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Humber Arboretum

101 hectares of park crisscrossed by 5 km of paths

This conservation area in the city's north-west has hills, meadow, woodland and more rabbits than you can shake a carrot at, nestled within a wide bend of the North Humber River.

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Terrain

A variety of trails through three ecological zones - springy grass through open meadow, wood chip and boardwalk through hardwood forest and a gravel path through floral gardens.

Parking/transit

Just off Finch Avenue West between Highways 427 and 27. Turn south onto Humber College Boulevard and follow the signs to parking at the end of Arboretum Boulevard. Public transit connections are scant; Humber College is a 45-minute ride on the Wilson 96 A,D or E bus from Wilson subway station or 50 minutes on the Finch West 36B from Finch station.

Pros and Cons

Good: A refreshing detour off the asphalt Humber trail. Watch the rabbits scatter as you pound the meadowland trails then roll through the forest, listening to leaves crunching underfoot.

Not-so-good: Not very accessible without a car. Weekend pedestrians might force runners to slow to a crawl.

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Humber River trail

13 km from Lake Ontario to Cruickshank Park near Weston Road north of Lawrence Avenue West

One of the jewels of the city's trail system. Parallels the Humber River and offers a mix of parkland and forest. The trail starts at Humber Bay but has many access points along the way, with Etienne Brulé Park near Old Mill a popular start/finish location.

Terrain

Mostly asphalt with a stretch of dirt under the Dundas Street bridge for runners who don't wish _to follow the bike trail up and across Dundas Street West.

Parking/transit

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Parking lots east and west of Humber Bay. Etienne Brulé Park near Old Mill has a small lot that fills quickly on summer weekends. Take the subway to Old Mill station.

Pros and Cons

Good: The soothing sound of the Humber as it glides toward Lake Ontario. Runners training for a fall marathon and in need of inspiration should come by in late September or early October and watch exhausted, spawning salmon trying to jump over the flood dams between Old Mill and Dundas West.

Not-so-good: Not many negatives, other than heavy bike traffic on weekends.

Martin Goodman trail (west)

12.5 km from Coronation Park to Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Etobicoke

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A rolling course along the lake that can be picked up at Coronation Park by the CNE's Prince's Gate and continues to Mimico Creek in the west. Lots to look at, restrooms and refreshment stands in the summer.

Terrain

Asphalt - pedestrian/bike paths.

Parking/transit

Parking can be found at various lots along Lake Shore Boulevard. Take the 509 or 511 streetcars to the foot of Bathurst on Lake Shore, or the 501 or 508 buses to Humber Bay Park.

Pros and Cons

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Good: With only the slightest rolling hills, this route can be picked up at any point and showcases what Toronto's waterfront could/should look like. Plenty of places to stop, stretch, do a few sit-ups. Fantastic scenery.

Not-so-good: In nice weather on weekends, the path gets quite busy in places, so be prepared to dodge children and inline skaters.

High Park

The major loop, 4.25 km, runs along West Road, down Colborne Lodge Drive, along the south end of the park and up Spring Road.

A very hilly run amongst the older trees of High Park. While mostly a loop, the route can be picked up anywhere, with entrances along Bloor Street, Parkdale Road and Ellis Park Road.

Terrain

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Asphalt - mostly on roadways throughout the park.

Parking/transit

Parking can be found inside the park at the Grenadier Restaurant, or along Bloor Street and Parkside Avenue. Take the subway to High Park station, or the 30 or 30B bus along High Park Avenue.

Pros and Cons

Good: It's shady and a fantastic place to hill train. There are always groups of friendly runners who will smile and share your pain as you bust it up the big hills.

Not-so-good: Dodging traffic, clusters of cyclists and dogs can be more tiring than the hills. The big hill by Bloor isn't that good either.

Beltline trail

3.6 km from the Allen Expressway to Mount Pleasant Cemetary

A lovely treed pedestrian path hidden between the houses of Forest Hill. The trail can be picked up at either end - the Allen Expressway or Mount Pleasant Cemetary, near Yonge Street, or throughout the neighbourhoods it traverses.

Terrain

A pedestrian dirt path with gravel in places that makes running easy on the joint.

Parking/transit

Though parking can be found most easily on Merton Street, there is parking on the residential streets the path runs through. Take the subway to Davisville or St. Clair stations - the trail can be picked up at Merton and Yonge Streets.

Pros and Cons

Good: Always a lovely place to run in the summer - shady for most of the trail, flat, soft, easy terrain. The kilometres click by. Always at least a few fellow runners, so quite safe. If you want to add on some mileage, run through Mount Pleasant Cemetary.

Not-so-good: The trail can become a "runner's highway" on weekends. If you're heading for the beltline, it's best to go early. Also, it's not lit, so it becomes quite a dark trail at night.

Cedarvale Park/Winston Churchill Park

3.5 km from Cedarvale Park in the north to Boulton Drive in the south

The north end starts at Cedarvale Park, under Spadina Road, and winds through Winston Churchill Park, into a ravine that spits you out on Boulton Drive just north of Dupont Street.

Terrain

Packed dirt trail. Very easy, rolling ravine with lots of bushes but not a lot of trees for shade.

Parking/transit

Parking along Eglinton Avenue West and Oakwood Street, where the park is located, as well as on surrounding residential streets. Take 32A and B buses along Eglinton to Oakwood for park entrance.

Pros and Cons

Good: Lovely and picturesque, always lots of people in the park and runners on the trail. If you run north to south, it's mostly downhill and over in no time.

Not-so-good: Can get a little boggy in the ravine in the spring and icy in the winter. Not lit, so not a great run after dark. The footing after Spadina is tricky, with funny tiles with holes in them, a gravel patch and a small ditch caused by water run-off.

Moore Park Ravine

3.5 km from Moore Avenue to Mount Pleasant Road

A treed ravine that runs behind the homes of Summerhill. It can be picked up at either end - Mount Pleasant Road or Moore Avenue, as well as from the Bayview Extensior or the Don Valley Brickworks.

Terrain

A well-trodden dirt path with occasional patches of gravel. Can become quite muddy during the spring run-off, and icy in the winter.

Parking/transit

Take the 88 bus along Moore Avenue. Parking can be found on Roxborough Road off Mount Pleasant Road, at the Don Valley Brickworks, or in a small lot by the Mount Pleasant Cemetary on Moore Avenue.

Pros and Cons

Good: Running south will give you a slight decline, which is always nice. The route is cools and shady and there are no cars.

Not-so-good: Because it's so well-used, the trail can get quite slick with ice and slush in the winter. Running shoes just don't have the grip needed. The ravine is also a dogwalker's haven - especially on weekdays.

Taylor Creek/Sunnybrook Park

9.4 km from Victoria Park to the back of Sunnybrook Hospital on Bayview Avenue

Starting at Victoria Park Avenue, this route winds its way through a few smaller parks and meets up with the massive Sunnybrook Park. It can be picked up throughout Sunnybrook and at various spots along Taylor Creek.

Terrain

Asphalt - mostly bike/pedestrian paths, with some car traffic in Sunnybrook Park.

Parking/transit

Parking at Sunnybrook, with a few lots along Taylor Creek. The 11 and 124 buses go along Bayview to Sunnybrook Hospital - pick up the trail behind it, at the bottom of the hill. The 24 bus along Victoria Park stops at the Taylor Creek trail, across from Dentonia Park golf course.

Pros and Cons

Good: Relatively flat, with only smaller hills (except the massive beast at the hospital - there is parking at the bottom for those not up to the long, windy climb). Restrooms throughout.

Not-so-good: There are a few isolated spots and the route is not well lit, so really not an option at night.

Beaches/Ashbridge's Bay

4.25 km from Silverbirch Avenue past the end of the boardwoak to the scenic lookout at the southerly point of Ashbridge's.

A great boardwalk/bike path run through the Beaches, stretching from Silverbirch Avenue to the east, to the point of Ashbridge's Bay. It can be picked up anywhere along the boardwalk, with restrooms along the route.

Terrain

Wooden boardwalk or asphalt bike/pedestrian paths.

Parking/transit

Park at Ashbridge's Bay or in lots off Lake Shore Boulevard East. From Queen Street or Lake Shore (92 bus), walk south to the boardwalk.

Pros and Cons

Good: Lots to look at, usually a beautiful breeze off the lake, flat. Look for the kilometre markers painted along the boardwalk.

Not-so-good: Watch out for those boards! While the boardwalk is flat, it's not always even. Many a runner has tripped. Can be very gusty with the right winds. If you're heading out on a weekend this summer, go early. The boardwalk quickly become with people.

Don Valley

7.7 km from Sunnybrook to the lakeshore

The longest stretch of this trail, running beside the DVP, starts at the E.T. Seton Park by Don Mills Road and continues right down to the lakeshore. Can be picked up at either end, as well as at Pottery Road and Riverdale park.

Terrrain

An asphalt bike/pedestrian path.

Parking/transit

Park at the top of the trail off Don Mills Road or south of Lake Shore on Commissioners Street. The 30 and 100 buses travel along Eglinton Avenue East, stopping across from E.T. Seton Park.

Pros and Cons

Good: Flat, with only one or two hills. With large bridges overhead, easy to calculate exactly where you are. Heading south is mostly downhill - a nice way to click off the kilometres.

Not-so-good: Can be very quiet, isolated. Not very shaded, which can make it hot, hot, hot in the summer. Not lit at all at night, and home to a few tent-dwellers. While there aren't any cars along the path, there is the odd group of cyclists to dodge.

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