A Clear Winner: The Toronto Parks + Trails App

What do you want to do? We want you to get outside – more.

The Toronto Parks + Trails App will make your search and experience easy and fun – whether you’re new to the city seeking outdoor activities or looking to discover different parks and trails or want to know what’s on at your neighbourhood park.

Toronto Parks + Trails App, a fun, free discovery guide to the great outdoors in Toronto, took home the top prize last year in a start-up contest run by the Emerging Leaders Network ELN at CivicAction. The App was one of five pitched ideas to the panel of judges and crowd of supporters.

“Our all-access experience guide to finding anything and everything to do with Toronto parks and trails came out as a real winner,” explained project director Neluka Leanage.

“Our pitch is that we need a parks and trails e-guide for absolutely everyone. Showcasing everything from outdoor physical activities to arts and music and farmers’ markets, it puts discovering and engaging in Toronto’s green and blue spaces at your fingertips.”

The Toronto Parks + Trails App is still in development stages and will combine crowd sourced information with open data for a more positive parks and trails experience, said Leanage. The app will also provide a lot of missing data around parks such as where water fountains and public washrooms are located.

Toronto has more than 1,500 parks and 600 kilometres of trails covering 8,000 hectares – or roughly 13% of the city’s land area. There’s an extensive ravine system and many natural areas along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

But not everyone is familiar with all of the features in each park or the location.

The Toronto Parks + Trails App will be a practical resource. Search for a hike, walking trail or activity; filter by ‘dog friendly’, ‘kid friendly’, ‘public washrooms’ and ‘wheelchair friendly’.

At the same time, “we will engage people who regularly snap photos. We want those people to help us tell the story about parks to others and share their experiences.” The app will process users’ information so that eventually much of the available information and advice will be curated by visitors.

With the phone set as a GPS tracker, users will record their route, upload activities and share authentic adventures with friends and family to create an experiential community.

When the Toronto Parks + Trails App comes out, it will be the largest collection of outdoor parks and trails information with maps, photos, and reviews across the city, said Leanage.