Visiting Tommy Thompson Park

NOTICE:

On Monday, October 24, PortsToronto will commence field work at the Leslie Street Spit in order to update a necessary shoreline stability study, which is supported by Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), the City of Toronto and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).

This work is weather dependent and will include:

  1. A bathymetric survey to collect lake depths and sonar imaging of the lake bottom. This work will take place in a vessel and there will be no landfall on the Leslie Street Spit shoreline.
  2. A topographic survey, which will require vehicle access within the Leslie Street Spit.
  3. Site observations from ground level, requiring vehicle access within the Leslie Street Spit, and a limited drone survey in unrestricted airspace.

Throughout the course of this work, all precautions will be taken to ensure that the Leslie Street Spit area is not damaged.

NOTICE:
Fall is peak season for animals and insects to be on the move at Tommy Thompson Park. Unfortunately, this also means there is a lot of wildlife on the trails. Wildlife is often hard to see, making them highly susceptible to being stepped on or run over by bikes. Please be very cautious while visiting the park this season – maintain slow speeds while cycling, stay on official trails, and keep your eyes open for wildlife – baby turtles can resemble stones, and snakes look a lot like Cottonwood twigs.

When you visit Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) Conservation Parks, Lands and Campgrounds, we want you to have a great time and feel safe when visiting. In accordance with the Province’s launch of an enhanced vaccine certificate, it is not a requirement for our visitors to provide proof of vaccination to access our settings and facilities.

The lone exception relates to event spaces operated by a third party on TRCA sites. For more information, please contact bypeterandpauls.com.

TRCA’s stringent visitor protocols, including advanced reservations, cashless payments, masks/face coverings, physical distancing requirements, health screenings and hand sanitization stations remain in effect until further notice.

Thank you for your continued support to proactively protect staff and members of the public from the potential risk of contracting COVID-19.

PARK RULES & ENFORCEMENT:
TRCA and the City of Toronto enforce park rules to ensure the health and safety of visitors and wildlife at Tommy Thompson Park. Unfortunately, the rise of violations at the park has led to the increase of enforcement from both organizations, to educate visitors and turn away those looking to enter the park with pets. We are also working to engage the Toronto Police Service, as our mutual enforcement officers cannot be on site 24-7, and we understand that additional patrols are required after hours to address infractions that are occurring. TRCA has resumed the TTP weekend programming. All parties are committed to protecting the park and we will adapt our efforts accordingly, based on the behaviours of the visitors to the site. If you visit the park and would like to report an infraction, please contact 311 or for more information contact ttp@trca.ca.

Work has begun on the Ashbridge’s Bay Landform Project, taking place along the east shore of Tommy Thompson Park from the Ashbridge’s Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant property to the Tommy Thompson Park Nature Centre. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT.

Exploring Tommy Thompson Park

Tommy Thompson Park is a great place to experience nature and the outdoors. It is widely considered one of the best places for bird-watching in the city, with more than 300 recorded species. It’s also a prime destination for wildlife viewing and fishing. In addition to its unique natural features, the park offers picturesque views of the Toronto skyline and Lake Ontario.

Spring, summer and fall are the most popular seasons for recreational activities such as hiking, running, roller-blading and leisure cycling on the park trails. Some hardy individuals will also brave the cold and explore TTP in the winter months, enjoying the opportunities for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Please note that trails are not maintained in the winter.

In summer months, quadcycles are also available for rental from the Nature Centre, to help you journey into the park’s interior.

Click below for more information about quadcycles. The quadcycle rental season for 2022 has ended.

Hours

Tommy Thompson Park is open to the public:

  • Weekday evenings 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Weekends and holidays 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Nature Centre is open

Weekends and holidays:

  • April to October 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • November to March 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Tommy Thompson Park is CLOSED to the public weekdays until 4:00 p.m.

How to get there

Address: Tommy Thompson Park, 1 Leslie Street, Toronto

By Car: The park entrance is located at Leslie Street and Unwin Avenue. This is five minutes east of the DVP/Gardiner junction along Lake Shore Blvd East.

Parking: There is a free parking lot at the Tommy Thompson Park entrance. Street parking is also available on Leslie Street and Unwin Avenue.

By TTC: Tommy Thompson Park is a 5 minute walk from the Commissioner’s Street bus stop at Commissioner’s and Leslie. This stop is serviced by the 83 Jones Southbound bus. Route 83 runs between Donlands Station on Subway Line 2 and Commissioner’s Street.  Connections with Streetcar routes 501, 502, 503 and 506, and bus routes 56 and 31B along the scheduled route.

By foot/bike: The Martin Goodman Trail/Waterfront Trail passes Tommy Thompson Park between Woodbine Beach and Cherry Beach. This is a multi-use trail. NOTE: A portion of this trail is directly on Unwin Avenue and currently not well marked. A planning process is underway to formalize the trail and improve safety along this stretch.

Park Rules

No motorized vehicles   No dogs allowed    No motorcylces allowed

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Embayment D, B and A are important wildlife areas, boating is not permitted.
  • Cell 1, 2 and 3 are confined disposal facilities and boating is not permitted in these areas.
  • Swimming is not permitted anywhere at Tommy Thompson Park.
  • no e-bikes, no motorcycles, no drones, no skating, no fires, no camping, no motorized skateboards/hoverboards.
  • Removing anything from the park is not permitted. This includes: plants, plant parts, sediment, bricks, wildlife in any form etc.
  • Please stay on trail.
  • Respect wildlife, following our policies

Map & Trails

Tommy Thompson Park wayfinding map

bird watchers on a trail at Tommy Thompson Park

Before you visit

Water
There is no running water in the park. Be sure to bring extra water with you.

Washrooms
There are 3 accessible portable toilets throughout the park (at the Parking Lot, Staff Booth and at Peninsula C). Vault toilets are available on weekends from Spring to Fall at the Outdoor Classroom. A standard portable toilet is located at the Peninsula D lookout.

Pets
Pets, including dogs are not permitted in the park.

Vehicles & e-bikes
Motorized vehicles, including e-bikes are not permitted in the park.

Sound
The use of amplified sound is not permitted in the park. Please use earphones if you’re listening to music while in the park.

Biting Insects

  • European fire ants are abundant at Tommy Thompson Park. This non-native species bites and the severity of the reaction varies from person to person. Typically it’s very sharp and painful for a few minutes, subsiding into an itch similar to a mosquito bite. To avoid an ant bite, avoid brushing up on plants and tuck your pants into your socks. Brush off any ants that you may find climbing on you.
  • Ticks have been reported in Tommy Thompson Park. It is possible they can carry Lyme Disease. It is advised that anyone walking along nature trails should thoroughly check themselves for ticks after a visit. LEARN MORE.

Tackleshare

Fishing rods, reels, and tackle boxes are available for loan at the Nature Centre … just like a library book!

  1. Call TTP Staff 416-990-8058 to ensure rods are available
  2. Visit our Nature Centre (formerly Staff Booth) open from 10AM to 5PM
  3. Fill out a quick sign out form
  4. Go Fishing!
  5. Return gear the same day
  6. and repeat!

Since its launch in 1998, the OFAH Tackleshare program has become a province-wide success with over 140 loaner sites. Thanks to this program, accessibility to angling equipment is no longer a barrier, and children and families are able to get involved in recreational fishing together.

Owl Viewing and Reporting Policy

Great Horned Owl

Tommy Thompson Park is fortunate to host a few owls during the winter as they move south from their nesting grounds in search of food. Human presence can be stressful for owls, so it’s important to know some owl facts and follow simple guidelines to ensure their safety.

OWL FACTS

Owls need to spend time doing two critical activities: hunting and resting. They spend most of their waking hours hunting for food.

  • An owl that is disturbed while resting during the day may not be fit to hunt at night. Likewise, an owl hunting during the day needs to be left alone to find its prey.
  • Human disturbance uses up valuable energy during the cold winter months and may prevent the birds from hunting properly.

Ultimately, owls that cannot effectively hunt will die. Please view owls respectfully to avoid fatally disturbing them.

SIGNS THAT AN OWL IS STRESSED

  • Eyes wide open and staring directly at you
  • Behaviour changes in response to your presence
  • Ear tufts straight up, eyes reduced to slits
  • Rapid blinking and/or panting
  • Defense display (wings spread and body puffed up) or signs of aggression

HOW TO WATCH AND PHOTOGRAPH OWLS ETHICALLY

  • Keep a minimum 12m distance.
  • Limit viewing time to a few minutes, or less if the owl appears stressed.
    – Remember that trying for the “perfect” photo may be depriving an owl of much-needed rest or food.
  • Be quiet. Walk and speak quietly when around an owl.
  • Never chase an owl if it flies away.
  • Stay on trails.
  • Do not trim plants or branches to obtain a better view or photo.
  • Never use flash photography, especially after dark.
  • Audio playback should not be used to attract an owl unless conducting authorized ornithological research.
  • Never bait an owl. Allowing owls to become accustomed to being fed by humans can lead to collisions with vehicles and buildings.
  • Refrain from reporting owl sightings on the internet or birding hotlines. Use discretion when sharing information about an owl and do not share an owls’ exact location.

If you see anyone disturbing owls or other wildlife, call the TTP staff line (416- 990-8058 weekends 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or the TRCA general line (416-661-6600 press “0” for immediate assistance). Wildlife harassment can also be reported to the Ministry of Natural Resources at 1-877-TIPS-MNR.