Last week was my birthday, and so, instead of exploring Toronto, I built a snow yurt in my backyard. So today, to make up for it, today I have two walks planned. This first leg is 3K and should take around 30min, passing by parks, small businesses, institutions and beautiful residential architecture.
Starting on Shaw, where the city recently proposed (auspiciously, on my birthday) the installation of a “contra flow” bike lane to provide cyclists with a space to legally cycle northbound. I bike year round, and use the northern end of Shaw on my way home at night, and so the proposed installation of a contra flow lane warmed the cockles of my heart. There have been too many poorly lit close calls on that street (which currently operates as an illegal bike highway). Contra-flows are rare in Toronto, and some residents of the community are upset at the idea of more space being legally designated to cyclists. If this cause matters to you – call your Councillor.
Other Interesting history about Shaw Street:
- Shaw Street British Methodist Episcopal Church and Stanley Grizzle, a major centre of Toronto’s black community in the 1950s, were the key drivers of the first celebration of Black History Month in Toronto.
- The Shaw Street School, constructed in 1914, was a Queen West community hub.
Then on to Harbord Street, where local businesses, the Harbord Collegiate Institute, and one of the best bike lanes in the city, Harbord is one of my top five favourite strips to walk and explore. Hard to believe that it was the centre of a debate 3 years ago where NIMBYs faced off against small business. In addition to the business scenery, there’s also two amazing parks in the area that – depending on the frigidness today – we may take a brief trip through. Art Eggleton Park and Bickford Park, two sanctuary retreats, sandwich the strip at its west end. I’m in love with park-lands that integrate into a community, and these are two great examples.
From there, on to the University and Hoskin. We’ll be walking through campus about a week before winter break, so it could be interesting.
Our bonus walk is the Philosopher’s Walk which – as Wikipedia states – is a scenic footpath in the main campus of the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario. It runs in the north-south direction along the ravine landscape created by Taddle Creek, once a natural waterway that was buried during the Industrial Age and now flowing underground. The path is bounded by several Toronto landmarks, including the Royal Ontario Museum, the Royal Conservatory of Music, Trinity College and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. We should get spit out right at the ROM and be able to cuddle up to some fine bones, if we’d like, and maybe enjoy a quick Red Stripe with c5’s Black History Month menu.
- Discovery Walks vs Torottawalk (kimbethke.com)
- Torottawalk: Trinity Bellwoods Park & Area ( Sunday @ 1:00) (kimbethke.com)
- 50 things to do in Toronto (toronto.hotelscheap.org)
- Torottawalk: Brickworks (Sunday at 12:30) (kimbethke.com)