Harbourfront & Toronto Islands, Toronto
In the heart of Toronto's waterfront
Former industrial spit, now wildlife regeneration & conservation area ... It is a very beautiful area, though it may seem uninviting to tourists! (There is no formal entrance, except for some factories behind & a metal fence.) I hope someday they can turn it into a real park, for the views from there towards downtown is dynamic! Coupled with the Toronto Islands, it makes the city look so green! I love to go rollerblading and biking here, because the area is huge...
The wildlife in the city is trying to regenerate their species here, so it's best not to disturb the fragile environment while visiting.
MORE coming soon..
-To visit Tommy Thompson Park, take the Don Valley Parkway south to LakeShore Boulevard, travel east to Leslie Street, then south half a kilometre to the park entrance.
At the intersection of Lake Shore Boulevard W. & Spadina Ave West, you will find Music Garden, a park that was inspired by musician Yo-Yo-Ma. It is designed after Johann Sebastian Bach's Suites for Unaccompanied Cello. Originally planned for Boston, the plan eventually became a reality here at the waterfront. Though it is small, it is one of the most beautiful parks in Toronto. Mr. Ma worked with landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy to interpret in nature the music of Bach's first suite, with each part of the garden dedicated to a different dance movement.
Dance Movements include -
Prelude - "An undulating river scrape with curves and bends," it was designed to give a flowing river feeling where visitors can stroll.
Allemande - "A forest grove of wandering trails," it is a birch forest with a swirl that has an upward slope. Eventually at its highest point, you could view the harbour through a circle of Dawn Redwood Trees. Allemande is an ancient German dance.
Courante - "A swirling path through a wildflower meadow," is a huge upward spiral through a field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials. At the top, a Maypole spins in the wind. Courante is an exuburating Italian & French dance.
Sarabande - "A conifer grove in the shape of an arc," is an inward-arcing circle that is enclosed by evergreen trees. Envisoned to become a poet's corner, it has a pond that reflects to the sky and a stone in the middle set for readings.
Menuett - "A formal flower parterre," is a circular pavilion is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups. The symmetry and geometry of the pavillion follows the movement's grace and form. Menuett is actually a French dance.
Gigue Giant - "grass steps that dance you down to the outside world," is a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the harbour. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage (under a weeping willow tree.) It is a place for informal performances. A gigue (jog) is an Englsih dance.
To the west of the main harbourfront is the Toronto Music Garden. The shape of the garden was inspired by the music of Bach, and the full layout can only really be seen from the air, or in your mind's eye.
In summertime concerts are held here free of charge.
It's location directly across from the Toronto Island Airport (a big debate by itself) adds for some extra drama when the propeller-driven plans take off during a performance.
Harbourfront refers to a section of the waterfront from the Ferry Docks to Bathurst St. It is a revitalized area that has art shops, antique shops, and entertainment all the time. Many weekends in the summer there are festivals and live entertainment. There are also many buskers, this is Leyland Gordon who we saw several years ago. Recently they have expanded and improved this area with a music garden.
Unless you want to walk 3km, make sure you get on the right ferry for Centervile (Center Island). Stay away from the Ward Island ferry if you don't have suitable transportation (such as a bike). Bring $$$; you'll need a Labatt's after walking that much, and there's an nice outside refreshment stand at Center Island.
Just minutes away from downtown by ferry is the peaceful Toronto Islands. The Toronto Islands are a series of islands connected by bridges. There are variety of things you can do there. It is a wonderful place to visit for families who want to get away from the city. There are trails around the islands that you can either have a relax walk or a bike ride. The Centreville Amusement park on center island would be interesting for children too. Best of all, you can enjoy the wonderful skyline of downtown Toronto. Especially after dark, the night view of downtown from Toronto Islands is so great.
Take the ferry at the foot of Front Street across to Centre Island for the day. You can take a picnic with you or buy from the shops on the island. It is only a 20 minute ride and the view looking back at the Toronto skyline is wonderful. Lots of places to walk and swim, and an amusement park for the kiddies. Stroll along the little laneways past the quaint houses of people that still live on the island. The Toronto Yacht Club have had their home here for many years.
The Music Garden is a trippy walk through the six stages of a cello piece. Deigned by a musician, landscaper and filmmaker, it exhibits the song’s different music through altering plants, flowers, trees and sculpture. We rocked this spot by bring some wine (local vintage), cheese (from Cheese Magic in Kensington Market) and bread (from the bakery next door to Cheese Magic). Highly recommend you do the same. Free walking tours offered at 6pm.
Former estate, High Park is one of Toronto's most beautiful green spaces. My favourite location is Grenadier pond & the gardens surrounding it, especially around the maple leaf. On the south side, High Park directly faces Lake Ontario. Unfortunately, there is that unsightly Gardiner Expressway blocking the way. Hope that freeway will come down soon!
The park also has many places for biking, rollerblading and jogging. There is a children's playpark & a mini zoo.
High Park is accessible by car & public transit.
TTC: Exit High Park subway station
MORE coming soon...
Site of THE EX, Canada's largest fair. During the rest of the year, numerous exhibitions are held at Exhibition Place. The CNE grounds is also used as the Indy 500 race track, attracting Torontonians and sports fans alike.
The Islands are a timeless escape from the city. Many of the summer visitors take the Centre Island ferry, which connects with the middle of the islands where Centreville, the amusement area is located. I had so much fun there as a kid and it hasn't changed much. South of there across a bridge are fountains and my favourite unknown Toronto place, the Centre Island Maze. It is a grass maze which is a total riot.
There are two other boats that go to opposite ends of the island. Hanlon's Point on the west side is known now for the nudist beach, which is a mix of gays, card-carrying nudist types and gawkers.
On the east side are Ward's and Algonquin Islands, with residents living in quaint cottages. Some call them charming, some call these people upper-class snobbish squatters. It's still a nice area. I would take the Centre Island ferry, walk south past Centreville, over the bridge to the boardwalk area, and either walk or go to the bike rental place there. A walk east to Ward's Island is quiet and timeless, it feels as if it's the early part of the 20th century rather than the 21st.
One of the things the boat tour guide said was that one of the ships had telephone poles for masts - that it had been converted from a power boat. She said that the masts made it too heavy to actually sail. I don't know if that is true or if this is that ship or not.
In any case, there are more ships available for harbour tours than the Challenge. I got the following information from the internet:
This is your chance to get on board the Kajama, a traditional 165 foot three masted Schooner. Only in the Caribbean can this experience be duplicated. Sit back and relax with a cold drink from our fully licensed bar, as you set sail on Toronto Harbour and Lake Ontario.
11:30am 12:00pm 1:30pm
1:30pm 2:00pm 3:30pm
3:30pm 4:00pm 5:30pm
*US Prices are Approximate
The tour boat person said that Queen's Quay was bought in order to be demolished and something else built there. But it was so well constructed with such thick walls that they gave up on the demolition having figured out that to demolish it would take more money than they had available.
She said that the cut-out portion with the glass windows was as far as they got. So they renovated the inside of the building and left the rest of the shell. I don't know how much truth there is to this. The website says:
"Built in 1926, the award-winning architecture features soaring ceilings, wide open spaces, and natural sunlight. The property was purchased by Brookfield in November 1997 and since then has undergone extensive upgrades."
After I finished the tour boat trip, I went into the building and did some shopping and ate dinner.
There are over 30 shops and boutiques and numerous restaurants including a food court. There are also offices in the building, including again according to the website: "CIT Group Charles Schwab Labatt Brewing Company Bell ActiMedia."
Venture to TORONTO ISLANDS: From the ferry you'll catch the best view of Toronto from Lake Ontario. Take a walk, relax, have some picnic & enjoy the fresh air & greeneries of the islands... a memory you'll hold dear for a long time to come.
Official Site: City.Toronto.on ca.
Centre Island. Toronto is the only City in North America that has as island accessable only be ferry and there are no vehicles allowed on the island. Great place for young and old. There is an amusement park called Centreville for the little ones and a small farm. Many Torontonians picknik. 10 min ferry ride from the bottom of Bay Street in downtown Toronto