Take your pick of these picnic areas in Toronto

Much to our delight, Monica Heisey (aka Torontonian extraordinaire) is also a self-proclaimed professional park-dweller. The irreverent young creative took us through the day of a breakout author and park-hang expert: after popping by TYPE to sign a few copies of her new collection I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better, Monica hits the nearby Trinity Bellwoods or Christie Pits – and here’s where she stops for a quick picnic upgrade.

Bellwoods Brewery

124 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z5

What she gets: A craft beer for a quick park buzz. Named for its proximity to the nearby park – one of the most famous in Toronto – this Ossington microbrewery and eatery is the spot to guzzle a cold and bubbly ale you’ve probably never tried before (Bellwoods hosts dozens of international and local craft beers). Peckish patio dwellers can also grab a quick lunch of gourmet local fare – think foie gras terrine, seared Albacore tuna, and salumi and cheese boards – before hitting the park.

The Tampered Press

256 Crawford St, Toronto, ON M6J 2V8

What she gets: A gourmet popsicle. Watermelon lemon mint ice pop anyone? This café drives toward creating healthy options for their Dundas West patrons, offering house-baked goods and sandwiches alongside a few guilty pleasures like affogatos (ice cream from Ed’s Real Scoop with a shot of espresso atop). In its bright and airy Crawford Street digs, The Tampered Press looks onto the north entry to Trinity Bellwoods, making it a perfect stop for a coffee, a quick lunch to go, or an icy treat.

Arte Gelato And Cafe

946 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1L6

What she gets: an oven-fired takeaway pizza. Bellissimo! Amore! Molto bene! Only the best Italian words to describe this Bloor Street ice cream parlour, café and pizzeria. Fulfill your thin-crust cravings with a basic margarita that will take your Christie Pits picnic to the next level, or choose from gourmet Italian gelato flavours like signature nicciola (hazelnut), tart limone (lemon) or intriguing stracciatella (too good for words – just try it).


873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G 1M4

What she gets: a vegan donut. This bakery and café, steps away from Christie Pits, is a Bloorcourt favourite for vegan and non-vegan diners alike. Choose from sweet offerings like ice cream sandwiches and jumbo-sized vegan donuts in classic and experimental flavours, plus mini donut holes for a more petite treat, while savoury eat-in or take-out lunch offerings include a pulled jackfruit sandwich, a vegan spin on the Cobb salad, fried pickles, a tempeh Reuben, and well, the mouthwatering list goes on.

White Squirrel Coffee Shop

907 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G5

What she gets: no-sugar-added iced tea. Named for Trinity Bellwood’s famed albino squirrel, this Queen Street coffee shop keeps it simple but nonetheless delicious. It’s become a go-to for park patrons, offering a selection of fair-trade coffee and a few flavours of Greg’s ice cream (including the irresistible toasted marshmallow option), but also cheap lunch fare like $5 sandwiches that make for a perfect grab-and-go on your way to the park. Thirsty? The shop’s homemade iced tea, cider and lemonade will keep you cool and hydrated during your park hang.

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