Summer Travel in Toronto!

June 17, 2016 | Muriel

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I recently read about a five-year-old boy, Jackson Ryan Bennett, who plans to visit, with his father, all 100 branches of Toronto Public Library this summer, on public transit! His father said that Ryan picked the first branch, Fort York, out of Daniel Rotsztain's adult colouring book, All the Libraries Toronto. Perhaps Jackson will even join the TD Summer Reading Club 2016 at one of the 100 branches he visits with his father.

 All the Libraries Toronto     The TTC Story

I enjoy travelling around Toronto any time of the year, usually on foot, and my travels invariably include a scenic walk, coffee and stationery shops, and a cultural event! I went to the Toronto Reference Library (which has a lovely Balzac's café) last evening to see The Changing Face of Toronto, which has photographic portraits which illuminate broad changes to demographics, fashion, technology, work and leisure over the 20th century. I thought that this photo of an organ grinder on Bay Street in 1922, was particularly poignant and evocative of a very different, earlier time in Toronto:

Organ grinder on Bay Street 1922

A great Toronto guide I enjoy using is Toronto Urban Strolls 1, by Natalie Prézeau. When she moved from Montreal to Toronto, Nathalie fell in love with this city's parks, ravines and the character of its neighbourhoods. Her guide is replete with Toronto walks, urban sights, and places for coffee breaks and meals. Natalie Prézeau enjoys playing tourist here, and has also written a guide for local parents, Toronto Fun Places - For Families.

Toronto Urban Strolls 1     Toronto Fun Places - For Families      

Toronto's Ravines     Toronto's Ravines and Urban Forests 

On my Toronto walks, I like to look at the architecture I pass by, and learn more about it.  On a beautiful sunny day recently, I walked through the lovely Peace Garden at Nathan Phillips Square and admired the still-modern-looking architecture of Toronto City Hall, by Finnish architect Viljo Revell.

  Civic Symbol     Making Toronto Modern    

I find the Royal Ontario Museum very interesting to look at, both outside and inside. The range of architectural styles and exhibitions on display there is breathtaking. You and your family can go to the museum for free, with a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass. The architecture of The Royal Conservatory of Music, just to the west of the museum, is fascinating, too, and there is an exquisite modern addition (with a café!) there, the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, designed by the Toronto architectural firm, Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg
Bold Visions the Architecture of the Royal Ontario Museum     Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg   

I enjoy the peaceful and rejuvenating feeling of going into nature, and I have discovered numerous lovely spots in Toronto: at Harbourfront, the Toronto Music Garden, designed by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, has free concerts throughout the summer; car-free Toronto Island has the advantage of always being cooler than on the mainland; and a real jewel of pretty wilderness in the city, Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve at Todmorden Mills heritage site (also free with a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass), is a great place to connect with nature.

  Trillium and Toronto Island     Great Country Walks Around Toronto     A Mill Should Be Build Thereon

If you would like to travel back in time in Toronto, Toronto Public Library has an interactive neighbourhood map, which indexes historical pictures, and more, by neighbourhood. If you would like to explore the city through poetry, you might want to look at Toronto Public Library's Toronto Poetry Map.

Bon voyage!