This Uptown Discovery Walk leads you through neighbourhoods just north of the City’s core. Hidden among the low-rise and high-rise residential,commercial and institutional buildings, you will discover a rich variety of parks, gardens and streetscapes.
Since the 1960s, many of these parks and gardens have been created through building demolitions, land exchanges, street closures, lease agreements, land purchases and the City’s development approval process for major projects. These parks and gardens have design features ranging from traditional to contemporary, from pastoral to urban.
Visit two of the City’s traditional parks—Allan Gardens and Queen’s Park. At Allan Gardens, admire the extensive horticultural displays both outdoors and inside the ornate greenhouses. Queen’s Park provides a picturesque forested setting for the Provincial Parliament buildings. The more contemporary parks and gardens include quiet neighbourhood meeting spots, an award-winning park (e.g. Village of Yorkville Park) and outdoor recreation facilities.
You will visit extensively landscaped institutional grounds and the remains of a ravine where Taddle Creek once flowed but is now buried in a sewer. Many of these parks and gardens have been created over underground shopping concourses, parking lots and the subway, where a minimum of five feet of soil is provided for the healthy growth of trees. Opportunities to stop, look and listen are provided in these green spaces, most of which have seating, public art, water elements and nearby cafes and shopping.
A variety of wildlife finds habitat and refuge in these same green spaces, particularly during spring and fall when birds and some butterflies are migrating. Species seen most often throughout the year are pigeons, squirrels and racoons. As you continue your exploration, you will encounter trees, shrubs and flowers growing along sidewalks and in planters on both public and private land. Trees are invaluable assets in improving the quality of urban life by reducing air pollution, creating shade, providing wildlife with food and habitat as well as beautifying neighbourhoods. Parks, gardens and streetscapes provide dramatic contrasts with surrounding historic and contemporary buildings. Note the wide variety of building materials used. Murals, sculptures and statues located in the parks, gardens and streetscapes along this Walk are representative of the impressive collection of public art that embodies the spirit of Toronto. On this urban adventure, many hidden treasures, sights and sounds will be revealed to you. Discover Uptown Toronto, the “City within a Park!”
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