When you step out the door, turn right to Church St, then left over to College.  The first glimpse of Toronto history you will see is

the grand old Maple Leaf Gardens.  Built in 1931, it was once the hockey shrine of Canada.  It’s where Toronto’s beloved “Leafs” won games (11 Stanley Cups), lost games but never, ever lost the love of Canada’s most loyal hockey fans.  They moved to the Air Canada Centre in 1999 and “the Gardens” as it is known by Torontonians is now home to

Loblaws,  an upscale,

 state of the art supermarket.  It’s worth going through as there are very few like it.  Stop at

 

the Espresso Bar and get a shot of Java, you’ve got a lot of walking ahead of you. 

 

Next, cross to the south side of College, walk

east and just behind the Church you’ll find

Allan Gardens.  Created in 1858, it is one of the oldest parks in Toronto.  When Jarvis Street was one of the most beautiful streets in Toronto, lined with trees and mansions home to some of Toronto’s wealthiest, this park was where one would go for a Sunday stroll, listen to concerts and enjoy other social events.  Oscar Wilde gave a lecture there in May of 1882. 

 

To catch a glimpse of what Jarvis Street looked like then go to

http://www.blogto.com/city/2011/05/
a_visual_history_of_jarvis_street/

Once in the park, you can’t miss the beautiful

domed Palm House.  You must take the time to go in, you’ll be immediately transported to the tropics complete with

waterfall.  Rare tropical plants from all over the world are nurtured inside the greenhouses.  There are seasonal shows and for Easter, the dome is filled with hydrangeas and Easter lilies. And, it’s free!  For more information on the Palm House go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Gardens.

 

To the south east of the Palm House entrance,

you will see hoarding, it surrounds a 3 year construction project in the park, but have a closer look …

it’s an outdoor art gallery with construction project and has become and outdoor gallery. Local aboriginal artists have created murals portraying aboriginal life.  

Well worth a look. 

 

 

Leaving the park, continue east along Carlton, just past Sherbourne you’re on the fringe of one of the loveliest neighbourhoods in the city…  

Cabbagetown.  

 

The area which stretches east to Riverdale Park and north from Carlton to Wellesley is thought to be the largest continuous stretch of Victorian housing in North America.  Once you’ve crossed Parliament Street you are in the heart of Cabbagetown We’ll talk more about the wonderful homes and the people who lived there in our next blog.

 

 

Now continue along Carlton (it takes a little jog to the left when you reach Parliament).  Breathe in the beauty of the homes and gardens as you pass.  At the end of the street is another marvellous green space known as

Riverdale Park.

 

Once home to the Toronto Zoo, Riverdale Park is a big part of Toronto life.

Tour Riverdale farm, a true representation of a rural farm in Ontario.  It’s 7.5 acres are home to

cows, sheep, horses, chickens, pigs and more typical farm animals.  Pathways lead through wooded areas and around ponds and into butterfly, herb, flower and vegetable gardens.  If you’re there early you might be able to buy a few fresh eggs and chat with the farmer as he does his chores.  Every Tuesday, starting late May. there’s a farmers market.  Want some refreshments before you head back to Les Amis, there’s a

café in the farm area and an outdoor spot across on Sumach.  But back on Parliament, there’s a huge choice of local cafes… enjoy!

©P.-A. & Carol Buer 2014