Probably the best known intersection in Toronto is where Yonge and Bloor Streets cross each other. My residence is one block west of Yonge and an equal distance south of Bloor. The photographic tour that I have planned is east for two blocks, south for seven, west for approximately 4 blocks and then back here.
In that building is a fair-sized supermarket, a pharmacy, one of Toronto's leading retailer of electronic equipment, the flagship of a national book store chain, and a movie Cineplex. Also, there are underground walkways which lead to other shopping centers and to the Yonge/Bloor and to the Bay subway stations.
Next summer - 2014 - Toronto will host International Gay Pride. This is generating excitement and preparations are underway. The above photo was taken two or three years ago so it does not show the latest street improvements. There are a number of restaurants along this strip and - in front of most of them - there is no parking and the sidewalks have been extended to accommodate more patrons (outdoor tables and nice planters between celebrants and the motor traffic).
Three blocks south of where I took the above photo is the 519 Community Center, Cawthra Park and the AIDS Memorial.
A part of the large crowd which gathers on the Thursday evening of Pride Week for the Memorial Service.
Moving further south the heart of the 'Gay Village' is the intersection of Church and Wellesley Street East.
Two and three blocks south of the above spot are Alexander and Wood Streets respectively which are named after an early settler who came to Toronto from Great Britain - Alexander 'Mollie' Woods. His land grant was in the area that now comprises the Church/Wellesley Village. A few years ago, the local Business Improvement Association commissioned a nearby artist to create this statue which is much admired. Yes - he was notoriously gay!
Wood Street passes along the north side of the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens (the south side is on Carlton Street). Maple Leaf Gardens was replaced by the Air Canada Center a number of years ago and it is situated closer to the lakefront and near the Skydome/Rogers Center. When this occurred many of us were left wondering what would become of the old building? The answer was to turn it into a Loblaws Superstore (for non-Canadians - the country;s largest supermarket chain.).
I am now returning to the building where I live and will go west and south from here.
On the south side of the complex - in which I live - is St Mary Street which extends from Yonge Street to the gates leading into the grounds of Victoria College/University. At the time of this writing, the south side of St. Mary Street is a mass of construction (a large condominium and town house complex). Past the construction is St Micheal's University/College while, on the north side, is Loretto College which is a residence for female university students.
The end of St Mary Street and the gate to Victoria College/University
Toronto's seemingly quixotic naming of streets has led to there being three differently named sections to the road on the west side of Victoria University/College. To the north it is named Avenue Road, where it splits to go around Queens Park it is named Queens Park Circle and, south of College Street, it becomes University Avenue. Except for a few flower gardens near Queens Park (the legislative building) the entire park is given to lawns and trees - and the odd statue.
In the center of the park is the statue of a mounted King Edward VII - Queen Victoria's eldest son.
For a while I looked after a friend's golden retriever. On one of our morning walks we encountered two women walking a large dog. My friend's dog - Napoleon - was not neutered so I was very careful while near other male dogs. The other dog completely ignored Napoleon and began barking loudly at the statue. One of the women noticed my perplexed look so she told me that her canine usually ignored other dogs but barked loudly at all horses - real or a part of a statue!
The trees in Queens Park are a haven for numerous squirrels. Here is one of them panhandling from the limb of a tree.
North of Queens Park - and on the west side - is the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum). The next photo is of the original entrance.
So far I have not shown photos of the University of Toronto campus (another part of my neighborhood) but will save those photos and description for the next blog.