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3,488 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First, get yourself a beer, surf somewhere else and let this page load. There are 115 pics here, so this is going to take a while. OR, you can read my route plan and find out where in the city of Toronto we are going. The route I will be taking is pictured below:

This is a loooooooooooooooong stretch to walk, as the route is over 10km. Therefore we start at the High Park Ave, and we shall end at Union Station on Front street. This is by no means a uniform walk, as each street is different with its own character, its own community, and its own architecture. Below are the brief descriptions of each street that I shall visit.

High Park Ave.
High Park Ave is one of the older residential streets of Toronto. The residential streets that splinter off High Park are indeed very interesting, but we will not be convering them in this tour. Instead, it will be a straight walk from my place to the High Park, which is about five minutes away. Heading West from the park is Bloor West Village, which is a rather charming commercial strip. Many Slavic communities call this area their home, although Ukranians are the majority here. North of High Park Ave is another commercial strip, the Junction. The Junction is actually an older strip than Bloor West Village, although it has certainly seen better days. High Park Ave is also home of old residential slabs (which are actually very nice inside), and a new Daniels condo, which is very underwhelming.

High Park
Our stroll through the park will be relatively short as we will be finding the main pathway between High Park and High Park Boulevard. High Park is the largest park in the old city of Toronto. This park is truly amazing and I spend a fair bit of time in it every Summer. Although it can be quite busy, it can be as busy or as quiet as you like it. The 'central' area of the park is never empty in the Summers, but it is such a vast space that you can alway find an empty stretch should you want to. Although Spring is in the air, the trees have still not started blooming. Damn you long Toronto Winters!

High Park Blvd
High Park Boulevard is another residential street. This street is indeed very upscale and owning a house here will set you back some serious $$$. Located between the park and Roncesvalles, but also close to all major forms of transportation, as well as Bloor St, it is easy to see why this street commands prices that it does. The fact that many houses are so aesthetically pleasing, or absolutely gigantic, or both, probably has something to do with this too. This is a relatively short jaunt, and the street will connect us to the first commercial strip of the tour, Roncesvalles Ave.

Roncesvalles Ave
This street only seems hard to pronounce. In truth, it's only a long word, but not a difficult one; it migh be eaiser if you separate it ronces-valles. Roncesvalles is another Slavic area (although, again, not exclusively), and in this case it is the Poles who constitute a majority. Roncesvalles has largely kept its turn-of-the-century character. At one point, like much of Toronto, Roncesvalles was a separate village. This is, in some ways, still evident today since Roncesvalles is definetely a community in and of itself. When taking a walk down this strip it is sometimes easy for me to forget that I am in a busy city (even despite the busy traffic), but rather in a small town. Once off High Park Blvd, we will be walking South towards Queen St.

Queen St
Queen Street has to be one of the most interesting streets in the world. It is some 14km long, and although it never loses its 19th century character, it changes dramatically from place to place. Want a gritty, industrial working-class neighbourhood that still feels like it is in the 19th century? You got it. Want an art colondy? Sure, Queen St has that. Want a trendy, hipster, fashionable-hippy crowd? Yep. Monumental architecture? There's that too. What about Victorian cottages overlooking a beach? Ditto! At 14km, I need not tell you that I will not be covering the entire street. I will be walking from the gritty Parkdale to the trendy Queen St. W neighbourhood, before I walk down South on Yonge street. This is the longest part of my walk. There was SO much to capture on the longest stretch of my walk. Perhaps more so than any other area, the pictures don't do Queen St. justice--the atmosphere of the place is something that has to be experienced. It doesn't help that the area has so much breadth that it is impossible to take all, or even a fraction of what Queen St. (and its immidiete splinter streets) have to offer.

Yonge St
The core of the downtown is an eclectic street as well. A little north of Queen St, the downtown assumes a commercial, cheesy, and sleazy characteristic that is altogether fun. However, we will be walking South of Queen instead, through an area of the city that easily has some of the most pleasing architecture in the city. As a caveat, my pictures of this area once again don't offer the full story. By the time I was on Yonge, it was late afternoon, which didn't help with exposure. Furthermore, south Yonge is a high-rise/skyscraper area which creates a canyon effect; buildings cast a shadow on both sides of the street, which can be frustrating. When I am more motivated, I will take a tripod and tour Yonge and its immidiete area, showing off the wonderful architectural detail a bit better. This tour is also a straight walk down to Front St. In the process, many architecturally marvelous areas (such as King St., Wellington St, the little splinter streets like Colborne, etc.) are missed. Again, I will show off these in greater detail another time. For now, enjoy the quick walk down to Front.

Front St.
This is a rather short walk to the Union Station, where I will take a subway back home. Front St. east of Union Station has lovely architecture as well, in addition to the Toronto flatiron building. I will save that area for some other time, although it is already well-covered in other threads. My walk is thus very small; nonetheless, it includes the Dominion building, Union Station, and the Royal York.

As a final note, this is the first time I am hosting images on PhotoBucket. If there are problems, please let me know.

Now, let's get started, shall we:

Two pics outside my window

A few residentials

The high-rise slabs and a condo

This is what passes for heretige preservation now. A mediocre building, with the original facade as the enterance. :bash:

Back to low-rise residentials:

And we're already out of High Park Av. Now entering the actual park.

This wasn't quite supposed to happen, but I like the effect nontheless

And just a bit more walking, and we're almost outside the park

And out we go

And onto the High Park Blvd we go

The houses are so large that taking a shot of them whole is sometimes difficult

A splinter residential side street

A few more houses and we're almost in Roncesvalles

And indeed, now we are entering Roncesvalles

A small pano of Roncesvalles, sorry for the parallax

Small-town atmosphere

Streetcars are the one constant in this area

Some storefronts up close; I hope some of their charm comes out in the pics

For some reason I was fascinated by this sign

And we're almost out of Roncesvalles. This virtual walk, I must say, is a lot shorter than the real one

I'm not sure what I think of that hoel, but it does indicate the end of the street

Next stop, Queen St., which is also the longest stretch of this tour

Another slab pearing over, along with a suburban-looking rent-a-car place

Some mixed-purpose buildings:

A quick street shot

I love those peaks

For some reason, I rather like this building

Yes, the paint is chipping off rather badly

Does anyone think this building is missing a window? Something unnerving about it the way it is

People who cover buildings in this kind of siding deserve to DIE

Some storefronts

A side street just off Queen. Unfortunately, the pic doesn't quite capture this rather quaint space

A storefront taken as a very small pano. A small amount of parallax is still apparent; sorry

An old hotel, currently being rennovated. This is a good thing as it does manage to look distinguished in the area

Assorted architecture as I walk down the street

This building SHOULD have a paint job, but for some reason, I like it the way it is.

CN Tower looming

The restaurant on the corner (Fresh) serves some of the best vegetarian food in the city. It's a bit too trendy and expensive though

More storefronts

I kinda like how they've done the graffiti on the Olympia Fruit Market, but it needs more

We're well on our way to the trndy Queen St. W neighbourhood; currently we're in the neighbourhood known W Queen W, where many artists have moved from Queen W after it became too expensive

A shot panning down Spadina, which separates W Queen W from Queen St. W. Spadina is the home of the biggest Chinatown in the city, and certainly the most interesting one. We'll be heading there maybe some other time.

The trendy main commercial strip of Queen has arrived

The City TV building. Impossible to capture doing snapshot photography such as this, so you only get to see a bit of it:

Going towards the old City Hall

CN Tower, once again

Just another street shot

A mediocre picture of a rather stunning Canada Life

New City Hall. An architectural masterpiece in every way, the new City Hall was built by a Finnish architect in 1965. He did a very good job

Old City Hall, now a courthouse. It's been under rennovations for what seems like a century

A brief look down Bay St., the business/high finance street of Canada

Corner of Queen and Yonge; my, are we already here?

Looking north

Heading down South

Another building difficult to capture quickly

Time for some talls; notice the strange facade

A quick street shot; there was actually a group of teenagers who crossed the street when they saw me with a camera; lame

Time for some elegance

A few low-rises for a change. More are found on the main and peripheral side streets; for those, you'll have to wait for the next time I'm mad enough to snap some pictures

Corner of Yonge and Wellington

Almost done

And to Front St. we go. First thing you'll notice is the Dominion building

A skyline shot that didn't quite turn out. For some reason, I don't hate it

Union Station corner

The CN Tower in all its glory

One last look at the Dominon building

And finally the Royal York, an art deco masterpiece

And back to Union Station, so I can go home

That is all! I hope you enjoyed this tour as much as I have enjoyed brining it to you. Until next time.

Torontonian 4ever
9,891 Posts
Very very nice, glad to see I'm not the only one taking pics of our great city!;)
Great pics, and thank you for taking pics of more secluded neighbourhoods, it shows the real face of the T dot.

1,671 Posts
And weird enough, I covered the exact same strech today - walked the entire Roncesvalles area and then caught a "streetcar" at Queen towards Osgoode station...we could have met:(

Last stretch of Queen was packed...probably only one of the few areas of the city, along with Greektown and some others, that feels like should;)

3,488 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
^ Queen W. is certainly by far the busiest area of Queen, although W Queen W is becoming more interesting with the artists moving in.

Queen W, however, is not nearly as packed as Spadina north of Queen (Chinatown), or as Yonge north of Queen. Nonetheless, I much prefer Queen St. W.

I really like King and College streets in the Summer because they're both so heavily lined with patios. I'm a fan of people watching.

There's so much to snap though; yesterday I was off on a Bloor sidestreet somewhere in the Annex, and the area heavily reminded me of Quebec City--I never even knew it was there. Lots to explore, just not in Scarborough.
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