Going parking

Posted on April 20th, 2010 4 great comments. Room for one more!

It’s looking like that post about Toronto’s urban gardens I mentioned the other day is just not going to happen. Not exclusively, anyways.

Lately, every time I set out to visit some of my favourite concrete-edged green spots, something else comes up. I think it’s a trend.

As I was adding more stuff to TCLand (you haven’t been?! It’s that map icon at the top of the page; basically TCL on a map, current to mid-July 2009 as of this post), I was looking through the archives to see what happened in April last year. That’s when the number of posts jumped … lotsa stuff happening, it seems. I have every reason to believe that this year should be much the same. Although I don’t know if I can count on another Tamil protest happening.

Movie productions, though, probably yes.

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They blocked off a section of Victoria at King to shoot a scene for The Thing. Once again Toronto was whored out as New York. Manhattan to be precise. Okay, I can understand not wanting to alienate the massive US market. And I guess it’s a compliment. But one day people will learn the truth about their idyllic New York. Then they can come to Toronto to see what it really looks like. :)

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Thing or no, I did actually manage to hit a couple of in-town parkettes.

Berczy Park, unfortunately, wasn’t in full swing yet. The fountain was off and only the early-spring flowers were poking through the soil. I’ll have to re-visit. But the upshot is that the rear facade of the adjacent Flatiron building is mostly visible from the park.

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I don’t think this is the most flowery park anyways. It’s just a wedge of land between Wellington and Front Streets and, if you ask me, the fountain makes it. Nice shady place to chill in the summer. Self-roasting is on tap at the Flatiron, as is beer, if the trees are starting to piss you off.

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The realistic shadow beneath the curtain is accomplished by having it physically stand off the wall. I’m sure auto insurance rates have suffered because of it.

If that doesn’t grab you, the wildlife in the park seem especially intelligent — I spotted a small cluster of pigeons trying to operate a drinking fountain, with some success. Just watch your wallet, the squirrels look a bit shifty.

Another nearby park offers a slightly lower I.Q. but considerably more greenery and flowers. When they bud, of course. The park is what I can only describe as a cute Victorian garden stuck up again St. James Cathedral on King Street East. Unsurprisingly it’s called St. James Park.

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This is the place to have your afternoon tea and crumpet. It’s ornate and just oozes colonial Britain, even down to the selection of flowers. The garden blooms for the whole summer (they rotate some flowers), and it’s a heady rush of perfume whenever you walk through the wrought-iron gates. Care to guess how old it is?

I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a statuary, but in keeping with the character, there are a few statues scattered around the grounds. Like Berczy, it’s not a big park; I wouldn’t cram anything else in there.

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The little shady hills are nice to blanket down on when it gets hot. You can either stare at the cathedral or a book. Or attractive passer-bys.

With the ornamentation, it’s a nice park to walk through in the winter too. You know, it’s got that Victorian Christmas feel to it. Not a quiet park by any means; traffic, streetcars, sirens, cathedral bells. But I don’t believe it could properly be called an urban park without those things, wouldn’t you agree?

Oh, and have you guessed how old the garden is? It’s only thirty years old. It is modelled on Victorian gardens but was added to the park in 1980. I don’t find it hard to pretend otherwise, though.

4 Comments on “ Going parking ”

  • mel
    April 20th, 2010 7:59 pm

    same setting as in my friend's apartment in new york. how i miss to sit on one of the benches one springtime visit i had in there


    Read more from mel at: http://www.mymoods.net
  • Patrick
    April 21st, 2010 7:48 am

    I told myself I wouldn't do comparisons between Toronto and other cities but since it's in context… :)

    I've never been to New York, Mel. Would like to visit, for sure. I'm told it's considerably busier and noisier (and a few more people too), but architecture-wise I'm told it's similar to Toronto. I'd actually be surprised if the two cities weren't alike in this way; the naturally available building materials, the climate, the architectural influences over the years — these can't be that dissimilar. It's my understanding that Toronto had influences on New York, and the reverse is certainly true as well. South of the border they just tend to do things a little bigger. :)


  • bingkee
    April 21st, 2010 9:44 am

    One picture looks like it's in NYC…the E 70 St. and 2nd Ave. But I don't think NY looks like Toronto except for the street signs. New York City is so different from its appeal, to its vibe, to its feeling, to its scenes. In the same way, Toronto might be different in all aspects.

    I've never been to Toronto although it's only 11 hrs drive away from here, but I lived in NYC for almost 4 years.

    P.s. that building with a peeled look looks very interesting.


    Read more from bingkee at: http://www.ilovehateamerica.com
  • Patrick
    April 21st, 2010 4:15 pm

    Guess I'll have to reserve judgment until I visit, Bingkee. All I know of New York I learned from movies, and for all I know that's Toronto. :)


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