Day 31

I got an early start this morning, as witnessed by the shadow length:


The first half of my walk today was along Lakeshore Drive with vistas typically like this:



punctuated by views down side streets like this:


The sun was in and out, resulting in some interesting sky effects, like the two views of this church, taken a minute apart:



I came across another ghost bike, fairly recent as I learned later:


After this commercial section I had some views of the lake:



as well as more lavish houses:



At one point I was able to walk down a side street to the lake and get this picture of the Toronto skyline:


I was able to take a little detour through a park adjacent to the lake:





The last picture represents the fact that Toronto has many, many high-rise apartments and that there are always new ones under construction.

I got a nice view of a small river emptying into the lake:


and a last glimpse of the CN tower:


I made a turn onto Park Lawn Road and soon passed under the Gardiner Expressway, the continuation of the QEW through downtown Toronto; I will remain north of it for the rest of my trip:


My goal for the first half of today’s walk was Park Lawn Middle School where my son Peter teaches. Here is the approach to the school fields on the left:


Peter had had his class tracking my progress for a month and had arranged for me to drop by the school on my way past. As I entered the school fields I was surrounded by students hugging me and giving me high-fives! What a great welcome!

During the lunch hour I met many of the teachers and some of the students, and they all knew about me! Even the caretaker had arranged for a welcome:


Peter’s students had been enthusiastically tracing my route via maps and charts:


All of the grade 7 and 8 students gathered in the gym and sat on the floor while five of Peter’s students shared in giving me an introduction. I talked to the students about goal setting, about my equipment, and so on and then invited questions.


They had many excellent questions and Peter had to cut the session short at one point. It was great fun! Peter had arranged for his classes to be taken care of in the afternoon so that he could walk with me back to his apartment. His students were all high-fiving me as I left.

We passed through this cemetary with many Polish names:


and then north to Bloor Street and along that for about five miles to where Peter lived just south of Bloor on Spadina. There were lots of interesting things to see, in spite of it being just one road.

For example, these two branches of the Toronto Public Library, which were of an older architecture, unlike most of the rest of the buildings:



and this anti-skateboarding deterrent:


and this message to me:


Here’s a view down the busy Bloor Street:


At one point we crossed the Humber River:


There was excellent building art:




Close to Peter’s digs we passed the famous (at least since I was a child) Honest Ed’s:


Apparently Ed Mirvish’s son Dave has sold this (which includes the entire city block it’s located on) and it will soon go away — the passing of a legend.

We passed down this side street to get to Peter’s place:


and saw this amazing view from his 22nd floor apartment:


It’s Friday and of course that means pizza! Peter made up some dough, prepared some ingredients, and we used my cart and bin to walk them around the corner to the home of a friend of his where a number of people had gathered for a dandy pizza fest. It was the perfect end to a special day.

One more day to go …

46 thoughts on “Day 31

  1. jim lamason

    What a special treat to meet his students.. And then have Peter walk that last bit with you… Tomorrow… It will end…. We have been praying for you and we so admire what you have done.. Saturday is going to seem like a sprint.. Take your time….
    Enjoy the day tomorrow… And yes.,,. One last time…… Press on!!!!!! JIM 🙂

    1. Allan Post author

      Unfortunately, it is supposed to rain this morning, but I am determined to enjoy this last bit of the walk.

  2. Sharon Barker

    Hello Allan,
    I am a long time friend of Jonathan and Subi. We met briefly at Zach and Jenn’s wedding (I am the one who grew up on Liverpool Street across from your grandparents). I have so enjoyed following your journey and hearing your interesting stories along the way. It was great to see your pictures and track your progress. You met such interesting people along the way. While I am certain you are ready to close the chapter on this trek, I find myself wishing it wouldn’t end as I have so enjoyed your stories. I feel the same way I do when I am getting close to finishing a really good book. Your story has reminded me once again that it is not about the destination but rather about the journey.

    God bless!

    1. Allan Post author

      I do remember you, Sharon! It will be a very special time later today to hug my grandchildren, but you’re right — it was about the journey.

  3. Dave Sutherland

    Big respect for continuing to wear your safety vest during the presentation! Keep those kids stimulated visually while wowing them with the physical presence of a cyber hero. It was like you walked out of the pictures of a storybook I’ll warrant.

    Amazingly poignant also to have the chance, at the end of today’s journey, to look back out over the path you’ve travelled.


    Overjoyed to think of you enjoying Pizza on the eve of certain victory.

    1. Allan Post author

      I did think of taking off the vest after a bit, but I suppose it did command a certain respect (or possibly ridicule?) But whatever, I had a super time with those kids; a real highlight of the trip. The one thing that keeps nagging at me is that I forgot to take a picture last night of Peter’s friends at the pizza party — I’m kicking myself.

  4. Susan Wilks

    Congratulations, intrepid brother-in-law — you’ve actually done it! Having made that drive between Toronto (Guelph) and Scotch Plains a few times, it’s still hard for me to believe that the distance could be covered walking for a month. We’re all very proud of you, and appreciate the discipline and determination that were required to pull this off…as well as a great support team, of course. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures in the near future.

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks, Subi. I feel the same way. A pre-trip calculation revealed that it was possible to do it in a month, but paradoxically, it seems less possible, now that I’m almost finished. But one step at a time accomplishes much!

  5. Dan & Sue Matlack

    Hello to Peter! What a JOY to share your journey with those Kiddos – and your Son. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

    1. Allan Post author

      Yes it was joy — just a great, great time with those kids. I’m looking forward to finishing today. One of the perks will be not having to live out of a plastic bin anymore. It gets tedious packing and unpacking it every day.

  6. Julie

    What a wonderful day! I bet that was fun at the school – and how clever of your son to incorporate so much learning related to your walk. But no mention of your wife… I bet she’s with the grandkids, yah?


    I shall miss checking for updates on your progress,

    Julie G

    1. Allan Post author

      Yes, Julie, Peter did a remarkable job over the last month of using my trip as a learning tool. He really deserves some sort of teacher-of-the-year award; and that’s an unbiased opinion! Fiona is with the grandkids, yes. More on that later, of course.

  7. Chris and Nancy

    I really enjoyed the scenery you saw on lakeshore drive and was very impressed how your son Peter turned your journey into a positive learning tool for his students,and better yet they got to meet you in real life.It makes things click together all the more, they will always remember this:)

    1. Allan Post author

      Indeed yes! And I will never forget it either! It was one of the supreme highlights of the trip for me. I’m so proud of Peter.

  8. Joe Abdy

    Nothing compares the the celebrity treatment. We spend some time with friends of yours at the Youth Night yesterday. George and Nancy Sturm. When he said he was a mathematician from Princeton, I knew there had to be a connection. They pass on their hello’s. Enjoy your last leg.

    1. Allan Post author

      Yes, George and I go way back. Keep the home fires burning — I should be back on Ridgeview pretty soon!

  9. Heidi

    Way to go Allan! Great pictures of Toronto! You have done a great job! I am sure today will be a joyous day for you! Enjoy!

    1. Allan Post author

      Yes, I’m looking forward to it. I will be starting off sometime in the next hour. It’s raining here, but I’m ready for it!

  10. Russell Sutherland

    Respect Bro! That’s what you deserve and got from the kids (and all of us). Elmer the Safety Elephant on steroids! I am so glad you had this meeting with the school for an apt ending. An academic giving a lecture. Beautiful. It’s just started to rain, albeit very lightly. Enjoy those last few kilometres. I am sure they will be savoury.


    1. Allan Post author

      I will savour them as best I can. I hope I can get some pix — a bit tricky in the rain. I decided not to wear my rain pants as it makes camera access so hard. At least I will have a place to dry off when I’m done. I’m really looking forward to the last leg, through familiar streets.

  11. Jerry and Marilyn Risden

    We have enjoyed following your journey and will miss your posts! How many pair of shoes have you worn?? Maybe you could be featured in a commercial for the company. Will think of you today at the conference.
    Onward one more day…

    1. Allan Post author

      I brought two pairs of shoes and the older pair seems to have developed a split in it, so I guess I will discard them when I get home. But the other probably has some life left. Did you know that when you buy running shoes these days they come with a mileage rating? The ones I bought before my trip are rated for 500 miles and I figure I only did about half my journey on them.

  12. Jonathan

    Well done Allan! What an adventure. A favourite book of mine growing up was called By Sheer Pluck by G.A. Henty. It has nothing to do with a long walk but I’ve always loved that title. I think it best describes how you accomplished this great feat (pun intended). You have cemented your place in Wilks family lore. I can well imagine Mya 80 years from now telling her grandchildren how her grandfather walked all the way from New Jersey to see her! I keep thinking what a kick Daddy would have gotten from this. Three cheers (and a tiger) to you!

    1. Allan Post author

      Well, I must say that without all the wonderful people who sheltered me on the way and all the encouragement on my blog and all the prayers, I would never have been able to achieve this, pluck or no. That’s a lovely thought of Mya telling her grandchildren about her grandfather!

  13. Suzanne

    Allan, you are an inspiration! It seems the blessing is in the journey; quite a lesson. Thanks for bringing us along for the ride- we’ve enjoyed it with you. Continue your safe and happy finish. Congratulations!

  14. Elizabeth Ormaza

    What a wonderful experience! Thank you so much Allan for sharing! How amazing to share this with the children and show them that determination is the key to achieving your goals. I am sad this is coming to an end, but happy that you now get to enjoy with your family! Great story of encouragement!

    1. Allan Post author

      I am happy that others have been encouraged by my little journey. I know it has been a huge encouragement to me. Last leg starts in less than an hour — stay tuned!

  15. Audrey

    So close! Eagerly awaiting the account of your arrival at your destination. Three cheers!

  16. Mary Lou

    Very cool journey! this was my favourite one where Peter’s students greeted you and even had your name on the sign! One more day to go. Way to go!
    Mary Lou

  17. Gloria

    Allan! Maria & I are from Mr. Sutherland’s class & we’ve been trying to find you around the neighborhood to greet you! If we don’t see you, we at least wish you enjoyed your trip! You have accomplished such a great thing!

    1. Allan Post author

      Rats! You just missed me — I’m finished now. If you had seen me walking by, you could have said hello to Mr. Sutherland too, who DID find me. Thanks for your well wishes, though!

  18. Melissa

    Hello Allan, we meet on day 6, i have been telling my children all about your walking travel. They have asked some questions about where your car is and where you stay. My son 8 years old has a better concept then my daughter5 years old. He was really looking closely at the picture of the graph your sons class did and was inpressed about how far you made it walking. I hope you enjoy this last day and at this point might already be with the grandkids. We Enjoy reading about your walk and my 5year old enjoys your photos. They will both miss reading and looking at you posts and pictures.

    1. Allan Post author

      I have finished now Melissa! I will blog about the last day a little later. I’m glad your children have enjoyed following me. I still remember clearly that refreshing stop on Route 6!

  19. Ashley Tolen

    So you’ve done it.

    You’ve embarked on and completed a journey those of our… alright, I’ll just say it – that geeks would never even fathom. “Why doesn’t he just fast travel (once you’ve accessed a location in a game, you can teleport there)?” some of my friends would ask or suggest. Although game developers seem to be masters of teleporting their characters, they haven’t been much help when it comes to teleporting real people.

    I’m overjoyed that you’ve reached Toronto safely for two reasons: one, you did my logic homework for me – we had to create an argument and provide premises for said argument, proving it true. My argument was something along the lines of tech-savvy people and gamers being better suited for life because we’re so adaptable (think of all the issues that arise when working on a computer or playing video games and how we have to sometimes tweak our approach in order to fix the problem or pass a difficult level). I believe these “experiences” actually help us when we hit bumps in the road. And you’re living proof! Two, it was sort of a dangerous feat, but you’re safe and sound.

    Thanks for taking us all along on this trip with you, sharing the beautiful views, and staying faithful to update us each day. It was comforting to see so many people invite you into their homes and offer support every step of the way – no pun intended. Take that, Jules Verne!

    1. Allan Post author

      You are the bomb, girl! I feel privileged to be the basis for such a solid argument. I’m so glad you enjoyed my little journey. See you in a few days, I hope!

  20. Diana Jackson

    Congratulations! I’ve been fascinated and at awe by your journey and determination. Thank you for sharing the stories and the amazing pictures. It was very touching to see you reunite with your family and how loved ones met you at the finish line.

    1. Allan Post author

      Yes, it was a lovely moment, Diana. I’m sure it’s burned into my brain for the rest of my life.

  21. Alison Sutherland

    On the contrary I see that stainless steel skate board deterrent as an invitation…skate boarders will now be flocking to that spot to see if they can slalom through it!

    1. Allan Post author

      Ha! Those little bumps were pretty close together so it would be a very tight slalom. But on the other hand, those guys are pretty good!

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