St. James Anglican Cathedral, King Street East at Church Street

STJAMES3TORONTO is a city of churches of every description.  Most are smallish.  The gargantuan sanctuaries have been left to the Quebecois and Nova Scotians.  But we do have a few large ones.  St. James’ is the Cathedral Church of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, and the location of the bishop’s seat.  There are 272 churches in the diocese – 100 of them within the city of TORONTO.STJAMES3

The Cathedral is open for visitors weekdays and Sundays from 7:30 am – 5:30 pm; Saturdays from 9 am – 5 pm.
Subway stop – KING, and walk east one block

Artist and sculptor, ZHANG HUAN, brings Shanghai ‘bling’ to TORONTO

International art star, ZHANG HUAN, has brought some stainless steel pizzazz to staid University Avenue, north of Adelaide Street.  His $5 million sculpture, ‘Rising’, was unveiled recently, as part of Shangri-La Toronto‘s commitment to improving our city’s artscape. The sculpture, now behind a protective fence, will eventually sit in a large reflecting pool.  Stainless steel birds flutter in and around several root-like arches.  More birds will be added in the near future.  The flashy design is raising eyebrows amongst downtown pedestrians and motorists.

TORONTO TREASURE – Evergreen Brickworks, 550 Bayview Avenue

Spend a day in this unique environmental Green Cities Centre, in the heart of the Don Valley.  This is where we made the bricks to build TORONTO.  A national charity, the Evergreen Brickworks are constantly changing.  Bike clinics, murals and art galleries, movies, hiking trails, a quarry garden, wildlife, a farmer’s market, industrial architecture, music, programming for children – and the original kilns and brick-making apparati.  http://www.evergreen.caHiking boots memorial to A. P. Coleman (1852-1939), Quebec-born geologist, educator, scientist, prospector, canoeist, explorer, artist and lecturer.  “Geology was at once his vocation, his avocation and his recreation.”GETTING THERE:  shuttle bus, 7 days a week, every half hour, from BROADVIEW subway station;  TTC’s 28A Davisville bus offers half-hourly service on Saturdays from 7:30am–6pm and Sundays from 8am–6pm.  http://ebw.evergreen.ca/visit/getting-here

EDWIN ALONZO BOYD – local folk hero, bank robber, now on the silver screen

<Scott Speedman in Edwin Alonzo Boyd: Citizen Gangster>  EDWIN ALONZO BOYD, former Toronto Transit Commission bus driver, would-be actor, bank robber, and Don Jail escapee (twice), has finally made it in the movies.  “Edwin Alonzo Boyd: Citizen Gangster” became a folk hero in TORONTO back in the 1950’s.  He and his gang were all over the radio and front pages.  After World War II, Boyd was hired by the TTC as a bus driver, wanted to enrol in the Lorne Greene School of Acting, and – to make the $45 tuition – started robbing banks.  He escaped twice from the old Don Jail.<The real Edwin Alonzo Boyd, 1914-2002, jailed in 1952 for 8 life sentences; his two cohorts – Lennie Jackson and Willie Jackson – were both executed>

St. Lawrence Market, “best in the world”, 92-95 Front Street East

In its latest book, “Food Journeys of a Lifetime”, the National Geographic Magazine proclaimed TORONTO’s St. Lawrence Market “the best food market in the world”.  A few years earlier in 2004, Food and Wine Magazine listed the Market among “the 25 Best Food Markets in the World”.  There’s been a public market at Front and Church since 1803, making it one of the oldest continuously operating food markets in North America.  If you like markets, this is the one to visit.  Open Monday to Saturday, 92-95 Front Street East at Church.  <PHOTO AT BOTTOM – buying meat, 1970 at the Market, City of Toronto Archives>

‘The Two Kings’ – a planning initiative that worked thanks to then-Mayor Barbara Hall

KING-SPADINA and KING-PARLIAMENT were once primary industrial hubs in TORONTO’s core.  In the 1980’s they both went into serious decline as industry moved out, first to suburbia, then overseas and to the US and Mexico.  Brick warehouses emptied, and property owners began demolishing them without regard to their heritage value.  Former mayor BARBARA HALL and her council knew they had to act.  The Kings Regeneration Planning Initiative was introduced, eliminating traditional land use restrictions and emphasizing the preservation of these wonderful old structures.  KING-SPADINA has since boomed with a cornucopia of commercial and light industrial businesses – new media, technology, fashion, architecture and entertainment.  In the last couple of years,  KING-PARLIAMENT has been heading in the same direction.  BELOW – KING-SPADINA, roughly from Bathurst in the west, to Simcoe in the east, south of Queen to Front Street . . . BELOW – KING-PARLIAMENT – from Jarvis in the west, to the Don Valley Parkway in the east, to the Gardiner in the south.