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Christie Pits

July 15, 2011

And we’re off again, to Christie Pits. A bit shorter this time, as its a smaller neighbourhood.

The Christie Pits neighbourhood is so named for its central feature, Christie Pits park. It was indeed originally a pit, a quarry for sand and gravel. When those resources were depleted in the early 20th century, it was turned into a park.

The neighbourhood is located north of Bloor, and south of the CPR rail line, between Christie and Ossington.

I started walking from just outside Christie Station, and ended up at Ossington and Yarmouth Road.

Christie Pits was walked on June 2, 2011

The park is fairly large, probably about a fifth of the entire neighbourhood. Since it is a pit, when you are on any one of the four sides, you’re looking down on it. Right in the centre though, in between a gazebo and the playground, is an enormous tree. It sticks way out of the pit, towering above everything else in the park. Its one of my favourite trees in all of Toronto (though there are many I haven’t seen).

Here is a better view of it stretching well beyond the canopy.

Its a park with a great feel to it. A lot of parks seem empty depending on when you’re there, or only ever have certain types of people in them. But Christie Pits always has people, and a diversity of them. Its sloping hills create so many different areas that there is always a niche you can find for yourself, that perfectly suits your purpose.

You can find a community garden on the west side of the park.

Some excellent graffitti/mural work has been done on the side of the pool by the Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre.

Its hard to properly capture it in photos, so take a look if you’re in the park. It all has an aquatic theme to match the pool.

These houses on Crawford Street are fairly representative of the housing character of the neighbourhood.

Up on Dupont, an interesting atmosphere is created. The north side is all large industrial and commercial spaces, whereas the south side is all residential. It creates a stark division, and you really feel the presence of the road acting as a barrier.

Ossington is a bit more spread out than the rest of the neighbourhood. The street itself is wider, and the other side feels further away. The houses  have larger gaps between them, and there is a lack of trees or shade, which makes it a very warm walk on a sunny day. I usually like split houses when the two sides have quite a bit of contrast, but I particularly liked this one.

Further down Ossington, I found a few interesting churches. This stately church on Ossinton itself…

And this much more ornate Ukranian church just a bit off on Carling Avenue.

Keep an eye out for this castle of an early childhood education centre next to Ossington Station.

This much newer housing development in an alley behind a school (St. Raymond Separate School) off Willowvale Lane (the neighbourhood used to be called Willowvale), fits surprising well into the mesh-work of the neighbourhood.

This school on Essex Street (Essex Jr. and Sr. P.S. + Hawthorne II Bilingual Alternative Jr. School) has a neat bridge linking it to a daycare.

There is a fantastic house on Shaw, just past Hallam Street, that you shouldn’t miss if you’re walking around the neighbourhood.

Just a bit further up to Shaw and Yarmouth, I found an unexpected little locavore coffee shop called The Hub tucked into the side streets. A fitting place to end the walk.

  1. Cathy permalink

    i wonder what the rest of the neighbours think of the house that you describe as fantastic. I think it is a little over the top!

  2. Cathy permalink

    You should name and comment on all schools you see on your walks. Schools are very important to each community.

  3. Well of course its over the top. That’s what makes it so fun. We needn’t be so concerned with conformity.

    Considering the amount of material, and how difficult it is already to cut down the amount of pictures and things I want to talk about, I don’t think I’ll have the time to mention, talk about or show pictures of every school. Obviously they are important to their communities, and I will mention them sometimes, but I am not trying to evaluate neighbourhoods. For example, how many nearby schools, restaurants, libraries etc. The point is to show the fun and adventure, and character a neighbourhood can have. Not to create a map of the amenities/necessities.

    However, when I do mention schools (even if they are not pictured), or other specific things, I will try to specifically mention which school, rather than just say “behind the school” or something, as I have done here.

  4. Jason C permalink

    Hey Jason, just caught up with your blog and am looking forward to more. The way you stop and smell the roses is eye opening. Riverdale Farm and the Necropolis ars now on my list to explore, partly because of your writeup and partly due to the possibility of the farm being sold by the city. Keep walking!

  5. Yes, It was only shortly after I posted that I found out that was being considered. You should definitely appreciate it now, because it would be very disappointing if it were eliminated/sold.

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