On a clear and crisp day in late November I ventured to Toronto from London, the sleepy city I live in which is about two hours away, just to see my favorite band of all time. I then made the most of my trip by walking my way through Toronto's streets for the day.
Just a quick look at the CN tower (the highest building in North America) and you’ll instantly know where you are. Although I now live just a couple of hours away from the biggest city in Canada, this is the first time since moving here from the East Coast (and before that, Australia) that I have ventured to the “big smoke”.
After getting off the Greyhound, I walked my way though Chinatown, which was such an experience. It’s a city within a city. Suddenly, there is somewhat of a language barrier and a lot of things feel foreign but by the looks of it, Chinatown is a very popular place to pick up some fresh fruit and veg.
I made my way to the Art Gallery of Ontario and was able to see an exhibition there on the Maharajas of India – complete with Rolls Royce and a silver carriage for free because I am under the age of 25. But sadly, no cameras were allowed inside. Then I walked all the way to the brand new Lomography store there and was greeted by a lovely girl; we chatted while I stocked up on film, reloaded, and took shots inside the shop. Unfortunately, the store wasn’t holding any of its special events on the day that I was there but I loved the feel of the store which is located in a fun, hip neighborhood on Queen St West.
A walk around the block onto King St brought me to the hostel that I was staying in with my best friend around two years ago where we met some lifelong friends and my best friend had a day-long hangover after a long drinking session in the hostel bar. That day I walked down the road, checking some small art galleries and stood on the glass floor of the CN tower and had some excellent sushi at a little placed called ‘CJ lunch box’. I retraced my steps back to this spot and was greeted by the same friendly service, great value, and delicious food.
A walk along Queen St in the fashion district felt distinctly different to the last time I was there though, far less people, less sun, and I wasn’t as overwhelmed by the selection of shops as before, my summer trip through Europe and H&M’s Canadian wide expansion might have something to do with that.
During my whole exploration of the city I was greeted by differing street art and Canadian-isms like Tim Hortons cups, fallen maple leaves, and hockey fanatic references all over the place. I also admired the architecture in the city during my walk down towards the water as the sun was going down and the buildings were catching the light in pretty ways.
By 4pm the reason why I was in Toronto in the first place had come – to take a walk with Hanson (yes, the band who sang Mmmbop in the 90s that is still making some amazing music now too) in which you take off your shoes and walk a mile barefoot to support getting shoes and essentials for children in Africa. I got to get within an arm’s length of the guys whose pictures I had plastered all over my walls for years and helped support a worthwhile charity while having a new experience walking barefoot in a major city. A couple of hours later and it was time for the concert, making new friends, and Shouting It Out.
It was a jam packed, relaxing, and interesting day and if you are interested in learning more about The Walk visit http://www.takethewalk.net/