Toronto City Park has all the hallmarks of a Canadian urban oasis, with its duck-filled waters, dirt trails, pine trees and maple leafs. There’s just one catch—it’s located in São Paulo, Brazil.
Far away from our fair city, in the south-eastern Brazilian city of São Paulo, there is a park that shares Toronto’s name. Parque Cidade de Toronto (or Toronto City Park, if you don’t speak Portuguese) was created in 1992 through a joint effort between the municipal governments of both São Paulo and Toronto, the product of a special co-op program that was implemented in order for technicians from the two cities to exchange ideas and swap skills. But why would São Paulo politicians choose Toronto, of all places? Because the small lake (pictured above) at the centre of the 109,100 square-metre site—and which is bound by iron fence to prevent children from falling into the water—reminded them of the Canadian landscape. Here’s a photographic walking tour of the park:
The lake that serves as focal point of Toronto City Park is uncharacteristically clean for São Paulo (since most of its 11 million people require cars to get around this sprawling city), making it a popular meeting place for neighbourhood families.
One side of Toronto City Park is home to playground equipment and a wading pool, while the other is more inviting for a picnic under a canopy of trees. One option to get from side to side: the wooden walking bridge that crosses the lake at one of its extremities.
Right next to the bridge is a rickety old dock worthy of a postcard that sits on some swamp lands. If you’re lucky, you can hear the frogs and crickets that make their homes underneath it.
Another creature that calls the lake and swamplands home: the common duck, which happily eats bread and popcorn from the hands of children here, too.
If you want to take the longer, more scenic route to the lake, you can walk along the dirt paths that trail around the perimeter of the park and through the trees.
The first true sign of a Canadian park in October: dry maple leaves curling on the grass…
…though you’ll still find them growing on the trees too, since it’s currently spring in São Paulo.
The park has another Canadian foliage staple: the pine tree, complete with pinecones…
…but it’s both the maple and pine trees that line the lake, a perfect place to sit back and relax with a good book and a picnic basket.
And no matter what side you’re sitting on, the park doesn’t let you forget which city was its inspiration.