Each Sunday a bunch of us get together at Berczy Park in downtown Toronto to run somewhere between 15 and 23km (depending on the week). Making routes each week is always a challenge as we want to keep things interesting and not fall into a rut of running the same streets over and over.
Since 2020, we’ve done dozens and dozens of Sunday runs all over the city and we’ve made it a point to try to mix things up with our routes. Here’s some of the strategies we use when making routes for our Sunday runs.
- Tour de “something” – these are thematic routes where we tour around and try to hit a bunch of “something”. We’ve done Tour de Sports where we ran past Scotiabank Arena, Rogers Centre, BMO Field and more. There’s been Tour de Tracks (something like eight running tracks visited on the route), Tour de Bridges (I think it was eight pedestrian bridges in Toronto), Tour de Alleyways (as much alleyway running as possible) and Tour de Views (a few different viewpoints with great views of the city).
- Destinations – these are runs where we pick something interesting and run to it. That might be a street a long way away, the airport, a unique tunnel, a city feature like a sculpture, or some other point of interest. The goal here is to see something new and to get there and back on foot.
- Trails – there’s quite a few trails in Toronto and getting off the sidewalks and into the ravines and forests for a while is always a nice change of pace. Running the river valleys and parks often helps beat the heat in the summer and having uninterrupted running without the noise and danger of traffic is a big plus.
- Side streets – this summer we tried to get off the main streets and onto the side streets. It can be as easy as just turning one street early or late to head through the neighbourhoods where it’s quieter. We learned that Toronto has a lot of churches tucked into neighbourhoods and all sorts of small parkettes and little squares to run past.
- Point to point – sometimes starting one place and finishing somewhere else allows you to see more of the city. We don’t do this often but running 20km and then taking the TTC or GO Train back home or starting somewhere different and running back to downtown makes it possible to visit some areas that aren’t reachable when you have to run there and back.
Exploring new streets and neighbourhoods is one of the best parts of running and it’s amazing to us all that even after more than a decade of running around Toronto there are still streets, neighbourhoods and places that none of us have ever visited before.