High Park History

High Park is the largest and most-explored park in Toronto, and has an estimated million visitors a year. In 1873, John & Jemima Howard deeded their 165 acre country property to the City of Toronto to be used as a public park. This deed included an agreement that the park remain 'for the free use, benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of the City of Toronto forever: and to be called and designated at all times hereafter "High Park"'. In 1876 and 1930, the City purchased properties to the east and west of the original Howard property, bringing the park to its current size of 399 acres.

At 399 acres in size, variety and beauty are remarkable. Directly north of Lake Ontario, it is influenced by three major life zones: The Carolinian forest from the south, tall grass prairie or savannah from the west, and boreal mixed forest from the north.

High Park is also home of Toronto’s largest pond, Grenadier Pond – so named because of the Grenadier soldiers who practiced maneuvers there. During the war of 1812, soldiers defending York from American invaders crashed through the pond ice. It is said that their bodies were held by the mud at the bottom of the pond, and never found.