I’m very excited for this post as it’s the first in a new blog series I’m embarking on, called “Strolling With My Homies” based on the “wildly popular” book series by Nathalie Prézeau, “Toronto Urban Strolls…for Girlfriends”. I happened upon this book in my local Chapters and decided I would go on every one of Nathalie’s 28 Toronto walks stopping at every one of her suggested pit stops. SUMMER GOALS!
For this experiment, every stroll I go on must include a girlfriend or suitable alternative. Otherwise, what am I really doing here. On stroll 1, I was accompanied by one of my most favourite people, my friend Kate! She was the perfect partner for the first stroll because she has the same love for exploring that I do, and the same ability to pause reality for a few hours to pretend that the places we are visiting are not ones we see every day, but fresh new places like we are tourists in an exciting foreign city!
Stroll 1: Downtown
Full Loop: 4.6 km (1 hr, 10 minutes, but it took us 5 hours because we ate and gossiped and took elaborate photo shoots also)
This stroll starts at Roy Thompson Hall, goes east along King St. then takes you down through the Courtyards in and around the Financial District, spitting you out near Front St. near the Esplanade, where you walk back West towards the CBC building (which is perfect because Kate HAPPENS to work at the CBC and gave me an exclusive tour of the building).
LET US BEGIN. (Story told mostly through photo captions because I don’t have all day!)
“Toronto Urban Strolls…For Girlfriends” Where it all began…
#2: “Don’t miss the shiny arrow”. We did not.
#1: Roy Thompson Hall
#4: St. Andrews Church
Caitlin stops to smell the flowers
#5: Toronto Dominion Centre. Joe Farad’s “Cows” in the middle of the financial district…yeah we didn’t quite get it either.
TULIPS! What a beautiful spring day.
weird broken bouquet of roses strewn across the steps of the TD Centre
#7: Brookfield Place
Also: ART HOMAGE
This is a nice old building inside Brookfield Centre. Vair pretty.
#8: Commerce Court – CIBC Building
Elephants in the financial district…makes more sense than cows? We don’t know.
Planking on Madame Elephant.
KATIE MAE IS ADORABLE.
#9: The big waterfall painting in the Scotiabank Plaza
Friends floating on clouds.
#10: Cloud Gardens, where a lovely bridal party was taking their photos!
Who knew this exotic tropical greenhouse existed right in the middle of all these skyscrapers?!
Taking a break. First day removing my sweater. SPRING.
LUNCH. This was not on the official stroll, but Nathalie’s suggestion of stopping at Marché did not work for us as there were too many actual tourists there being loud…does that make us bad honourary tourists?
I’m so excited be eating on a Patio!
Fish and Chips and a Mushroom thingy on potato rosti. DANG.
#11: Metropolitan glass labyrinth
Help me I’m trapped in this glass!
#12: Court Square. It was meh.
On our way to #13. I’ve walked past this building a thousand times. But on a STROLL you can pretend you’ve never seen it and be touched by it’s quaintness for the first time!
#13: Front St and Berczy Park
After a brief stop at C’est What for a tea and a brownie to escape the rain, we’re back on the trail heading west on Front. Hello old friend.
#14: Royal Bank Plaza with these weirdo smushed people sculptures…
#15: Fairmont Royal York was soooo beautiful. I’ve never been inside.
There is so much fun history literally lining the walls in this building.
Chef Staff – Christmas 1948
#15a: Kate adds an art stop for this cute mural at Front and York
This is a spitting image of my BFF and her wife. Shout out to the Hodgson-Beautistas!
#16: CBC courtyard – Aluminum Mountain by Anish Kapoor
🎵”It’s the cliiiiiimb”🎵 – Miley Cyrus
That’s Kate’s office up there!
Hangin out with Casey and Finnegan in their treehouse. Where Mr. Dressup at.
Kate on top of the media.
Shout out to when Nathalie suggested we stop at a Second Cup patio to “feel the urban vibe”. Maybe another time, Nathalie. Maybe another time.
Stroll 1 of 28 complete!
Ugly: I guess I’ll say that the construction downtown in this area at the moment was not the greatest, but then again, looking back over the photos, I don’t notice it at all. Also, it did rain for a hot minute but that wasn’t even bad because it forced us down into a warm and cozy pub for brownies. Can’t actually see the downside there…
Awesome: I just really loved this day! Most of these routes I’ve walked a thousand times in the 14 years I’ve lived in Toronto, but this was a great way to prove to myself, there’s still so much I walk past but take for granted. I flipped a switch in my brain this day to really look around and take things in – the landscape, the atmosphere, the architecture, the art and try to experience it like it was brand new to me. And I was surprised by how many things I’ve never noticed! Also Kate was the perfect stroll companion and I hope she will do many more strolls with me!