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Thread: Suggestions for a driving tour

  1. #1

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    Suggestions for a driving tour

    I need your help!

    Between semesters in school, I'm planning to just take a 4-5 day tour of big cities. I'd like to do some exploring in different downtowns, with my primary destination being Toronto. Are there any places in Pennsylvania, Western New York, or anyplace else not too far (like 2 hrs) out of the way between Cleveland and Toronto that would make good stops? Also, any recommendations about fun planning-related things to do in Toronto?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
         
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    Buffalo has some great architecture, check out this website, see if you see anything you want to go to.

    http://bfn.org/preservationworks/bam/bamname.html

  3. #3

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    Thanks the link

    I was planning on hitting Buffalo, but more along the lines for Niagra Falls. I never knew that Buffalo had such a collection of architecture. I'll definitely have to stop and check out some of the buildings out there. Are there a lot of high-rises downtown?

  4. #4
         
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    Yes, but more old ones than new, there are a few from the 80's and early 90's, but we have a lot of big old office buildings, mostly in the 6-12 story range. Buffalo is definitly a much better stop than Niagara Falls USA, and better for architecture than Niagara Falls canada too. Canada is a flashy tourist trap and US is like driving through hell, but Buffalo has a lot to offer.

    I hate typing with a passion so if this seems nonsensical then I'm sorry.

    Either way give Buffalo a try, it's an old rust belt town, like cleveland, but it has the most underrespected architecture around.

    I hear they even have a gallery in Paris that had a recent expo on Buffalo architecture, if the french love then we must be good! (j/k, well kind of a joke)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Here are my favourite places around Toronto, some are planning related

    1) For scenery, Forks of the Credit Road off of Highway 10, south of Caledpn. takes you out to Belfountain. See the Eaton estate and other neat old houses. You can also get out of your car at cataract and hike a portion of the Bruce Trail down to an old hydro plant that was abandoned years ago. Make sure you have a fun car to drive and if it is a standard you are good at quick gear changes. Another good destination slightly further north is Mono Centre and the Mono Cliffs park. There used to be a great innby the park with a huge scotch collection. Also visit Creemore for really good beer.

    2) In the City - Casa Loma, Riverdale Farm, Toronto Island, AGO, ROM, Queens Park, High Park, the Science Centre, Sky Dome, CN Tower, Eaton Centre (if it is still called that), walk yonge street on a friday night., fort york, pioneer village

    3) Ride the College Street Car from end to end with a TTC day pass, get off where you like when you see something neat. Basically see the world and never leave the City.

    4) Could always visit Uof T, waterloo, york and Guelph for a tour of planning schools.

    5) Niagara on the Lake and St Catherines are nice, see the statue of General Wolfe and learn about teh war of 1812.
    Last edited by donk; 08 May 2002 at 12:12 PM.

  6. #6
    maudit anglais
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    Re: Suggestions for a driving tour

    Virtue City wrote:
    Also, any recommendations about fun planning-related things to do in Toronto?
    I don't know if "fun" and "planning-related" belong together in the same sentence...

    What are your primary interests? Architecture/urban design, historic sites, transportation, social planning, etc? There is so much to see and do in Toronto - how much time are you actually planning on spending here? I can try to give you a little more info if there are specific things you are on the lookout for...

    Heck, just the fact that Tranplanner himself works in Toronto makes it a worthwhile destination

    As for stuff on the way, for some reason Erie, PA sticks in my head as being worth a look (never been myself)...maybe it's just because of the locomotive plant there - nothing to do with planning.

  7. #7

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    Thanks, Thanks, Thanks for the suggestions

    This is really getting me interested!

    Tranplanner, I really enjoy sight-seeing tours of the general layout of the city. Coming from a background in aesthetic planning and design, I like to analyze the physical form of the city. I do have a fond interest in transportation also. I'm looking to see if I could do things like check out the city from the top of the CN Tower and take a boat tour of Lake Ontario. I'd also like to take some good photographs of buildings, streetscapes, skylines, etc. That's basically what I enjoy...looking at stuff from different places.

    Thanks again,
    VC

  8. #8
    maudit anglais
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    Re: Thanks, Thanks, Thanks for the suggestions

    Virtue City wrote:
    I'm looking to see if I could do things like check out the city from the top of the CN Tower and take a boat tour of Lake Ontario. I'd also like to take some good photographs of buildings, streetscapes, skylines, etc
    A trip up the CN Tower is a good way to get some perspective on the city, and check out the skyline. I'm not so sure about the boat tour - you can get some around the inner harbour, and around the islands - but it's probably just as good to walk along the harbourfront.

    Other locales worth checking out, depending on how much time you have:

    Queen Street West - from University Ave. to Bathurst. Toronto's "hip" fashion strip. Close to the entertainment district and downtown.

    College Street - From Spadina to Dufferin. Cool bars and outdoor patios - turning into a mini-Queen West.

    Yorkville - Toronto's upscale shopping destination.

    Yonge Street - The longest street in the world. I like to drive right up from the lake to the City limits - just amazing how many changes there are along this street.

    Harbourfront - From Yonge to Bathurst. Check out the Music Garden, and the condos along Queen's Quay.

    Portlands - if you like industrial architecture, take a drive down here. This is the gritty underside most people don't see. It's also going to be totally redeveloped.

    China Town/Spadina/Kensington Market - One of my favs. Gritty old-world style street commerce...you can get anything here.

    The Danforth/Greektown - Danforth Ave. from Broadview to Pape. Opa!

    The Financial District - big tall buildings. Check out the PATH system of underground walkways. An experience during rush hour.

    Like Donk said, just buy a TTC day pass and wander the system. Streetcars are cool, and the best way to experience the City. Don't bother getting on one of those crappy "trolley" style tour buses...

  9. #9

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    Thanks again

    Thanks Tranplanner. I have about three days to do some exploring, so I'll definitely check out a lot of these sites. When I come back, I'll let you know where I went and what I thought.

    VC

  10. #10
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Tranplanner -- how many new urbanist communities are there in the Toronto area now?

    If you're going to Buffalo, I suggest having a look at the neighborhoods immediately north of downtown and south of Delaware Park, between Richmond Avenue and Linwood Street. The area, with a street grid overlaid by Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parkways, is one of Buffalo's most vibrant. The Elmwood Avenue strip, a 5 km long stretch of shops, restaurants, bars, coffee houses, mansions, apartments and characters, would be the envy of cities much larger. North Buffalo, the area north of Delaware Park and south of the city line between Delaware Avenue and Main Street, is home to a very stable middle and upper income population; Hertel Avenue is the main business corridor.

    In the 'burbs, check out East Aurora, supposedly the inspiration for the New Urbanism movement; and Kenmore, Buffalo's quintessential streetcar suburb.

    Canadian suburban areas are also worth a look, to see the differences and similarities between those areas and their counterparts in the United States. Canadian suburbs have far more high rise housing than what would be found in the States, dhenser single family development, residential architecture that reflects both American and British influences (at least in southern Ontario), and wonderful public transit coverage. However, their commercial strips are much uglier than what you would normally see in the states. I think all the portable signs that were made obsolete by increasingly strict American sign codes were exported north of the border. Just an opinion.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  11. #11
    maudit anglais
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    Dan Tasman wrote:
    Tranplanner -- how many new urbanist communities are there in the Toronto area now?
    I'm not sure...they're all out in the 'burbs. Cornell in Markham is the big Duany-designed one. There is also one out in Oakville, and one in Kitchener (about 100km west of Toronto). I think Milton has one too.

    Toronto itself is pretty much built-out. But there is a huge condo boom going on right now, with a lot of construction happening in the downtown core. I have several 50+ storey applications on my plate right now.

    However, their commercial strips are much uglier than what you would normally see in the states. I think all the portable signs that were made obsolete by increasingly strict American sign codes were exported north of the border. Just an opinion.
    To tell you the truth, commercial strips across N. American are all starting to look the same to me...

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