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Saad Anjum Saleem

1001849681

GGR124H1

Asiya bidordinova

Feb 11TH 2015

Exploring the City

On Saturday February 7TH I took the 501 Queen street car in Toronto and

embarked on my journey to observe urban change. I started the journey at 3:53 on

the edge of the financial district area, and journeyed through all of Queens Street.

When I went on the streetcar it was not crowded, however there was a lot of traffic.

From the start of my journey the roads were filed with high-rise buildings, massive

skyscrapers defining stereotypical downtown Toronto. I went in front of Eaton

Centre and the well-known Hudsons Bay. In the start of the journey people were

wearing casual clothes such as jeans, t-shirts, and a thick winter jacket. No people or

clothing seemed out of the ordinary of the general Toronto type clothing I am used

to seeing everyday. As we moved on the journey things started changing specifically

when I passed Church Street. The shops automatically got smaller, the streets

automatically started getting dirtier, and the general Toronto downtown

environment gradually disappeared. I went from seeing high-end shops to low-end

shops, of names I have never seen before as I gradually went towards Queen street

west.
As I moved on streets such as Broadview everything started becoming very

different. Carlaw street had an old age home which reminded me of societys

tendency to be out with the old and in with the new as they developed the Centre of

the city and moved the old to the periphery. As we reached Neville Park, the end of

Queen Street east, Toronto, I realized, was not the downtown filled with CN Tower,

Queens quay, the financial district, and Kensington market. Toronto started to

become an old dirty town atypical from what the average Joe would think it is. My

experiences of an international student made me think Toronto is a very urbanized

place since that was what I saw on the news, TV, and social media. But when I took

GGR 124 in the University of Toronto with Professor Deborah Cowen I had a

realization of what the real Toronto is.

As we arrived travelled from Neville back to bay several commuters got on

and the streetcar became packed. Majority of the people got off when we reached

back at Bay st, and the streetcar continued semi-empty the rest of the way down

queen st west. The same pattern as queen street east emerged again as we moved

down queen st, west. After university ave and spadina ave, the shops again became

smaller and closer together, contrasting sharply to the tall buildings of the financial

district. The town houses increased in number, as did the small diners and

convenience stores. When we crossed the bridge towards Parkside dr., we entered a

sort of suburb with large open spaces, home on the sides, and few high rise

apartment buildings.
Overall it was an eye opening experience seeing all the various parts that

make up Toronto. I had wide misconceptions about Toronto and this little project

changed all those misconceptions. Toronto is a very diverse city and being in one

part truly does not show the beauty of Toronto overall.

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