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13 Beautiful Toronto Parks to check out

13 Toronto Parks

Are you planning a trip to Toronto? Indeed, it’s a beautiful city to visit in any season, for its architecture and its many parks. While developing our Toronto Civic Center Tourist Scavenger Hunt and our Old Toronto Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we identified many beautiful Toronto parks worthy of your time.

We’ve limited our list to the downtown core and harbourfront areas, where our scavenger hunts are located.

13 Toronto Parks

Toronto Civic Center Parks

  1. Nathan Phillips Square City HallNathan Phillips Square
    • Named in honor of Nathan Phillips, Mayor of Toronto from 1955 to 1962, and therefore unveiled in 1965. The body of water to your right becomes a skating rink in winter. You can also see here free concerts, a weekly public market, and other events at various times of the year.
    • Recently, the giant sign with the word Toronto appeared. It is the perfect place for a tourist selfie.
  2. Yonge-Dundas Square
    • This Toronto intersection is often called Toronto’s Times Square because of the many bright posters that can be seen all around the Square.
    • You’ll regularly see here exhibitions, concerts, and festivals.
  3. Cloud GardenCloud Gardens
    • Cloud Gardens extends on Richmond south to Temperance Street and is not very big. This park makes use of all surfaces to present trees and plants, as well as a waterfall.
    • Here you will also find monuments honoring the construction workers of Toronto.
  4. Simcoe ParkSimcoe Park
    • Simcoe Park faces the Metro Toronto Convention Center on Front Street. Bordered by the Ritz-Carlton Toronto Hotel.
    • It commemorates Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe who spent his first winter in a tent near here in the village of York in 1793.
    • An aluminum structure is at the back of the park, shaped like a mountain, designed by British Artist Anish Kapoor.
  5. David Pecaut Square
    • David Pecaut Square is north of Simcoe Park, between Roy Thomson Hall (east), the Royal Alexandra Theatre (north), and Metro Hall (west)

Berczy ParkOld Toronto Parks

  1. Berczy Park.
    • There are a few quirky art installations in this small park between Wellington and Front. The main is a large fountain at its center which features wrought iron cats and dogs, of natural size.
    • William Berczy was an architect who worked with John Graves Simcoe, the first Governor of Upper Canada, during the founding of York. York became Toronto in the broader sense. Yet remains a municipality within it, you are in it now. East York is east of here, and further east is Scarborough. To the north is North York, and to the west, no it’s not West York, it is Etobicoke.
  2. Iles de TorontoToronto Islands
    • The Toronto Islands comprises Center Island, Mugg Island, Ward’s Island, as well as 9 smaller islands.
    • You can get to Hanlan’s Point, Center Island, and Ward’s Island from a terminal at the base of the Westin Harbor Castle Hotel to your left. Ward’s Island is by far the largest. The spikes you see on the left and right are the ends of Ward’s Island. All the other islands are in front of it.
    • The Toronto Islands Airport, or Billy Bishop Airport which is its real name, is located on the west side of Ward’s Island. It is accessible by a dedicated ferry and tunnel on your right.
    • On Center Island is the Centerville Amusement Park. There’s a large marina on Mugg’s Island. Hanlan’s Point Beach is on the western section of Ward’s Island, near the Airport. There are other beaches around the islands.
  3. Canada Square
    • Canada Square is a public space where exclusively metasequoia trees are planted. Indeed, it is located in Toronto’s Harbourfront area.
    • Metasequoia is a type of red conifer that grows rapidly. However, it is a species in danger of disappearing.
  4. Ontario Square
    • Ontario Square is another park, next to Canada Square where you will find 500 aspens around an open space with benches.
  5. Ann Tindal ParkAnn Tindal Park
    • Ann Tindal Park, west of Canada Square and Ontario Square, is a large open field sporting fake turf for easy maintenance and a better year-round appeal.
  6. Roundhouse Park1Roundhouse Park
    • Roundhouse Park is a large open space where you will find the Toronto Railway Museum, as well as the Steam Whistle Brewery. It is also across the street from the CN Tower, the Toronto Convention Center, and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
  7. Bobby Rosenfeld Park
    • A space in front of the CN Tower, next to Rogers Center, is called Bobbie Rosenfeld Park. Its focal point is a large cascading fountain. It honors the Canadian athlete who won gold in the 400-meter relay at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.
    • Bobby was born in Russia in 1904, but her parents immigrated to Canada shortly after she was born.
  8. Isabella Valancy Crawford Park with Rogers Centre in backgroundIsabella Valancy Crawford Park
    • Isabella Crawford (1846-1887), a poet and novelist, is honored by a small park next to the CN Tower on Front Street. Moreover, she is considered the first great Canadian poet

Try our scavenger hunts to discover these beautiful parks

Now, we invite you to try our Toronto Civic Center Tourist Scavenger Hunt or Old Toronto Tourist Scavenger Hunt. In fact, each is a 2-3 hour self-guided walking tour that you do with your smartphone (how it works). Likewise, you’ll come across most of these parks and much more. Moreover, you’ll enjoy solving the various challenges at each step of the way while learning the history of Toronto.

In conclusion, they each cost $45 for a group of up to 6 people. Also, there is an Explorer version of the Old Toronto scavenger hunt available for $60. Indeed, it is longer and has more challenges.

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7 Squares and Parks in Ottawa to experience

7 squares & parks in ottawa

Are you planning a trip to Ottawa? It’s a beautiful city to visit in any season, for its architecture and its parks. While developing our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we identified many public squares and parks in Ottawa that bring charm and history to this city.

7 Squares and Parks in Ottawa

  1. Parc de la ConfédérationConfederation Park
    • Confederation Park opened in 1967 to commemorate the centennial of the Canadian Confederation. Other monuments can be found in this park, including one for Aboriginal veterans, as well as the fountain in honor of Colonel By, founder of ByTown which became Ottawa.
    • Confederation Park presents several monuments, sculptures, a totem, and a fountain. There are several festivals and events presented here each year.
  2. place de la confederation Confederation Place
    • This triangular park is at the intersection of Elgin on the east and west, and Wellington on the north. In the center is the Canadian War Memorial with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. King George VI dedicated this monument named Response in 1939.
    • It originally commemorated fallen Canadians from the Great War (1914-1918). In 1982, we further honored soldiers from the Second World War (1939-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953). Then in 2014, we also honored those who participated in the Boer War (1899-1902) and in Afghanistan (2001-2014).
    • The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier appeared in 2000 in front of the memorial.
  3. Trans-Canadian Trail
    • It is a walking trail along the Ottawa River. In fact, this network of recreational trails is the longest in the world, covering 23,000 km joining the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. It started in 1992, on the 125th anniversary of Canada.
  4. Samuel de ChamplainNapean Point
    • Napean Point is located on the Ontario point where the Alexandra Bridge runs from Ottawa to Gatineau, behind the National Arts Galery.
    • You can see here a few large art installations from the National Arts Galery.
    • Near the summit, you’ll find one of the original bronze border marker posts located on the 45th parallel between the Canada-United States border. New border markers are made of granite.
    • On the summit, the grand statue of Samuel de Champlain is unmistakable. He explored and mapped the Ottawa River to the site of Ottawa in 1613. It is located where Samuel de Champlain took his solar observations during his 1615 expedition.
  5. Canal Rideau Rideau Canal
    • The Rideau Canal’s construction began in 1832 under the direction of Colonel By, who simultaneously founded Ottawa, called Bytown then. It connects the Ottawa River in Ottawa to the St. Lawrence River in Kingston, 202 kilometers away. Its original purpose was to transport logs to Kingston for ship-building to prevent a war against the United States, which never happened.
    • Today it mainly serves pleasure boaters in the summer and ice-skaters in the winter. It is the oldest lock system, in continuous operation in North America.
  6. Manjor's Hill ParkMajor’s Hill Park
    • Major’s Hill Park is located behind the Chateau Laurier hotel, between the Rideau Canal and Mackenzie Avenue.
    • In this park, you’ll find statues of Colonel By, Major Bolton who succeeded him, after whom this park is named, and their successors in establishing this town.
    • At one end of the park, near the National Arts Gallery, is the Tavern on the Hill where you can have a drink on the terrace while enjoying the awesome view of Parliament Hill.
  7. Jacques-Cartier Park
    • Located in Gatineau, on the edge of the Ottawa River between the Alexandra and Macdonald-Cartier bridges, Jacques-Cartier Park presents the Mosaïcultures exhibition in 2018 – grand sculptures made with living plants.
    • Established in 1933, this park covers 22 hectares. On the grounds is House Charron, built in 1826. You can see the National Arts Gallery and Parliament Hill from it.

Try it

We invite you to try our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour self-guided walking tour of the downtown area that you do with your smartphone (how it works). It costs $35 for a group of 2 to 6 persons. You’ll come across most of these parks and plazas. Moreover, you’ll enjoy solving the various challenges at each step of the way while learning the history of Ottawa.

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8 Plazas and parks in Midtown Manhattan

8 parks in Midtown Manhattan

Do you seek out parks and plazas to walk through when you visit a city? There are a few green spaces in Midtown Manhattan, as well as a few squares and plazas that might not be so green.

In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 8 plazas and parks to see in New York Midtown.

8 plazas and parks in Midtown Manhattan

  1. Bryant ParkBryant Park
    • Bryant Park is a large park, often referred to as an oasis of green in the heart of Midtown. Find here lawns, fountains, pathways, an outdoor reading room, a ping-pong area and a Pétanque area. In winter, there is an ice-skating rink here.
    • To the south is the Bryant Park Hotel, at 40 W 40th St. This was originally the American Radiator Building. Designed in the neo-gothic Art Deco style, its unusual color scheme makes it stand out from the crowd of surrounding glass skyscrapers. The front of the building is black brick, symbolizing coal, one of the elements used to create heat as in a radiator. Other parts of the facade are covered in gold bricks, symbolizing fire, another element of heat.
    • You will find the several statues in Bryant Park, including those of
      1. William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was an American romantic poet, journalist, and editor of the New York Evening Post.
      2. Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was an American novelist, poet, playwright and art collector.
      3. William Earl Dodge (1805-1883) was a New York businessman, referred to as one of the Merchant Princes of Wall Street in the years leading up to the American Civil War.
  1. Times BuildingTimes Square
    • Originally called Long Acre Square, this stretch of intersections between 42nd and 48th St has long been a major commercial hub full of restaurants, theatres, shops and office buildings.
    • Today it is regularly full of locals and tourists here to take in that New York feeling. There are many street performers in designated zones.
  2. Father DuffyFather Duffy Square
    • Located between 7th Ave and Broadway, W 46th and 47th stands Duffy Square. Francis Patrick Duffy (1871 to 1932) was a Canadian-American soldier, Roman Catholic priest, and military chaplain. He journeyed into the thick of battle to recover wounded soldiers and is the most highly decorated cleric in the history of the United States Army. He also conducted vital work in Hell’s Kitchen, 2 blocks to your left. You will find his statue here on the island that carries his name.
  3. Andrew Heiskell Plaza
    • Located at W 42nd and 6th Ave, this plaza is the north-west corner of Bryant Park. It presents pedestrians with a large staircase leading up into the park.
  4. Katharine Hepburn Garden
    • Located on E 47th between 2nd Ave and 1st Ave, this small park offers a small wooded area with a fountain for you to get in touch with nature.
  5. Tudor City Greens
    • This lush garden is located along Tudor City Place, between E 43rd and E 42nd.
  6. High Line
    • The High Line is an elevated linear park along a former rail line. It stretches 1.45 miles along 10th Ave from W 30th (in lower Midtown) to Gansevoort St in the Financial district.
  7. 622 3rd Ave
    • Climb the stairs to the right of the building to the rooftop where you’ll find an open garden with plenty of seating. 3 floors up diminish street noises for a nice calm sit or nap.

Tourist Scavenger Hunts

We invite you to try our Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown. It is a 2.5-hour guided walking tour throughout Midtown Manhattan from Grand Central Terminal to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and everything in between. You do it on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your group (1 to 6 people). Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these plazas and parks and much more while completing challenges and learning about Midtown’s history.

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7 plazas & parks in Downtown L.A.

7 plazas & pars in downtown LA

Are you planning a visit to Los Angeles? Considering visiting its downtown / civic center area? Do you like seeing the parks a city has to offer? In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in Downtown L.A., we came across a lot of information. Some we use exclusively in the actual scavenger hunt, but other we’d like to share with you.

As part of that research, we came across many beautiful parks and plazas where you can relax and take in some greenery while also viewing the city’s architecture. You can see many of these plazas and parks as you do the scavenger hunt. To enumerate, here are 7 plazas & parks in Downtown L.A.

7 plazas & parks in Downtown L.A.

  1. Placita de DoloresPlacita de Dolores

    • Placita de Dolores is across Alameda St. from Union Station. Within this small park is a large bronze statue of Antonio Aguilar.
    • Antonio Aguilar was a Mexican singer and songwriter. He also acted in quite a few films in Mexico which drew Hollywood’s attention.
  2. Father Serra Park

    • This small park is across N.Los Angeles St from Placita de Dolores, across N.Alameda St from Union Station as well.
    • This park is named for Father Junipero Serra, founder of the California mission system and the first 9 of 21 missions. He first visited the area in 1782.
    • It sits atop the original Lugo Adobe, home of one of the great ranchero families in El Pueblo. They were one of the wealthiest families in Southern California during the 1850s. The adobe was demolished in 1951.
  3. Los Angeles Plaza ParkLos Angeles Plaza Park

    • This plaza, across Alameda St from Union Station, is the central point of the city’s historical district. From here you can walk down Calle Olvera, the very first street established in Los Angeles which still has one of the very first homes, or adobes still standing.
    • The Plaza is full of statues and plaques, commemorating the city’s pioneers and founders. A gazebo stands in the center. You’ll find many street vendors here.
  4. grand parkGrand Park

    • This aptly named “grand park” slopes upwards of 3 city blocks from L.A.’s city hall. At the very top is the performing arts district. Public restrooms can be found throughout the park.
    • Grand Park is a 12-acre park in the civic center of Los Angeles. It opened in 2012 and is the central part of the Grand Avenue Project. Surrounding the Grand Avenue Project are Los Angeles’ city hall, city administration buildings, courts of justice, musical and theatrical venues as well as libraries.
    • There are tunnels running underneath Grand Park and across major areas of Los Angeles? They are used to transport people from one courthouse to the next, move money and have also been used to move bottles of prohibition era booze.
  5. California Plaza

    • This exterior urban space is nestled behind the AECOM tower at 350 S. Grand Ave.
    • Here you can see free concerts on the weekends during the summer.
  6. angels flightAngels Flight

    • Angels Flight Stairs and Tram is located between Hill Street at the bottom and Grand Ave. It is behind the AECOM tower and the California Plaza. Its top is actually above Olive St which runs on a level below.
    • You can either take the tram or take the stairs, up or down. The tram costs less than $1 per rider. The stairs take a good 5 minutes to go down, closer to 10 going up.
    • At 328 feet long, it is one of the shortest incorporated railways in the world. It is also a 69 feet difference from top to bottom.
  7. Maguire Gardens

    • These gardens are adjacent to the Central Library on S.Flower St at W.5th You will find numerous trees, fountains, and benches for a relaxing time.

We invite you to try our Downtown L.A. Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour guided walking tour throughout the downtown core of Los Angeles you do on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your entire group. Moreover, you will enjoy seeing the sights and hidden gems you might have missed otherwise. All this while completing challenges and learning about Downtown L.A.’s history.

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11 Parks in San Francisco to enjoy

11 parks in San Francisco

Who doesn’t love a little walk in the park when travelling? It makes museum hopping and tourist traps melt away for a moment while reconnecting with nature. There are many parks in San Francisco that you should take time to see. Some are quite large, others not so much, but they all have their own charm.

Whether you are planning a visit San Francisco, or if you live here but haven’t noticed these parks, this list is for you. In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in San Francisco, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 11 parks in San Francisco.

11 parks in San Francisco

  1. Almo Square
    • Located in the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood, Almo Square overlooks the city skyline and more importantly, the famous Painted Ladies (Victorian-style homes) seen in so many films (70+) and postcards.
  2. aquatic parkAquatic Park
    • Aquatic Park is located between the Bay and Beach St., between Hyde St and Van Ness Ave. It faces Aquatic cove and the Aquatic Park Pier from which awesome views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island can be had.
    • Aquatic Park also houses the Maritime Museum in the Bathhouse Building, the art deco structure shaped like a boat in the centre of the park.
    • It is also across the street from Ghirardelli Square.
  3. Golden Gate Park
    • Golden Gate Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world. Beyond the vast greenery and water works it boast the California Academy of Sciences, the de Young Museum, the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, Japanese Tea Garden, Steinhart Aquarium, the Conservatory of Flowers as well as facilities for more than 20 sports.
  4. Grand View Park / Turtle Hill
    • Take the tiles Moraga steps up 666ft for outstanding panoramic views of the city. It isn’t so full of people because of the long staircase you need to walk up – it isn’t for everyone.
  5. Lafayette Park
    • Lafayette Park is partly a dog park but also houses tennis courts and children’s playgrounds. This park is in the Pacific Heights neighbourhood.
  6. Mission Dolores Park
    • Mission Dolores was the 7th mission build along the King’s road. The park is located 2 blocks south of the Mission itself. It offers great views of Mission District, Downtown and the San Francisco Bay. This park attracts up to 10,000 people on a sunny weekend day.
  7. The Presidio
    • The Presidio, a former military post, now stands as a national park. It offers spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
  8. Coit TowerTelegraph Hill
    • Telegraph Hill is in North Beach, just east of Washington Square. Why the name Telegraph Hill? Because during the 1849 gold rush days, it was used as a signalling post. There was here a Semaphore telegraph which is a kind of tower which communicates signals to those you can see it by pivoting shutters also known as blades or paddles.
    • When walking on Telegraph Hill, listen and look for the Cherry-Headed Conures, a type of parrot only found here.
    • Pioneer Park stands atop of Telegraph Hill. Alcatraz Island, the bay and the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge to the right are all clearly visible from up here.
  9. Twin Peaks
    • These are in fact two uninhabited hills among San Francisco’s 43. They are more than 900 feet high, but not the highest, and offer outstanding views of the city, the bay and the Pacific Ocean. There is parking on the north peak from which you can simply take in the views, or go trail hiking.
  10. Union Square Park
    • North of Market St and southwest of the city’s Financial District, Union Square offers respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. It presents small grassy areas, many palm trees for shade and many seating areas.
  11. FirefightersWashington Square
    • Washington Square is one of the city’s first parks established in 1847. Facing the square is Saints Peter and Paul Church, completed in 1924. You will also find Mama’s restaurant and Liguria Bakery around this square in case you are hungry. There are as well many other restaurants around the park. You will also find here benches, public restrooms and water fountains to refresh you after that trek up and down Russian Hill.
    • At the centre of the square stands a bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin, installed in 1879, donated to the city by one of the few to make millions during the gold rush – Henry Cogswell, a dentist and investor. A time capsule was installed under the statue with objects from Cogswell. Washington Square opened in 1979, 100 years later.

We invite you to try our San Francisco Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour guided walking tour throughout the heart of San Francisco you do on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your group. Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these parks and much more while completing challenges and learning about San Francisco’s history.

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8 Parks to see in Philadelphia

8 parks to see in Philadelphia

When you travel do like to see public places, plazas and parks the locals frequent? Indeed, there are quite a few to see in Philadelphia.

Whether you are planning a visit Philadelphia, or if you live here but haven’t noticed these monuments to see in Philadelphia’s museum district, this list is for you.  In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in Philadelphia’s museum district, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 8 parks to see in Philadelphia.

8 parks to see in Philadelphia

  1. Paint Torch
    Credit: Courtesy of PAFA

    Lenfest Plaza

    • What’s special about Lenfest Plaza? It is next to the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts and boasts a few public art pieces. These include the giant Pain Brush designed by Claes Oldenburgin 2011 as well as the Grumman Greenhouse designed by Jordan Griska. You will find Lenfest Plaza on Cherry St and N.Broad St., a few blocks north of City Hall.
  2. Thomas Paine Plaza
    • Across from City Hall to the north, you will find Thomas Paine Plaza and collection of quirky monuments. These include larger than life board game pieces. Artists Daniel Martinez, Renee Petropoulis and Roger White designed the various pieces of chess, checkers and other board games found here. This public art exhibit called “Your Move” saw its first day in 1996.
  3. Love ParkJohn F. Kennedy Plaza
    • You will find the world-famous Love Sign in John F. Kennedy Plaza, commonly referred to as Love Park. This plaza is located northeast of City Hall, between it and Logan Square. Robert Indiana, is behind this public art installation. You will also find a large fountain and public benches here to sit and relax.
  4. Sister Cities Park
  5. Logan Square
    • Logan Square divides the distance between Philadelphia’s City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Further, it contributes to the symmetry of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway while further making it comparable to Paris’ Champs Élisés. It boasts the very large Swann Memorial Fountain.
  6. The Oval
    • The Oval stands below the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the Benjamin Franklin Parkway loops around. In particular, the Washington Monument stands in the center of the Oval, between the Eli Kirk Price Fountain, and the Ericsson Fountain.
  7. Aviator Park
    • Located in front of the Franklin Institute, Aviator Park offers paved paths, green space and public artworks including the Aero Memorial by Paul Manship. In fact, this memorial is dedicated to the aviators who died during World War I. It is an open bronze sphere that suggests the heavens and the earth, with intricately intertwined forms evoking signs of the zodiac.
  8. Center Square
    GK tramrunner229 (based on copyright claims)

    Center Square

    • Directly across 15th Street and City Hall sits Center Square. Claes Oldenburg erected in here 1976 the 45-foot steel Clothespin. This is also the site of Philadelphia’s first waterworks. On another note, it was the first public water system in America to use steam for large-scale pumping.

We invite you to try our Philadelphia – Museum District Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 4-hour guided walking tour around Philadelphia’s museum district you do on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your group. You will enjoy seeing these parks, plazas and much more while completing challenges and learning Philadelphia’s history.