Hello Toronto!

Canada #21 Toronto

The subway journey from our suburban Airbnb to Toronto’s CBD was not long but the difference in outlook was amazing. In High Park, a few people were out walking or enjoying the summer weather on their front verandahs.

At Union Station in the city centre, we were engulfed by a bustling crowd all intent on their own agenda. Unlike most of those people, on our first day in Toronto, we had no particular destination. We spent the day exploring.

From Union Station, we headed south along Bay Street towards Lake Ontario. At Harbour Square Park, we watched the ferries coming and going, taking passengers over the water to Toronto Islands.

Our plan to walk some way along the lake shore was dashed by the horrified look on the face of the lady in the Tourist Information van. “Oh no. Don’t go there,” she said with an expression which told us it wasn’t a good idea. She directed us back along Bay Street with a right turn onto Front Street, assuring us this was a safer and more interesting route. She was right! There was a lot to see along Front Street.

We didn’t have to read the name on this building; the images on the sides gave away its purpose. The Hockey Hall of Fame, first opened in 1943, moved to Front Street in 1993. The building dates from 1885 and was originally head office for the Bank of Montreal.

At Berczy Park we came across this fanciful fountain, where 27 dogs pay homage to a golden bone. Later we found out there is also one cat and wished we’d known to look for it.

Just beyond Berczy Park is the original Flatiron building. Constructed in 1892, 10 years before its more famous cousin in New York, it was head office for the Gooderham and Worts Distillery for 60 years. Today,  commercial offices and a popular pub fill the building. The rear façade of the Flatiron is decorated with a large trompe l’oeil mural, a mirror image of the building opposite.

Further along Front Street is St Lawrence Market. Farmers have sold their fresh produce on this site since 1803 and the current building dates from 1848. Voted the world’s best food market by National Geographic in 2012, there are 120 speciality stores selling locally sourced fresh foods. The market is open every Tuesday to Saturday.

Our final stop in this direction was the historic Distillery District, founded by the same family who built the Flatiron building. The first building on the site was a windmill constructed in 1832. The Gooderham and Worts whiskey distillery soon followed and, by the 1860s, was the largest distillery in the world. Production continued until 1990. In 2001, the abandoned buildings were repurposed as boutique shops, restaurants and residences surrounded by gardens, sculptures and artworks. The district hosts a vibrant series of cultural events and festivals throughout the year.

We retraced our steps along Front Street back to Union Station and continued on in the other direction to CN Tower. At 553.3 metres high, the communications and observation tower is visible from anywhere. Up close, its height is daunting and tourists braving the Edge Walk outside the observation deck look like tiny insects.

The Rogers Centre, a multi-purpose stadium and home of Toronto’s major league baseball team the Toronto Blue Jays, is nearby. This day the stadium was quiet but when a home game is played more than 30,000 people come to cheer on their team.

Leaving Front Street, we walked along York Street to our final destination. Nathan Philips Square, where the old and new City Halls sit side by side, is one of the most photographed parts of the city. Toronto City Council operated in the old City Hall from 1899 before moving across the forecourt to the new building in 1966.

Three Freedom Arches dedicated to Canadians who have fought for freedom for all span the reflecting pool. The TORONTO sign is flanked at one end by a maple leaf commemorating the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and at the other by a traditional medicine wheel acknowledging First Nations peoples.

We were glad we talked to the lady in her information van at Harbour Square Park. She really did send us in the right direction!

Join Jo for more Monday Walks


57 thoughts on “Hello Toronto!

    • When we investigated further there wasn’t really a way to walk far along the edge of the lake. We just assumed there would be and perhaps further out of the CBD there are places where you can. The impression we got was that it wouldn’t be very safe. We enjoyed all the walking we did in Toronto. There are six million people but it was never really crowded except in the trains.


  1. It looks to be on a huge scale, Carol. I felt dwarfed by the buildings but how wonderfully quirky! The trompe l’oeuil defiinitely caught my eye and those dogs in the fountain- bizarre! 🙂 🙂 No self respecting cat would sit in a fountain so she must be somewhere looking on. Thanks for sharing, hon! I appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Furnazhinas to Odeleite Dam | restlessjo

  3. Well you had a very interesting walk anyway! We were only in Toronto for a few days whilst waiting for our train to Vancouver so we didn’t explore the CBD much. We did however do a walk along the lakeside, though the first part was not pretty as it was alongsde the main road, but we ended up in Woodbine Beach which was nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That was a fabulous tour. I agree with your other readers about the golden bone worship. I also loved the huge mural and just the shapes of the buildings. Thanks for sharing a link on the Always Write FB page. Hope you make lots of new friends. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank You presenting Toronto. Many years ago, we spent a New year there. Thank You showing the photos of Hockey Hall of Fame. There I saw the photo of Teemu Selänne, which is one of our best Hockey players ever! 🙂

    Have a good day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s years since we lived in Toronto – this area is one I always enjoy revisiting. But I’ve never seen that dog fountain. It’s hilarious and now on my list for when I next visit. I’ve never been inside the Hockey Hall of Fame (shame on me!) but what a gorgeous building! Your photos brought back fun memories – thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A very impressive city, Carol. You certainly did get pointed in the right direction. I love the freedom arches and the gorgeous trompe l’oeil. What a brilliant idea! Peace and love signs are always welcome in our world. Thanks for showing me around Toronto. I have made a brief visit there, but obviously never got directed properly. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Welcome to 1867! | The Eternal Traveller

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