Whimsical Walks

So now we’re in lockdown again, with a new state of emergency and a stay-at-home-order in place for Toronto and surrounding regions. We’re allowed out for some exercise and shopping for essentials, but that’s about it.

That depressing thought was tumbling through my head as I was out for my daily perambulation. I was simultaneously anxious to make the most of my time out while at the same time bored with the need to stay close to home which meant I’ve been walking round the same neighbourhoods for months.

I had come down a nearby street called Latimer, walked along Eglinton, and was going down Vesta Drive when I thought to myself that if I just walked along Ormsby Crescent then the letters of the streets I’d travelled would spell LOVE.

Which got me thinking that maybe that’s what I need to do – walk with a sense of whimsy and make a bit of a game out of these exercise outings. Could I complete the alphabet on a single walk? I wasn’t sure. A is easy, since I live on Avenue Road, and nearby Briar Hill, Castlefield, Dunvegan, and Eglinton make short work of the first part of the alphabet. As I went through the alphabet in my head, thinking about a route like that, I got stuck on a few of the letters. Q is a bit hard, at least nearby, though I know that there’s always Queen street downtown. In fact, I think I can cover every letter fairly easily, except X (no street in Toronto that starts with an X) and Z (only a handful of those).

So that’s my idea – whimsical walking. Go for your walk with a sense of fun and see what you can do to make the mundane more interesting. You might want to refer to the City of Toronto street index for help. Here are some ideas:

  • Anagram walks – connect the first letters of streets you cover on a single walk to form words or phrases – and no easy words like “HI”, try something harder like AVAST YE SCURVY PIRATES. There’s a goal, it will take some walking to get all the letters. For bonus points, try to cover the letters consecutively in your route.
  • Visit-the-zoo walks – how many streets can you cover that include the names of animals? Near me are Otter Crescent and Caribou Road.
  • Famous people walks – many public roadways are named after historical figures. Can you put the name with the person when you walk down Frontenac Avenue?
  • Where in the world walks – Toronto’s cultural heritage is reflected in its street names. Many neighbourhoods abound with names reminiscent of Scotland, England, Ireland, Italy, and more. Can you place the country with the street you just walked down?

If we’re going to get through this COVID lockdown, we all need to stay home as much as we can, and when we do go out we need to make the most of our jaunts. Have a little fun and remember that we’ll get through this together.