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Reasons to Go Outside: Life on the Streets

Going for a walk is life well spent. All you need are a decent pair of shoes, the right jacket for the weather, and a bit of motivation to get out the door. Walking ¬†through a neighbourhood is the best way to get to know the particular details of a place, and can offer some great opportunities to ‘people watch’.


This weekend, Toronto hosts two good reasons to go for a walk.

Saturday night is Nuit Blanche, an open-air art event that happens across the downtown core all night Saturday, finishing up at dawn on Sunday morning. There will be tens of thousands of people wandering the streets, lots of installations and performances worth checking out, and TTC subway service will run through till 7:30 am.

I presented projects at the first two Nuit Blanche in 2006 and 2007. My first year, I led a walking tour through Yorkville, sharing a some of the real estate development history of the area, to highlight the dynamics of gentrification that occurred in the late 60s and 70s and had affected numerous Toronto neighbourhoods since that time. In 2007, I participated in Darren O’Donnell’s project,¬†Slow Dance with Teacher. Even in 2008, my first year without official participation, it was great fun to walk the streets and talk to the strangers I met. This year promises to yet again when Toronto comes to life.


Sunday afternoon you can walk off your cob webs in Kensington Market, for the season’s last Pedestrian Sunday. The Market is a terrific neighbourhood to grab a hot drink or a sandwich, find a seat and watch the world go by. On this particular Sunday, the streets will be closed to cars, with buskers and public activities filling the space.

While it may seem like the weather is turning brisk and there’s many reasons to want to stay home, finding the motivation to take to the streets will offer memorable experiences it would be unfortunate to miss out on.


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