Saturday, February 23, 2013

Things to Do: Main Square Community Centre

Main Square Community Centre is a brief 7-minute walk.  It may not have great curb appeal, but once inside the three levels are abuzz with activity.  Our family has used the pool extensively, taking advantage of their baby, youth, and adult learn-to-swim classes as well as dropping in on the lane and leisure swims.

We've also used it for a dizzying array of other programs; chess club, cartooning classes, hiphop dance classes, karate, yoga, the weight room, and private guitar lessons all come to mind during the year.  We've also relied heavily on their summer camps some years, trying out the regular, sports, and soccer camps.

The staff are warm and caring, and the prices are quite low, like all city programs.  Registration is not as busy for this centre as for some others.

Why this neighbourhood?

In January 2012, Toronto Life magazine recommended East End Danforth (as they called it) as the #2 entry in their list of "Where to Buy Now" in Toronto.

Here's the link to the full article:

To quote: 
The urban mix is the appeal of East End Danforth—a neighbourhood that has proximity to the boardwalk; manicured houses flying Beach flags; family-friendly Norwood Park; a southern fringe of stately detached Edwardians; co-op housing; semis in the $400,000 to $500,000 range closer to Woodbine; and new luxury townhouses. The sold-out townhouse complex Upper Beach Manors (above), near Main and Gerrard, invigorated real-estate activity in the area and inspired a doppelgänger, the new Upper Beach Townes, a collection of 32 houses split into two-level condos.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Purple and White

Sometime around the last week of May is a short period where the only colours in the garden are purple and white.  Soon the lilies, blanketflowers, and peony come out and bring a riot of colour, but I enjoy this subdued colour scheme for a few days.

A corner between the front steps and walkway is devoted to just Lily of the Valley.  They're just finished blooming, and the tiny bells are turning papery and falling off.  The glossy green leaves last all summer.

In the back yard, a large, old-fashioned spirea bush is tucked under the lilac.  It takes over blooming when the lilac ends, and is covered with big balls of tiny white flowers.
Lily of the Valley

Hosta, False Solomon's Seal, Oak
A hosta with white stripes matches the colour scheme.  It and False Solomon's Seal flourish in the shade at the base of our massive and ancient oak.

Columbine is one of my favourites, and this hardy one self-seeds every year.  When I looked up the Star of Bethlehem I was surprised to see it listed as a "noxious weed".  I think it's very pretty!

Star of Bethlehem

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Getting here - air travel

Route to Pearson International Airport (click for larger view)
Surprisingly, the drive to or from Pearson can be done in as little as 25 minutes, depending on the time of day.  Even in rush hour it is at most an hour.  The 427/Gardiner combination is speedy, and off the Lakeshore a quick run up Woodbine takes you almost all the way there.

A flat-rate taxi to or from the airport is about $75 including tip.  The cheaper way is by TTC, which takes 1.5 hours but only costs one token.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Danforth GO station; the East End's best-kept transit secret

36 Norwood Road and the Danforth GO station (click for bigger image)
See that yellow box in the upper-right corner?  The building at the top of the box is a GO train station, and that's a train headed to Union station you can see on the tracks.  A brief five-minute walk under the Main street bridge takes you to the station, where you can board a Lakeshore East train that will take you to Union Station in exactly 14 minutes.  There are 26 trains a day, starting at 6am and ending at midnight.  If you work downtown it's a quick, quiet, stress-free, environmentally friendly way to commute.

When the Ex is on, one more stop takes you right to the Dufferin gate!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

TTC: 506 Carlton streetcar

The 506 Carlton car, despite the name, spends quite a bit of its time on College Street and Gerrard Avenue.  At the foot of Norwood Road, the 506 goes past along Gerrard.  The east-bound streetcar (the stop is across the street, with a pedestrian crosswalk) travels three stops to Main Street Station, then turns around and comes back.  The west-bound streetcar follows Gerrard through Little India and Little Vietnam, over the Don Valley, then finally turns north on Parliament to go through Cabbagetown.  Turning west again on Carlton, it crosses both Yonge and University streets, giving easy access to both sides of the yellow subway line.  At the far end of the line it hits High Park before returning.

The best part of the 506 streetcar is that it runs 24 hours a day, every day.  No matter where you are downtown, you can walk to College, Carlton, or Gerrard and get a streetcar home.

Monday, May 7, 2012

TTC: Main Street Station

Entrance to Main Street station
Main Street Station is, admittedly, not the shiniest subway station on the line.  However, it has the benefit of being accessible.  In fact, it's the first station east of Broadview that has elevators - very handy if you're pushing a stroller!

The station is a ten-minute walk, partly on  shady residential streets.  There is a handy staircase at the end of Norwood Terrace that leads to the bridge, and at the top you get a direct view of the CN Tower.
Walking route home from Main Street station.

The 506 Carlton streetcar is a good alternative to walking; it brings you home in just three stops, dropping you right at the foot of the street.