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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Life on The Esplanade

Looking west from a city park on The Esplanade
I had a quiet morning with work I needed to deliver for my clients in the States, so I decided to get some exercise and go shoot some basketball down the street from me. As I walked east down The Esplanade, it was hard not to recognize how good I've got it here in Canada.

Here's a little about my neighbourhood with some help from Wikipedia:

The St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood I live in has been here since 1793 (though The Esplanade was underwater at that time - the shoreline of Lake Ontario being Front Street). The area was infilled to provide more land for port and industrial uses adjacent. St. Lawrence was the first industrial area of York. The first parliament buildings in Upper Canada in 1793 were constructed on the southwest corner of Parliament and Front Street.

A Saturday farmers' market began operation at Front and Jarvis in 1803. The current Market building, south of Front, is open daily, selling foods and other goods, while the Saturday farmers' market operates in the north building, on the north side of Front Street.

In 1834, Toronto's first city hall was built on the southwest corner of King St. East & Jarvis St. at the old 'Market' building from 1834 (the year of Toronto's incorporation from the former town of York) to 1844.

The former city hall was converted into and expanded into the market gallery or 'South Market'. The old council chamber is all that remains of the original city hall and is located on the gallery's second floor.

The Esplanade, a 100 feet (30 m)-wide road, was proposed, just south of Front Street, with new water lots made from cribbing and filling of the shore to the south. The waterfront was extended to a survey line from the point of the Gooderham windmill west to a point due east of the old Fort Rouille. In exchange for 40 feet (12 m) of the Esplanade, the railways underwrote the infilling of the harbour. The Esplanade (my street) and infill project was complete by 1865.

Walking along the street today and the most prominent features are the blocks of parks and social housing. The parks stretch for six city blocks, and the housing is so well integrated into the neighbourhood that you'd never realize what is private and what is public. This mix of incomes makes my home diverse and exciting. I meet people of all ages and races when I'm out and about - not something that occurs in the more tawny neighbourhoods of Toronto.

Near Parliament Street is a basketball court I play at. There are usually a few kids shooting hoops too, but they don't seem to mind an old man joining them.

I love my home, if you can't tell. If you're coming to visit Toronto, be sure and come to our part of town, You'll love it here too.

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