Exponentially better | Walk left, stand right | Bon vivant | Flaneur | Tweets are my opinions

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Walk the Walk

I was spellbound as I read Christopher Hume's wonderful article, In praise of the lost art of strolling; at once I realized I was not alone, and that there was actually a name for my love of strolling or, more aptly, aimless wandering - I finally understood that I am a flaneur.

"Aimless" is not to be confused with "pointless", but to be understood as being present in the moment where you are. It's about the destination being the stroll itself. With no point, no destination, you're never late because you're already there, where you are, at the time. 
Strolling in this way is about discovery, it's about having the time to explore, to be open to see what you didn't know was there. And, when one takes time to discover, it becomes an adventure, a story that being written, each step a word in the sentence of discovery.
Toronto has fascinating discoveries in store for someone who does not have someplace to be, who has the time to let each neighbourhood and treasure tell its story as you discover it.
In Hume's article, he mentions organized walking tours of Toronto. In the wider world, there are others who champion doing the same in their respective cities - check out Walking Off the Big Apple.
The last 30 years of Toronto history has been a sad story of urban sprawl fueled by a misrepresentation of what urban living is all about and thus a misunderstanding of all that city living has to offer. Again, in reference to Hume's article, the "car culture" we adopted (or swallowed as it was fed to us by organizations with something to gain at our expense) turned the concept of walking into a thing of disdain (of course, the flip side of that is that cars are increasingly being considered "evil" these days, and Toronto's "war on cars" is equally negative in extremes, but I digress...).
As such, a campaign is necessary to reintroduce "the city" for all its wonders and joys, for all the goodness it has to offer. Walking has myriad benefits, in terms of health and wellness, economy, environment, and walking can also help to rightly re-elevate the perception of value of urban density, proximity, diversity, variety, choice, access...
Toronto My Way is about talking the talk and walking the walk. Walking is a great way to do that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog