Toronto is a great city to hang out in during the summer — but it is, unquestionably, a city, with all the associated noise, crowds and concrete.
So in honour of Canada 150, a nearby park is giving city-dwellers a chance to get away from all of that urbanity for free on summer weekends.
The ParkBus, a shuttle service that operates to more than 10 nature-oriented spots around Ontario, has done away with fees for Rouge National Urban Park, which is located about 30 kilometres from downtown Toronto.
The space, which is being built up (but in a natural, protected way) as a wilderness getaway for Torontonians, will be almost 80 square kilometres when it's completed, but it already has tons of hiking trails, camping, beaches and boating spots.
And plenty of people are getting in on the action.
Now, there's a few things to note. The bus doesn't always take you to Rouge National Urban Park — it also goes to Bob Hunter Memorial Park, and you need to check the schedule for the day to make sure you're going to the right place. There are scheduled tours that accompany the ride, but you don't need to follow them unless you want to.
As well, though 50 per cent of seats on the buses are first-come, first-served, the other 50 per cent are able to be reserved, so if you're more of a plan-ahead kind of person, you'll probably feel more comfortable doing that.
We also feel obligated to point out that there are plenty of gorgeous natural spots to visit even within the city that make you feel like you're somewhere else entirely, whether it's High Park or Evergreen Brick Works, and most are accessible by TTC.
And while this might not be the exact intention of the ParkBus, on some of the day, it happens to drop you near the Toronto Zoo, which can otherwise be a pain to get to by public transit. And if that means the chance to see these guys, can you really resist?