We’re fortunate to live in an area surrounded by so much natural beauty! Even in the heart of the city, you can find hot spots for birds and other wildlife.

As an avid nature enthusiast and wildlife photographer, I decided to put together a list of my favourite spots in and around Toronto for nature and wildlife photography.

This list is no particular order, and depending on where in the GTA you are located, you may find one more convenient than the other. But I urge you to check out as much of these spots as possible! You won’t regret it.

A warbler amongst cherry blossoms at High Park.

1. High Park

Located right in the heart of Toronto, High Park is a prime destination for nature lovers in the city! The mix of gardens, woods and wetlands make this spot a great area for nature photography. There’s no shortage of wildlife either! You’ll find plenty of birds in the woods, such as woodpeckers, warblers, hawks, falcons, red winged blackbirds, and more. The squirrels and chipmunks aren’t afraid of getting close to humans, and will come eat right out of your hand (perfect opportunity for some photos)! Finally, take a stroll by Grenadier pond and the river, and you could see swans, ducks, geese, blackbirds, muskrats, frogs, and turtles.

A black-capped chickadee at Lynde Shores Conservation Area.

2. Lynde Shores Conservation Area

Lynde Shores Conservation Area is located along the waterfront in Whitby. This area provides habitat for nesting birds, and acts as an important stopover point along the northern shore of Lake Ontario for migrating birds. It’s also home to a population of eastern wild turkeys, and if you’re lucky, you can even spot some deer! The chickadees at Lynde Shores will also happily come eat out of your hand – another great photo opportunity!

A green frog at Rouge National Urban Park.

3. Rouge National Urban Park

Rouge National Urban Park is a gem in the city! It is the largest national urban park in North America and has a plethora of trails to explore. Whether you want to take a walk through the woods, look for frogs and turtles by the ponds, stroll along the river, or take in the scenic views, Rouge Park has something for everyone! A variety of wildlife call this area home, including deer, frogs, turtles, snakes, birds, coyotes, foxes and more!

A saw-whet owl at Tommy Thompson Park.

4. Tommy Thompson Park

Tommy Thompson Park is situated along the shores of Lake Ontario in downtown Toronto and is a unique place for nature and wildlife viewing. It’s considered one of the best places for bird-watching in the city, because it acts as another important stopover point for migrating birds. Snowy owls are known to frequent the area, and there has been over 300 species of birds recorded in the park. In addition to birds, you can also spot some small mammals, such as beavers and minks.

A milk snake at Kortright Conservation Area.

5. Kortright Centre

Located just 10 minutes north of Toronto, the Kortright Centre for Conservation is a suburban conservation area in Vaughan. It’s a great place for hiking, with over 16 km of breathtaking trails open year-round. You can explore forests, meadows and marshes, and take in some scenic views at lookout points.

A hobomok skipper resting on a leaf.

6. Don Valley Brick Works Park

Located right behind Evergreen Brickworks, the Don Valley Brick Works Park is a hidden oasis in Downtown Toronto! A series of trails takes you through wetlands, woods and open meadows. You can spot plenty of wildlife throughout the area, including a snapping turtle!

A duck and her ducklings reseting on a rock in the creek at Edwards Gardens.

7. Edwards Gardens

If your heart’s desire is to photograph flowers, then Edwards Gardens is the place to go! This botanical garden is located in Toronto, and features a variety of different flowers throughout the area. In addition to the beautifully maintained gardens, you can also take a stroll by Wilket Creek, which runs through the property. You’re sure to spot a few ducks and ebony jewelwing damselflies by the creek, resting on rocks under the late morning sun.

What’s your favourite spot for nature and wildlife photography in the GTA? Let me know in the comments below!

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