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Walk To The Beat: Your Toronto Walking Tour Playlist

The best way to see a big city like Toronto is to walk it. We’ve mapped out a route that hits the essential stops and curated a playlist of city-centric songs to go with it. Here’s your soundtracked Toronto tour from start to finish:

The Stop: Start at Sam James Coffee Bar on Harbord for espresso and a homemade pop tart from Parkdale patisserie The Tempered Room.

The Song: Drake – “Started from the Bottom”

In Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” video, he pretends to work at a Shopper’s Drugmart that stocks glitter confetti in the oral hygiene aisle. Toronto Shoppers locations aren’t actually that much fun. Sam James is a much better choice—how can you get to the top without coffee?

The Move: Head south on Manning and west on College towards Kensington Market, then go south on Augusta through the market.

The Stop: Bungalow, Courage My Love, or one of the market’s other great vintage stores.

The Song: Beastie Boys – “Intergalactic”

Kensington Market’s music venues that have hosted countless shows but we’re choosing this band based on the market’s vintage guitar shop, Paul’s Boutique (named for the Beasties’ second album). The track choice is inspired by neighbourhood coffee shop Moonbean (in case you need a second dose of caffeine).

The Move: Go east on Dundas towards Spadina Ave and Chinatown.

The Stop: The lanes and back alleys of Chinatown to check out the street art.

The Song: Broken Social Scene – “Lover’s Spit”

The city’s original Chinatown spawned at least two more Toronto Chinatowns. This Toronto band spawned a bunch of other Toronto bands—Metric, Feist, and Stars to name just a few.

The Move: Head back west along Queen West towards Trinity Bellwoods Park.

The Stop: A sunny patch of park grass.

A photo posted by wags ⚚ (@wagsinho) on

The Song: Deadly Snakes – “Gore Veil”

Because Gore Vale Ave borders the east edge of the park and because we miss The Snakes more than any other disbanded Toronto band.

The Move: Continue west along Queen to Parkdale.

The Stop: Grand Electric for tacos, Parkdale Platters for used vinyl, The Future of Frances Watson for everything you want to wear right now, and Crown Flora, the coolest plant shop in the city.

A photo posted by ADAM + DAVIS (@crownflora) on

The Song: The Weeknd – “King of the Fall”

If you’ve watched the video for this song, you’ve already had a virtual tour of the nightlife in Toronto’s coolest neighbourhood. It’s just as great during the day.

The Move: At the spot where Queen, King and Roncesvalles all intersect, cross the pedestrian bridge to the beach.

The Stop: The lake and Sunnyside Gus Ryder pool if it’s warm enough. Say hey to the swans.

The Song: Odonis Odonis – “Ledged Up”

A bit of surf rock for the beach from one of the best Toronto bands on the scene right now.

The Move: Recross the bridge and head north up Roncesvalles.

The Stop: The stops are non-stop on Roncesvalles. The street is lined with Polish bakeries, cafes, bars and restaurants, a great rep theatre, and cool independent shops.

A photo posted by Sebo Liska (@seboliska) on

The Song: Alvvays – “Party Police”

There’s actually a 2010 song specifically about Roncesvalles but it’s one of the worst things you’ll ever hear so listen to Toronto band Alvvays instead.

The Move: Catch the subway at Dundas West to get you back to wherever you’re staying or take the streetcar south to King St. and start your night out in Toronto.


Like this post? Check out TIFF Playlist: Movie-Themed Music To Kill Time In The Rush Line and Views From The 6: A Drake Tour Of Toronto, too!

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