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Toronto Centre

Ward 13

Berczy Park & Gooderham Flatiron Building
35 Wellington Street East & 49 Wellington Street East
Berczy Park is a 3,606 square metre public park located in the triangle of land between Wellington, Front and Scott streets, across the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. The space has been a public park since 1980, before which it sat vacant or served as a parking lot. Berczy Park is named after William Berczy, a German-born architect, surveyor, and writer often considered a co-founder of modern Toronto with John Graves Simcoe. Berczy was also a painter, most famous for his portrait of Mohawk chief Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant). The park underwent a revitalization starting in 2015 which included replacing the park’s historic centrepiece, a large fountain, with a new two-tiered fountain with a unique and whimsical theme. With its opening in spring 2017, 27 dog sculptures – plus a cat and a bird – are situated around, in, and on the fountain, each spraying water from its mouth. A golden bone sits atop the fountain. The Gooderham Flatiron Building can be seen at the eastern boundary of the park. A heritage designated building, it was constructed in Romanesque and Gothic Revival styles in the 1880s as the offices for the Gooderham & Worts Distillery Company. Today it is arguably one of the most photographed buildings in Toronto.

St. Lawrence Hall & Mary Ann Shad Cary Plaque
157 King Street East & 143 King Street East
A heritage designated building, St. Lawrence Hall was constructed in 1850. Built to serve city debutantes and the elite for social gatherings, rallies and recitals, St. Lawrence Hall was – and continues to be – recognized as a premiere 19th century building. The building served as a key venue for the abolitionist movement in the 1850s. Hundreds met here in September of 1851 for the North American Convention of Colored Freedmen, which focused on the fight against slavery in the United States, and how to assist Black people attempting to seek refuge in Ontario (then known as Canada West). Historical plaques can be found in the main floor lobby (open to the public) on the eastern wall. Just down the street at 145 King Street East is a plaque commemorating Mary Ann Shad Cary, a prominent African American abolitionist and pioneering newspaper editor and publisher, who fled to Canada after escaping slavery in the United States. From 1854 – 1855, she published the Freeman, a newspaper “devoted to anti-slavery, temperance, and general literature,” at this site.

St. James Cathedral & St. James Park
106 King Street East & 120 King Street East
A heritage designated building, St. James Cathedral is home to the oldest congregation in Toronto, which dates back to the 1790s. The current building was constructed in the early 1850s in Gothic Revival style after several previous iterations of the church burned down. A tower was added to the church in the 1870s, making it the tallest building in Canada at the time. The most prominent church for Anglicans in the city, the church was a focal point for the social life of Toronto in the late 1800s. The church has hosted numerous dignitaries over the years, including members of the British royal family, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others. Located next to the cathedral is St. James Park , which now features a market-themed playground, inspired by its close proximity to St. Lawrence Market.

Piliriqatigiingniq Mural
76 Church Street
This mural by Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson, known as “Piliriqatigiingniq” (meaning ‘to work together towards a common goal’ in Inuktitut) portrays an elderly man carrying the weight of the world on a broken snowmobile, and reflects Canada’s Inuit peoples and diverse northern cultures.

Elgin & Winter Garden Theatres
189 Yonge Street
Designed by architect Thomas Lamb, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres opened as a vaudeville performance space in 1913. The Winter Garden Theatre was unique in that it was painted with many murals of plants, trellises and lampposts, while the ceiling was covered with real dried leaves. The Elgin Theatre was converted into a cinema in the 1920s, which it remained until the building was purchased by the Ontario Heritage Trust in 1981. A $29 million renovation was completed, and it reopened again as a working theatre on December 15, 1989, exactly 76 years to the day it originally opened. The theatres are now considered to be the last surviving Edwardian stacked theatres in the world.

Massey Hall
178 Victoria Street
Massey Hall was built by industrialist Hart Massey as a tribute to his late son Charles Albert Massey, opening in 1894. It was the only building in Canada intended exclusively for musical performances when it first opened. Noted for its excellent acoustics, it is Canada’s oldest and most celebrated concert hall and is a heritage designated building. Notable events which have taken place at Massey Hall include the wedding of distance runner Tom Longboat in 1908, a legendary jazz concert in 1953 featuring the only time that Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach ever performed together, and a Neil Young solo acoustic performance in 1971 that was later released as a live album in 2007, among many others. The building is currently undergoing an extensive revitalization that is expected to be completed in 2021.

Mackenzie House
82 Bond Street
Mackenzie House was the last home of Toronto’s first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie, and is located downtown just steps from theatres, the Eaton Centre and Yonge-Dundas Square. The museum interprets urban Victorian life of the 1860s and the evolution of democratic institutions through the lens of Mackenzie as a writer, publisher, politician and rebel.

Yonge Street Music Mural (North and South)
423 Yonge Street
There are two 22-storey murals painted by Adrian Hayles on two sides of 423 Yonge Street celebrating the rich musical history of the area. The North Mural pays homage to the musicians that played on Yonge Street during the 50’s and 60s, including Ronnie Hawkins, Glenn Gould, Diane Brooks, Jackie Shane, Muddy Waters, Shirley Matthews, B.B. King, Gordon Lightfoot and Oscar Peterson. The South Mural features musicians that played Yonge Street during the late 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s, including The Band, David Clayton Thomas, Lonnie Johnson, Jay Douglas, GODDO, Salome Bey, RUSH, Dizzy Gillespie, Kim Mitchell, Carol Pope, Cathy Young, Jon and Lee from the Checkmates and Mandala.

Okuda San Miguel Mural
111 Carlton Street
This 23-storey landmark work of art by internationally celebrated street artist Okuda, from Spain, emphasizes the natural, physical and human diversity of the surrounding area through its colour palette and form.

Maple Leaf Gardens
50 Carlton Street
Originally built as the home for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, Maple Leaf Gardens opened in 1931. The building was the largest arena in Canada when it opened, and remained one of the foremost venues for sporting events, concerts, rallies, and political events in the country throughout its history. Some of the numerous famous musical acts it hosted over the years include The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, and many others. The Maple Leafs played their last game in the Gardens before moving to the newly-constructed Air Canada Centre (now Scotiabank Arena) in 1999, and the space was renovated and reopened as an athletic centre and retail space in the early 2010s. A red dot inside the grocery store at the base of the building displays where centre ice used to be for hockey games, and the inner eastern wall at the entrance displays a blue maple leaf made up of old seats from the arena.

Alexander Wood Memorial
Church Street and Alexander Street
This statue, sculpted by Del Newbigging, commemorates Alexander Wood, which nearby Alexander and Wood Streets are named after. Wood moved to what was then known as the town of York from Scotland in the 1790s and established himself as a leading merchant and was appointed as a city magistrate. Wood was forced out of York after being subjected to homophobic treatment and discrimination from town leaders. Wood returned to York and purchased much of the land that now makes up the Church-Wellesley Village area, and remains an important figure in the history of Toronto’s LGBTQ2S+ community.

Bathhouse Raids Mural
418 Church Street
Painted by artist Christiano de Araujo as part of the Church Street Mural Project in 2014, this mural commemorates the infamous Bathhouse Raids, which occurred in February 1981. Police officers raided 4 different bathhouses in Toronto and arrested close to 300 men. The event galvanized the LGBTQ2S+ 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.

Barbara Hall Park & 519 Mural
519 Church Street
A small park named after former Mayor Barbara Hall, who was in office from 1994 – 1997 and was the city’s first mayor to march in the Pride Parade. The park features an AIDS Memorial installed in 1991. The park also features a splash pad and an off-leash dog area. A mural painted by John Kuna can be seen on the side of the neighbouring 519 community centre that pays tribute to the activism of the LGBTQ2S+ community in the Church-Wellesley community.

ArQuives
34 Isabella Street
The ArQuives were originally established in 1973 with the intention of recovering and preserving the history of the LGBTQ2S+ community in Toronto. Its mandate is to acquire, preserve, organize, and give public access to information and materials in any medium, by and about LGBTQ2S+ people, primarily produced in or concerning Canada, and to maintain a research library, international research files, and an international collection of LGBTQ2S+ periodicals. It holds the world’s largest collection of LGBTQ2S+ periodicals, with over 9700 unique titles in circulation.

Glad Day Bookshop
598A Yonge Street
Glad Day Bookshop is the first Canadian and oldest queer bookstore in the world, originally opened by Jearld Moldenhauer in his Annex apartment in 1970. Moldenhauer started the shop after making the realization that important emerging gay literature was impossible to find in Canada. The bookstore later relocated to this location at 598A Yonge Street, where it remained a community mainstay for the next 27 years. The store moved to its current location at 499 Church Street in 2016.

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Explore Toronto Centre

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
BigArtTO
December 2 – 5
6pm – 9pm
Equinix Data Centre (Distillery District)

Neighbourhood Stroll: Church-Yonge Corridor

This downtown stroll features numerous historic sites, such as St. Lawrence Hall and Mackenzie House, fantastic public art murals on Yonge Street and Church Street, and touches upon the rich LGBTQ2S+ history of the Church-Wellesley area with stops at sites such as the ArQuives and the Alexander Wood Memorial. A vibrant mix of shops and restaurants can be found in both the Church-Wellesley Village and Downtown Yonge BIAs.

Main Streets: Church Street, Yonge Street

Note: Some neighbourhood strolls may cross over into more than one ward.

  1. Berczy Park & Gooderham Flatiron Building
    35 Wellington Street East & 49 Wellington Street East
    Berczy Park is a 3,606 square metre public park located in the triangle of land between Wellington, Front and Scott streets, across the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. The space has been a public park since 1980, before which it sat vacant or served as a parking lot. Berczy Park is named after William Berczy, a German-born architect, surveyor, and writer often considered a co-founder of modern Toronto with John Graves Simcoe. Berczy was also a painter, most famous for his portrait of Mohawk chief Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant). The park underwent a revitalization starting in 2015 which included replacing the park’s historic centrepiece, a large fountain, with a new two-tiered fountain with a unique and whimsical theme. With its opening in spring 2017, 27 dog sculptures – plus a cat and a bird – are situated around, in, and on the fountain, each spraying water from its mouth. A golden bone sits atop the fountain. The Gooderham Flatiron Building can be seen at the eastern boundary of the park. A heritage designated building, it was constructed in Romanesque and Gothic Revival styles in the 1880s as the offices for the Gooderham & Worts Distillery Company. Today it is arguably one of the most photographed buildings in Toronto.

  2. St. Lawrence Hall & Mary Ann Shad Cary Plaque
    157 King Street East & 143 King Street East
    A heritage designated building, St. Lawrence Hall was constructed in 1850. Built to serve city debutantes and the elite for social gatherings, rallies and recitals, St. Lawrence Hall was – and continues to be – recognized as a premiere 19th century building. The building served as a key venue for the abolitionist movement in the 1850s. Hundreds met here in September of 1851 for the North American Convention of Colored Freedmen, which focused on the fight against slavery in the United States, and how to assist Black people attempting to seek refuge in Ontario (then known as Canada West). Historical plaques can be found in the main floor lobby (open to the public) on the eastern wall. Just down the street at 145 King Street East is a plaque commemorating Mary Ann Shad Cary, a prominent African American abolitionist and pioneering newspaper editor and publisher, who fled to Canada after escaping slavery in the United States. From 1854 – 1855, she published the Freeman, a newspaper “devoted to anti-slavery, temperance, and general literature,” at this site.

  3. St. James Cathedral & St. James Park
    106 King Street East & 120 King Street East
    A heritage designated building, St. James Cathedral is home to the oldest congregation in Toronto, which dates back to the 1790s. The current building was constructed in the early 1850s in Gothic Revival style after several previous iterations of the church burned down. A tower was added to the church in the 1870s, making it the tallest building in Canada at the time. The most prominent church for Anglicans in the city, the church was a focal point for the social life of Toronto in the late 1800s. The church has hosted numerous dignitaries over the years, including members of the British royal family, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others. Located next to the cathedral is St. James Park , which now features a market-themed playground, inspired by its close proximity to St. Lawrence Market.

  4. Piliriqatigiingniq Mural
    76 Church Street
    This mural by Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson, known as “Piliriqatigiingniq” (meaning ‘to work together towards a common goal’ in Inuktitut) portrays an elderly man carrying the weight of the world on a broken snowmobile, and reflects Canada’s Inuit peoples and diverse northern cultures.

  5. Elgin & Winter Garden Theatres
    189 Yonge Street
    Designed by architect Thomas Lamb, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres opened as a vaudeville performance space in 1913. The Winter Garden Theatre was unique in that it was painted with many murals of plants, trellises and lampposts, while the ceiling was covered with real dried leaves. The Elgin Theatre was converted into a cinema in the 1920s, which it remained until the building was purchased by the Ontario Heritage Trust in 1981. A $29 million renovation was completed, and it reopened again as a working theatre on December 15, 1989, exactly 76 years to the day it originally opened. The theatres are now considered to be the last surviving Edwardian stacked theatres in the world.

  6. Massey Hall
    178 Victoria Street
    Massey Hall was built by industrialist Hart Massey as a tribute to his late son Charles Albert Massey, opening in 1894. It was the only building in Canada intended exclusively for musical performances when it first opened. Noted for its excellent acoustics, it is Canada’s oldest and most celebrated concert hall and is a heritage designated building. Notable events which have taken place at Massey Hall include the wedding of distance runner Tom Longboat in 1908, a legendary jazz concert in 1953 featuring the only time that Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach ever performed together, and a Neil Young solo acoustic performance in 1971 that was later released as a live album in 2007, among many others. The building is currently undergoing an extensive revitalization that is expected to be completed in 2021.

  7. Mackenzie House
    82 Bond Street
    Mackenzie House was the last home of Toronto’s first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie, and is located downtown just steps from theatres, the Eaton Centre and Yonge-Dundas Square. The museum interprets urban Victorian life of the 1860s and the evolution of democratic institutions through the lens of Mackenzie as a writer, publisher, politician and rebel.

  8. Yonge Street Music Mural (North and South)
    423 Yonge Street
    There are two 22-storey murals painted by Adrian Hayles on two sides of 423 Yonge Street celebrating the rich musical history of the area. The North Mural pays homage to the musicians that played on Yonge Street during the 50’s and 60s, including Ronnie Hawkins, Glenn Gould, Diane Brooks, Jackie Shane, Muddy Waters, Shirley Matthews, B.B. King, Gordon Lightfoot and Oscar Peterson. The South Mural features musicians that played Yonge Street during the late 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s, including The Band, David Clayton Thomas, Lonnie Johnson, Jay Douglas, GODDO, Salome Bey, RUSH, Dizzy Gillespie, Kim Mitchell, Carol Pope, Cathy Young, Jon and Lee from the Checkmates and Mandala.

  9. Okuda San Miguel Mural
    111 Carlton Street
    This 23-storey landmark work of art by internationally celebrated street artist Okuda, from Spain, emphasizes the natural, physical and human diversity of the surrounding area through its colour palette and form.

  10. Maple Leaf Gardens
    50 Carlton Street
    Originally built as the home for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, Maple Leaf Gardens opened in 1931. The building was the largest arena in Canada when it opened, and remained one of the foremost venues for sporting events, concerts, rallies, and political events in the country throughout its history. Some of the numerous famous musical acts it hosted over the years include The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, and many others. The Maple Leafs played their last game in the Gardens before moving to the newly-constructed Air Canada Centre (now Scotiabank Arena) in 1999, and the space was renovated and reopened as an athletic centre and retail space in the early 2010s. A red dot inside the grocery store at the base of the building displays where centre ice used to be for hockey games, and the inner eastern wall at the entrance displays a blue maple leaf made up of old seats from the arena.

  11. Alexander Wood Memorial
    Church Street and Alexander Street
    This statue, sculpted by Del Newbigging, commemorates Alexander Wood, which nearby Alexander and Wood Streets are named after. Wood moved to what was then known as the town of York from Scotland in the 1790s and established himself as a leading merchant and was appointed as a city magistrate. Wood was forced out of York after being subjected to homophobic treatment and discrimination from town leaders. Wood returned to York and purchased much of the land that now makes up the Church-Wellesley Village area, and remains an important figure in the history of Toronto’s LGBTQ2S+ community.

  12. Bathhouse Raids Mural
    418 Church Street
    Painted by artist Christiano de Araujo as part of the Church Street Mural Project in 2014, this mural commemorates the infamous Bathhouse Raids, which occurred in February 1981. Police officers raided 4 different bathhouses in Toronto and arrested close to 300 men. The event galvanized the LGBTQ2S+ 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.

  13. Barbara Hall Park & 519 Mural
    519 Church Street
    A small park named after former Mayor Barbara Hall, who was in office from 1994 – 1997 and was the city’s first mayor to march in the Pride Parade. The park features an AIDS Memorial installed in 1991. The park also features a splash pad and an off-leash dog area. A mural painted by John Kuna can be seen on the side of the neighbouring 519 community centre that pays tribute to the activism of the LGBTQ2S+ community in the Church-Wellesley community.

  14. ArQuives
    34 Isabella Street
    The ArQuives were originally established in 1973 with the intention of recovering and preserving the history of the LGBTQ2S+ community in Toronto. Its mandate is to acquire, preserve, organize, and give public access to information and materials in any medium, by and about LGBTQ2S+ people, primarily produced in or concerning Canada, and to maintain a research library, international research files, and an international collection of LGBTQ2S+ periodicals. It holds the world’s largest collection of LGBTQ2S+ periodicals, with over 9700 unique titles in circulation.

  15. Glad Day Bookshop
    598A Yonge Street
    Glad Day Bookshop is the first Canadian and oldest queer bookstore in the world, originally opened by Jearld Moldenhauer in his Annex apartment in 1970. Moldenhauer started the shop after making the realization that important emerging gay literature was impossible to find in Canada. The bookstore later relocated to this location at 598A Yonge Street, where it remained a community mainstay for the next 27 years. The store moved to its current location at 499 Church Street in 2016.

Accessibility information: All of the points of interest in this walk are viewable from the street. The interior of the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatres is partially accessible.

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.