Most of the posts on BloorCondos comes from the perspective of a Realtor…for this one we get to hear from an actual (non real estate selling) resident on her experience of how the “Greener Bloor” has changed her perspective on the area!
Enjoy, and don’t forget to check out the photos of Bloor streets new look! Story and photos by Marisa Falconi!
Living at Yonge and Bloor for 2 years has allowed me to become pretty familiar with the area. Up to date, I have lived all over the downtown core for 7 years, and although I moved away from Yonge and Bloor 2 years ago, I’ve watched it evolve throughout the construction and chaos into its current state. My main question, and a thought I’m sure is on many Torontonians minds: “Was it all worth it?”
In 2006, I had just purchased my first condo at Signatures on Bloor and I couldn’t be more excited about living in one of the hottest spots in the city. A year later, however, I was miserable. Concrete walls blocked my view at all angles and the second I stepped out my front lobby, hoards of people rushed by in a constant, pushy stream. The construction didn’t help ether. I knew the city was attempting to create a greener Bloor, but no amount of “greenifying” was going to justify the jack hammer awakenings every day at 4 am, not to mention what seemed like an endless traffic jam right outside my front door. I knew moving to Yonge and Bloor meant living in the jam-packed fast lane, but I had no idea it meant giving up my peace, tranquility and ability to turn left.
It took me quite a while to admit that living at such a renowned corner might not be as cool and exciting as I had once preached it to be. I realized that Yonge and Bloor is the place to shop, eat, show off, and work… but for me, it definitely was not the place to live. Eventually I gave up trying to get around this obvious fact and moved deeper south into the city, never looking back. That is, until today…
After perusing the wallet table at Holt Renfrew on Bloor (where’d that Marc Jacobs coin-purse I saw yesterday go?!), I took the underground walkway over to The Bay, and accidentally stepped out the wrong exit, landing me smack in front of my old condo. On the rare occasion that I find myself in this area, I duck and cover. A feeling of frustration and anxiety usually washes over me as I remember how annoying it can be to maneuver around honking cars and crazy cyclists. But today, something’s different. The feeling never comes. As I step further from the doorway and take in the view, I feel oddly calm. Actually I feel happy. The sidewalks, made massive by that 4 am construction I spoke about earlier, are magnificent. And get this: People are actually walking at a normal pace! Those who are in a rush are far enough away from the rest of us that their swinging briefcases and splashing coffee cups affect no one. And what is that greenery?!!!
Only two years ago I was mocking the city’s attempt to “greenify” Bloor (No joke – I wrote a 20 page essaycritiquing the hypocrisy of the entire revitalization project, and received an A+ to boot!) But today, I’m humbled to say that it is absolutely stunning. I never would have thought that a simple array of manicured granite boxes could turn out to be so effective. Boasting swirls of green, splashes of red and the subtlest hints of purple, and lined up in paralleled simplicity, these granite planters hyphenate Bloor Street from Church to Yonge creating a whimsical Eden. I just wanted to crawl in one of them and breathe for a while!
I continue walking east, (not in the opposite direction this time), across Bloor toward Church, and I take in the beauty of my once drab neighbourhood. Being a day of overcast, everything here would have been a nasty, grey blur just a few months prior. Today, however, the rain is only emphasizing the colours of the flora, making the giant potted structures look as if they are literally glowing with life. It is absolutely beautiful.
As I near The Marriot at Park Rd. and Bloor, it becomes apparent that something is different: Beddington’s is gone,and in its place is a Longos. Finally there’s a decent grocery store around here! I like Longos Markets because they have everything from the freshest fruits and vegetables (I’m a vegetarian, and although I prefer getting my food from Kensington Market, when I lived at Y&B it wasn’t practical for me to commute that far, so this produce section is a dream for those like me in the area) to the most delicious fresh baked pastries. Sure, their prices tend to be on the higher side (a downfall of big chain stores), but their products are always of the best quality, and I like that they carry “ethnic” and “exotic” items aswell. And since I happened to be craving a chocolate Camino bar, I decided to walk right in. That’s when I saw theStarbucks. All this right across the street from my old home!
Well, I have to admit it. They really came a long way with this area. It used to boast a reputation of being one of the hottest spots in the city to live, and until recently, although it talked the talk, walking the walk wasn’t so hot here. It was grey, drab and boring until you hit either Yorkville or The Village. Now, however, it provides a fantastic segue between bothareas.
Three years ago I would never have imagined reading a book (or sipping a Starbucks!), along Bloor betweenYonge and Church. And although it’s still a busy route for pedestrians going to and fro, that granite walk way is the perfectarea to take in the view, people watch, and just be.
I’m seriously considering moving back here.