Sunnyside Beach - Historic, Relaxing, and Beautiful

Spend some time at Sunnyside Beach to enjoy the summer weather and to learn a bit more about the history of Toronto. 

Humber River at the Humber Bay Bridge.

The park is located south of the Lakeshore Blvd, and a lot is packed into this narrow piece of land. Next to the beach is the Sunnyside Boardwalk, and then children's playgrounds and picnic areas, then the Martin Goodman Trail, which is popular with cyclists. Several monuments, Canada's largest public pool, and a cafe add to the utility of the park. 

Parking

Park in the Lake Shore Blvd W Parking Lot. It's free on weekdays until 4 pm. You must pay on weekends and holidays and after 4 pm. 

Suggested Route

This 4 km hike starts with a visit to the Sir Gzowski Off-Leash Dog Park. 
Suggested route for a hike in Sunnyside Park.

Sir Gzowski Off-Leash Dog Park

This dog park was named after Sir Kazimierz Stanisław Gzowski who you'll learn more about later in this blog entry. I'm sure the park gets busy at times, but we visited at 9 am on a Monday morning, so we were there alone. 

Dog Park in Sunnyside Park

Mature trees provide shade while the pups play. The area is large and covered with packed gravel. 

Off-leash Dog Park in Sunnyside Park

The Queensway

Just outside the dog park is The Lion Monument. This commemorates the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) in 1939. In 1989, the highway's namesake, then known as the Queen Mother, returned to rededicate the road after it was widened. 

Monument for opening of the QEW in Sunnyside Park

Lucy is usually a good model, but she wasn't pleased sitting with a giant cat.

The Lion monument in Sunnyside Park

Humber Bay Arch Bridge

The significant "monument" of the area is the Humber Bay Arch Bridge. The bridge is iconic and is a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the mouth of the Humber River. 

Humber Bay Bridge next to Sunnyside Beach

The 140-metre bridge was completed in the mid-1990s and is part of the Martin Goodman Trail. It has a clear span of 100 metres over the mouth of the Humber River to protect the environmental integrity of the waterway.

Sunnyside Beach

We didn't walk across the Humber Bridge on this hike but plan to come back to explore the area west of the bridge. 

Dogs playing in Sunnyside Beach

The real fun of the day began on the beach, where Lucy made several friends. She tried to make friends with the swans, but they had no interest in her puppy games.

Swans in Sunnyside Beach

Wildflowers

Between the beach and the boardwalk are large bushes of wildflowers that attract the usual bees and butterflies. 

Monarch Butterfly on flower in Sunnyside Park

Swallowtail butterfly on flowers in Sunnyside Park

As we strolled along the beach, we met several other off-leash friends who were acting very respectful to the adults, children, kayakers, and swans that were doing their thing.

Dogs playing on Sunnyside Beach

Sunnyside Pavillion Cafe

The Sunnyside Pavillion Cafe used to be a popular hangout in 1926 when the first Miss Toronto pageant took place here.

Sunnyside Pavillion Cafe on Sunnyside Beach

The Cafe wasn't open on our visit, so we weren't able to determine if they allow dogs on their patio. More research is necessary.

Sunnyside Bathing Pavillion 

Next to the Cafe is the Sunnyside - Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool. It was the largest pool in Canada when it opened in 1922.

Sign for Sunnyside Bathing Pavillion

Even during Phase 2 of the COVID reopening, there were many people lined up to enjoy the pool.

Sign for Sunnyside Pool

The Sunnyside Bathing Pavillion opened in 1922. A lot of people in the last 98 years have enjoyed swimming in this pool.

Entrance to Sunnyside Bathing Pavillion

Playgrounds

There is construction In Budapest Park, where you can find play dinosaurs, so we used this as our turnaround point.  There is another massive playground near the parking lot.

Children's Playground and Picnic area in Sunnyside Park

Picnic Areas

For resting, there are many benches, some covered picnic areas, and of course, the lawn. We had several opportunities to rest in the cool grass with friends before finishing our walk.

Dogs resting in Sunnyside Park

Sir Gzowski Monument

On our way back to the car, we saw the monument to Sir Gzowski. 

Monument to Sir Gzowski for building Canadian railroads

Sir Kazimierz Stanisław Gzowski was an engineer best known for his work on a wide variety of Canadian railways as well as work on the Welland Canal. He also served as acting Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1896 to 1897.

Sir Gzowski Monument Sir Gzowski Monument

Great Lakes Waterfront Trail

There was one more monument for us to visit. This one was unveiled a few years ago when Canada celebrated its 150th birthday. This monument showcases Ontario's commitment to creating a continuous trail along the shores of Lake Ontario. 

Monument for Great Lakes Waterfront Trail

This is the third of my blog entries to mention this initiative, which is also known as the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. Check out the other entries:
Sign for Great Lakes Waterfront Trail

Trail extensions

If this 4 km loop made you hungry for more, here are a few suggested routes.

Humber Bay Parks

Cross the Humber Bay Bridge to explore Humber Bay Parks, both east and west. You'll find a few lookout points and another off-leash dog park.

High Park

Cross the Queensway and the Gardiner Express Way at Colburn Lodge Drive to enter High Park. There are many trails in Highpark as well as a small zoo. 

Instagram

Enjoy your hike! When you post photos to Instagram, tag us at @hikingtoronto or #hikingtorontowithlucy.

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