As I was browsing along the alphabet trail left by the sidewalk artist Victor Fraser along Danforth Avenue, I noticed a flyer on the counter of Wheels & Wings Hobbies about the Danny's Urban Fairies. I thought maybe they had some cute model kit to create tiny fairies.
|One of the letters of the alphabet by Victor Fraser|
Opening the flyer, I found a map marking some 50 local shops, who agreed to create little fairy doors inside their premises or in their window, some simple, others quite elaborate, for the visitors to find out. Like a fun little I-SPY game! Of course, Wheels and Wings had their own fairy door.
Danny's Urban Fairies is the initiative of a whimsical local woman Natalie Coulter who saw such doors in the city of Ann Arbor in Michigan and convinced local shops to hop on the wagon! Everyone I spoke with in the participating stores said that throughout the summer, they saw families coming in, flyer in hand, to find the little doors.
Bad news: I discovered it too late in the summer. The event was officially planned to go on from mid-July to August 30. Good news: On my visit on August 31st, every shop I entered still had their fairy doors and none knew when they would take them down. Considering the massive interest, I will not be surprised if the event becomes a tradition and catches on in other neighbourhoods.
Mini DoorsOpen Toronto
I suspect many merchants will keep their little door for a while and you could probably still see some while you do the Alphabet Walk. Participating stores could be found north and south of Danforth from Jones Avenue (east of Pape Subway Station) to Westlake Avenue (east of Woodbine Subway Station). You can print a PDF version of the map on www.dannysurbanfairies.ca.
Some were easy to find, such as the little Doctor Who-like door at the cashier of Red Rocket Coffee. Some are much difficult to find, such as the one in the arts supplies DeSerres (where someone discreetly pointed me in the right direction).
I really hope they haven't put down yet the cutest ones at Quack Quack Animation (1847 Danforth). It's a Hobbit-like round door on the ceiling by the entrance. And next door, in the window filled with robots made out of recycled objects, look for a little door made out of stone.
Shops involved with the event each found their own way to benefit from the increased traffic. DeSerres, for example, created little $5 craft kits to create one's own fairy door at home. Clever.
Once again, here's a cool example of how we can improve our city's walkability. With the support of Toronto's 81 Business Improvement Areas (BIA), every neighbourhood could enjoy the free fun of discovering fairy doors along an Alphabet Walk.
Everybody wins with that kind of project. Not only do you discover local restaurants and businesses, but that's how you make kids walk 2 kms without even noticing!
During my stroll, a few places caught my attention.
What's in your neighbourhood?