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Definition: A very pedestrian view on Toronto ON. Focusing on the urban form, but stretching to travel and food.
June 2020 - Toronto ON
Here's a Parkdale Sidewalking from 2018, pre-pandemic.
This post is during the pandemic, Toronto is still in Stage 2, so restaurants remain closed except for take-out and patios are now open.
This post took place over several walks in Parkdale as I gathered more photos.
Parkdale was built in the late 19th century as a summer refuge for the city’s wealthy, with opulent brick mansions on a small bluff overlooking the water. Six kilometres from the smoky and bustling downtown, it was close enough for those with means to easily reach – and to keep those without away.
Known as 'the gateway' to Canada, Parkdale and its historically affordable housing have long been viewed as ideal landing ground for those fleeing Chinese-occupied Tibet (though slow-burning friction escalating between developers and residents is changing that.)
Parkdale’s eclectic mix of real estate options ranges from grand Victorian mansions to high-rise low rent apartment buildings. This plethora of housing options has resulted in Parkdale having one of the most diverse demographics of any Toronto neighbourhood.
Down a side street and I found these homes.
Not sure if these are going to be torn down or renovated.
A condo in this area would go for over $800,000 and if it was around 500 square feet you might find one for $500,000.
and any of these large homes from $1.5 million and up, up, up!
It has its share of churches.
This church has an interesting history with the one below it.
Epiphany and St. Mark partners with various engaging ministries and neighbourhood organizations in Parkdale.
I had no idea when I was looking at this church that it was St. John's Cathedral Polish Catholic Church, the seat of the Polish National Catholic Church's (PNCC) diocese in Canada.
It is now home to Tibetan, North African and West Indian enclaves mixed in with some great bars, restaurants, vintage fashion, furniture and fabric stores.
Starting from the west around Roncesvalles
And on the next block.
Mural by Lovegates.
You can pick up a mask at Peach Beserk, the place is plastered in old paint by number paintings.
Many restaurants like OM
serve a mix of Tibetan and Indian food.
With a main drag running along Queen Street from around Dunn Ave. to just west of Sorauren Ave., Toronto's non-Tibetan citizenry know this area as one of the only places in the city to find traditional cuisine like momos and thenthuk noodles.
Momo is a type of East and South Asian steamed filled dumpling, popular across the Indian subcontinent and the Himalayan regions of East-South Asia border.
Even during off-hours, restaurants like Tsampa Cafe and Himalayan Kitchen are usually buzzing with locals speaking a mix of Hindi, Nepali, or Tibetan, while elders walk the streets with bags of frozen momos in hand.
But these are Covid times and restaurants are only open for take-out.
Emily May Rose mural. She is known for her raccoons.
Queen Street has had many names, for its first sixty years, many sections were referred to as Lot Street.
The first park lots laid out in the new city of York (which would be renamed Toronto in 1834) were given to loyal officials who were willing to give up the amenities of modern cities such as Kingston to take up residence in the forests north of Lot Street. These 40 hectares (99 acres) lots were placed along the south side of the first east–west road laid in York, Lot Street. In 1837 Lot Street was renamed in honour of Queen Victoria.
This garden at the southeast corner of Queen Street West and Brock Avenue has a plaque erected by the Parkdale Village BIA with the support of TD Green Streets. Here's what it says:
The Parkdale Village Business Improvement Area (PVBIA) encompasses the area along Toronto's celebrated Queen Street West from Dufferin Street to Roncesvalles Avenue. Because of its close proximity to the waterfront, Parkdale was once a resort spot for Torontonians - with beautiful summer homes nestled among lush trees and plants. As Toronto blossomed into Canada's greatest city, Parkdale grew alongside it - transforming from a quaint beach-side community to the vibrant and bustling urban area we know and love today. This development has had immeasurable benefits for Parkdale; although sadly the transformation cost us many of our beautiful trees. The PVBIA, working in conjunction with local businesses, community members and proudly supported by TD Green Streets, aims to reverse this damage by planting trees and greenery within our neighbourhood, such as in these urban garden plots located at the northern corners of Brock Avenue and Queen Street West.
Originally, this land was covered in forests of sugar maples, beech, yellow birch, white ash and hemlock. The name Parkdale, fixed upon in the 1870s, was meant to convey images of decorative gardens and fertile country-side.
In 1812, 97 ha of land surrounding Lot Street (now known as Queen) between Jameson and Dufferin Avenues were granted to James Brock for his military service. Upon Brock's death, his widow Lucy Brock commissioned a roadway along the centre-line of the length of the lot parcel. This road, built in 1850, is today known as Brock Avenue.
In 1852, writer W.H. Smith described Brock Street as "a cluster of houses, three of which are taverns". Until the late 19th century, this street was the centre of Parkdale's social and commercial activity and was the main north-south route.
This mural has seen better days.
This photo inspired the mural on the side of the Rhino in Parkdale. It was taken at the very first Miss Toronto pageant ever, which was held in 1926, back when people made their bathing suits out of wool.
They opened March 7 and had to shut down a week later!
Closed at the moment. you can rent a sewing machine by the hour or take a class.
They also sell textiles and craft kits.
On my list to visit. Curiosa purveyors of extraordinary things.
Lots of small mom and pop fruit and flower shops along with convenience shops.
A great place to pick up house plants.
An old sign that could possibly date all the way back to the 1930s was uncovered in 2019 after being hidden from sight for years.
The metal piece, which shows the outline of the name Parkdale Millinery, can be seen hanging above the property at 1412 Queen St. West.
It was revealed during renovations and is now the new location of local bike shop MetroCycleTO
"I'd like to preserve the oldness of it," says MetroCycle's owner Gordon Robb.
Always an unusual sight these days.
The nieghbourhood menu is very international, for take-out only, at the moment.