On the flipside, many (including myself) actually prefer to have the option of cutting through residential neighbourhoods while walking. While places like Kensington are certainly interesting, I wouldn't want that outside my doorstep every day. And within residential neighbourhoods in the Old City of Toronto it's very rare that you are more than a 3 minute walk from a corner store or other commercial establishment within the neighbourhood.
Toronto has an enviable amount of unbroken retail strips in an American/Canadian context, and I'd say that only NYC outdoes us on that front. The trade-off of course is less retail interspersed within neighbourhoods, minus a few big exceptions (Kensington, Yorkville). But examples that have been quoted above such as Boston have huge stretches of purely residential on their main streets with clusters of retail around main intersections.
when you said "unbroken", you mean one single street assumes all the retail activity nearby? I am not sure if that's something we should use as a model. If the Bathurst/Front/Bloor/Parliament downtown is interspersed with retail on most large and small streets, you wouldn't call if "unbroken" but it is surely far better than having everything on Yonge and Queen only, no matter how far those streets remain "unbroken".