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Try These Spots in Vancouver & Toronto for Your Next Picnic or BBQ
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Try These Spots in Vancouver & Toronto for Your Next Picnic or BBQ

Best spots in Vancouver

Stanley Park

Recognized as one of the greatest urban parks in the world, Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s most iconic and beloved landmarks. Covering just over 1,000 acres, Stanley Park is home to dense forests, sandy beaches, lush gardens, and lagoons, offering plenty of picturesque spots for picnic-lovers and BBQ-goers. The park itself is surrounded by the waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay, providing stunning waterfront views along its famous seawall, which stretches for some 28 kilometres! 

Popular spots within the park include: 

  • Brockton Point – Home to a 100-year old lighthouse, several hand-carved totem poles representing the arts and culture of Indigenous peoples, and a view of the Lions Gate Bridge
  • Second Beach – A family favourite, with a large picnic area equipped with numerous tables and BBQ pits and a heated, outdoor pool
  • Prospect Point – Offers breathtaking views of the Lions Gate Bridge and Burrard Inlet, with a nearby café, gifts and souvenirs shop, and a restaurant
  • Lost Lagoon – An artificial body of water near the entrance of the park, featuring a lit fountain and home to plenty of bird species 

Queen Elizabeth Park

At 125 metres above sea level, Queen Elizabeth Park is a major draw for picnic-lovers, view-seekers and floral display enthusiasts. Offering panoramic views of the city, the North Shore Mountains and the park’s own landscaped grounds, visitors can plop down on one of the many hills to enjoy the midday sun or evening sunset. QE Park is also home to the Bloedel Conservatory, which features exotic plants and free-flying birds. The surrounding area is filled with manicured gardens and ample picnic spots, providing a colourful backdrop regardless of the weather or season. 

Kitsilano Beach 

Kitsilano Beach, affectionately known by Vancouverites as “Kits Beach”, is one of the city’s most popular summertime destinations. Located on Cornwall Ave at the north end of Yew St, this often-crowded beach features tennis courts, basketball courts, a playground, swimming rafts, a 137-metre long heated outdoor pool (which is closed for repair this summer), and a waterfront restaurant. Of course, the beach leaves plenty of space for sunbathing, swimming and sports. For those planning a picnic or BBQ cookout, the adjacent grassy areas and designated picnic spots are ideal.

Best spots in Toronto

High Park

High Park is Toronto’s largest public park, spanning 399 acres of natural and recreational space from the shore of Lake Ontario to Bloor Street West. The park features hiking trails, sports facilities, a dog park, a zoo, playgrounds for children, and 18 designated picnic sites! The large grassy areas surrounding Grenadier Pond offer plenty of space to set up a picnic blanket, while the High Park Zoo and the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground are major attractions for families with children. 

Trinity Bellwoods Park

Trinity Bellwoods Park is a family-favourite in Toronto, featuring baseball diamonds, eight tennis courts, two volleyball courts, an artificial ice rink, an off-leash area for dogs, a wading pool, a playground, and plenty of greenery for social gatherings, picnics and BBQs. The park’s central location makes it easily accessible for residents and visitors alike, and on any given day, you can find people of all ages and backgrounds enjoying the park’s amenities. 

Dufferin Grove Park

Located just south of Bloor St West, Dufferin Grove Park is another fantastic destination to meet with family and friends. One of the standout features of the park is its communal oven and fire pit, which makes for a great BBQ or bonfire in the evenings. The park is also home to one of Toronto’s oldest organic farmers’ markets, which operates every Thursday, making it an excellent resource for picking up ingredients for your picnic or BBQ! 

Know these picnic policies

Parks in Canada are subject to regulations set by a city’s park board. In Vancouver, the Vancouver Park Board designs these rules to maintain the safety, cleanliness and enjoyment of the parks for all visitors. 

Here are some of the regulations you should know about: 

Picnics without permits

  • If your picnic group consists of 50 people or less (25 or less for Maple Grove Park), you can enjoy designated picnic sites on a first-come, first-served basis without a permit
    • However, if a valid permit holder reserves the space, you may have to relocate
  • For groups larger than 50 people but less than 150, booking a picnic site online and obtaining a permit is necessary

Allowed equipment

  • You are allowed to bring a barbecue, one small table, blankets and lawn chairs
    • Barbecues must be elevated at least 75 cm from the ground, and thorough cleanup is mandatory once finished
  • Fires are strictly prohibited at all times
    • Open fires/burning can lead to violation tickets, fines, and even a jail sentence!

Music

Small portable speakers are allowed as long as they are played at a low volume. 

Alcohol

Consumption of alcohol is allowed in designated areas of select parks. See here to find out where alcohol is allowed. 

Sources: Daily Hive Vancouver – 16 parks to have the prettiest picnics in Vancouver, Union Pearson Express – 10 Perfect Places for Toronto Picnics, City of Vancouver – Policies and guidelines for picnics

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