We’ve worn down our trainers from all of the kms we’ve put on across Canada.
Now, Toronto is a pretty great place to run, and as a former Torontonian, I feel confident in saying that you don’t realize this until you leave. With trails that span east to west and snake along the re-developed waterfront, to pathways that run north to south along the the Don Valley, and of course the picturesque views to be had in the west end’s High Park—the one place you can find a few good hills to sprint up—there are countless spots to blast out a five or 10 kilometre run in The Dot.
But since I packed up my city life into a 1983 Westfalia camper van, I’ve been exploring other great cities and the roads and trails they have to offer. And guess what? There are a whole lot of solid running spots across Canada.
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
From what the locals taught me—most, a few pints deep—Dartmouth is to Halifax as you are to that once outlandish cousin on your mom’s side, the one who’s since blossomed into a surprisingly cool dude. Dartmouth wasn’t always awesome, but it is now. And the biking and running trails at Shubie Park in Dartmouth are just one part of that. Tracing the curves of Lake Charles and Micmac Lake (and then doing all sorts of twisting and turning within a park that rests between the two), the entire pathway system is an 18 kilometre loop of gloriousness. It’s a choose your own adventure kind of run, really.
Shubie Park is beautiful in the fall and winter, of course, but stop by in the summer and jump into one of the lakes to cool off post run. #Glorious.
Bonus point: there’s camping at Shubie Park! Bring your van.
Sitting pretty in the southern part of Calgary is a quaint little ’hood know as Sunnyside. (All of the street names here start with the word ‘sun,’ like ‘Sunway Road,’ ‘Sunbeam Street,’ Sunfun Cresent’… okay, a few are made up, but you get the idea.) And inside of this seemingly Vitamin-D-filled area is Fish Creek Provincial Park, an extensive system of paved pathways that meander through this marshy part of the urban sprawl. The 19-kilometre-long trails are a welcomed mix of flat terrain and hilly inclines. Oh, and Fish Creek is the second largest urban park in Canada—three times bigger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Boom.
Bonus point: Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, an eatery that serves drool-inducing brunch inside of an old ranch, is right in the middle. After that run, those eggs benny ain’t got nothin’ on you.
Kelowna, British Columbia
If Dartmouth is your outlandish, rebellious cousin, consider Kelowna the one “fun one” who got a whole wack of plastic surgery and married rich. But that’s not a bad thing! Your cousin is totally happy with their life choices, just as Kelowna is happy with its vibe of cool lake country meets confident desert cowboy. Totally unique and really quite picturesque, a lot like the running trai
Start at Boyce-Gyro Beach in the city’s south end, and follow the roadways along Okanagan Lake. You’ll end up on Abbott Road, which is home to some of the most expensive homs in Kelowna. There are dedicated running and biking trails that run perpendicular to the pedestrian sidewalks. It’s about 4 km from Boyce-Gyro Beach to the William R. Bennett Bridge, which is right downtown, so do a loop, if you’re an intermediate runner, or plan to just go one way if you’re a newb.
Bonus point: gawk at the multi-million dollar mansions, and wear your most expensive running gear to pretend like you fit in—even if your Westfalia is stationed at the RV park down the road.