A Walk Along Bloor Street between Yonge Street and University Avenue

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I’ve been getting around. Ok, not in the way the urban dictionary translates the term, but in the sense that I have been getting to parts of town that I haven’t been to in a while.

First, let’s talk about my reason for being there. I had lunch with a very important person in our lives, Alison. She’s the one who first introduced me and Nick, setting us up on a blind date. At the time, she was persistent, telling me about her friend from university, who she had recently run into at an event, and with whom she was sure I’d get along. I didn’t jump at the chance right away, due to circumstance. So she waited a couple of months and called me about him again. “Really, you have to meet my friend Nick. I’m going to email both of you right now and get you connected.”

He and I were married a year after that blind date and have just happily celebrated our 15th anniversary, so you know this lady is very highly regarded in our home.

She and her husband recently celebrated their 15th too (they were married two months before us), so I wasn’t able to pay her back for the good deed by introducing her to a man. However I was able to hook her up with something pretty good nonetheless, a job that she has enjoyed for 10 years and counting. This was the place I worked until I left on very good terms, to pursue other interests 3 years ago. So for a while we worked together too. (Not to muddy the story but she and I had also worked together before at another job. We first met at work during our first adult jobs.)

I met Alison on Thursday, at a place called Lola’s Kitchen. It’s a great place, evident in how busy it is every time I’ve been. This was the first time that the crowd overflowed the main floor causing us to be seated in a room upstairs though. There was a fireplace up there hung with Christmas stockings, that was really cute.

We both went with vegetarian burgers, Alison selecting the Black Bean Burger and I going with the Curried Chickpea Burger. All very good.

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Since we were in the vicinity of her office and my former place of work, I walked her back so I could pop in and say hi. It was such a pleasure to see so many lovely people that I knew. Lot’s of smiles for sure. It had been a great work experience for me, particularly because of the people.

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Following the visit, rather than jumping onto the subway and going home right away, I took a walk along a street which I had once known so very well.

Not only had I worked in the area at the job that’s been discussed, but my job before that had coincidentally been right across the street. Additionally, I had lived in the neighbourhood for a summer between 2nd and 3rd year at university, in a mansion that had been converted to a frat house, for students at the University of Toronto. (I went to a different school outside of the city, called Queen’s, but came home to work in the summers). My brother was a member of the frat house, where women were permitted to rent rooms while school was out, so he got a spot arranged for me and my friend Colleen.

Student housing is to the west of this area and I worked on the east so during those 3 months I walked along here every evening, 5 days a week. The experience further fueled my desire to settle in Toronto after graduation.

These shots were taken going from east to west, along the stretch of Bloor Street West between Yonge Street and St. George.

This first section is nicknamed The Mink Mile. Chanel? – check, Escada? – check, Gucci? – check, Vuitton? – check. You get the idea … any luxury brand you might desire can be found along this part of Bloor Street, or directly to the north in Yorkville (an area I posted about here).

What is inclusive about the area though, is that amongst all the big name labels, there are some nice stores for regular shoppers too. There’s a Gap, a Sephora, an H&M, and a Winners located along there too, to name a few.

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The shopping pretty much ends at University Avenue (which is called Avenue Road north of Bloor), with a shop I used to like when I had to wear suits to work every day, Club Monaco. The front of this wonderful old building is their flagship retail location. Apparently their menswear department is situated over a covered up swimming pool that was in this building, which is called ‘The Lillian Massey Department of Household Science’, erected in 1908 – 1912. The rest of the building is used by the university to house their Classics and Medieval Studies Departments.

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Across the street to the north of that, there is this pretty little church, built in the Gothic Revival style, Church of the Redeemer, which opened in 1879. I love how the modern office tower wraps around it like that, and the fact that this church is known for its progressive stance on social issues.

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On the south west corner of University and Bloor is the Royal Ontario Museum which opened in 1914, and is one of the largest ‘world culture and natural history museums’, with 6 million items held within 40 galleries.

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The modern section, named ‘The Michael Lee-Chin Crystal’, opened in 2007.

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To the west of that is the northern opening of a pathway going south, called Philosopher’s Walk. It runs along the route of a river that used to flow there which was buried and still runs enclosed in concrete below. I can’t claim to being a philosopher myself, but I certainly have walked that path many time before.

The gate on Bloor Street was built in 1901 to commemorate a visit by Prince George, Duke of Cornwall (later King George V), and Mary, Duchess of Cornwall (later Queen Mary).

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The next building over is one I have shown you before, but from the inside (here and here). It is the Royal Conservatory of Music, completed in 1881. There is a modern extension to the west of it that I didn’t seem to get a shot of, but it’s in the previous posts I linked to.

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One final shot, Varsity Stadium, part of the university.

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Then I crossed the street and headed down the stairs to the the underground St. George subway station, on my way home.

Thank you very much for walking down my memory lane with me!
xo loulou

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