TORONTO - Toronto is enigmatic and exuberant, and so are the residents. The city offers a wonderful mix of activities and events which bring people together.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 and Public Health measures restricting large gatherings, many festivals and events across the city have been forced to cancel. Is it fair to say 2020 is a year like no other?
This year, Torontonians and would-be visitors to the city have already missed the opportunity to attend several crowning celebrations.
Popular festivals and events that draw thousands of people such as Pride, the Canadian National Exhibition, the Honda Indy and the Beaches International Jazz Festival are just some that were canceled or transitioned to a virtual online experience.
Other significant revenue generators for the Arts and Culture sector (like the Taste of the Danforth and the Taste of Little Italy) have also suffered due to cancellations.
Even if you were looking forward to counting down the end of 2020 and all the Covid-19 madness by celebrating New Year’s Eve in Nathan Phillips Square, cross that off the list – cancelled. However, not all is lost for those who wish to enjoy the sights and flavour of the city.
As part of the ShowLoveTO initiative, a way to help Toronto recover and rebuild from the impacts of the pandemic, the city invites locals to explore their own backyard through StrollTO.
The free, self-led exploration guides offer a way for people to safely explore neighbourhoods and support local businesses and artists. This is a way for residents to discover some new points of interest, public art, green spaces, historic buildings and other attractions throughout the 25 Toronto wards.
If your exploration starts in Etobicoke, you may stroll by “The Faces of Islington” painted by John Kuna (2013).
The mural celebrates the multicultural character of the ethnically diverse neighbourhood as it has changed over the last century to what it is today. Something that emulates the diversity of the Greater Toronto Area itself.
Across the city, adventures await in the acres of parklands and green space. Take for instance, Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens, named after the famed Canadian composer who wrote the patriotic song “The Maple Leaf Forever” in 1867.
The Gardens, located in the Yonge-Lawrence area, act as a gateway towards the peaceful ravine system featuring walking trails to enjoy year-round.
Although live theatre venues have been closed for in-person performances, a stroll along Yonge Street could lead past the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre.
Architect Thomas Lamb designed its unique style. The theatre opened in 1913 to showcase vaudeville acts and short silent movies of the time. In 1981 the building was purchased by the Ontario Heritage Trust and underwent a $29 million renovation. It is now considered to be the last surviving Edwardian stacked theatre in the world; and, is designated as a National Historic Site by the Government of Canada.
Now is a time when many residents are staying local. This is a great opportunity to explore the delights your community has to offer. Throughout the thriving main streets and the diverse BIAs (Business Improvement Areas) in each neighbourhood, a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants and local businesses exist to enjoy and support.
Take some time to meander through the city; a new discovery is laying in wait.