We are always attracted to picturesque locations and Toronto has plenty of them. Which are the best spots to take wedding and engagement portraits?
Be aware that many sites require permits for wedding and engagement photography. Professionals suggest selecting two favourite places or a maximum of three areas if they are close to each other in order to maximize shooting time.
While most photographers' packages include unlimited locations, every time you move from one spot to another you spend time in traffic instead of taking photos.
This collection of sites is a good starting point if you are looking for ideas. Still, we suggest that you select a few locations that are meaningful to YOU.
Pick a place where you first went on a date, an area that you both love or a landmark that represents you. Once you decided on the perfect areas for your engagement or wedding photo shoot, please let your photographer know.
Among my prettiest neighbourhoods in the city we can list Yorkville, Distillery-District, University of Toronto, Polson Pier and Graffiti Alley.
Named after the Town of York, the precursor of Toronto, Yorkville is the area located between Bloor St, Avenue Rd., Bay St. and Davenport. With its luxury stores that offer perfect backdrops for wedding or engagement portraits, Yorkville is one of my favourite shooting locations in town. Here you can find a variety of places with different feels within minutes from each other. Hazelton Lanes is adorned with picturesque Victorian houses from the 1830s, while Ramsden Park boasts beautiful greenery if you are looking for a park-like feel. The Village of Yorkville park and the terraces in the area are perfect sites to take beautiful wedding and engagement photos. During the Toronto Film Festival in September, the district is overcrowded and I do not recommend photo sessions in that period. No permit is needed for street photography. Best time to photograph to photograph at this location is early in the morning before the arrival of tourists or two hours before sunset.
Recommended wardrobe - The ideal attire for a Yorkville engagement shoot is a formal one to match the upscale area of the city.
Parking - There is paid underground parking at148 Cumberland Street and free street parking on Berryman St. (3 hours) and Hazelton Avenue (one hour limit between 8am and 6pm). You could meet your photographer in the free parking lot on Ramsden Park Road and start there. Ramsden Park is a perfect location for engagement photos if you want your pet to join.
Distillery District (Permit Required)
Distillery District is a very popular area for wedding and engagement portraits. Over 1700 movies were filmed here which make it the second most popular film location after Hollywood. Chicago, Cocktail, X-Men and Cinderella Man are only a few of the movies shot at this location.
Distillery District became important in 1831 when two British immigrants, James Worts and his brother in law William Gooderham opened a grain mill. In 1837 a whiskey distillery was added to the complex. By 1871 the distillery became one of the most prominent distillery in the world.
The best time to photograph here is early in the morning before pedestrians show up for their morning walk or coffee. It is common to see a few weddings photo shoots happening at the same time. As such, allow yourself plenty of time here to get the perfect shots.
Photography permit - A permit is required for your engagement or wedding day sessions and here you can find information on how to apply for photography permits or you can call at (416)203-2363.
Recommended wardrobe - The ideal attire for a Distillery District engagement shoot is a retro or formal one to match the vintage atmosphere of the site.
Also known as The Docks, Polson Pier offers spectacular views of the downtown skyline. In the summer, it tends to be crowded, especially at sunset.
Best time to photograph - either at sunrise or at one hour before sunset and one hour after the sunset.Allocate more time for photography as you might have to wait in line to take get your shot. No Permit is needed.
University of Toronto (Permit Required)
University of Toronto has a few locations that are suitable for engagement or wedding portraits. Here is a map outlining the sites managed by U of T.
Photography permit - is required and here are the pricing policies and fees charged for photography permits. U of T graduates receive a 50% discount. You can find the permit application form here.
Best time to photograph outdoors is within one hour after the sunrise. Parking - Paid street parking is available.
Hart House (Permit Required)
Located at 7 Hart House Cir, Toronto, ON M5S 3H3, Hart House was gifted by the Massey family to University of Toronto. Designed in the Collegiate Gothic Style by the famous architect Henry Sproatt, Hart House was inaugurated on Remembrance Day, Nov 11, 1919. Having shot at this location a few times, I can honestly say that Hart House is a perfect setting for your wedding or engagement photo shoot.
Photography permit - For a permit, please find more information here Permits are granted within 30 days of the requested date to avoid interfering with the university's activities. No permit is required if your wedding is held at Hart House.
Hart House is also a wedding venue capable of accommodating weddings from intimate parties to larger receptions hosting up to 120 seated guests in the Music Room. For more information, please book an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (416) 946-7196
Best time to photograph - Hart House has quite a few sites where we can take great photos, and ideally we start early in the morning. Parking - paid parking is available at Tower Rd. Parking Lot. or on Hoskin Ave.
Trinity College (Permit Required)
The Trinity quadrangle, once home for the largest Shakespeare festival in Canada, is a perfect location for a first look, bride and groom and bridal party portraits.
Photography permit - A permit is required for wedding day and engagement photography. You can find more information on how to apply for a photography permit here.
A former meeting place of Anishinaabe indigenous people, Philosophers Walk is a splendid pedestrian path in the St. George Campus of University of Toronto. Running from Bloor Street to Hoskin Avenue, the scenic pathway is peppered with landmarks such as Royal Ontario Museum, the Royal Conservatory of Music, Trinity College and University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Best time to photograph is within 2 hours from sunrise or two hours before sunset. Parking is available on Hoskin Ave. or at the Green P Parking Lot at 9 Bedford Rd.
Knox College is a heritage building located at 59 Saint George St. Photography Permit - to apply for a permit please visit the Knox College website . University of Toronto graduates receive a 50% discount. Paid parking is available on Saint George St.
Best time to photograph is within early in the morning or 2 hours before the sunset.
Also known as Rush Lane or Rich Mercer's Alley, Graffiti Alley is located between Portland Street and Spadina Avenue between Queen Street and Richmond in the core of downtown Toronto. Many of the art pieces on Graffiti Alley were created by Uber5000, an artist from Nova Scotia who moved to Toronto a while ago. If you like graffiti and gritty urban buildings, this is definitely your location for wedding and engagement photos. No permit is required for engagement sessions or wedding day portraits. Paid street parking is available on Richmond Street W and Augusta Avenue.
Address: 2901 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4N 3N8
Alexander Muir Gardens are named after the man who wrote the song “The Maple Leaf Forever.” Besides the beautifully manicured gardens, one of the attractions of the Alexander Muir Park is the decorative gate found at the entrance from Yonge Street.
Please consider the fact the park allows double bookings so you need to allocate more time for photography in case we need to wait. A photography permit is needed. Find more information about applying for a permit here or call: (416) 392-8188. Best time to photograph is immediately after sunrise or two hours before sunset. Free parking is available on site. Best time to photograph is early in the morning.
Ashbridges Bay (Permit Required)
Named after Sarah Ashbridges, a British loyalist who settled here in 1790 and owned a farm on this land, the park is located at 1561 Lake Shore Blvd E, Toronto. The picturesque trails and boardwalk, along with a marina and the long beach make it a desirable photography location.
A photography permit is required and you can find more information on how to apply for a permit here or by calling (416) 392-8188. Ideal wardrobe - casual attire. Best time to photograph is one hour before and after the sunrise. Free street parking can be found on Coxwell Ave. Paid parking is available close to Ahsbridge's Bay Yacht Club
Location: 955 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto. Atlantis is a spectacular venue with a science fictional look to it is located on the Ontario Lake. With its avant-garde architecture and located next to the former IMAX dome (now abandoned), Atlantis is a very popular spot for engagement photography as the view of the Toronto skyline at night is breathtaking. Please inquire with the establishment if they require a permit.
Paid parking can be found at Ontario place. There are golf carts taking you to and from the parking lots.
Casa Loma (Permit Required)
Casa Loma was built as a private residence for Sir Henry Mill Pellet between 1911 and 1914. Unfortunately, the the Great Depression affected Sir Pellet who was forced to sell the house at a significant loss in 1923. When it was built, Casa Loma was the largest house in Canada. These days, the castle built in the Gothic Revival style is a very popular location for movies, TV shows and weddings. Among the movies filmed here, X-Men and Chicago are the most popular. Case Loma is the perfect location for engagement and wedding photos a sit features splendid gardens, libraries, towers, stables and a hunting lodge. Address: 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto.
Centennial Park Conservatory features three green houses with a surface of 12,000 square feet hosting a permanent collection of plants from around the world.
The best feature of Centennial Park Conservatory are the greenhouses that allow us to shoot year round in a tropical-like location. Address: 151 Elmcrest Rd, Toronto. A permit is required, call (416) 392-8188.
Evergreen Brick Works (Permit Required)
Also known as the Don Valley Brick Works , the old brick factory reopened in 2010 as an environmental complex. This 100 year old location is rich in history and played a crucial role in rebuilding Toronto. After the massive fire that engulfed the city in 1904, the bricks produced by Don Valley Brick Works rebuilt the buildings destroyed by fire. Its bricks were used to build the Old City Hall, Royal Ontario Museum, Osgoode Hall, Queen's Park, Casa Loma and more.
Today, the old brickworks buildings are now decorated with graffiti artwork and you can find unique elements such as brick kilns, a few ponds and a park. In October the foliage is splendid and many couples have their engagement photos done there. All of the above make it a perfect location for your engagement or wedding photo shoot.
Official Address: 550 Bayview Avenue.
A permit is required for wedding and engagement photography and you can find more information here. Alternatively, call (416) 596-1495 or email email@example.com. Paid Parking is available on site.
Estates of Sunnybrook
Vaughan Estate, McLean House and the Coach House is an award winning complex including three historical buildings converted into event venues. The Estates of Sunnybrook are located minutes from downtown Toronto at 2075 Bayview Avenue. Besides the splendid historical buildings form the beginning of the 20th century, the beautiful gardens are another reason to consider this site for your wedding or engagement photo shoot. For reservations please call (416) 480-4960.
Located at 50 Pottery Rd., this beautiful property is minutes from Downtown Toronto and surrounded by a 200 acres conservation area that makes it an oasis in the city of Toronto.
A photography permit is needed. For reservations please call (416) 425-9122 or visit Fantasy Farm website.
Official Address:1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3 though the park covers a 400 acres area. The park is extremely busy in early spring to admire the cherries blossoms (sakura). The park website clearly states that engagement and wedding photography are not allowed, yet this is ignored by couples especially for engagement sessions.
Located in the heart of Toronto west of Spadina and north of Dundas, Kensington Market is a vibrant neighborhood, with plenty of restaurants and bars, coffee shops and souvenir stores. No permit needed. Street parking. This location is not suitable for large wedding parties.
Address: 2075 Queen St. East, Toronto. For information on permits please call (416) 392-8188.
Leslie Spit or Tommy Thompson Park
Leslie Spit is a peninsula located at the base of Leslie Street south of Lakeshore Boulevard East. The park is only open on weekends and features trails, a lighthouse and covers an area of over 500 hectares. This is a dream location for engagement photo shoots
The gardens are located at Lakeshore and Coxwell Avenue, across from the old Woodbine Racetrack. A permit is required. Please call (416) 392-8188
Located at 479 Queens Quay W, the Music Garden was co designed by the famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma and is built like a treble clef. A photography permit is required . For permits please call (416) 392-8188. Free and paid street parking.
Nathan Phillips Square
One of the most recognizable landmarks in Toronto, Nathan Phillips Square is located in front of the Toronto City Hall at Queen St. and Bay St.
North York Rose Garden
This manicured garden is located in the heart of North York, at the Northwest corner of Yonge Street and Park Horne Avenue. Parking is available and a permit is required. For permits please call 416-395-6055
Address: 250 Centre Street, Thornhill. A permit is needed. For more information please call (905) 832-2281
Heritage building in Toronto located at 130 Queen Street West. No permit is needed for either wedding day portraits or engagement sessions. Paid Parking available on the streets. This location is situated in downtown Toronto and parking is always an issue.
This beautiful urban park in downtown Toronto was opened by Edward Prince of Wales and named so in honour of Queen Victoria in 1860. The building with the same name is located right in downtown Toronto.
Rosetta McClain Gardens
Address: 5 Glen Everest Road, Toronto, on the North side of King Street East, east of Church Street. A permit is needed and you can call 416-392-8188.
St James Park or St. James Gardens
Located besides the church with the same name, at 65 Church St, Toronto, St James Park boasts one of the most beautiful Toronto gardens and a gazebo and a fountain, not to mention the majestic St. James Church. A permit is required and you can obtain it by calling Toronto Parks at (416) 392-8188
Located on Lake Ontario at 1755 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Toronto, Sunnyside Pavilion features a courtyard, fountain, beaches and a boardwalk complementing the late 1800 architecture. For more information, please call (416) 531-2233
Todmorden Mills is a complex of heritage buildings operated by the City of Toronto. Address: 67 Pottery Rd, Toronto. A permit is required(416) 396-2819
Address: 10080 Kennedy Road, Markham. Phone: (905) 887-0090.
Copper Creek Golf Club
Address: 1191 Highway #27 Kleinburg. Call (905) 893-3370
Donalda Club is a sanctuary of tranquility and offers beautiful gardens and a hall perfect for engagement and wedding day portraits. Address: 12 Bushbury Dr, North York. Permit is required. For inquiries, please call (416) 447-5575
Edward Gardens area is located along the ravine created by Wilket Creek. In 1944 Rupper E. Edwards transformed the land in a splendid garden, who was purchased by the City of Toronto in 1955. Now, the gardens are a very popular place for engagement and wedding day portraits. The botanical gardens feature a creek, a dam adorned with several bridges, a mini waterfall, pathways and of course, the gardens.Location: 777 Lawrence Avenue East, North York, Ontario M3C 1P2
A photography permit is required. Here you can find more information on how to purchase a permit. Best time to photograph is early in the morning or two hours before sunset. Parking is free.
Kleinburg Railway Station (McMichael Canadian Art Collection)
Main Street, Kleinburg
Kleinburg is a village with plenty of photographic opportunities. Before scheduling your photo shoot on Main Street, you might want to contact the village of Kleinburg to ensure that no events are held at the time.
Mel Lastman Square
The square is located at 5100 Yonge Street at North York Civic Centre and so named after the former North York mayor.
Vellore Town Hall
Address: 9541 Weston Road, Woodbridge. Besides the Barn, the historical buildings and a gazebo, this small park is close to a forest so that one can achieve a multitude of looks in a relatively short amount of time.
Guild Inn Gardens
Address: 201 Guildwood Pkwy, Scarborough.
Guild Inn Gardens is a picturesque location featuring various rescued facades of old Toronto buildings. Permit required for wedding photography, not for engagement photo shoots. Call (416)-392-8188
Address: 4325 McCowan Rd, Scarborough. A permit might be required. Please contact Toronto parks. Parking is available.
Stretching for 15 km between the Astern Beaches to East Point Park along Lake Ontario shore, Scarborough Bluffs offers stunning views of Lake Ontario. Please be cautious and do not approach the edge of the bluffs, as it is unstable. Street Parking. Please purchase a a wedding day or engagement photography permit from Toronto Parks and Recreation. There have been instances when photographers were fined $1,000 for photographing without a permit at Scarborough Bluffs.
Thompson Memorial Park
Address: 1005 Brimley Rd, Scarborough. Permit might be required. Please contact Toronto Parks.
Address: 9050 Bramalea Rd, Brampton. A $150 permit is required. (905) 458-6555. For winter weddings, Chinguacousy Park could be a great option for your wedding day or engagement sessions if the weather is cold. The greenhouse offers beautiful light and hosts tropical plants that can be used as backdrop.
Address: 1306 Lakeshore Rd E, Oakville, ON L6J 1L6 Lakeshore & Cairncroft Blvd, Oakville. Gairloch Gardens overlook lake Ontario and are the perfect backdrop for wedding photography. To purchase a permit, please call (905) 815-5989.
Glen Abbey Golf Course
Address: 1333 Dorval Drive, Oakville. To buy a permit, please call (877) 622-4196.
Greystone Golf Club
Address: 9689 Dublin Line, Milton. Phone: (905) 875-3808
Address 205 Humber College Blvd, Etobicoke. A permit is required for both engagement and wedding photo shoots. For information on permits, please visit this page.
This beautiful pedestrian and bicycle bridge located by lake Ontario is part of the Waterfront Trail and has a clear span of over 100 meters (330 ft.) over the Humber River.
Address: 61 Edenbridge Rd, Etobicoke. A permit is required for wedding day and engagement images and you can obtain it by calling (416) 392-8188
Karya Park is one of the most beautiful wedding day and engagement photography locations in the GTA. With winding pathways and arched bridges, Karya Park offers the perfect photography backdrops. Especially in spring, the park is packed with couples having their engagement sessions. Sakura, or the blossoming cherry trees is the best time to take engagement photos. Karia Park is located at 3620 Kariya Dr, Mississauga, ON L5B 3J2
Locations to Avoid
- Any locations during blackout dates such as Caribana and long weekends
- Police buildings
- Government buildings
- Museums indoor locations
A tourist attraction, Dundas Square is very busy and loud spot. It is suitable for large group photos, but not for bride and groom intimate portraits. If we are close by we could stop to take a few photos, but do not make the square the main location of your engagement or wedding photos.
A very busy place, Union Station may look like a great engagement or wedding location, but the looks you will get here are fairly similar. If we are in its vicinity, we will stop to take a few pictures if you really want.
A TTC Subway photo shoot requires a budget of tens of thousands of dollars and it is simply not good location from a photography standpoint.
Toronto Zoo might sound like a good location for an engagement session, but it is very crowded and not suitable for an intimate engagement or wedding photo shoot.