Find out why up! magazine ranked Toronto as the fourth Most Walkable City in Canada in 2010.
Canada's largest city has declared loudly and often about its commitment to become the most sustainable big city on the continent.
It certainly has the raw ingredients, with an expansive 80 square kilometres of parks and a relatively mild climate. Torontonians have been leading by example for years now: more than a third of households don't even own a vehicle and a quarter of all school students walk to class. The result has been an evolution of diverse hubs built on access and nearby services.
"The series of interconnected neighbourhoods just west of the downtown core—the Annex, Kensington Market, Chinatown and Queen West—remain the pinnacle achievement in Canadian urban walkability," says judge Chris Turner.
"They are varied and endlessly fascinating to explore, densely populated, with great shopping, world-class nightlife and entertainment commingling seamlessly with everyday family-friendly livability."
Over the past two years, a grassroots commitment has made the local government push for even more pedestrian access.
"The revitalization of the waterfront will add much-needed park space while enhancing walking paths along the lakefront," says judge Amanda Mitchell. "And the creation of Yonge-Dundas Square is an inspiring example of a big city choosing to create a much-needed public gathering spot on one of the most expensive parcels of land in the country."
Neighbourhood Walk: Kensington Market
Just west of bustling Chinatown, the area's short, narrow, mixed-use streets make it cosy and magical.
Long a destination for vintage clothes hunters and coffee aficionados, it's still the place to go for specialty cheese or a baked yam and chicken burrito. Creativity beats loudly here, and the DIY street art and community events draw people from across the city.
This story was originally published in the May 2010 issue of up! magazine as part of the Canada's Most Walkable Cities 2010 feature, profiling 10 of Canada’s most pedestrian-friendly urban centres. Take a look at more of Canada's Most Walkable Cities.