Changing Torottawalk

With the “Ottawa” component of your favourite walking portmanteau moving to Toronto: I’m looking to rename the weekly walk around the city. We’re now TorontoWalk and tomorrow we’ll be walking at 1:00 in a new area of the city! 


Cherry Blossoms in High Park

Torottawalk: Jarvis (1:00 today)

Lower Jarvis to Ted Rogers

A Mother’s Day Walk from Lower Jarvis to Ted Rogers.

Follow us on @torottawalk

You may be thinking, why would I take this walk on Mother’s day?

In the late 1800s, Miss Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948), of Philadelphia, began a letter-writing campaign in the US. This campaign made Mother’s Day a national holiday. While Jarvis in Toronto is named for Samuel Jarvis, I thought this would be as good a time as ever to explore the street because my Mum loves a good murder mystery with political intrigue.

Originally called New Street, Jarvis was a segment of the original lots in Toronto. It was quickly developed after Jarvis was forced to sell Hazel Burn to pay £4000 that he owed the government due to an investigation that accused him of briberyfraudreligious discrimination and many more crimes following a debauchery-ridden, entitled life. If you get a chance to read an in-depth biography of Jarvis, I recommend it.

So far, one of my favourite histories of Jarvis is found on a School Site, which vehemently states,

The school was named after the street. Take note of that, please—after the STREET! 
      It was not named in honour of William and Samuel Jarvis. They did give the name Jarvis to the street, and it might be natural to believe that the school was given the name in their honour. But it was NOT! It was named after the street, definitely not the men. 
      In fact, William and Samuel were such nasty pieces of work that a school would have a hard time being proud of them. You can read lots of about them later in this document and in other documents linked to this one. But for now, let’s finish the story of how the school took on the name of its street.

When the lot was first purchased from Jarvis, it was well-known before the 1940s, as possibly the most beautiful in all of Toronto, lined with the mansions of some of Toronto’s wealthiest families.

However in 1947, the street changed when many of its trees were ripped out to widen it for increased car traffic. There’s a lovely photographic tour of Jarvis that shows the drastic difference – while foreshadowing the bikelane troubles that the “war on cars” brought upon Jarvis in this most recent mayoralty.

Along the way on today’s walk we’ll see bits of Ryerson University, the Rogers BuildingAllan Gardens222 Jarvis Street, the Consulate General of IndonesiaSt. Lawrence Market, and St. Lawrence Hall.

Oh, also, if you’re ever on Jarvis and see a QR code: Scan it, it will take you to a webpage containing a video clip that explains that section of the street, a little historical information, and a few images.

Torottawalk/Jane’s Walk Mashup! (200 Years at Yonge & Lawrence)

A last minute change up in our schedule, dear walkers. Initially we were going to get mashed up with the lovely @roundraglandroad as she walked us through history in Corktown.

Then: the power went out last night.

Cue a nice long sleeping in, followed by the slow realization that we missed our chance.

Now: Torottawalk will link up with another Jane’s Walk, hopefully learning new things about guided walking tours to improve how we run ours! So after much consideration, we landed on this:

200 Years at Yonge & Lawrence

A local history columnist Gary Schlee is guiding us through experiencing the area in 1813, 1913 and 2013.

Visualize the area when it was dominated by trees and a few pioneer settlers clearing land on their 200-acre farms.Visualize the area when the first two-storey storefront strips  were being built.See the vibrant thoroughfare today and learn about some of the stories it has to tell.

This Jane’s Walk is being sponsored by the Yonge Lawrence Village BIA (Business Improvement Area) and the Fairlawn Neighbourhood Centre.

Gary Schlee is a former communications professor and journalist with an interest in local history. For 10 years, he wrote The Story Of A Community, a column about the Bedford Park neighbourhood at Yonge and Lawrence. It appeared in Community Life, a neighbourhood paper distributed by Fairlawn Avenue United Church. Many of his columns can be found at


The above was ripped straight from Jane’s walk, and I’m excited to see this new area!