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Summer stroll by night around Berczy Park

WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU? Three good reasons to get out of the house: a whimsical dog fountain + optical illusions + a bubble bath (sort of...).

(To get the book: click here)

Toronto is already impressive in the daytime, but it's at night, when decked out in lights, that this city really shines.

Those who rarely walk around in the evening don't realize that most of the public art is illuminated after dusk. I can't count the number of times I've had the pleasure of seeing how well placed spotlights can increase the beauty of certain nooks.

Here is a very nice 2.6 km evening loop around the dog fountain.

Berczy Park and the dog fountain

When you mention the "dog fountain" to a Torontonian, they immediately know it's the one in Berczy Park!

When I go to this part of town, I park in the Green P (at 2 Church Street, south of The Esplanade). After 6pm, it costs a maximum of $7 and from there, it’s a short walk up Church Street to Front.

First you see the intriguing Flatiron Building, built in a triangle. Behind it, the charming park awaits, well stocked with tables and chairs during the summer. It looks like a large Parisian square with the beautiful stone buildings all around. On the west side of the Flatiron is a beautiful trompe l'oeil mural. Compare it to the Winners building across the street (at 45 Front Street East). See?

In 2017, Toronto's prettiest fountain replaced the old fountain sitting in the middle of Berczy Park. It is topped by a golden bone ogled by 27 dogs of different breeds. It is the work of the Montreal architectural firm Claude Cormier. The keen observers will also notice not one, but two… cats on the premises. The one near the fountain is not in the least interested in the bone. Follow its gaze! As for the other cat, can you find it in the park?

Another curiosity in the park which appeared in 2018: the two black hands of Toronto artist Luis Jacob. In their first year, these hands held a set of strings inviting children to climb, unfortunately disappeared since.

One of Toronto's two Banksy's

Go back to Church and head south to see one of the two stencils done in Toronto by famous artist Banksy behind the Goose Island Brewhouse (70 The Esplanade). The work is tiny, protected behind plexiglass. It ironically represents people admiring a wall, just as we do when looking at this work. (The other Banksy is in the PATH at 1 York Street, on the second floor.)

Then walk westbound along The Esplanade. Weather allowing, there’s a lovely effervescence on that hidden street as it is lined with terraces facing the chic arcades of the Novotel. When you reach the end, at Yonge, look up to see the giant eagle spreading its wings!

The colourful banner of the Chotto Matte

Walk up Yonge to Front Street and then head west. There are many beautiful historic buildings on Front, from the majestic Hockey Hall of Fame (30 Yonge St. at Front) to the imposing Fairmont Royal York Hotel (100 Front St. W. at York) facing Union Station.

In between is the exotic facade of Chotto Matte Toronto (101 Bay Street at the corner of Front). A huge colourful banner serpentines over the heads of the patrons gorging on delicious Nikkei dishes (Chotto Matte specializes in the fusion cuisine developed by Japanese immigrants in Peru). It is even more beautiful inside! Cocktail lovers, treat yourself in the superb lounge.

A head turner on beautiful Adelaide

From Front, go to York Street and walk north to Adelaide Street. Then turn east for the piece de resistance of this look: the giant head by Spaniard Jaume Plensa at 120 Adelaide Street West. The unique concept of this work in resin and white marble powder creates an optical illusion that must be seen on site to be fully appreciated.

Further on, we discover the gilding of a sumptuous art deco mosaic at the entrance of the Concourse Building (100 Adelaide Street West). Then, east of Bay another optical illusion is revealed in the entrance of the St Regis (formerly Trump Tower, at 325 Bay Street). You'll have to take a closer look to the mural depicting a crowd to realize that it is a gigantic mosaic.

East of Yonge, locate the etched glass panels set back a bit. They mark the entrance to Adelaide Courtyard and serve as a preamble to a large courtyard featuring sculptures (which turn into fountains during the day). When we visited, there was plenty of action around the pocket game at the CRAFT Beer Market's outdoor patio overlooking this courtyard. If you prefer to enjoy your beer in a quieter area, head south across the courtyard to the elegant Beerbistro (18 King Street East).

The beauty of iridescence

On King, turn left and continue south on Scott Street to return to your starting point at Bercy Park. On the way, be sure to look through the windows of the building at the corner of Scott and Wellington. A beautiful iridescent sculpture descends from the ceiling, like a magnificent overflowing bubble bath.

This is a complement to STROLL #5: Downtown COURTYARD Stroll in Nathalie Prézeau 262-page walking guide: Toronto BEST Urban Strolls, You can get it online on Amazon, Indigo, in Toronto bookstores or directly from the publisher. The author delivers in Toronto and Canada Post takes care of the other destinations. You can also contact the author directly for pick up arrangements (with a discount) at 299 Booth Avenue (Leslieville) Toronto. Contact:


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