By Lori Bosworth
Summer is almost here and that means enjoying picnics in the park for many families. Keep in mind, though, if you plan to have a barbecue picnic in a City of Toronto park, it isn’t a simple matter of firing up your barbecue and throwing hamburgers on the grill. In fact, you may need to apply for a park permit. We’ve listed some of our favourite parks to have a picnic with a fire pit in Toronto. Here are a few things you should know before planning your barbecue at a City of Toronto park:
Permits for Picnics Issued by City of Toronto
- If you are organizing a family or friends’ picnic with over 25 people attending in a Toronto park, you are going to need a permit. This applies whether you are using the park and/or firepits;
- Permits are available at parks from May 15 to October 30, 2017;
- Some parks have fire pits where you have to bring your own barbecue grill while other parks have fire pits with barbecue grills. If using an existing grill in a park, you must use only charcoal or briquettes;
- You can only use a portable barbecue in a Toronto park when authorized by permit;
- If your picnic group is less than 25 people and you don’t have a permit, you have to vacate the site if a party arrives who has a permit;
- Barbecues in Toronto parks can take place only from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Book your Fire Pit Permit by calling the City of Toronto at 416-392-8188.
Taylor Creek Park
Taylor Creek Park spans from Don Mills Road in the west to Dawes Road in the east. You’ll find 57 bike trails to enjoy on your picnic, as well as washrooms and a drinking fountain. With four fire pits and four picnic areas, this park is one of the best parks to have a picnic with a firepit in Toronto. The entrance to Taylor Creek Park is located at 260 Dawes Road. Parking is available in the park.
The Toronto Islands make a great picnic spot in Toronto. There is so much to do during your family picnic including renting bicycles or quadricycles to tour the islands, renting a kayak or canoe, or taking the kids to Centreville for some rides. There are several beaches for swimming (keep in mind that Hanlan’s Point Beach is clothing optional). The Toronto Islands are currently closed to public visitors due to flooding. Hopefully, the Toronto Islands will be open to the public in July 2017. Check with the City of Toronto for updates.
Wilket Creek Park
Located at 1100 Leslie Street just north of Eglinton Avenue East, Wilket Creek Park features 44 hectares of park, woodland and nature walks, a fully-accessible washroom, drinking fountains, three picnic sites, and two firepits. You can ride your bike south throughout the park to the adjoining Serena Gundy Park and E.T. Seton Park. Walk north to the adjoining Edwards Gardens after your barbecue and admire the gorgeous groomed flowerbeds.
Earl Bales Park
One of the best parks to have a picnic with a fire pit in Toronto is Earl Bales Park. The park is well equipped for large groups with 127 acres of parkland, a dogs off-leash area, a sensory garden, playgrounds, paved walking and cycling paths trails, playgrounds and an amphitheatre. You’ll find four picnic sites and two fire pits to reserve, as well as ample parking. Earl Bales Park is located at 4169 Bathurst Street at Sheppard Avenue West.
Outdoor Events, Picnics, Social Gatherings Permit Fees for City of Toronto
The City of Toronto’s outdoor events’ permit rates are based on how many people will be attending your gathering. Set-up and clean-up fees may be applied and a damage deposit may be required for larger events.
Number of People
Up to 200: $86.57
201 to 300: $142.38
301 to 400: $176.37
401 to 500: $253.06
501 to 800: $318.75
801 to 2,000: $453.04
Barbeques/Fire Pit Permit Rentals
Number of People
Designated Fire Pit Permit 0-25 people: $26.40
Designated Fire Pit Permit 26+up: $86.57
Undesignated Fire Pit Permit: $86.57
Insurance for Fire Pits and Outdoor Ovens
Number of People
1 to 25: $27
26 to 100: $54
Do you have any other favourite parks to have a picnic with a firepit in Toronto? Please let us know in the comments.