Torottawalk: Downsview Farmer’s Market and Area

English: map of Downsview

English: map of Downsview (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s fitting that a farm is now a farmer’s market.

I’ve been talking about, and planning for, a different walk all week – a “Weed Walk” (far lamer than it sounds) where we walk about an urban area identifying edible, ingestible, drinkable plant life. After gardening for the last month and learning to identify the plants I grow from seed, I thought it would be lovely, forgetting that my sister – an amateur urban farmer, landscaper, florist, and general hippie – would be a great guide along this trip. As it’s too late to invite her for today, I’m pushing a Weed Walk until later.  Instead: Downsview.

Downsview was originally John Perkins Bull’s farm. Bull, a Justice of the Peace who settled in this area around 1842, named his farm “Downs View” as his property was situated on one of the highest elevations in Toronto. [This does not bode well for our 50+ minute bike ride to the flea market, but coming home, I anticipate hitting top speed.] Bull who balanced being a centre of justice with farming, included in the basement of  his farm house built a courtroom addition and a jail.  I’m sure they’ve remodelled extensively for the Nursing Home currently occupying The John Perkins Bull house (450 Rustic Road).

For 100+ years, Downview was its own self-sustaining area, with large post-WWII subdivisions, beautifully built churches, and lovely schools. In 1928 De Havilland Aircraft Company, followed by The Canadian Armed Forces set up military bases during World War Two. Following the end of the Cold War the  land was transformed into an urban park known as Downsview Park.

If you’re interested in learning a lot more about Downsview, check out From Oxford to Ontario : a history of the Downsview community

Today, we’re taking a tour of the over 600 friendly vendors of the Downsview Farmer’s Market offering unique merchandise from around the world.  I’m shocked we haven’t gone before, but I can only assume it’s because it’s so far without a car. Welp, After conquering the North for Torottawalk and Jane’s Walk, we’re pumped to head out on bikes and find bargains in consumer electronics, fashion clothing, jewellery, home furnishings, cosmetics, housewares, food produce and Downsview’s antique market.  

Torottawalk 1:00 GREEN LINE

Today, we’re headed to explore the green line, best known for the green line competition : I’ve wanted a green line bike trail since I’ve lived in the core and worked in midtown. Today, torottawalk explores this route as a pedestrian.

A history lesson on John Strachan Hopefully on our torottawalk tomorrow we’ll have some history, some sun and some laughs. Join in! Follow @torottawalk and check back tomorrow for more information!

Torottawalk (4:00 Dundas Street)

Along Dundas Street, stopping along for some drinks as we go!

Along Dundas Street, stopping along for some drinks as we go!

Come join us or follow along on @torottawalk or on Torottawalk’s instagram

Ah, St Patrick’s day.  For those of you with nothing left to prove in the realm of green beer and public shame, I’m sure the plan is to bolt the doors and nurse an imperial stout all day. Well, not for me! Today. in our Sunday best: Torottawalk takes Dundas.

For some great information about Dundas Street and why it’s a historical gold mine: check out this article in BlogTO. Today, we’re chugging along the old Highway 5,  the TTC’s 505 Dundas streetcar route, and exploring the space between Riverdale and the Junction.

Built as a military road, Torottawalk will take military precision in our Dundas Street exploration, keeping a fair distance from both the lake (and the ancient threat of war) and the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. In working through this one street (once more than fifteen separate streets) We’ll also be working through some of the local pubs and bars.

Possible stops Include:

So come along, wear your walkin’ shoes and take some pictures with us!