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Toronto The Awesome

By Stella Rossovskaia


Sunday, May 8



Language: English 

Area: Downtown

Theme: Arts & Architecture, History & Culture

Accessibility: Triggering Content, Loud Noises, Busy Sidewalks, Breaks Offered


Toronto was called “The Good” many moons ago. What makes Toronto “The awesome” now?


Most Canadians live in metropolitan areas today. Our future success depends on making our cities work well and our experiences living in the cities positive and meaningful. During two years of pandemic we all have learned to appreciate our city, every park, every bench of it more than ever. Livable and vibrant cities and communities inspire the economic growth, promote social peace, reduce ecological impact, ease integration of the growing immigrant and different generations populations.


We will start at Berczy Park - at the heart of our vibrant city. Almost in the shape of the heart is The Gooderham Building, also known as the Flatiron - the most photographed iconic site of Toronto. The building was built and has served as the office of the Gooderham and Worts distillery.


We’ll stop by the Turtle Island mural for the land acknowledgement.


We’ll talk about the history and lessons learned from Prohibition era and our current social challenges, while we will walk East on The Front and Esplanade Streets.


We will discuss the evolution of the term “social“ and how the social life and culture of our city have transformed, where we are right now and where are we heading in the future.


We will explore David Crombie Park and talk about Esplanade community and what makes it so unique. As mayor of Toronto during a key phase in the city’s development in the 1970s, Crombie helped implement changes in policy and practice affecting housing, transportation, and land use that have made the city a more humane place. Crombie’s efforts were in part informed by the work of the late Jane Jacobs, legendary urban activist (in who’s honour this global festival is organized).


Jacobs had moved to Toronto in 60s after helping the efforts to save Manhattan neighbourhoods from The Lower Manhattan Expressway. She helped save neighbourhoods in Toronto too – notably from the proposed Spadina Expressway – but perhaps more importantly, provided a rigorous intellectual framework for those, like David Crombie, who were fighting to improve urban life based on gut instinct and political passion.


We’ll stop to take a look at Jamii's new photo exhibition that features the stories of Esplanade communities older adults. This exhibition, the stories and portraits were created by the local youths. Jamii is an organization that transforms Esplanade public space with artistic experiences that create shared memories for community members, and reinforce the social fabric of the neighbourhood.


We’ll finish our journey at the Distillery District - another iconic site that was transformed through the times from the mill into alcohol distillery production site and into an inspirational culture centre as we love it today. If weather permits we can grab tables and continue our conversation in the social setting with coffee, tea or other drinks. What makes our Toronto awesome? The freedom, the choices, the opportunities for continuous improvement that we all have, eh?


The collage is created by a local artist Lyndon Wiebe. The description is quoting the article about David z Crombie and Jane Jacobs by David Newland.

  • Walk Start Location: Berczy Park. Walk Leader will stand on the podium under the tree holding a sign

  • Nearest Public Transit: Union or King subway station

  • Walk End Location: Distillery District

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