We’re a long way off from achieving the full Toronto waterfront plan, but there is undeniably steady improvement happening on Toronto’s shoreline. It’s been especially nice seeing the park spaces evolve over the past 5- 10 years. I hope they soon get completely interconnected so that the entire space becomes one big continuous public nature walk. Here are a few of the waterfront parks I’ve visited recently: HTO is the newest, opened in June of this year. It’s quite modern and elegant; they brought in white beach sand, put up some cute umbrellas and planted beautiful little trees (are they weeping willows?). It’s pretty, both in daytime and at night. And startling in its urban setting just south of the dome and CN Tower.
Just a five minute walk west from HTO at the foot of Spadina is the Music Garden, which Yo-Yo Ma helped design. It has an amazing open-air amphitheatre, beautiful flower gardens, and as you might expect from the name they do play concerts here. And if you hop on your bike and head about 20 minutes further west along the lakefront bicycle trail, you’ll eventually hit Humber Bay Park. I especially like this one for the views; the park is on a peninsula that juts out into the harbor, and from the tip you get spectacular skyline views of downtown, like this one I found on Flickr. I’ll post a photo of my own next time I’m out there. There’s heaps more to discover. Get thee to the waterfront! P.S. Expect posts to be a little infrequent during these last few lazy days of August.
I discovered this cute little multi-purpose place on College some time ago and have been meaning to mention it. They sell some fun clothes, make a nice latté, have a music listening station and publish their own hip magazine. They also have comfy leather couches at the back where you can sit down and enjoy that latté, flip through a few magazines, find some new music and spruce up your wardrobe on your way out the door. Ukula is also rentable for private events. All they need now is a nail bar that makes cocktails for you and you won’t need to go anywhere else.
As a follow up to my previous post on pesticides I’d like to point out some great places to slow down the pace and shop for delicious foods: Toronto’s Organic and Farmers’ Markets. In the summer they are held outdoors, while in the winter a few continue indoors. Check them out…
Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market
Thursdays 3-7pm. Dufferin Grove Park.
all year long
Riverdale Farm Farmers’ Market
Tuesday 3-7pm, in front of Riverdale Farm
May to October
Sunshine Garden Organic Market
CAMH Grounds at 1001 Queen St W. (w. of Ossington), 416-363-6441,
Monday and Thursday 10am-11:30am. Closed on holidays.
July to October
Local Farm Food with Organic Vendors Also:
High Park Organic Market
Inside the park, beside Grenadier Restaurant, 416-882-5140
Fridays 12-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-6pm
May to October
Don Valley Brick Works Farmers’ Market Located off of the Bayview Extension (550 Bayview Ave)
June to end of October
St. Lawrence Farmers’ Market
92 Front St. E. (at Jarvis), 416-392-7219
Birchcliff Farmers’ Market
St. Nicholas Church Garden, 1512 Kingston Rd (near the Scarborough Bluffs).
June to October
I wanted to mention this darling little café to you. I love this place. The atmosphere is very cozy and its filled with all kinds of vintage furniture. The staff are very friendly and the coffee is good. They recently added a sweet patio on to the back. It’s really cute. Not only can you have a sandwich or some breakfast here – you can also join the book club and enjoy some great beers (St. André, Wellington, Steamwhistle, Mill Street…). The Book Club meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30, although they usually close at 6pm. They are closed on mondays… so check it out on any other day of the week. Here’s a map of this Parkdale hotspot. overandout.
I found this article from the David Suzuki Foundation written in October of 2006 very disturbing. It states that a new study has found Canadians may be ingesting more toxins than other nations. Here’s an excerpt:
Canada allows pesticide residues on foods at levels that are 10 to 400 times higher than allowed in European nations … The report The Food We Eat compares three areas of government activity related to pesticide use: registering pesticides for specific uses; setting maximum residue limits (MRLs) for pesticides on food; and monitoring the food supply for pesticide residues.
The report provides conclusive evidence that Canadian regulations governing the use of pesticides and the potential impact of pesticides on food and health are among the weakest in the industrialized world. At least 60 active ingredients, used in 1,130 pesticide products available in Canada, have been banned in other western industrialized nations. Among these pesticides are some of the most heavily used agricultural and household pesticide products in Canada, such as atrazine and 2,4-D.
The health concerns associated with chronic exposure to pesticides include increased risk of cancer, organ damage, birth defects, and neurological impairments such as Parkinson’s disease. Two recent Canadian studies found numerous pesticides in the blood and urine of Canadians from across the country.
I hate reading articles like this; I find them utterly depressing. But instead of sitting home and sulking (or cursing our government for not looking out for us) I’ve decided to work on turning the tide.
Easier said than done, right? Where to start? If you’re anything like me, you probably find the situation rather overwhelming. Well, don’t freak out. I believe the key is to take a moderate approach: start small, and take incremental steps in the right direction. Here’s what I’m doing:
Step 1: I’ve resolved to stop complacently supporting companies that are feeding us unhealthy foods and putting poisonous chemicals into our soil and water. Where reasonable I intend to buy organic foods and products that are natural and do not pollute or off-gas. I’m hoping that if enough other people do the same, healthy products will proliferate and prices will drop. (Don’t you love economics?)
Step 2: I found a list of foods that were tested for pesticide content. (Scroll to the bottom of their page for the full list.) I’m finding this to be a helpful tool when deciding which foods to buy, and whether to purchase standard food items or hold out for organic. I hope this helps you too.
More steps to come as I figure them out!