Windfields Park

Run Like a Racehorse

Hike along Wilket Creek and contemplate the history of the land

This isn't a huge park, but it fits all the criteria for a great, dog-friendly green space to take your dog, especially if they like to run like a racehorse. There's parking, paved trails, unpaved trails, a forest, a creek, and grass-covered hills.

Young black dog racing through the forest of Windfileds Park, Toronto.

Parking

This path connects many beautiful neighbourhoods including Misty Crescent, Tudor Gate, Post Road, Bridal Path, and Banbury Road. If you aren't walking distance to the park, there are three different parking areas: York Mills Arena, Banbury Community Centre, Canadian Film Centre.

Map of the parking lots to visit Windfield Park in Toronto

Suggested 5 km route

The route I like to take is about 5 km in length and visits each of the three main attractions.

Map of the suggested trail through Windfields Park, Toronto

The paved path from the York Mills Arena takes you directly to the Banbury Community Centre. To make your walk more interesting, I suggest you also walk through the forest to Post Road and then around a copse of trees to run in the open, hilly meadow. And if you're still up for fun, visit the Canadian Film Centre before returning to the Arena.

Birdwatching

Robins, blue jays, woodpeckers, cardinals, and more. Not only is this park a paradise for dogs, but it also attracts many birds. The first time I visited, I stopped in my tracks at this point to listen to the music the birds were making.

Meadow in Windfields Park that attracts robins, cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers and hawks.

It's like the birds were having a party! I was only able to capture this photo of a male cardinal.

Bright red male cardinal in a bush in Windfields Park, Toronto.

The benches along the river are strategically placed for you to sit and enjoy the birds. 

A bench next to Wilket Creek where you can listen to birdsong in Windfields Park.

Forest path

Before going up the hill to the Banbury Community Centre, take the forest trail on your right and walk beside the creek.

Photo showing a black dog going down a forest trail next to Wilket Creek in Windfield Park.

The path takes you along Wilket Creek that is shallow and left to nature.

Wilket Creek in Windfields Park, Toronto

Look for red oak trees.

Sign on a red oak tree in Windfields Park, Toronto

And teepees.

Play teepee in forest of Windfields Park, Toronto

The trail ends at Post Road. The stairs are very icy in the winter. The creek continues, but I couldn't find a path. If you want to continue along Wilket Creek, take Post Road and Banbury to Lawrence Ave, where you can walk the Wilket Creek Trail via Edward's Gardens.

Staircase to Post Road from forest trail in Windfields Park, Toronto.

 Some of the neighbouring properties have staircases for direct access to the trail.

Backyards next to the forest trail of Windfields Park, Toronto.

After leaving the forest, take the paved path on your right to Banbury Community Centre. The park behind the building is beautifully maintained with old trees. There are tennis courts and a playground as well.

Large trees next to tennis courts at Banbury Community Centre.

On your way back, leave the paved path and stay next to the fence. Walk around the copse of trees, where you'll once again hear and see many birds.

Unpaved trail from Banbury Community Centre to meadow in Windfields Park, Toronto.

On the other side of the trees is an enormous meadow. The day I was here, families were tobogganing down the hill. Our dogs liked to run in the open space.

Meadow next to Banbury Drive that is part of Windfileds Park that used to be a horse ranch in Toronto.

After the meadow, take a detour to visit the Canadian Film Centre, which was initially the Windfield Farm.

Trail to the Canadian Film Centre from Windfeilds Park trail.

It's in this forest where you might find hawks that are nesting.

Northern Dancer

The thoroughbred racehorse called Northern Dancer, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1964, was born and raised on the Windfield Farm. The horse and 1500-acre horse breeding farm were owned by E.P. Taylor. The farm was named Windfields after E.P. Taylor's wife's family. After E.P.'s death, the farm was sold to developers.

Former home of E.P. Taylor, owner of Windfields Hore Farm that sired Kentucky Derby thoroughbred Northern Dancer.

Front of former home of E.P. Taylor in Windfields Farm, Toronto.

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is now using many of the buildings that were part of the original farm. They've created a tribute to the history through film and by naming a building after the horse.

Canadian Film Centre's Northern Dancer Pavilion which is a tribute to winning horse from Windfields Farm.

There is an apple orchard behind the Northern Dancer Pavilion that is beautiful when in bloom.

Apple orchard part of CFC formerly Windfields Farm owned by E.P. Taylor.

The meadows next to the CFC still look like a horse ranch, and I can imagine a safe place for dogs to run off-leash.

Former horse farm where Northern Dancer was trained to become winner of the Kentucky Derby in 1964.

Head back down the hill and take the paved trail to the left to return to the Arena.

Path to Windfield Park from CFC.

I intend to come back to this park many times to explore all the seasons and hope that I can take more photos of the birds. We hope to meet you there one day!







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