Toronto-A Model for A Sustainable Development

11
Jun 2013
I like to hit the ground running and Toronto was no exception. Landing at Billy Bishop Airport for my weekend locates you a short ferry ride from the city-a travelers dream. An eight minute complimentary  boat ride and you are on the waterfront smack dab in the heart of the city.  The color in this photo is symbolic of the temperature rising by the minute on the streets as I pulled my suitcase towards the hotel.  

The waterfront is a wonderful place to start your visit, with a path leading along the boat basin bordered by  gardens and an abundance of green space {there is construction going on now-scheduled to be complete in 2014}.  The city has made a sincere and meaningful commitment to the environment with this initiative for parks and open space.  This is a  redevelopment of the industrial past working towards a model for the 21st century.

I quite by accident stumbled upon Toronto’s only Boatel, parked right on Lake Ontario.  While I can’t vouch for the facilities, it certainly looked like it would be a refreshing change of pace with a picture perfect view of the city and harbour.  This floating B&B on a private yacht comes with a gourmet breakfast and the captain speaks French and English.

Further down the harbour way, I opted to stay at the Westin Harbour Castle, which I selected for its Green Choice options for guests, their recycling program and the choice the hotel has made with the use of the BullFrog Power program for green energy. The hotel was really centrally located for my needs and with a view of the waterfront, a great retreat for me in this jam packed weekend.

I was anxious to stretch my legs and explore away the afternoon, so I hit the streets and my first stop was Sugar Beach.  Built on a former parking lot, this whimsical stretch of sand is a playful destination at the water’s edge.  The spot is a vital part to the overall vision of the East Bay front and sends a  strong message to the city about the vision to turn the industrial past into a welcoming spot leading its citizens  to the waterfront.

The reputation of the Living Green Wall in the Corus Quay Building had preceded my visit.  It was one of several I saw over the weekend and did not disappoint.  Towering 5 stories up the side of the building, the foliage wall acts as a bio filter, purifying the airfor the residents of the space.  In addition, the building has a green roof and gray water recycling system and is a model for sustainable construction strategies around the country.

My next stop was the St. Lawrence Market, one of my favorite haunts when I lived here in the 80’s.  This vibrant piece of Toronto history has been going strong since 1803.  The international patchwork of vendors is a reflection of the city itself, and why it captured my heart so many years ago.  Housing over 120 specialty vendors, the selection can be a bit overwhelming, but with some focus, I managed taste my way from one end to the other and put together a pretty impressive cocktail hour collection to get me through the night! Can you say Ice Wine….
The Saturday Farmers’ Market highlights the producers of Southern Ontario and Sundays over 80 antiques dealers line the outdoor areas with their unique wares.

This enchanting cheese vendor had me quite literally eating out of his hands, and who doesn’t like to end a day of strolling around a foreign city with a smile and a french accent telling me to enjoy!