"What is a city but the people?" This (very serious-sounding) quotation in Coriolanus is engraved into one of the municipal buildings in downtown Denver. I spotted it while stopped at a red light the other day and immediately thought of it when writing this blog. It's the city dwellers who create the buildings and public spaces, as well as run the stores, cook the food, and, of course, populate the streets. So this post is devoted to my favorite neighborhoods in Toronto. Because what else but people are neighborhoods made up of?
At the north-end of downtown Toronto is Bloor-Yorkville, where cobblestone streets are lined with designer and high-end clothing stores and fine-dining establishments. Needless to say, it's a bit on the yuppy side, but the posh shops make for a pretty backdrop. Nearby is the Royal Ontario Museum, a natural history museum. It was originally designed by Toronto architects Frank Darling and John A. Pearson in the 1870s, but Daniel Libeskind designed the crystal extension that juts from the "heritage building" in 2007.
On the far end of the hip scale is Queen Street West. You get on the trolley and keep heading, well, west. First you're in the shopping area, with an H&M and other fast-fashion chains hawking trendy wares. Case in point, the leggings below. Click here to read my top-ten list of things I didn't know about Canada, featuring these beloved tight cotton pants.
Soon you get to the garment district, which will probably hold no interest for you unless you're a designer. As you keep heading west, you hit the part of the neighborhood that's still in transition, which is where you'll find the Gladstone Hotel (see my blog on Toronto eateries).
I also loved the Harbor District, which is saying a lot because it was frigid. You have to walk past the CN Tower and under a major highway, and the area itself isn't very big. But I'm a big fan of anything waterfront.
See, pretty? If you go in the summer, you have to go to the Toronoto Islands. I didn't get to go because of the weather, but it looks like a lot of fun.
Another popular area is the Distillery District. It used to be a whiskey distillery, where all the workers also lived. They recently developed it into a mixed-use neighborhood with lofts above and retail spots and restaraunts below.
There's also China Town, Little Italy, the Indian Bazaar, and Greek Town. While I went to China Town and Little Italy, I didn't snap any photos. But picture China Town and Little Italy in New York or San Francisco, and you get the picture. Definitely worth checking out though. I wish we had time to go to the Indian and Greek hoods, but we did eat Indian, and Chinese and Italian, food while in Toronto.
So what are you waiting for: Go forth and explore!