03/21/2013 11:54 EDT | Updated 04/08/2013 12:04 EDT

Where to Run In Canada's Urban Centres

marathon runners
marathon runners

Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are all great running cities. Toronto is reletively flat, Montreal has challenging elevations and Vancouver has gorgeous mountain vistas nearby.

Whether you’re looking to compete with other runners or get some exercise, there’s plenty of trails, events and scenic routes to keep you motivated, no matter which city you’re in.

Check out these six scenic running spots

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Hollyburn Mountain, Vancouver

Take the half-day trek to the summit of Hollyburn Mountain in Cypress Provincial Park. The trail starts blandly (under a power line), but if you need some scenic motivation, turn around every now and then to enjoy the view back towards the ocean. Soon the atmosphere improves as the trail heads into the cool, old-growth woods, weaving back and forth uphill to a junction. Head right a couple steps to the lookout of Grouse Mountain before making your way to the top.

Stanley Park's Seawall, Vancouver

Walk, run or ride around Stanley Park's seawall. The full loop around the 400 hectare national historic site (it was opened in 1888) is eight km – about a one-hour run, two-hour walk or 45-minute bike ride. Several companies rent bikes near the downtown entrance to the park, like Spokes Bicycle Rentals.

High Park, Toronto

This beautiful park is made for running: It has a lot of hills, great for some hard training, but is also shaded for those summer runs. Best time of the year is in early spring when the cherry blossoms are out.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto

This cemetery is a runner's haven, its looping trails providing uninterrupted flow.

Lachine Canal, Montreal

This pathway runs for almost 15 km through a national historic site and the former heart of Montreal’s industrial district. The path is flat, making it more accessible for runners of all abilities.

Mont Royal Park, Montreal

If you enjoy city views while you’re running, Mont Royal can’t be beat. Thanks to the large stretches of paths, there are different trails to explore each time you lace up your shoes. Beware though: Because you are running on “the mountain,” expect lots of inclines.