By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator

The TVA office can be a hectic and stressful place leading up to the Veg Food Fest, no doubt. Some days the office is abuzz with the chatter of meetings and volunteers helping out, and some days we are each zeroed in on our computers not uttering a word as we try to block out all distractions, forgetting to even eat lunch or go to the bathroom (well ok…we all know it’s a bit of a stretch that I would forget to eat lunch, but others do).

Staff picnicBut no matter what unexpected twists and turns come our way or how much work piles up, I always feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work at TVA and enjoy all the pleasures it brings.

Like this week, when our manager Lucas and President Diane surprised us all with a staff appreciation picnic at Christie Pits Park! Can you guess based on the location what amazing culinary delights we were treated to? None other than Apiecalypse Now’s incredible pizza, mozzarella sticks and donuts. It was the perfect destination for a relaxing afternoon as we got ready to say goodbye to our Directory Assistant Charlotte who had her last day in the office on Friday. After all, Apiecalypse Now is located right across the street from Christie Pits Park, so although there is some limited seating inside, you can easily grab some snacks and find a shady spot under a tree or a sunny patch of grass to chow down.

It was just such a lovely afternoon that it got me thinking about what other perfect picnic spots are spread throughout the city, where you can pick up some delicious vegetarian food and quickly hop over to a neighbourhood park to enjoy. Here are a few suggestions I’ve come up with. Let us know if you’ve got any secret veggie picnic spots of your own!

From west to east:

  • Rawlicious and High Park: Stop by Rawlicious’ Bloor Street West location one block west of High Park subway station, and just cross the street to find acres of picnic spots to choose from including gardens, ravines, grassy hills overlooking the pond and more. Update 2017: We’re sorry to report this Rawlicious location is now closed. If you know of another veg-friendly spot near High Park let us know!
  • Bunner’s and Vine Parkette: Nearby, head up to Bunners’ Junction location on Dundas Street West, then take your treats around the corner to the hidden Vine Parkette, complete with one covered shelter and swing sets.
  • Susan Tibaldi Parkette: Trying to master the art of eating one of Through Being Cool’s ginormous, delicious and oozy sandwiches without a table and chairs? Just north of Bloor Street at Margueretta Street (just east of Lansdowne) is the perfect little parkette (with 3 picnic benches) to take your sandwich and whatever treats your heart desires to eat in private while sauce drips down your face. D-Beatstro and Indian Dosa Mahal are also both nearby if you prefer to get your food from them to go and enjoy the sunshine!
  • Apiecalypse NowTrinity Bellwoods Park: Both Fresh and Feel Good Guru are in this neck of the woods, and their selection of salads, bowls and wraps are perfect picnic foods for this glorious park!
  • Apiecalypse! Now and Christie Pits Park: As described above, this place serves up pizza slices and mozzarella sticks to go, and wonky flavours of donuts that change daily, and they are literally across the street from the park. Need we say more?
  • Kupfert and Kim & David Picaut Square: Kupfert & Kim’s location in the underground of 200 Wellington Street happens to be pretty much right underneath David Picaut Square, outside of Metro Hall. You may even wind up stumbling upon some kind of outdoor concert or other event while you’re there!
  • Castro’s Lounge and Kew Gardens: We often hear people complain that the West end is where all the new veg hot spots are opening up, but the Beaches has long enjoyed this all vegetarian pub, which is delightfully close to the area’s beautiful Kew Gardens across the street.
  • Tori’s Bakeshop and Balmy Beach: What could be more idyllic than picking up a croissant and coffee and just walking down the street (take Balsam Avenue) to sit on the sand and watch the waves break? Tip: Keep walking a bit east from here if you love pups because the off leash beach area is a land of joy! 

P.S Don’t forget Tori’s, Fresh and D-Beatstro give TVA members 10% off, so flash your Toronto Veg Card before you leave!