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Old April 26th, 2006, 10:14 PM   #41
Taller, Better
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This past weekend I ventured out to Roncesvalles St, which is the heart of the Polish community in Toronto. I went on a Monday afternoon, which is a strangely quiet time to visit the street... many of the businesses close Monday, and as this is a strongly working class neighbourhood most people are at work. There is a sometimes shabby, but very comfortable 50's feel to this street- I think a big wave of Poles came to Canada around that time, and it continued to the mid 80's. Today the neighbourhood is finding increasing influx of other nationalities, and young people from across the city seeking inexpensive lodgings, with good shopping nearby. However, the heart and soul of Roncesvalles remains Polish. I hope you enjoy this little tour, even though
it is not a glamorous part of Toronto, it is part of what makes our city a "City of Neighbourhoods"





I remember years ago when I first became aquainted with this street, I
marvelled that it seemed to be a street where the Churches looked like Banks:



and the Banks (or in this case Credit Union) looked like Churches:



Some street scenes:













The main Polish Church (which does not look like a bank!! )





The best bakery on the street, which makes the best Easter goodies.. Mrs.
Granowska's:







One of the local weekly Polish newspapers:









I was crushed to find my favourite chocolate shop, Wedels, has closed, but
was relieved to find I could still buy some of their products:



Strangely, while one side of the street are solid shops and restaurants, the
other side is almost completely residential. Very post WWII houses, looking
right out of an old Archie Bunker show:













My favourite of the many Polish delicatessans along the street:









There is pretty much anything you need to buy, on Roncesvalles... you just
have to keep your eyes open:





Walking and gawking and snapping pix is hot, thirsty work and a fella works
up a big appetite. I figured I deserved a "fix" of good old fashioned Polish
cooking, so I swung into Krak, my favourite restaurant on the street:



Sure, its a bit hokey and 50's.....





but the people are always friendly, and the food always delicious. Here
you can see I enjoyed schnitzel, cabbage rolls, and meat pierogi. All washed
down with a frosty Zywiec or two.... Nosdrovia!



Thanks for taking this little tour with me through one of my favourite neighbourhoods!
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Old April 27th, 2006, 02:22 PM   #42
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WOW! Thank you for photos from polish area! The pictures are litttle dark but they are great! I see that beer ŻYWIEC rulez in polish restaurants! There are also many interesting things from Poland in shopping windows...
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Old April 27th, 2006, 05:26 PM   #43
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Thanks for checking them out! It was a pretty dark and dreary day on Monday,
so the pix are dark. Many Polish Canadian's in Toronto have now moved to "better" neighbourhoods in High Park, and in the suburb of Mississauga, but they all eventually wind up coming back to shop on Roncesvalles for some specific items. And yes, ŻYWIEC rules on the street! LOL! There are a few others but I think it is the one most widely drunk, and I like it the best. But all Polish beers are very good.
The city I was born in, Winnipeg, also has a Polish community, albeit smaller
and definitely from the 50's period. But Winnipeg has a huge Ukrainian community, which is a major part of the spirit of Winnipeg. I don't want
to insult anyone, but I am biased toward Polish pierogi and think they are tops!
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Old April 28th, 2006, 09:53 AM   #44
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Awesome tour! When my family first moved to Toronto we did most of our business on Roncesvalles. My dentist is still there down near Queen and my mom hits Granowska's from time to time. It's an amazing feeling for me to go to this neighbourhood and talk to people in Polish... it's like I never left Warsaw.

I have so much love for this city it's ridiculous.


Keep it up, TB!
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Old April 28th, 2006, 02:28 PM   #45
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Thanks for sharing, TB! I didn't know Toronto had a street so distnictively Polish. Regarding gastronomy, I confess that I'm surprised to see that our classic cuisine old-style, may be easier to find overseas than in Warsaw these days!

Most of new additions in eateries here are not Polish cuisine at all - pizzerias, Chinese/Vietnamese stuff, Middle East kebabs and US fast foods dominate! Seems I shall go to Toronto to savour real żurek (fermented rye-flour soup), pierogi, bigos, gołąbki and schabowy!!!

Speaking of beer, well... I know Żywiec is perhaps the most renowned, but I prefer TYSKIE and WARKA! The latter in contrast to both previous (which represent our southern Carpathians) is from Mazovia, my Warsaw region! TRY IT, TB!!!
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Old April 28th, 2006, 05:02 PM   #46
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Wonderful photos. I love these intimate street level tours, rather than the impersonal "skyline" photos meant to impress. Virtual armchair traveling at its best. Thank you T,B.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 05:16 PM   #47
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Thanks guys! Glad you enjoyed the little tour. Next week, if the weather is good,
I'll pick another neighbourhood and go 'hunting'!
@Vars... it is nice to get different styles of restaurants, but I hope they never
lose the traditional old style Polish cooking in Warsaw- it is just too delicious!!
I was tempted to have zur polski before the platter, but that would have been
too much! My big disappointment was finding the big Wedel shop had closed.
The only other Polish beer I am really familiar with is Okocim, and it is very good.
I think it was only about 14 years ago that Polish beer started arriving in our
beer stores. Before that there was none. Now there are a fair number of varieties,
and I will keep an eye out for those ones you mentioned...
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Old April 29th, 2006, 07:22 AM   #48
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Thanks for the pics! I've never heard of Roncesvalles before..
Downtown TO is so big, I don't think I've even seen half of it yet. But when I get to university (hopefully UofT) or during the summer, I will definately be going around sightseeing alot ;]
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Old April 29th, 2006, 07:30 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gutooo
Wow!

I love Canada!...
I agree. Canada is the model country (unlike her whacky neighbor to the south (where I reside)).

Toronto looks nice. It looks like a mix of Boston and Chicago.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 07:32 AM   #50
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Hot damn do I want to make it to Toronto someday soon. It looks like such a great place. Nice pics!
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Old May 16th, 2006, 07:31 AM   #51
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Hello! Me again... here is what has been going on in my life these past three weeks. I apologize in advance if there are too many pictures... but Spring is such a beautiful time that I have been out snapping photos on any sunny day off. My first stop was on April 28 to the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition the oldest and largest annual fair in the world. In 1878 it settled in its current location in Toronto and has not looked back. This is off season for the fairgrounds, and workmen are just starting to tinker about and get it ready for the summer season ahead. We enter the fair through the grand gates, which you could say are Toronto's answer to the Brandenburg Gates. Opened in 1927 by Edward, Prince of Wales, these portals are appropriately called the Princes' Gates:







Most of the architecture on the CNE grounds tends toward the theatrical
grandiose.... none of it is a pure style... none of it is done with particular
finesse (concrete statues replace marble ones) but this type of fairground entertainment was the opiate of the masses, and the masses demanded to be awed with some of the grandeur that they imagined lay far from the farming community that they tended. The result is a romantic hodge-podge of styles that has held up remarkably well over the years:


















The heart of the CNE was historically the agricultural show, which carries on to this date in the form of the annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Here is the charming old Art Deco "Horse Pavillion":



Ironically, nearby I encountered a couple of mounted City of Toronto policemen. This mounted force is a vital part of our city life, and we see them downtown frequently on their magnificent steeds:





And, a visit to the CNE grounds is a visit to the very cradle of Toronto... this is
where Europeans first settled and built a fortification in 1750 called Fort Rouille:



As you can see, this fort held a commanding view of the Harbour:



Also on the grounds sits the oldest existing residence in Toronto... a humble log cabin built in 1794 by John Scadding. I have a mental image of Mr Scadding sitting at his supper table, reading the only newspaper in Toronto at the time, The Upper Canada Gazette, of exciting and rebellious events happening in France that would lead to Napoleon Bonaparte declaring himself emperor ten years later:



The good Mr Scadding and his family must have been short people, for when I stand
upright on his doorstep my chin hit the top of the door! LOL! One hopes Mr. Scadding
was not tall and came home drunk one night.... Mr. Scadding would surely have felt he was drunk had he looked out his window and saw this, North America's first urban wind
turbines, modelled after those in Denmark. So, from the past we go to the future:



The weather was fine, and my day was free... so I wandered back over the bridge to Old Fort York, which dates back to 1793, and was burned to the ground in the War of 1812 by our American friends, and rebuilt as we see it today. Here is a view from an overpass showing the view from the CNE
location relative to downtown. Interestingly, the Gardiner Expressway was closed that day for repairs:



Welcome to Old Fort York:





Where the soldiers slept:



and where the officers took dinner in the Officer's Mess:



The old Union Flag, which changed to the current Union Jack shortly after
this fort was founded:



Now, onto the streetcar, and then on the subway to High Park, to view the magnicent
display of Japanese flowering cherry trees... these are the earliest to bloom (late April)
and are called Somei-Yashino and were donated by Japan to Toronto in 1960. But first,
a couple of subway scenes as I get off to go to High Park:















and the final picturesque setting of Grenadier Pond.....



Back downtown for a well deserved dinner on Queen Street, and just enough energy
for two more shots before I trundle home with sore feet and a full memory chip of pix!





And so, to bed..
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Last edited by Taller, Better; May 26th, 2006 at 07:24 AM.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 08:31 AM   #52
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Another day, another photographic adventure. What better way to see April out than to tour through Cabbagetown. Cabbagetown was settled in the 1800's by Irish families who fled the famine to find a new life in Canada. It is one of the largest intact collections of brick Victorian houses in North America, and... if there is a more blatantly picturesque neighbourhood in all of Toronto, then I am a monkey's uncle. Cabbagetown was headed for typical 1950's North American urban decay... but its downward spiral was halted by the wonderful luck of an amazing group of urban planners who took
root in Toronto in the 60's to halt the "doughnut" effect of a hollow downtown with suburbs. In particular, gay men took to the dingy old Victorian neighbourhoods, and soon real estate was spiralling. Today it remains a highly desireable area to live, and is a short 15 minute walk from the gay village. It has a strong community feel to it, and is a wonderful place to raise a family. Come with me on a tour of Cabbagetown in the Spring... a heady mix of fragrant cherry trees and magnolias. Enjoy!!:



























Down to the ravines of the Don River....



and the magnificent Riverdale Park. This extensive park also houses quite an exotic
petting zoo for children, and an 1850's Ontario farmhouse that acts as a focal point
for the park. In the summer on Tuesdays there is an organic vegetable market where
produce of the farm is sold to the public. Lots of old fashioned vegetables grown from
heritage seeds, and bread baked in an outdoor oven:


















Another picturesque Victorian Chapel, St. James-the-Less:



and as we walk back toward the village, an Afghani man peddling some exotic carpets:



and a few random downtown shots to round off a full day:





the lovely old 1822 Campbell House:



One of the groups of old men who gather every day downtown in various spots to
play serious games of chess:



Probably the oldest gates in Toronto, they originally graced the grounds of St Paul's
Cathedral in London. They were brought to St Jame's Anglican Cathedral in Toronto
in Victorian times..:



St James Anglican Cathedral, which has the second highest church spire in Canada:



lovely old Georgian buildings in Old Toronto, dating back to 1830:





and the St Lawrence Market, founded by farmers in 1803:























Birthplace of Canadian painter Paul Kane:



And a wander to watch a movie downtown before toddling off home. Parting shot: City TV station on Queen Street:



And then, awa' tae bed.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 09:12 AM   #53
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Another fine day, so on May 17 I set out to enjoy the wonders of Queen's Park. This
glorious park was a "planned" park... laid out and designed in 1860, and named after
the reigning Queen Victoria.





Our provincial legislative buildings:







and across the road to the University of Toronto. The largest university in Canada,
this magnificent downtown campus was granted by Royal Charter in 1827. The
grounds are a peaceful oasis in the rush of downtown life... join me on this spring
tour! Let us start with the 1866 momument to volunteers:



















A couple of lovely stained glass windows installed in old Trinity College in 1949. The
first depicts a hockey scene:



and the second looks eerily like Harry Potter:



who I am sure would have felt right at home in the old halls , such as this one
from Hart House:







The old Observatory:



Old cannons found in the harbour of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia, that were sunk in a
battle in 1750, and transported to the University to take their place on the lawns:























And leaving the campus, we travel south on University Avenue. This is the "Avenue d'etat" of Toronto... a grand boulevard sweeping through the heart of the business district:










and a visit to the gracious Osgoode Hall; home of the Law Society of Upper Canada,
and built around 1830:









I've more pictures, but will save them for another day. Thanks for putting up with
all the heavy downloading!! Cheers!
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Old May 16th, 2006, 06:54 PM   #54
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Very beautiful photographs!
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Old May 16th, 2006, 09:16 PM   #55
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great pics TB thanks for sharing....


wait a minute!!.......TB ??!

lol
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Old May 16th, 2006, 09:57 PM   #56
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Your pictures are amazing man! You make me very proud to be a Torontonian!
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Old May 17th, 2006, 12:31 AM   #57
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beautiful pics, as usual!!
ah I love living in Toronto..I wish I can take a few days just to explore downtown. It would be so fun hehe
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Old May 17th, 2006, 02:47 AM   #58
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Great pics
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Old May 17th, 2006, 02:56 AM   #59
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This city has many angles. If only... I could live in such a place.

Oh wait. I do.
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Photo Threads」 ● Flying Over Hong KongCity Life Series」 ● Hong KongShanghaiSeoulTokyo
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Old May 17th, 2006, 07:02 AM   #60
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Hey guys, thanks for the nice comments! Next posting will be some more residential from old Rosedale, and who knows what else! Cheers!
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