Torottawalk: (Pape to Parliament On Queen @ 1:00)

Supposedly walking down Queen - or taking the Queen Car is a Metro-morning style thing to do in Toronto. We're going to do it.

Supposedly walking down Queen – or taking the Queen Car is a Metro-morning style thing to do in Toronto. We’re going to do it.

We’re headed out to Queen and Pape and set to wander back west today, past through the heart of the beach, Degrassi and over the Don and into city centre.

Queen Street in the East End is as old as Toronto, with suburbs established in 1834 around the Don – initially called Liberties the expansion began and continued to grow. Around 1908 to 1910, the city expanded right to Victoria Park my old hood, though we’ll only be headed to Pape today.

With the changing face of Queen Street, and the diverse history of the area, I expect our chats along the way to be illuminating.

Come along or follow @torottawalk on twitter or Torottawalk on instagram to follow along digitally.

Ottawa should also be joining us today!

Discovery Walks vs Torottawalk

Discovery Walk

Discovery Walk (Photo credit: ManHole.ca)

I’ve been walking around Toronto officially with Torottawalk for a fall and winter, learning how to be more mindful and attentive about my city, learning to be inquisitive and appreciative, and learning to take really great photos with a cellphone camera. What I’ve found amazing: how ancient some places around my home are, how connected I can be to nature in the middle of a whirling dirvish of a city, and the absolute dearth or resources to guide me on walking.

I’m looking at you, Discovery Walks.

Discovery Walks is a program of self-guided walks that links City ravines, parks, gardens, beaches and neighbourhoods. Other Discovery Walks include: Central Ravines, Belt Line and Gardens; Don Valley Hills and Dales; Western Ravines and Beaches; Northern Ravines and Gardens; Eastern Ravine & Beaches; Garrison Creek; Humber River, Old Mill & Marshes; and Uptown Toronto.

What discovery walks doesn’t include: history. education. Along the walk you’ll notice signage is sun bleached and graffiti ridden; directions haven’t been updated, and – most frustrating – it could be so much better.

Encouraging pedestrian-ism, walk-ability and livability in this city is of utmost importance: start with taking Discovery Walks and using the existing infrastructure to support more. Mashing up the Discovery walks with a smartphone application like the Local History App “It Happened Here“, integrating Stroll, Jane’s walk, or Toronto City Library Genealogy & Local History tools into an application – or more cheaply: stick a QR code onto any discovery walk sign and link it to a map with local history.

which is why I started Torottawalk. in part to connect with far away friends and in part to connect with the cities I love.

Torottawalk: Trinity Bellwoods Park & Area ( Sunday @ 1:00)

New Trin instead of Old Trin

New Trin instead of Old Trin

This week, we head to Trinity Bellwoods, one of my favourite parks in the city. Named for Trinity College, one of the colleges that now make up the University of Toronto, the college which was built in 1852 and stood at the centre of the park and remained there for just over 100 years. Today the only remaining artifacts of the school are its restored gates at the south end of the park. The area has gone through so many historical changes – from WASP holy land, to new immigrant settling point, from creek to toboggan-site – and I’m excited to visit a place I’ve been to so many times with the view to just: look at it.

I’m not sure the route we’re taking today, but I know we’ll be walking over Garrison Creek and the former Crawford Street Bridge, which once ran over it – because we have to walk by the “dog bowl”. I know we’ll be on the spot where Shaw defended Toronto during the War of 1812 – because we’ll be near Queen, and I’m sure we’ll track down the 200 year old Bitternut Hickory tree, one of the oldest trees in Toronto. For more research read this Jane’s Walk and the Friends of Trinity Bellwood’s page.