Toronto, I Love You Blog

Toronto Waterfront, I Love You

Toronto's waterfront has a bad rap. It's talked about often in Toronto Council, and residents are often angry that it pales in comparison to the waterfronts of other great cities. It's separated from the city by the crumbling Gardiner Expressway, and doesn't have a lot of activities for tourists. 

That being said - I think it's just beautiful! I've always been attracted to water and I find it very calming so whenever I feel stressed out, the waterfront is my first stop!

Bay and Queen's Quay - look at that stunning view. March 2012

Bay and Queen's Quay - look at that stunning view. March 2012

One of the things I love about our waterfront is the view of the Toronto Island (you can read more about how much I love that place here). If you walk just 10 minutes south of the Financial District (which I did on many many lunch hours oh god I hate that area), you are presented with this beautiful view and can forget that you work a crappy desk job surrounded by nothing but concrete! 

Sunset by Ontario Place while biking home.

Sunset by Ontario Place while biking home.

I also am an avid cyclist (except right now cause it's cold and I'm a weiner). When I worked in the Financial District, I often wanted to unwind after work, and biking in Toronto is anything but relaxing UNLESS you can bike the Martin Goodman trail home. Luckily I live near High Park and this trail is perfect for me! During the spring months, this was often the sight I was greeted with on my way home. Sometimes I would even stop and sit on a bench for a bit to soak it all in! 

Humber Bay Arch Bridge - aka the Turtle Bridge. You have to go to see why.

Humber Bay Arch Bridge - aka the Turtle Bridge. You have to go to see why.

So you don't work in the Financial District (lucky you!) and you don't commute by bike but you like going on leisurely weekend jaunts! LUCKY YOU! The Martin Goodman Trail extends out to Etobicoke. From there you can take a path up the Humber River, or continue on out to the Humber Bay West Park (more on that in a moment). Either way you get to go over this great bridge. It's beautiful during the day, the view is beautiful by night, and there is a fun reason I call it the Turtle Bridge (I actually had to look up the real name because I've only called it Turtle Bridge).

Am I in Hamilton? Am I in Buffalo? NO! I'M IN TORONTO!

Am I in Hamilton? Am I in Buffalo? NO! I'M IN TORONTO!

If you chose to keep going west instead of going up the Humber River trail, you will see a lot of condos (bleh) but you will come across a park with a butterfly pond (COOL!!!) and a bridge leading you into Humber Bay West park. I really love exploring places so one day I decided to just bike into this park on my own and start taking the trails. There are several of them, but they lead out to the amazing view above! CHECK OUT THAT SEXY CITY! It's also got a little beach on it that you can hang out on (though I haven't spent any time there). There are a few benches facing the water so you can just relax, bring your sweetheart, and have a real romantic time, or just take some pictures to make everyone think you went on a trip without having to leave the city.

Here are where the above photos were taken, if you ever want to check them out!

Here are where the above photos were taken, if you ever want to check them out!

ALSO - TORONTO, I LOVE YOU OPENED YESTERDAY! Hooray! See you at Bad Dog!

High Park, I Love You

by Stephanie Malek

I grew up in the east end of the city, but my grandparents lived on Sunnyside Avenue (Roncesvalles area). We would visit quite a bit but my favourite would be going to High Park. My Aunt and I would read plays on the picnic benches, my high school friends and I filmed a weird version of Alice in Wonderland on some of the more secluded paths, I would fool around with boyfriends tucked away from view among the trees, or throw impromptu Warriors-themed birthday parties on the stage in the middle of the park.

High Park's beauty isn't just in its nature-hidden-in-the-city, but also in it's variety. Some of the amazing gems hidden among the paths:

  • A small zoo - my dad likes to tell me the story about when the Buffalo escaped and ran down the streets of the neighbourhood looking for their freedom! 
  • A historic museum, Colborne Lodge, depicting Victorian life as well as hosting numerous events and workshops (I did a wreath-making workshop once with some friends and it was delightful!) 
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  • An allotment garden where Toronto residents can rent a plot and plant to their heart's content.
  • The best dang off-leash dog area in the city -  if you ever need a cheer-up, just go to Doggy Hill
  • PWYC Shakespeare productions during Shakespeare in High Park put on by Canadian Stage
  • The coolest community-built adventure playground (after arson destroyed not one but two other playgrounds in the same spot, Mike Holmes lent a hand and funds to help create the current version of the Jamie Bell Playground)
  • A beautiful Japanese water garden in the heart of the park.
  • The stunning cherry blossoms (this will warrant it's own post at some point in the future, including the cool story of falling in love with my partner!)
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Those are just SOME of the things in this park. I am so enamoured with the park that I moved literally two doors down from one of the gates to the park so I could enjoy it as much as possible. 

If you've been, you've probably got numerous of your own stories and areas of the park that you love. If not, each season has its own magic in the park so make sure you check it out. 

What do you love about High Park? Any fun stories? What other places in Toronto do you love?