Along Yonge Street

For various reasons, I walked down Yonge Street today from Finch Avenue right down to Lake Ontario.

Accounting for stops and detours, and the little walk I took at the lake shore, Google Maps estimates a 17.4 kilometre trip, or 3 hours and 32 minutes of walking time if I had walked continuously.


According to the audio clips I recorded in Evernote, text messages and instant messaging chats…

  • 10:00 exactly — Arrived at Finch Avenue & Yonge Street
  • 10:14 — spent almost exactly 15 minutes at Staples, bought a pack of pens
  • 10:37 — bought a 1.5 L bottle of water from Shoppers Drug Mart
  • 10:40 — reached government office and got out at 10:45
  • 10:58 — took a detour around the Yonge/401 intersection because that’s how the sidewalk works on the East side of Yonge Street
  • The next half hour-ish — walked through sparsely populated area with huge houses, hills upon hills, and large open green spaces/parks
  • 11:38 or so — arrived at Starbucks in an affluent uptown area and ordered a light ice green tea lemonade; by the way, the wifi signal is really weak at this place
Light ice green tea lemonade
Light ice green tea lemonade from a certain Starbucks
Amount of ice left after drinking a light ice green tea lemonade
Amount of ice left over -- not bad!
  • 11:57 — observed person walking by with a Harvard T-shirt
  • 12:21 — reached Elginton Avenue & Yonge Street and at last observed lots and lots of people
  • 12:27 — light drizzle; first hints of impending rain
  • 12:50 — reached St. Clair Avenue & Yonge Street; things are looking okay for a short moment
  • 12:55 — suddenly heavy rain begins; ran a distance holding umbrella before pausing under a bridge
  • 13:00 — reached another Starbucks; ordered a sweetened iced coffee with soy milk that came in this cup:
Starbucks cup with red marks
Is that blood?
Greenpeace supporters riding a huge tandem bicycle
A not unordinary sight on a Toronto street
A whole row of APA Publication Manuals at the World's Biggest Bookstore
A whole row of APA Publication Manuals!

After I left the bookstore around 14:55, I stopped keeping track of where I was at given points in time. After eating lunch, I proceeded down Yonge Street, used my receipt from a previous Starbucks purchase to buy a light ice black tea lemonade for $2 + tax…

… and walked all the way to the lake, arriving at around 15:40.

Lake shore at Queen's Quay & Yonge Street
Lake shore at Queen's Quay & Yonge Street

I walked around a little near the lakefront area before returning home. There’s a video on Google+ if you’re a friend.

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Taking this walk through Toronto allowed me to appreciate the city once more for its diversity, its liveliness and the rapidity with which things are changing. This is still a city I love and one to which I hope to return.

It was interesting to note the pockets of activity along Yonge Street: a busy block in North York from North York Centre to Sheppard; an uptown district north of Lawrence; a heavily business-oriented area around Eglinton; general shopping facilities between St. Clair & Bloor; an area of total randomness south of Bloor; huge crowds south of College; even denser population moving about the Eaton Centre; a banking/corporate region near King… Each region gradually faded into the next, with some exceptions. (It was uneventful in some of the areas—especially between the 401 and Lawrence; there aren’t a lot of buildings around in those parts.)

If you’re a Torontonian (or someone who lives North of Toronto) with a day to spare (preferably a weekday…), consider trying this walk. Make sure you bring sunglasses (I forgot them), an umbrella just in case (I had to use mine), sunscreen, water (I bought a bottle and a bunch of drinks) and probably some snacks (I brought along chips).

(By the way, this entire walk is a lot more fun when one has someone with whom to talk! So if I know you in real life, we can try doing another one of these this month!)

Toronto is a city worth exploring. This is just the beginning.

4 Replies to “Along Yonge Street”

  1. Biking will expand the area that you can explore while still allowing you to take in the scenery and whatnot. Walking seems kinda bland in comparison to all the places that biking will allow you to go to.

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