Updated: Jan 2
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU? Four good reasons to get out of the house: little fairy doors + a hidden bakery + art in the lanes + spring flowers all around the quaint neighbourhood of Seaton Village. (Note: This courtesy self-guided tour is not included in the 26 urban strolls and 52 mini-walks in the author's Toronto guide.)
We're all a little worn out from the past year, aren't we? I think we need a little more whimsy right now.
It's not about being in denial about the big problems and causes. It’s about giving ourselves time to recharge our batteries.
In short, this column will be about fairy doors and home-baked goods. Any takers?
Thank you blogTO!
Before the pandemic, we could count always count on blogTO for lists like TOP-10 Pakistani-fusion restaurants in the East End (I'm hardly exaggerating). But now, it has imposed itself as our go-to place for: good deeds done by Torontonians, fun experiences lived in the city, informations about a recent change in Toronto, etc.
This week alone, they made 169 posts on Facebook, which generated 3.4 million engagements (in one week!), 3.4!… Toronto has 2.7 million people.
When they posted a blog about the fairy doors you can find in the GTA, I had to hook up with a friend and go looking for fairies.
Around Seaton Village
The Fairy Doors Map is the initiative of a nice woman who did this just for fun. She is not in the tourism business, her company Tryst Lingerie specializes in bra sales and fitting!
The interactive map is a little bit difficult to manipulate from a phone screen. The map creator didn't visit everything herself, relying on descriptions provided by people in the community. So there may be some small errors (e.g., a fairy house is said to be on the west side of Markham Street when it is on the east side). Regardless, this map is still a great way to go on a treasure hunt.
I noticed on the map a cluster of fairy doors in the Seaton Village area (north of Bloor West between Christie and Bathurst). With a little digging, I also learned that a promising new café had opened in February in the heart of this neighbourhood. I had just found our starting point..
Emily Rose Cafe
Emily Rose Cafe (721 Palmerston Avenue) is the quintessential small local cafe. Not only do they serve good coffee, but they also bake delicious treats for us. At the counter, we had to choose between banana bread roses with dulce de leche frosting, blueberry and white chocolate scones, walnut danishes, mini lemon bundt cakes...
We went to eat our loot in Vermont Square Park, a little further north on Palmerston.
Small 3-km circuit
Before looking for the fairy doors, we visited Perly Family Lane, an alley that looked like an outdoor art gallery, with some 15 murals adorning the garage doors. To get there, turn left on Yarmouth Gardens, west of the park, then south onto the first lane after Manning Avenue.
Then, on Follis Avenue, turn left to Markham Street, where you will turn right. The pièce de résistance on this street is the pretty fairy door on the huge tree at number 761, but there are other charming details to observe. We saw penguins, a knotted rope for climbing trees, a mini library for borrowing books (part of the Little Free Library movement), a painted maze in the school's wading pool, and a few additional fairy doors.
Turn right on London Street, where the historic Edwardian building, built in 1912 stands. Then take Palmerston Avenue north to lovely Palmerson Square. It's a quiet block where another notable fairy house awaits you (first large tree to the west). At the time of our visit, a puppet theatre sat next to it to entertain visitors.
Back to London Street, continue west. What a charming little corner of the city! Nick Sweetman's mural on a garage door is a perfect match for the yellow and purple flowers in spring time.
Turn into the adjacent alley and you'll find an old stable with a second floor that seems frozen in time. Continue exploring the neighbourhood west on Euclid Avenue, home to more fairy houses. Then head back east on Follis Avenue to reach Karma Lane.
Karma is karma
As the signs mentions, you will find a food co-op on this lane. You can't miss the Karma Co-op, with the huge colourful mural on its side.
Across the street is a great example of a phenomenon you'll see more and more in Toronto: coach houses. The Karmahouse was built in 2020 at a cost of $400,000 by the owner and founder of North on Sixty, a company that adheres to the most advanced processes for efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly construction. Because... karma is karma.
Nathalie Prézeau is the author of the walking guide: Toronto BEST Urban Strolls, which you can get on amazon.ca
and other bookstores or by contacting the author directly: email@example.com. You can pick up the book (with a discount price) at 299 Booth Avenue. And the author delivers in Toronto and Canada Post takes care of the other destinations.