Toronto is one of Canada’s great cities. Often called the “New York of the North” (I presume as a complement), it’s a fun place to visit. There’s lots to see and do in Toronto, from the amazing CN Tower which soars 1815 ft (553 m) into the clouds, to enjoying great architecture, to endulging in a large assortmant of great restaurants and markets. We’ll be discussing Toronto in more depth in the coming months.
Today I’d like to introduce you to Toronto through a series of photos taken while walking around the city’s many neighborhoods, and showing you some of the its signage and ads. I’m always fascinating by the glimpses these images can provide into a city’s character. This post is divided into 2 sets of photos, one looking at the city at large, the other (probably more interesting one) looking just at Queen Street, the hippie/Bohemian part of town. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge and begin a slide show.
The City at Large:
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)
Perhaps the most colorful region of the city is the western end of Queen Street (often just referred to as “Queen West”).
Queen West is a collection of once ethnically diverse neighborhoods that developed around the thoroughfare. These include distinct Irish, Jewish, Chinese, Polish, Portugese and Ukrainian communities dating from the 19th century through the 1960s. Queen West developed a “laid back Bohemian” reputation during the hippie era, but gentrification over the past years has caused recent immigrants to move to more affordable (generally distant) areas of the city as cost of living near Queen West increased. I think the ethnic profile of the area might now best described as “Canadian”.
Queen West is now lined with many boutiques, pubs, restaurants, tattoo parlors and the like. The closer you are to downtown Toronto, the more upscale things are, but the further West you go the more of the street’s old character is retained. Queen West is also known as a center for Canadian broadcasting, music, fashion, performance, and the arts.