Once I was back from Toronto Islands, I decided to look around the Toronto waterfront, just briefly, before starting on my drive back to Detroit. Parts of Queen’s Quay have been nicely redeveloped into a visitor-friendly area. But what caught my eye at first, was Yonge Street.
Aside from the strange name (pronounced “Young”), Yonge Street is notable for its dubious claim to fame, as the longest street in the world. It begins at Queen’s Quay, and heads north to Barrie, but at one time all of Ontario Route 11 was loosely associated with it. Route 11 curves widely around Lake Superior, and ends up at the Minnesota border. If Yonge Street and Route 11 were synonymous, then the 1,896 kilometer (1,178 mile) road would have a chance at legitimately claiming the honor. But, they are not.
The Guinness world record folks gave up on trying to justify Yonge Street’s claim, and removed it from the book, somewhere around the turn of the 21st century.
But, at the end of the street, the sidewalk still marks the starting point. Letters sunk into the concrete proclaim it as the world record-holder, along with listing the distance to different cities along the street.
As you walk along Queen’s Quay, the CN tower will often appear between buildings.
There was a lot happening at the Harbourfront Centre — a “nonprofit cultural organization which creates events and activities of excellence that enliven, educate and entertain a diverse public” (according to its website). During my visit, there were tables set up with exhibits and vendors, and a stage with musical performances taking place.
If your visit to Toronto involves a visit to the waterfront or islands, the best place to stay is probably the Westin. It’s right on the water, and towers directly above the ferry docks. Even if you’re not staying there, you’ll want to use it as a landmark.
Heading east on Queen’s Quay, the well-developed tourist area ends abruptly, and the final few blocks of the street (before it runs into the Gardiner Expressway) are old and industrial. This is okay, because you can find cheaper parking here — if you’re willing to walk a few blocks.
“Cheaper” is a relative term, of course. I still had to pay $10 for a parking spot. I just told myself that it’s $10 in Canadian Dollars, which always feels a little like play money to me. Plus, the American dollar is worth so much more, right? (Ummm, wrong.)
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive into Toronto, beginning in Burlington, and following the 403, QEW, Gardiner and Don Valley Expressways through town, then some surface streets, ending along Queen’s Quay: