Saturday, May 16, 2015

Toronto Walking Tour #2
High Park and Roncesvalles Village
May 9,2015

Today's walk starts at High Park. This city gem has a wonderful history and I'll get into that in more detail when we revisit the park in August.

We're here to get a glimpse of the cherry blossoms in full bloom. This is our Second Annual Blossom Roll. We made it here last year on the back end of  Wednesday appointment at Toronto Western.

Entered the park at the south end, hoping to park at Colborne Lodge. No such luck as the place is jam packed with cars. We circle about, head east on Queen, north on Saurenen and back west on Fern where we find a single wheelchair street parking spot only minutes from the High Park Blvd entrance.

They are a glorious, if fleeting, sight.

The park is bustling with activity as the ball field is hosting an International Little League Tournament. We were treated to a police band marshaling in the younguns'.

Up a steep, steep hill towards Bloor St.
Cece thinks she smells someone doing a controlled burn in the woods.
I tell her it's my thighs.
This is why we're out here. I need to get in shape.

West along Bloor for a few blocks and right at Dundas West where we find the iconic Hugh's Room venue. Cece and I have spent many a dollar and a good night here; Steve Forbert was terrific. Two nights of Maria Muldaur, not a camel in sight. Two nights with Leonard Cohen's girlfriend Anjani, no Leonard though. Saw Mike Ford (formerly of Moxy Fruvous before that bands name was forever smeared by the Q guy) and most recently, Sean Cotton's Last Waltz Revue.

It didn't occur to us at those times that the place was not accessible...because we were.
Looked around the side, around the way in.

Not even a lift inside that side door. I called the venue later in the day and whoever was on the phone simply said they didn't have the budget. No budget?!? Have you ever dropped $300 on dinner, drinks and a show there? It's easy to do.

They are put to shame by a non-profit organization called Stop Gap This organization is trying to make all of Toronto accessible. Check out their blog.

Enough advocacy for today. Let's check out The Roncy.

Roncesvalles is known for its European ambiance and small-town feel.This neighbourhood is popular with young families who appreciate the convenience of the location just west of downtown.The close proximity to High Park, Toronto waterfront bicycle and walking trails, easy access to public transit, and the Roncesvalles shops and restaurants are also good reasons to live here.

Authentic Polish butchers, bakeries and restaurants thrive among a destination-worthy set of boutiques and indie coffee houses. Mix in popular pubs like The Local, second-run flicks at the Revue Cinema and late night burgers and drinks at The Rude Boy and you've got yourself a neighbourhood that's no longer one of Toronto's best kept secrets.

(ed. note: I'm stealin' stuff from the interweb to describe the neighbourhood. Check out THIS BLOG)

Continuing south-east on Dundas West you see the expanse of Roncesvalles in front of you.

Love the external fire escape on the Belo Fashions building. Don't see much of those in Toronto, it's more a Montreal thing.

Here's the view from north of Howard Park Ave. We'll talk more about Mr. Howard on the next trip.

And a local watering hole and theater.

There are a plethora of eclectic shops.
And some hints of what the village looked like in the '60's...though they are disappearing fast.
Keep your eyes open for the numerous parkettes, especially this idyllic community garden.
You can sit and soak up the colours.
A little respite from the bustling streets.
Reaching the south end of Roncesvalles you could cross the street and spend some time at Sunnyside Park. That's for another day. We head east where we come across a community celebration.
More shops of every nature to be found along this strip of Parkdale West.
We end our walk at the late-night club, Not My Dog.
We'll do the other side of Parkdale as a pub crawl in July.

Happy trails.

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