A Tour of Bloor Street
Bloor Street is, after Bay Street - the financial district - and Yonge Street, the longest street in Canada, the best known of Toronto's thoroughfares. Running east and west from Yonge Street it is considered to be the northern boundary of downtown Toronto and the southern boundary of midtown Toronto. Bloor Street is best known for its shopping, and features a variety of dining experiences together with hotel accommodation in all price ranges. You should be able to find Bloor Street on this map.
You can travel Bloor street along the Bloor Line of the Toronto subway. This map of the Toronto Subway System will show you all the stops, and you can calculate your travel time by using The Subway Navigator.
To get the real flavour of Bloor Street, however, it is necessary to walk even though it would take several hours to travel from one end to the other. On this virtual tour, you can get a sense of which sections of the street might be of interest to you.
Let's begin at the corner of Yonge and Bloor. The street numbering begins there. On the northeast corner, you are standing by the The Hudson's Bay Centre. One block to the north, on Yonge Street, is the Toronto Reference Library, a great resource but just one of many we will encounter.
Bloor Street West
Also one block north from Yonge and Bloor is the Cumberland Terrace shopping mall. Walking though it, you emerge into the historic Yorkville area. Bloor Street is named for Joseph Bloor, the original developer of this area in the last century.
Walking west along Bloor Street instead, you pass the Holt Renfrew Centre and, before reaching Bay Street, one block along, you have the Manulife Centre across the street on your left. All of these malls and centres are also connected underground and there are many shops of interest along the tunnels.
The main Yorkville shopping area is to the north and west of Bay Street. You can find some points of interest at this site and some links to dining and dancing spots here.
If you stay on Bloor Street, or come back to it at the corner of Bay, you will encounter the real carriage trade stores for which it is so well known walking west towards Avenue Road. There are all sorts of designer fashion and other upscale stores along this stretch of Bloor. Eventually, we hope to have many of them listed or linked on this site.
At the corner of Avenue Road, you look south to Queen's Park, the site of the province of Ontario's Legislative Assembly, also commonly known as the Provincial Parliament. On the southeast corner, in an historic building, are the offices of the Ontario Ombudsman , sitting atop a Club Monaco store. On the southwest corner is the Royal Ontario Museum. Two blocks to the north, along Avenue Road, is more high end shopping at Hazelton Lanes, including a Vintages store where fine wines from around the world are available, sometimes in limited quantities and after long queues.
Continuing west along Bloor, you have to the south the St. George (main) campus of the University of Toronto. This aerial photo gives a good view of the campus and Queen's Park to the east (right hand side). Just past Varsity Stadium, on the south side of Bloor, are the Bata Shoe Museum and the Royal Conservatory of Music, whose most celebrated alumnus has been the pianist Glenn Gould.
There are more educational facilities on the north side of Bloor in this same vicinity, notably the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the University of Toronto Schools which affords primary and secondary education for talented students. To the north of Bloor through this stretch is the Annex neighbourhood, a very desirable location to live.
As you pass by, and to some extent through, the University you reach the corner of Spadina Street. By this time you will have noted that in downtown Toronto there are no rules about streets running in one direction and avenues in the other. The areas south and west of the University along Spadina have been the home of many immigrant communities over the years and now, most prominently, the Chinese community below College Street. On the southwest corner of Spadina is the Bloor Jewish Community Centre of Toronto, while a few hundred feet to the north is the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.
Between Spadina and Bathurst Streets is a mix of retail and dining. You are now far enough away from Yorkville that the prices are more reasonable. Nowhere is this more true than at the classic, and famous, downscale outlet sitting on the southwest corner of Bathurst and Bloor: Honest Ed's.
Continuing west, there is a lengthy stretch of residential, light industrial and commercial areas. To the south of Bloor lie the predominantly Latino and Portuguese neighbourhoods. To the north, at Christie Street is Christie Pits. Evenually, you come to Bloor West Village, another interesting mid-scale shopping area nestled among neighbourhoods that now have a more Eastern European flavour. You can find some dining and dancing links for this area at this site.
Just past Bloor West Village, at Keele Street, you find High Park to the southwest. This large and beautiful park includes Grenadier Pond and the historic Colborne Lodge among its notable features. Not too far past High Park, Bloor Street merges with Dundas Street at the Junction Triangle, historically an industrial area, and Bloor Street West comes to an end.
Let us return to the corner of Yonge and Bloor to explore:
Bloor Street EastOnce again we are back at the The Hudson's Bay Centre on the northeast corner of Yonge and Bloor. Walking east, the first block is all taken up with that Centre. At Park Road, the land drops away to the north into the Rosedale Valley Ravine, one of the many ravines that make Toronto so distinctive in the character of its neighbourhoods, the natural environments within the city and the public recreational facilities they provide.
The next several blocks over to Parliament Street are taken up with financial institutions, apartment buildings and mixed retail. Past Parliament (named for the original site of the provincial government, not the present site at Queen's Park), Bloor East is entirely residential and passes along the southern edge of Toronto's most desirable residential location: Rosedale. On the far side of Rosedale, Bloor Street runs across the Bloor-Danforth Viaduct, a very distinctive and substantial feature with the road on the upper level and subway trains running along the lower level. The Viaduct crosses over a hundred feet above the Don River Valley. You can learn more about this prominent geographic feature at this site and this one. A major transportation artery, the Don River Parkway, also runs through the Valley passing under Bloor Street. In rush hours, it is popularly known as the "Don River Parking Lot".
On the far side of the Viaduct, Bloor Street loses its name and becomes Danforth Avenue. Known locally as "The Danforth", there is a mix of food and retail and many ethnic foods, but predominantly the neighbourhood is Greek, and so are the street signs (in addition to English). Entertainment there is available in a number of clubs and bars, and also at The Music Hall.
That concludes our brief virtual tour of Bloor Street and we hope you found it interesting. Please send a note if you become aware of an interesting site that should be included in this tour.