020 / 8:17 pm

    Oh wow, what a beautiful and wonderful park. Very nice.


    • Natalie November 8, 2020 / 8:33 pm

      Thank you, Patrick, for your comment. I greatly appreciate it.


  9. leannelc November 8, 2020 / 10:47 pm

    What a beautiful spot Natalie – and the weather looks just perfect for cycling and wandering, and enjoying a day out. Thanks for sharing this lovely place with us in your photos.


    • Natalie November 9, 2020 / 8:17 am

      Leanne, It was a beautiful day for a visit to this park. The unusually warm weather continues so I’m enjoying it and exploring different parks in the city. Have a wonderful week!


  10. Retirement Reflections November 9, 2020 / 12:08 am

    I’m so glad that you have had such brilliant fall weather there, Natalie.
    The weather here is just beginning to turn colder.
    Awesome photos — I would definitely ‘brake for snakes’! 😀


    • Natalie November 9, 2020 / 8:22 am

      Hi Donna, The weather has been very good here for November. I was surprised to see the “brake for snakes” sign which I haven’t seen in any other parks that I’ve been to. I’d brake for them, too 🙂


  11. Susanne November 9, 2020 / 4:00 am

    It looks lovely! How nice to have an area like this so close the city (or at least it looks like it’s close to the city).


    • Natalie November 9, 2020 / 8:26 am

      Susanne, This park is close to the city centre but feels wild when you’re there. I like it a lot.


  12. EdinburghCook November 9, 2020 / 4:30 am

    Lovely to be taken on a virtual bike ride…..not sure about the snakes though!


    • Natalie November 9, 2020 / 8:29 am

      So far I haven’t seen any snake on all of my visits to this park. I’ve seen a lot of birds, butterflies, and fish there 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Debbie November 9, 2020 / 4:33 am

    I love that rock stack Natalie! My husband often makes them but not like this one! Sounds like a great bike ride and you are right to make the most of the weather while you can. #lifethisweek


    • Natalie November 9, 2020 / 8:31 am

      Debbie, Rock stacking is fun, isn’t it? There were a few lower, smaller rock stacks on that beach. The nice weather continues this week so I’ve already got a couple more long bike rides in. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. trentpmcd November 9, 2020 / 10:12 am

    Looks like a fantastic place, close to the city, but far away from it all. It’s great that they were able to put the “debris” to such good use 🙂


    • Natalie November 9, 2020 / 10:27 am

      Yes, I also like the re-use of sand/ silt and how over time, birds, fish and other organisms make this park their home.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Laurie November 9, 2020 / 1:09 pm

    I am going to bookmark this page, Natalie. Thank you for sharing. If we ever get to travel to Canada again, we are planning an Ontario visit. This looks like the perfect place to run. I love the sign warning bikers to brake for snakes.


    • Natalie November 9, 2020 / 1:52 pm

      Laurie, Lots to see and do in Ontario and of course in Toronto since it’s a big city. This park has the length to make it a good place to run. If you do a few loops, the distance adds up to a marathon. I like the lake views around the park, too.


  16. Debbie November 9, 2020 / 2:58 pm

    What a pretty place for a bike ride … or a walk! And it looks like you had a spectacular day for your outing, too. That ‘Please Brake for Snakes’ sign would’ve given me pause though — I’m squeamish over the little slithery ones!!


    • Natalie November 9, 2020 / 4:12 pm

      Debbie, So far from all my visits to this park, I’ve seen many birds, butterflies and fish and no snake. I haven’t heard of anyone encountered a snake there either. Hopefully I won’t see one anytime soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Frank Hubeny November 9, 2020 / 10:31 pm

    I like that rock stacking. They almost look like bricks.


    • Natalie November 10, 2020 / 8:42 am

      Yes, there are a few smaller rock stacks on that beach. The stones are smooth with nice grey and reddish colours.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Catherine Sokolowski November 10, 2020 / 7:42 pm

    I wish I lived closer to Ontario to enjoy your park. It looks like a beautiful place to enjoy some fresh air and exercise.


    • Natalie November 11, 2020 / 8:23 am

      Catherine, I’ve always appreciated the many parks and lakes in Ontario, even more so during this pandemic. I just read about your fun and relaxing RV trip to the three parks in Florida. Hope you enjoy more safe adventures.


  19. Veronica Lee November 10, 2020 / 11:21 pm

    Looks like a wonderful outing, Natalie! Those views are incredible!

    I could visit the park every day!

    Happy Wednesday!


    • Natalie November 11, 2020 / 8:25 am

      Happy Wednesday, Veronica! This park is nice and not far from the city centre. I like to spend time cycling and walking there.


  20. Gary Wilson November 11, 2020 / 1:29 pm

    Hi Natalie. It has been a very long week for us but there remain plenty of things to be thankful for, so that’s where I’m trying to maintain my focus while other fight the ongoing battle that some of our state officials have brought us. It really is too bad we have such embarrassing people on government payroll. The better stuff to think about, remains your photos (lovely) and your review of this amazing park. What a blessing to have such a place nearby.


    • Natalie November 11, 2020 / 1:59 pm

      Gary, I feel for the people living in the USA. I hope you have a much better week this week. Focusing on gratitude and positive things, no mater how small, is a wise approach. I’m thankful for the city parks and the nice weather we’ve been having here. They lift my spirits.


  21. Lydia C. Lee November 11, 2020 / 6:11 pm

    Brake for snakes? I’ve never seen that before…


    • Natalie November 11, 2020 / 6:25 pm

      I’ve only seen that sign at this park and had to brake to take the photo 🙂


  22. Min Write of the Middle November 11, 2020 / 6:31 pm

    What a gorgeous spot! I love the aerial view that gives us a good perspective. We have a man made beach here where I live. The sand has been brought in. It looks and feels so natural. You have so many beautiful places out in nature to explore over there! Have a great week Natalie. xo


    • Natalie November 11, 2020 / 6:36 pm

      Min, Your man-made beach must bring a lot of enjoyment to its visitors. We have many city parks here and Lake Ontario is a real gem. Have a wonderful week!


  23. betty - NZ November 12, 2020 / 12:27 am

    What an interesting place! I’m glad you shared it with us.

    Thanks for sharing your link at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!


    • Natalie November 12, 2020 / 8:18 am

      Thank you, Betty, for hosting. I’m glad to share this unique park at your MCoW link up. Have a great week!


  24. Denyse Whelan Blogs November 12, 2020 / 12:51 am

    So good to see such natural resources within viewing distance of your city.

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week the optional prompt is 46/51 Exams. 16.11.2020 Hope to see you then! Denyse.


    • Natalie November 12, 2020 / 8:19 am

      Thank you, Denyse, for hosting. I’m glad to share this unique park at your LTW link up. Have a wonderful week!


    • Natalie November 13, 2020 / 8:18 am

      Thank you, Brooke and Danielle, for your visit and comment. How nice that you share your handmade fashions geared for travel destinations on your blog.


  25. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit November 19, 2020 / 12:55 am

    Even after all of our weird, whacky and wonderful Aussie animal road signs, I’ve never seen one for snakes. We should all care about our snakes! Even the poisonous ones. There are plenty of them in our world Down Under.
    Love the aerial shot of Tommy Thompson Park. Such a cool shape


    • Natalie November 19, 2020 / 8:40 am

      Leanne, That’s the first time I see a road sign for snakes and it rhymes. Snakes are part of the food chain so yeah, we should care about their population. I’m glad to find that aerial shot of T.T. Park as it shows how the park sits out in Lake Ontario.


  26. Erica/Erika November 19, 2020 / 10:53 pm

    I love all of this interesting information I glean from your posts, Natalie. “Brake for snakes” is a first for me! Like you say, grateful for the places to explore. We have had a lot of pouring rain around here. I still go out for walks, yet it is a different experience.


    • Natalie November 20, 2020 / 8:39 am

      Hi Erica/ Erika, Good for you to still go out for walks in the rain. I hope you have a sunny break soon. We had atypical warm days here for November. Today’s high is 14C. It will be back to seasonal temperatures on the weekend. I like Tommy Thompson Park a lot. Every time I go to this park, I feel like a kid with many things to engage my senses.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Sanch @ Sanch Writes November 20, 2020 / 2:17 am

    Looks like such a lovely weekend! Gorgeous photos! Had to laugh at the snakes sign!


    • Natalie November 20, 2020 / 8:40 am

      Sanch, I’ve only seen that “Brake for snakes” sign in this park so far. I’m glad it made you laugh.


  28. Dr Sock November 21, 2020 / 7:17 pm

    I’m curious about why the city created this peninsula in the first place? Was it simply that they needed a place to dump the silt from dredging the harbour? Or as a windbreak? Lots of brick on the beach, I noticed.



    • Natalie November 21, 2020 / 9:00 pm

      Hi Jude, This park is a fascinating accident. In the late 1950s, the Toronto Harbour Commissioners started the construction on Leslie Street Spit for port-related facilities. By early 1970s, a site for port-related facilities wasn’t needed. By this time, however, the natural processes that had evolved during the planning and construction of the site had shaped the spit into a truly “accidental wilderness”. Dr. David Suzuki did a documentary on this and the park history with accompanying photos that show the changes over the years are on the park web site at https://tommythompsonpark.ca/ There is a place called The Spot at one end of the park where people create and leave their art work using bricks, stones, paints and other materials.


      • Dr Sock December 19, 2020 / 5:43 pm

        That’s fascinating Natalie. I learn so much from reading your blog.



        • Natalie December 19, 2020 / 6:39 pm

          Jude, Your questions were excellent. The pandemic makes me stay at home more and as a result, I have more time to explore and learn about local places and their history. It’s been fun and good learning for me, too.


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