I have played the tourist in and around Toronto ever since I moved here from Montreal, over twenty years ago. From the start, I fell in love with this city, for all its parks and ravines and for the character of its neighbourhoods. There was enough to fill four guides!
First came the guide for families
When I suddenly lost my babysitter, my oldest was two. I decided to quit my day job in communication at TFO (the French side of TVO) and to try finding some part time contracts. Meanwhile, I started to explore the Greater Toronto Area, kid in tow.
I soon realized that all the Toronto guides were written for tourists and my marketing background kicked in (I've got an MBA from McGill University). I decided to fill the need for a guide for local parents and launched into a major exploration of Toronto and beyond. My daughter was born 4 years later and joined the club.
The resulting guide, Toronto Fun Places... for families (self-published under Word-of-Mouth Production and currently in its 5th edition) has sold over 46,000 copies in the GTA. Both my kids are now young adults, which means I hook up with moms of younger children to continue my research.
Then followed the guides for girlfriends
Throughout my years of scouting for the guide on family outings, I noticed many gems I wanted to revisit with my girlfriends, without the kids. (Mothers are people too!)
It took me a year to organize my finds. Then, I asked my partner in crime and illustrator Johanne Pepin to draw a new cover in the spirit of the first guide and to create cute maps to better illustrate the walks. And voilà! (OK, it was not as easy as it sounds and anyone who'd like advice on book writing is more than welcome to contact me.)
Of course, there's more to Toronto Urban Strolls... for girlfriends than a list of businesses. Stores, shops and cafés may come and go but what makes for Toronto's vibe remains: its people, its architecture and its natural features.
Why "for girlfriends"?
I chose to envision my girlfriends when deciding on the points of interest along the strolls in my two walking guides Toronto Urban Strolls 1 & 2, without considering if my suggestions would bore husbands, boyfriends or children to tears. (I don't need to explain to my girlfriends why I'm pointing out Winners stores!) But don't get me wrong! Both guides are suitable for anyone who enjoys a walk, in good company, with friends, as a couple, or alone.
Toronto Urban Strolls... for girlfriends 1 offers a series of 28 themed walks filled with urban surprises at every corner, topped with the cafés, scrumptious bakeries, breakfast places and whimsical shops which caught my attention along the way, complete with over 800 colour photos and detailed maps.
There was much more I wanted to show you about this great city, hence Toronto Urban Strolls... for gilfriends 2, in which I wander a bit more around the city, with 24 additional walks (no overlap with the first guide).
And now, a guide for street art lovers of all ages!
Toronto launched a series of beautification projects and community outreach actions to prepare for the 2015 Pan Am Games, which probably explains why 2015 saw an explosion of murals all over town. I spent a full year scouting Toronto's nooks and crannies to find the street art which turned so many alleys and side walls into outdoor art galleries.
I wanted to create a reference tool with the exact location of each artwork, so people could see for themselves how they change the way we experience the city. Toronto Street Art Strolls includes over 1,100 photos of the best work from the street artists, local and international, who transformed Toronto the Good into Toronto the Cool.
Nathalie Prézeau (Author/Publisher)