Waterfront Communities-The Island

Graffiti Alley
160 Rush Lane
Toronto's famous Graffiti Alley holds multiple murals to explore on the walls of Rush Lane. In June 2020, over 30 artists came together to add new art in tribute to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Regis Korchinski-Paquet and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Alex Wilson Parkette and Garden
556 Richmond Street West
*Note: Please follow Toronto Public Health's guidelines for visiting community & allotment gardens. Walk too fast and you may miss this oasis between downtown's towering buildings. This community garden features a boardwalk and communal plantings of herbs, vegetables, flowers, berries, native grasses and a hedgerow.

Former The Body Politic Offices
24 Duncan Street
This building was once home to one of Canada's first significant gay publications, The Body Politic. In 1977, Toronto police raided its offices and the publication's workers were charged with possession of obscene materials for distribution and use of mails to distribute immoral, indecent and scurrilous materials. This event garnered international attention and support, and the workers were acquitted over four years later though an incredible amount of emotional trauma and financial damage had already been done. The magazine also played a significant role during the February, 1981 bathhouse raids as it was the only news source the LGBTQ2S+ community could trust. The raids galvanized the community, and the next night 3000 angry people marched to Queen's Park to protest the arrests. These protests helped lead to Toronto's first Pride Parade that spring.

Francis Lebouthillier and Eldon Garnet 'Chinese Railway Workers Memorial'
9 Blue Jays Way
This memorial, designed by artists Francis Lebouthillier and Eldon Garnet, was built in memory of the Chinese workers who worked and died to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. Between 1880 and 1885, 17,000 men emigrated from China to work on the railway. It is estimated that more than 4,000 workers died during the construction. These workers were constantly faced with discrimination. They were paid half as much as other workers even though they were given the most dangerous jobs, in what was already a very dangerous working environment. Many were killed by landslides, cave-ins, disease, and explosions.

Draper Street
Draper Street (in between Wellington Street West and Front Street West)
This tucked away nineteenth century residential street contrasts with the industrial buildings in the area. Lincoln Alexander was born on this street in 1922. Alexander was Canada's first Black Member of Parliament and served as Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario from 1985 to 1991.

Victoria Memorial Square Park
10 Niagara Street
A quiet green space that's more than just a public park, it's Toronto's oldest colonial cemetery. Over 400 are estimated to be buried at this site, many of which were soldiers and families laid to rest in the cemetery before it was closed in 1863.

Francisco Gazitua 'Puente de Luz' Bridge
Near Portland Street and Front Street West
Located over the busiest railway corridor in Canada, Francisco Gazitua's 'Puente de Luz' is a sculptural pedestrian bridge and the largest public art installation in Canada. The name Puente de Luz, or Bridge of Light, was chosen to signify the link between North and South and the connection between the two countries that came together to build it, Canada and Chile. The bridge's unique yellow colour was chosen to stand out against the grey background of the surrounding area.

Toronto Music Garden
479 Queens Quay West
Fronting on Toronto's inner harbour, the Toronto Music Garden is one of the city's most enchanted locations. The park design is inspired by Bach's 'First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello', with each dance movement within the suite corresponding to a different section of the garden.

Roundhouse Park, Toronto Railway Museum, & Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Plaque
255 Bremner Boulevard
Toronto Railway Museum
Roundhouse Park features an original, fully restored and operational 120-foot long locomotive turntable and a carefully chosen collection of full-sized railway equipment. It is home to the Toronto Railway Historical Association (TRHA) live steam miniature railway and other outdoor exhibits illustrating Toronto's railway heritage. Exhibits include the original 60,000 gallon water tower, the 650 ton concrete locomotive coaling tower and a collection of historic buildings, including the Don Station and Cabin D. The TRHA also operate the Toronto Railway Museum, which is located in the old roundhouse building that the park is named after. There is also a plaque in the park commemorating the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The porters worked in this area to prepare trains for long-haul journeys across North America. Most of the porters were Black men, who faced institutional racism in all aspects of their work, and many decided to organize against their poor treatment. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union became the first Black union to sign an agreement with their employer in 1945, and their advocacy and organizing efforts strongly influenced human rights policy and labour relations in Canada.

CN Tower & Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
290 Bremner Boulevard (CN Tower) & 288 Bremner Boulevard (Ripley's)
Ripley's Aquarium
The CN Tower was the largest free-standing structure in the world when it opened in 1976, and it continues to be one of the most iconic buildings in the Toronto skyline. Visited by almost 1.5 million people a year, it is one of the most popular attractions in the city. The tower includes two lookout levels one of which includes a glass floor and EdgeWalk, which provides visitors the ability to walk outside on a ledge 356 metres in the air! Beside the CN Tower is Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, which opened in 2013. Among the most popular attractions in Toronto, the Aquarium features 5.7 million litres of marine and freshwater habitats from around the world. Over 13,000 sea and fresh water creatures can be found at the Aquarium, which features a 96-metre tunnel walkway that allows visitors to see the creatures from a totally unique perspective.

Sugar Beach
11 Dockside Drive (Toronto Islands plaque is located next to Sugar Beach on Corus Quay)
Sugar Beach draws upon the industrial heritage of the area and its relationship to the neighbouring Redpath Sugar Refinery Museum to create a whimsical urban beach at the water's edge. The beach allows visitors to while away the afternoon as they read, play in the sand or watch boats on the lake. A dynamic water feature embedded in a granite maple leaf beside the beach makes cooling off fun for adults and children. A large candy-striped granite rock outcropping and three grass mounds give the public unique vantage points and the space between the mounds result in a natural performance space.

St. Lawrence Market & The Market Gallery
93-95 Front Street East, and 125 The Esplanade
Market Gallery
The St. Lawrence Market South Market building was built in 1845 and acted as Toronto's City Hall, housing the Mayor's Office, a jail, police station and council chambers until a new city hall (now known as Old City Hall) at Bay and Queen Streets was built. The center structure of the original building still exists. Upstairs, you'll find the Market Gallery in the former council chamber. The historic site presents a variety of changing exhibits related to the art, culture and history of Toronto. The gallery's signature fan windows, which once overlooked Toronto's harbour, today overlook the main floor of the market featuring various food vendors.

Longboat Avenue
This avenue was named after one of Canada's most famous athletes: Tom Longboat. Longboat was an accomplished distance runner from Six Nations of Grand River First Nation. Tom Longboat won many marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 1907, before finally competing in the 1908 London Olympics. Unfortunately it was rumoured that his collapse during those Olympics was a result of his trainers tampering with his athletic preparation, illegally administering drugs. In the following year, Longboat won the Professional Champion of the World title. Long distance running in the sense of what we know it as today, was actually something that was quite different in Indigenous terms. Long distance running was not so much a sport as it was a way of life for many Indigenous People. Traveling far distances, certain individuals from each community were sometimes chosen to deliver messages and those most competent, those with the most endurance were usually chosen to do this. It should be noted also that Six Nations invented the game of lacrosse, which is quite similar to hockey, and so it is evident that sometimes physical activity was done for leisure's sake. There's no question one had to be physically fit to carry out traditional day to day living.

Distillery District
Near Mill Street and Parliament Street
The area now known as the Distillery District was once the location of the massive Gooderham and Worts Distillery, which was originally founded in 1832 by brothers-in-law James Worts and William Gooderham. Starting out with a small windmill on the shores of Lake Ontario, the distillery grew to be the largest in the British Empire by the 1890s. The distillery continued to operate throughout much of the twentieth century, closing in 1990. The former distillery grounds have been used for numerous film and television shoots since its closure, including notable productions such as 'Chicago' and 'Cinderella Man'. The area was transformed into the pedestrian-oriented arts and culture Distillery District that it is today in 2003, with plenty of galleries, shops, and restaurants available to visitors. Several historical plaques throughout the area note the heritage of what is now recognized as the best conserved collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture in North America.

Corktown Common
155 Bayview Avenue
The jewel in the landscape of the West Don Lands, Corktown Common is a 7.3 hectare (18 acre) lush green space with a growing population of birds, amphibians and insects to listen to and watch. Situated on former industrial lands, the park has transformed an underutilized brownfield into a spectacular park and community meeting place featuring a marsh, sprawling lawns, urban prairies, playground areas and a splash pad. Built as part of the revitalization of the West Don Lands by Waterfront Toronto, this sophisticated park was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

Toronto Public Library: Fort York Branch
190 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 0E7
Poems For Your Path
Artists from various disciplines present messages of hope and resilience throughout the city in the form of text-based visual art installations.
Women Paint

Explore Waterfront Communities-The Island

Now is the time for residents to experience all that tourists have been raving about for years. Discover shops, stops, places and spaces on city main streets. Stay curious, Toronto.

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Don't Miss

Artists from various disciplines present messages of hope and resilience throughout the city in the form of text-based visual art installations.
Women Paint
Toronto Public Library: Fort York Branch
190 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 0E7

Check out main street storefront art installations, in the neighbourhood or nearby, created by Local Arts Organizations and Business Improvement Areas across the City.

Painting Icon StrollTO Guided Walks:

On select weekend dates, join guided walks and discover the diverse histories and cultural significance behind neighbourhood landmarks and attractions.
Learn more and register.

We hope that you enjoyed exploring this Toronto neighbourhood and found many other points of interest along the way. While StrollTO highlights some of the 'hidden gems' in the neighbourhood, there may be others that could be included in a future edition. Would you like to share a point of interest that you discovered in the neighbourhood? Email us at [email protected].

Neighbourhood Stroll

This stroll features lots of great public art with stops at Graffiti Alley and the 'Puente de Luz' Bridge, touches on important historical sites for both Chinese Canadian and LGBTQ2S+ communities including the 'Chinese Canadian Railway Memorial' and former Body Politic offices, and includes noteworthy historic sites like St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District. The Waterfront and Entertainment District BIAs are featured prominently in this stroll, with both offering a fantastic diversity of local businesses.

Toronto Island stroll
Main Streets: Front Street, King Street West, and Queens Quay
  1. Graffiti Alley
    160 Rush Lane
    Toronto's famous Graffiti Alley holds multiple murals to explore on the walls of Rush Lane. In June 2020, over 30 artists came together to add new art in tribute to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Regis Korchinski-Paquet and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
  2. Alex Wilson Parkette and Garden
    556 Richmond Street West
    *Note: Please follow Toronto Public Health's guidelines for visiting community & allotment gardens. Walk too fast and you may miss this oasis between downtown's towering buildings. This community garden features a boardwalk and communal plantings of herbs, vegetables, flowers, berries, native grasses and a hedgerow.
  3. Former The Body Politic Offices
    24 Duncan Street
    This building was once home to one of Canada's first significant gay publications, The Body Politic. In 1977, Toronto police raided its offices and the publication's workers were charged with possession of obscene materials for distribution and use of mails to distribute immoral, indecent and scurrilous materials. This event garnered international attention and support, and the workers were acquitted over four years later though an incredible amount of emotional trauma and financial damage had already been done. The magazine also played a significant role during the February, 1981 bathhouse raids as it was the only news source the LGBTQ2S+ community could trust. The raids galvanized the community, and the next night 3000 angry people marched to Queen's Park to protest the arrests. These protests helped lead to Toronto's first Pride Parade that spring.
  4. Francis Lebouthillier and Eldon Garnet 'Chinese Railway Workers Memorial'
    9 Blue Jays Way
    This memorial, designed by artists Francis Lebouthillier and Eldon Garnet, was built in memory of the Chinese workers who worked and died to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. Between 1880 and 1885, 17,000 men emigrated from China to work on the railway. It is estimated that more than 4,000 workers died during the construction. These workers were constantly faced with discrimination. They were paid half as much as other workers even though they were given the most dangerous jobs, in what was already a very dangerous working environment. Many were killed by landslides, cave-ins, disease, and explosions.
  5. Draper Street
    Draper Street (in between Wellington Street West and Front Street West)
    This tucked away nineteenth century residential street contrasts with the industrial buildings in the area. Lincoln Alexander was born on this street in 1922. Alexander was Canada's first Black Member of Parliament and served as Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario from 1985 to 1991.
  6. Victoria Memorial Square Park
    10 Niagara Street
    A quiet green space that's more than just a public park, it's Toronto's oldest colonial cemetery. Over 400 are estimated to be buried at this site, many of which were soldiers and families laid to rest in the cemetery before it was closed in 1863.
  7. Francisco Gazitua 'Puente de Luz' Bridge
    Near Portland Street and Front Street West
    Located over the busiest railway corridor in Canada, Francisco Gazitua's 'Puente de Luz' is a sculptural pedestrian bridge and the largest public art installation in Canada. The name Puente de Luz, or Bridge of Light, was chosen to signify the link between North and South and the connection between the two countries that came together to build it, Canada and Chile. The bridge's unique yellow colour was chosen to stand out against the grey background of the surrounding area.
  8. Toronto Music Garden
    479 Queens Quay West
    Fronting on Toronto's inner harbour, the Toronto Music Garden is one of the city's most enchanted locations. The park design is inspired by Bach's 'First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello', with each dance movement within the suite corresponding to a different section of the garden.
  9. Roundhouse Park, Toronto Railway Museum, & Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Plaque
    255 Bremner Boulevard
    Toronto Railway Museum
    Roundhouse Park features an original, fully restored and operational 120-foot long locomotive turntable and a carefully chosen collection of full-sized railway equipment. It is home to the Toronto Railway Historical Association (TRHA) live steam miniature railway and other outdoor exhibits illustrating Toronto's railway heritage. Exhibits include the original 60,000 gallon water tower, the 650 ton concrete locomotive coaling tower and a collection of historic buildings, including the Don Station and Cabin D. The TRHA also operate the Toronto Railway Museum, which is located in the old roundhouse building that the park is named after. There is also a plaque in the park commemorating the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The porters worked in this area to prepare trains for long-haul journeys across North America. Most of the porters were Black men, who faced institutional racism in all aspects of their work, and many decided to organize against their poor treatment. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union became the first Black union to sign an agreement with their employer in 1945, and their advocacy and organizing efforts strongly influenced human rights policy and labour relations in Canada.
  10. CN Tower & Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
    290 Bremner Boulevard (CN Tower) & 288 Bremner Boulevard (Ripley's)
    Ripley's Aquarium
    The CN Tower was the largest free-standing structure in the world when it opened in 1976, and it continues to be one of the most iconic buildings in the Toronto skyline. Visited by almost 1.5 million people a year, it is one of the most popular attractions in the city. The tower includes two lookout levels one of which includes a glass floor and EdgeWalk, which provides visitors the ability to walk outside on a ledge 356 metres in the air! Beside the CN Tower is Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, which opened in 2013. Among the most popular attractions in Toronto, the Aquarium features 5.7 million litres of marine and freshwater habitats from around the world. Over 13,000 sea and fresh water creatures can be found at the Aquarium, which features a 96-metre tunnel walkway that allows visitors to see the creatures from a totally unique perspective.
  11. Sugar Beach
    11 Dockside Drive (Toronto Islands plaque is located next to Sugar Beach on Corus Quay)
    Sugar Beach draws upon the industrial heritage of the area and its relationship to the neighbouring Redpath Sugar Refinery Museum to create a whimsical urban beach at the water's edge. The beach allows visitors to while away the afternoon as they read, play in the sand or watch boats on the lake. A dynamic water feature embedded in a granite maple leaf beside the beach makes cooling off fun for adults and children. A large candy-striped granite rock outcropping and three grass mounds give the public unique vantage points and the space between the mounds result in a natural performance space.
  12. St. Lawrence Market & The Market Gallery
    93-95 Front Street East, and 125 The Esplanade
    Market Gallery
    The St. Lawrence Market South Market building was built in 1845 and acted as Toronto's City Hall, housing the Mayor's Office, a jail, police station and council chambers until a new city hall (now known as Old City Hall) at Bay and Queen Streets was built. The center structure of the original building still exists. Upstairs, you'll find the Market Gallery in the former council chamber. The historic site presents a variety of changing exhibits related to the art, culture and history of Toronto. The gallery's signature fan windows, which once overlooked Toronto's harbour, today overlook the main floor of the market featuring various food vendors.
  13. Longboat Avenue
    This avenue was named after one of Canada's most famous athletes: Tom Longboat. Longboat was an accomplished distance runner from Six Nations of Grand River First Nation. Tom Longboat won many marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 1907, before finally competing in the 1908 London Olympics. Unfortunately it was rumoured that his collapse during those Olympics was a result of his trainers tampering with his athletic preparation, illegally administering drugs. In the following year, Longboat won the Professional Champion of the World title. Long distance running in the sense of what we know it as today, was actually something that was quite different in Indigenous terms. Long distance running was not so much a sport as it was a way of life for many Indigenous People. Traveling far distances, certain individuals from each community were sometimes chosen to deliver messages and those most competent, those with the most endurance were usually chosen to do this. It should be noted also that Six Nations invented the game of lacrosse, which is quite similar to hockey, and so it is evident that sometimes physical activity was done for leisure's sake. There's no question one had to be physically fit to carry out traditional day to day living.
  14. Distillery District
    Near Mill Street and Parliament Street
    The area now known as the Distillery District was once the location of the massive Gooderham and Worts Distillery, which was originally founded in 1832 by brothers-in-law James Worts and William Gooderham. Starting out with a small windmill on the shores of Lake Ontario, the distillery grew to be the largest in the British Empire by the 1890s. The distillery continued to operate throughout much of the twentieth century, closing in 1990. The former distillery grounds have been used for numerous film and television shoots since its closure, including notable productions such as 'Chicago' and 'Cinderella Man'. The area was transformed into the pedestrian-oriented arts and culture Distillery District that it is today in 2003, with plenty of galleries, shops, and restaurants available to visitors. Several historical plaques throughout the area note the heritage of what is now recognized as the best conserved collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture in North America.
  15. Corktown Common
    155 Bayview Avenue
    The jewel in the landscape of the West Don Lands, Corktown Common is a 7.3 hectare (18 acre) lush green space with a growing population of birds, amphibians and insects to listen to and watch. Situated on former industrial lands, the park has transformed an underutilized brownfield into a spectacular park and community meeting place featuring a marsh, sprawling lawns, urban prairies, playground areas and a splash pad. Built as part of the revitalization of the West Don Lands by Waterfront Toronto, this sophisticated park was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
  16. Toronto Public Library: Fort York Branch
    190 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 0E7
    Poems For Your Path
    Artists from various disciplines present messages of hope and resilience throughout the city in the form of text-based visual art installations.
    Women Paint

Accessibility information: All of the points of interest on this walk are viewable from the street. Some uneven surfaces may be encountered while in the Distillery District.

Soundtracks of the City

From global superstars to local favourites and ones to watch, the Soundtracks of the City playlists all feature artists who have called Toronto home. Whether it’s a lyric about the neighborhood, an artist representing a cultural community, or a tie-in to the StrollTO itinerary itself, all the music reflects connections to an individual ward or the City as a whole.

Music was chosen based on an artist’s Spotify presence and each song’s broad appeal, as well as its associations with the cultures, languages and ethnicities that reflect Toronto’s neighborhoods and diverse music scene. Soundtracks of the City combines 425 songs that feature more than 500 different local artists or acts, showcasing songs in 23 different languages.