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
- 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:
- 13:25 — okay, enough rest (although still hungry!); the rain stopped a while ago, so I returned to walking down Yonge Street
- 13:35 — reached Bloor Street & Yonge Street; this is such a vibrant part of the city
- 13:44 — reached Wellesley Street & Yonge Street
- 13:50 — passed College Park and got to the construction site at Gerrard Street & Yonge Street; the crowd is getting bigger
- 13:56 — beginning of a one-hour–long visit to the World’s Biggest Bookstore and a nifty little place called BMV Books right next to it
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.
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.