Walking through urban Toronto: Part II

In Part I of this article, I took you from Union Station through the St. Lawrence neighbourhood to Toronto‘s Distillery District. Now that you’ve had your refreshments at the Distillery District, you’re ready for Part II.

From the Distillery District, walk north up Trinity Street to King St. E. Now you’re right in the middle of Toronto‘s old Irish Corktown neighbourhood, one of Toronto‘s oldest neighbourhoods and now one of the interesting transitional neighbourhoods. It’s now in a sort of process of re-gentrification, as old workers’ cottages on side streets become converted into highly desirable small urban abodes. As you walk up Trinity St., on your left you’ll see Enoch Turner school, one of Toronto‘s oldest free schools, and Little Trinity church, one of the oldest church buildings in Toronto.  Turn left at King St. and backtrack a bit to Power Street or Parliament St., then turn right and walk north to Queen St. At Queen and Power you will see St. Paul’s Basilica, one of the oldest Catholic churches in Toronto, which also contains a memorial to the many Irish immigrants who died in Toronto from illness and the hardships of the Irish immigration resulting from the Great Famine. Walk east along Queen Street until you hit River Street. Turn left and walk up the east side of River Street, where you will see the headquarters of the Toronto Humane Society and memorial to Glenn Gould, who made the THS one of the main beneficiaries of his will.

As you keep walking north you will see Corktown gradually transform into Regent Park across the street on the west side, a post-war development devoted entirely to low-income housing. Regent Park eventually became notorious for its problems, and is now gradually being torn down, with the intention of replacing its old buildings with mixed low-and-income housing along the St. Lawrence co-op model. A little Regent Park goes a long way, so turn right at Dundas St. and use Dundas Street to cross the Don River. Note the new infill developments along the way. You’re now in South Riverdale, the part of Riverdale that gentrification hasn’t quite caught up with. Walk north on Broadview Ave toward Gerrard St, and turn right on to Gerrard St., where you start to see the east Chinatown and old little India ethnic areas of Toronto, this apparently being an extension of the more famous Chinatown at Dundas and Spadina. As you walk east along Gerrard you will eventually encounter De Grassi Street, best known as the setting of the well-known De Grassi television series that originally debuted on CBC in 1979 (!).

Cross over to the north side and walk north on the side streets — Howland Road or Logan Avenue, with the aim of eventually walking north on Logan. Once on Logan north of Gerrard, you start to get into the heart of gentrified Riverdale, including the large green space on the east side of Logan known as Withrow Park.  Just north of Withrow Park you will find the Danforth, Toronto‘s most famous Greek neighbourhood. Turn left, and walk east along the Danforth, exploring the various shops and restaurants between Logan St. and Broadview. Eventually your walk comes to an end at Broadview Station, the TTC station located on Broadview Avenue, just north of Danforth.

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