‘R’ is for Rosedale, proclaims a condo billboard along the frontier of one of TORONTO’s oldest inner suburbs and one of its wealthiest.The subway and two bus lines run through the neighbourhood. 8,000 live within its precinct, and there’s plenty of ‘Old Money’ around.Rosedale is crisscrossed by three ravines, and its streets go uphill and downdale. It’s a wonderful place to walk, run and bicycle; the gardens and trees are gorgeous, and there are few fences or barricades.You can get lost in here, but the locals are quite friendly and helpful.Within the neighbourhood it’s all houses, parks, gardens, bridges, ravines – and one small row of shops where refreshments are available.Rosedale’s main street is Yonge Street. Subway stop – ROSEDALE, and then walk or take Bus #82; or Subway stop – SHERBOURNE, and then Bus #75
Before TORONTO traffic and construction starts in the morning, some birds are up well before the sun. Not only do they sing in the morning, but they sing loud. Robins, for instance, are so sensitive to light and they’re such early risers that even a tiny bit of light is enough to wake them up and start them chirping.DAVID SIBLEY, a birder, artist, and author of ‘What It’s Like To Be A Bird’ says if you’re bored, try watching birds. “Birds make a lot of noise and their songs and calls all mean something. It takes some practice to hear them, but once you start noticing these sounds you will hear them everywhere.”“In these days when travel is restricted, when a lot of experiences are impossible, birds bring the experience to you.” – DAVID SIBLEY Yesterday two cardinals visited. They seem to come only once every year. This year they were early, spent a few minutes looking around, and then took off – never to be seen again until 2021. I live close to the Don Valley, and probably their permanent residence is somewhere down there. There are plenty of birds and a wildlife sanctuary in the Don Ravine.
A seemingly unremarkable thoroughfare, DUPONT STREET is located alongside the Canadian Pacific Railway line that long ago marked TORONTO’s city limits.Leaving behind its industrial past in the face of rapid redevelopment, the old street epitomizes the fact that modern, urban landscapes are always in flux.
Recently I featured a SCARBOROUGH guide book. Since then, two more publications on self-guided touring within the inner suburbs have been produced. This one is about NORTH YORK, once a city, now a ‘division’ amalgamated with TORONTO. You can find this publication, as well as another on EAST YORK, in the book rack, ground floor, Toronto City Hall. BELOW are some excerpts from ‘Explore North York’.AGA KHAN PARK, ISMAILI CENTRE & MUSEUM – 77 Wynford Drive (page 6). This is the city’s newest cultural hub. The formal gardens across from the Museum feature reflecting pools and facilities for festivals, film screenings and other events. Learn more about the park at http://www.agakhanpark.org NOOR CULTURAL CENTRE, 123 Wynford Drive (page 8) – Once the Japanese Cultural Centre, designed by celebrated architect Raymond Moriyama, the building is now a centre for Islamic learning and culture. For more information – http://www.noorculturalcentre.ca The RAINBOW TUNNEL MURAL (page 9) is often noticed by northbound drivers on the Don Valley Parkway. The original was painted in renegade fashion over 40 years ago by Norwegian B.C. Johnson in memory of his friend Sigrid. It’s an upside down smile for Sigrid to look down on from above.TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDEN, 777 Lawrence Avenue East (page 14). Consisting of 17 award-winning themed gardens spanning nearly four acres, the park features a range of indoor and outdoor programs for all ages. EDWARDS GARDENS is adjacent at 755 Lawrence Avenue East. For more info – http://www.torontobotanicalgarden.ca FOUR SEASONS by Douglas Coupland, southeast corner of Sheppard Avenue and Don Mills Road (page 24). Inspired by Laurentian pencil crayons, 48 to 60 feet high, the Vancouver artist’s creation represents the four seasons. Other cones are placed intermittently.WINFIELDS’ NORTHERN DANCER PAVILION & THE CANADIAN FILM CENTRE, 2489 Bayview Avenue (page 30). Docent tours of the Film Centre can be booked in advance by calling 416-445-1446 x312. The Winfield estate was once the home of E.P. Taylor, a businessman who formed Canadian Breweries in 1930; developed Don Mills; built the O’Keefe Centre; bred champion horses, including Northern Dancer. For more information – http://www.cfccreates.com TORONTO CENTRE FOR THE ARTS, 5040 Yonge Street (page 36) – The building is one of the city’s premiere performing arts facilities – home to the 1,856-seat Apotex theatre, the 1,025-seat George Weston Recital Hall, a studio theatre, and two art gallery spaces.LEE LIFESON ART PARK (page 37) is named after two well-known Willowdale musicians – Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of the rock band RUSH. They’ve produced gold and platinum records and have received numerous awards.GIBSON HOUSE MUSEUM, 5172 Yonge Street (page 42). The mid-19th century, red brick Georgian Revival farmhouse was once home to David Gibson – surveyor, farmer and political reformer – born in Scotland. It’s now one of ten historic sites owned and operated by the City of TORONTO.MILLER TAVERN, 3885 Yonge Street (page 49), This Georgian-style commercial building was constructed in 1857, replacing a former hotel that burned down in 1856. It survived floods, Hurricane Hazel, a gambling den, threats of demolition, and was finally purchased by the City of TORONTO, and is now a familiar landmark.BLACK CREEK PIONEER VILLAGE (page 61), offers a collection of many of Ontario’s oldest heritage buildings, some dating back to the early 1800’s. For more information on the village, and how to get there go to – http://www.blackcreek.ca
Home to 40,000 commuting downtown students, presently surrounded by serious construction and demolition, non-stop traffic, a scarce tree canopy, noise of every description – it’s a challenge alright living in the centre of a rapidly growing metropolis, and that’s where Ryerson students find themselves today.GABRIELLE OLANO reports on a recent study done by the Department of Chemistry and Biology – “Living in the area where Ryerson is located in the Church-Yonge corridor . . . is equivalent to smoking between 624 and 1,033 cigarettes per year,” she says.<PHOTO ABOVE – campus reconstruction on Gould Street>Chemistry & Biology assistant professor Stephanie Melles: “a downtown campus has inherent higher air pollutants, and that’s the same for other universities downtown. Especially if you’re going to be living downtown. It’s something to think about”.”In the same issue, another grabber of a headline (students are good at this): “Ryerson is killing us. Who knew?”
<ABOVE – Nassau Street & Spadina Avenue, acrylic on linen, by Rajeev Singhal, 2011, Baldwin Collection>The Toronto Public Library collects family, business documents and ephemera about Chinese-Canadians and their lives in the Greater TORONTO Area (the GTA). The selection of photos below come from various donors, and give us a small glimpse of a diverse community, which now numbers about 550,000. The Library’s exhibit from the award-winning Chinese archive continues until October 27/2019 in the TD Gallery, Main Floor, 789 Yonge Street – http://www.tpl.ca/tdgallery<PHOTO – Minister DAVID LEE visits the CHONG Family, date unknown>
<ARLENE CHAN performs a ribbon dance at the Opera Ball, 1965; photo – Ray McFadden><The dynamic JEAN LUMB (I remember meeting her). She was successful in protecting TORONTO’s Spadina-area Chinatown from demolition by developers, 1967. Photo – Doug Griffin><Robert Wong <above> and his brother Tommy started the Central Airways Company. Through the decades, they trained over 8,000 pilots while they watched TORONTO’s changing skyline. Above – Robert strikes a pose at Toronto Island Airport, 1946><Yoot Loy Laundry on King Street East, 1887, Baldwin Collection><Ing Lee Laundry on Main Street, ca1900, Baldwin Collection><Elizabeth Street, watercolour on paper, 1931, by W. F. G. Godfrey, 1884-1971, Baldwin Collection>
They’ve been called “the ugliest cats alive” because of their angular, elongated, mostly hairless bodies. But they’re friendly and suitable for cat lovers with hair allergies. The sphynx cat arrived in TORONTO’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood in the winter of 1966. Its mother, Elizabeth, delivered a wrinkled, hairless male kitten, later named ‘Prune’. A cat breeder turned Prune’s mutation into a new breed, which eventually became the famed Roncesvalles Cat. <PHOTOS by Holly Nellis>There’s much more to this story, and you’ll find it at – http://torontoist.com/2013/03/toronto-invents-the-sphynx-cat/GRAEME MACKAY, a cartoonist with the Hamilton Spectator, came across an albino squirrel <ABOVE> near the Capitol building in WASHINGTON DC. He had never seen anything like it, and posted the photo on his Twitter site.<PHOTO ABOVE – A Crawford Street albino, by John Phillips>
TORONTO, which is full of black squirrels, once had pure white albinos in Trinity-Bellwoods Park. You could also find them in the west end, in High Park or even on Crawford Street. Then again, you might not. If they’ve disappeared, it’s a shame.