city by 91

toronto guide {update}


illustration by julia rothman

oh, canada! today’s toronto city guide update comes from angelune des lauriers, a lover of art & design, and a contributor to the toronto craft alert (a community hub and online service for craft, DIY and design related activity happening in Toronto). by day, angelune works in drinking water protection and today she shares with us all of the new and old marvels of this beautiful lake-side city. thanks angelune!–stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full toronto guide after the jump!

Hi – Angelune from the Toronto Craft Alert here to update the guide for my fine city. I really love this city, I came here in 2002 to go to university and never left. Toronto is known as a city of neighbourhoods, and each these feel like a small city within a large one. You can spend at least a day checking out shops and trying the local cuisine in each of the districts described below.

To update the Toronto Guide, I relied equally on my own travels and great local publications such as Design Lines Magazine, Now Toronto, and BlogTO‘s neighbourhood guides. For more information on local galleries, check out Slate Art Guide and BlogTO’s gallery guide. (If you see something missing, please let us know in the comments!)

—LESLIEVILLE/QUEEN STREET EAST—

I love spending time exploring this area of the city. It seems that every time I wander over, something new has popped up. To keep tabs on new shops and cafes, check out the neighbourhood guide.

Baby on the Hip and Kids on the Hip for modern children’s furniture

Hardware: Rustic, hand and custom made dining tables from salvaged woods are a staple. The owners partner woods-y furniture with modern light fixtures and gorgeous accessories such as mercury glass, feathers, and woven baskets.

Pazo: Mid-century classics, modern contemporary and offbeat accessories make their way to this chic spot.

Handmade Cabinets: Custom made cabinetry with a refined, rustic look; also refurbish and restore.

Machine Age Modern: Another haunt for retro pieces and recognizable names like Eames, Knoll and more.

Ethel: Storefront window always features one or two unique pieces of mid- century superstar furniture; the store has nothing but.

Festoon: Recently moved to a bigger space down the street, a testament to their success; unique gifts, accessories, affordable reproductions and local artists represented.

G.U.F.F.: antiques and Scandinavian modern furniture

Zig Zag: the website says it all; modern finds for those who are more daring; check for latest inventory online as well

Flik and Company: Twist to modern country; have sister store across the street Pied-A-Terre, where the influence is more French Country.

Green Tea Design: Asian inspired contemporary furniture, including kitchen units; ship anywhere in the world.

Dragon Heir: Antique and reproduction Asian furnishings and accessories; mandarin club for those who want to learn more about culture and language.

Up to You: Cute designer objects and accessories.

Natalie Roze & Co: Mostly clothing, but stop in for contemporary crafts and local handmade accessories and gifts.

Other noteworthy stores to check out include: Bronze (antiques), Mugsy’s (retro),

GALLERIES

Hang Man Gallery: face of the Toronto East End Gallery Association, and Toronto Free Gallery

Parts Gallery: original contemporary art

EATS

Loic Gourmet enviro-conscious gourmet take out.

Edward Levesque’s Kitchen: thoughtful fare, local suppliers, fair prices.

Pulp Kitchen: great vegetarian menu, snacks to go.

Pop Bistro: rural French bistro.

Tomi-kro: Asian flair, a la carte

Real Jerk: Caribbean flavors a mainstay in this hood

Bonjour Brioche: another staple but for breads and pastries

Altitude Bakery: known for amazing pies

It’s the Icing on the Cake: you name it, they’ll make it; outrageously detailed cakes for any occasion

Leslieville Cheese Shop: artisan cheeses from home and around the world; classes and workshops held periodically

Stop for coffee at Dark Horse Espresso, Mercury Organic Espresso Bar.

—THE DISTILLERY DISTRICT—

A slice of Europe in the downtown core, this recently refurbished neighborhood of galleries, fine restaurants, specialty shops and cutting edge design continues its renaissance with more shops, more residences to come. This area is so has been used as a backdrop for so many Hollywood films, you might recognize some of the buildings.

DOM toronto: Exclusive rep for Valcucine, high-end Italian kitchens; great for ogling

Bergo Designs: contemporary, award-winning artisans in accessories, jewelry, and home decor

Akroyd Furniture: bespoke furniture from gorgeous woods, hand-crafted in studio.

Cabinet: custom Canadian-Made furniture including spectacular pieces made from historic lumber

Artemide: classic lighting

Fawn Ceramics and Gallery: beautiful tiles, ceramics, textiles; my favorite place of all.

Elizabeth Munro Design: gorgeous flower arrangements at reasonable prices

Tenacious: textile-based home d?cor and other items.

Upside Dive: sweet vintage furniture at great prices.

And if you happen to be here on a weekend, check out the Sunday Antique Market at St. Lawrence Market.

GALLERIES

Blue Dot Gallery: contemporary pieces from local artists

Channel Gallery: affordable, Canadian art

Corkin Gallery: national and international, photo-based artists

Distill: different mediums all from emerging artists

Red Eye Studio Gallery: all local painters, variety of styles

Sandra Ainsley Gallery: major contemporary artists from around the world with all glass exhibits; worth seeing but don’t take kids!

Thompson Landry Gallery: strictly French Canadian artists; wide/wild variety of styles

EATS

Boilerhouse Restaurant: chop house with varied menu; best jazz brunch in the city;`contemporary Euro design, 22 ft wine rack, worth seeing.

Archeo: updated Italian food; innovative design, perfect hideaway patio.

Pure Spirits: Oyster bar and restaurant; huge selection of oysters, nice range menu.

Mill Street Brew Pub: attached to the brewery; worthy artisan beers; upscale pub grub

Perigee: based on Japanese concept of Omakase (trust me); open dining layout; major splurge, but worth every penny.

Balzacs: in-house roasted coffees, great desserts, romantic setting

Soma: the place to worship chocolate; Mayan hot chocolate is best in town.

Brick Street Bakery: British style bakery with pot pies, interesting sandwiches, daily stews and specials, gorgeous pastries.

Terroni Adelaide: An century-old courthouse renovated into a modern italian restaurant serving thin crust pizza and hand made pasta.

A bit north of the distillery district, but a new japanese pub garnering amazing reviews Guu Izakaya

Stop for coffee at B Esspresso Bar.

—KENSINGTON MARKET—

A unique multi-cultural neighbourhood best traveled on foot or bicycle. All summer, the streets are closed to motorized vehicles on the last Sunday of the month for live music, dancing, street theatre, games and the occasional barbecue.

Bungalow: vintage clothing, retro furniture, home and fashion accessories

Good Egg: mostly kitchen and cooking-related books and accessories, source for Le Creuset pots and pans.

Blue Banana Market: a bit of everything, from rugs to mugs, kitchen, bathroom and other home accessories.

Green Light District: modern home furnishings

Function 13: Design, art and technology store and gallery

Kid Icarus: contemporary crafts, art prints, stationery, and handmade toys

EATS

You don’t need this guide to find food in Kensington Market… walk a few steps and try food from any number of countries, or find a patio for a cool drink in the summer.

—QUEEN STREET WEST/TRINITY BELLWOODS—

Queen Street is a major shopping area of the city, but it’s character changes from east to west. The combination of government, high culture and brand name shops have pushed galleries and independent retailers farther west. Textile shops dominate the strip on the edge of the Fashion District, but beyond Bathurst is where design gets interesting. Galleries, designers and vintage shops have staked their claim in the Trinity Bellwoods area, named for the enormous park which is a restful spot after shopping and a dog’s delight for meeting other four-legged friends.

Atomic Design: decorative Scandinavian art glass and 20th-century industrial furniture

BLVD Interiors: affordable modern and contemporary furniture

Morba : A treasure trove of mid-century to modern furniture and accessories: a source for film crews and stylish locals.

Urban Mode: Created by an artist and interior designer, a great source for Canadian and international furniture and home accessories and one of the oldest contemporary stores in Toronto

Commute Home: original wood and metal designed furniture, lighting and accessories mixed with vintage pieces such as medical and photography equipment

QuasiModo: furniture and accessories by all the heavy hitters of 20th-century modern design

The Paper Place: the source for handmade paper to make love notes, d?cor and craft projects

Style Garage and Gus Showroom: sleek modern lighting, furniture and accessories with emphasis on glass, wood and Earthy neutrals

Ella & Elliot: beautiful modern furniture for kids and the people who live with them.

Planet Kid: For all things kid, from clothes to toys and furniture.

Timmie: Everything for design lovers who also love dogs.

Kol Kid: for kids, but one of the only places you can find Tord Boontje lamps

Magic Pony and Narwhal Art Projects: art, prints, collector vinyl toys, books, and other neat things

Neat: storage essentials, and pretty non-essential objects

Bookhou Home: modern handmade art and design

Made: source for up and coming furniture, lighting and home accessories

Paloranta: specializes in Scandinavian art and furnishings, local source for Marimekko home goods

GALLERIES

hmmm, after checking out Narwhal Art Projects, go west!

EATS

Clafouti: French patisserie

Oddfellows: bar, cafe and restaurant owned and designed by Toronto design team Castor

Nadege: French bakery with beautiful macarons and other treats to make your mouth water

Fresh: Local vegetarian chain and juice bar

Bar_One: casual Italian and best cappuccino in T.O.

White Squirrel: named after the legendary white squirrel of Trinity-Bellwoods Park, coffee, pastries, sandwiches

Terroni Queen W: traditional southern italian food in a relaxed atmosphere

Czehoski: a once boarded-up Polish deli beautifully transformed into a restaurant and bar serving simple, delicious food. Great back patio in the summer, and 2nd floor fireplace in the winter.

—WEST QUEEN WEST/OSSINGTON—

A small strip in the heart of the Portugese area of the city, has changed dramatically over the last 2-3 years, as many galleries, restaurants and artists took over pre-war buildings mixed in with Portuguese bakeries, fruit markets and vietnamese soup joints.

Cindiloowhoo & Jaiden’s Petals: country-style antiques and unique ephemera while Jaiden displays simply arranged fresh flowers, oversized glass vases and vintage accessories

Virginia Johnson: textile designer influenced by Mother Nature’s shapes and bright colours

Ministry of the Interior: specializing in original, cutting-edge design; the best in modern wallpaper, furniture, accessories, and lighting. Also a gallery featuring everything from furniture from Brooklyn to wall stickers from France.

In Abstracto: a mix of Canadian, Italian and Scandi mid-century furniture and accessories

GALLERIES

There are so many galleries in this area, check out BlogTO for maps of the galleries on Ossington and West Queen West.

Gallery 129

AWOL Gallery

Gallery TPW

Lennox Contemporary

C1 Art Space: gallery, shop, studios and classes

MKG127

Ontario Crafts Council

Clint Roenisch Gallery

Edward Day Gallery

Casuccio Gallery Canadian and Cuban artists

MOCCA Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

Stephen Bulger Gallery: photography gallery with classic and contemporary images is partnered with Camera Bar- a lounge and screening gallery programmed by owner/director Atom Egoyan.

Katherine Mulherin Contemporary Art Gallery

Spin Gallery

Engine Gallery

EATS

The Dakota Tavern: country, bluegrass and folk music nightly and bluegrass brunch every Sunday

Pizza Libretto: gourmet pizza

Cafe 668: vegetarian asian fusion

Luna Cafe: just off the main drag, great for brunch

Sweaty Betty’s: friendly wee bar w/backyard patio & occasional writers’ rant afternoons

Cafe Bernate: stylish fair-trade coffee and sandwich shop with plethora of veggie options

The Beaconsfield: French style snacks and dinner with infusions of global ingredients

Poutini’s: a Canadian classic served with new toppings

OTHER

The Drake: Not just a hotel, cafe, restaurant, roof top bar, lounge, exhibition or performance space, The Drake’s unique mix of accommodation, food, drinks and art has helped revitalize the way west strip of Queen Street. With monthly artists-in-residence, art exhibitions and the site of music, comedy and fashion shows, The Drake was just chosen as one of the top 500 hotels by Travel & Leisure Magazine.

The Gladstone Hotel: A restored Victorian hotel which has gone full circle from elegant accommodation for travellers run by a single parent & 13 kids to an artist-designed hotel rooms run by the Zeidler family 115 years later. A venue for all forms of art from displayed to performance, The Gladstone Hotel acts as a gateway to Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood, providing short-term artist studio spaces, exhibition space, and overnight accommodations for travellers seeking more than a chain hotel. Also hosts several art and design festivals, including Come up to my Room (see D*S coverage of 2009 CUTMR).

—PARKDALE—

An area that has transformed in the past years, the edge of Parkdale has seen it’s long ago glamour found again. A neighbourhood that had been a crown jewel of the city at the beginning of the 20th century, Parkdale lost its lustre in the 1970s. Its resurgence has been predicted for awhile, but the wheels are turning with the re-established hotels of the area into art havens, and a gentrification that isn’t cookie cutter.

Studio Brillantine: edgy, unusual, whimsical modern design objet from Alessi, Phillipe Starck, Barbapapa, Georg Jensen and Isamu Noguchi.

The Workroom: amazing fabrics and other supplies, you can also work on your own home decor projects in one of their classes or sew-by-the-hour.

Designer Fabric Outlet: fabrics, window coverings and hardware

Coriander Girl: seasonal flowers, handmade and vintage vases, and other nice things

Hawk Eyes: vintage finds and furnishings

Queen West Antiques Centre: one of Sarah Richardson and Canadian House and Home magazine’s favourite sources for authentic vintage designer furniture and objects.

Black Pug DMK: friendly owner with a well-curated collection of vintage and antique pieces.

GALLERIES

Gallery 1313: Artist-run centre

Gallery DK: Photography and photo-based art

OTHER AREAS

Avenue & Davenport: where interior designers go to shop, high end showrooms for lighting, tiles, flooring, etc.

The Junction: Smash Recoveries for vintage furniture, Mjolk for Scandinavian goods

TORONTO BUILDINGS TO SEE INSIDE AND OUT

AGO – Art Gallery of Ontario: the recent expansion was designed by Frank O. Gehry

CN Tower: hard to miss, it’s really really tall, and it’s all lit up at night!

OCAD – Ontario College of Art & Design: a retrofit designed by Will Alsop expanded the college in 2004 by adding a black-and-white checkered elevated building that is held up by eight brightly coloured stilts

ROM – Royal Ontario Museum: a controversial giant crystal grows out of the original museum building.

Toronto Design Exchange: located in the former Toronto Stock Exchange building, great exhibits of international design and a permanent collection of Canadian design classics

401 Richmond Building: As the name suggests, this meticulously maintained former warehouse is located on Richmond St West, in the fashion district. Home to a wide variety of artists, galleries, indie media companies, theatre companies, collectives and more, the 401 is an absolute buzz of creative activity. Regular tours, sample sales, shows and gallery openings, mean it should be on every Torontonian’s radar. Take a break and sip a tea on the green roof with its fantastic view of the downtown skyline.

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91 Comments

Anonymous

Typo Under the Gladstone entry

Ziegler = Zeidler
The Zeidler family…

Nice guide.

Anonymous

Parkdale lost it’s luster following the Second World War and further deteriorated with the coming of the Gardner Expressway. By the 70′s it had reached rock bottom when the Davis government closed the psychiatric hospitals.
The regeneration started in the 80′s and continues today

Diana

I was hoping to see Mokuba listed, especially since you have The Paper Place, but I love the guide anyway. It’s great to see some of my favourite shops listed on this site.

toronto craft alert

fantastic job guys! very extensive list. i’ll have to update some of my link lists…

if anyone is interested in craft-related happenings in t.o. (with a bunch of art & design thrown in the mix), please do check out toronto craft alert for related listings: http://torontocraftalert.blogspot.com

Melody

This is great…but you are missing a couple of my favourites along College St. I’m not sure if this would be considered Little Portugal, or Little Italy, or what…but Ziggy’s at Home and Rapp Optical are in the same block, just east of Ossington. Rapp’s got great glasses, many of which are hand-made in Canada, and they have trunk shows from time to time, where you can find great deals. Ziggy’s is a great little lifestyle shop, with everything from french soaps and fragrances to unusual contemporary furniture and home decor. Some great places in this guide… Definitely some that I already love and a few I have yet to check out. Thanks so much for representing our amazing city!!

Tamara

You’ve missed a couple of places I like: Davenport-Bedford – showrooms at Designer Walk and also a lighting showroom at Avenue Road/Lawrence Casa Di Luce (www.europeanartglass.com)

Kate

It has been a year since this guide was published – just shortly after, the Red Rocket coffee shop opened up on Queen St East. They serve organic coffee and their baked goods are to die for – the chai shortbread is especially delectable.

Erica

I would like you to consider adding Roseland (www.roselandgallery.com) to the WQW/Trinity Bellwoods area.
We carry exclusive design/art objects, furniture and lighting from all over the world, and offer something different to our neighbourhood.

702 Queen West at Manning, north side.

MissWolverine

aaaah this guide is so awesome. i lived in toronto when i was a kid, and am moving back there beginning of next year. its so good to see all these awesome new places that i know im going to have so much fun exploring.
thanks!

E.

You have to check out The Smith Cafe and Gallery, located in the WQW area. Its an adorable little cafe and the home of the Kvell Design Co. You will be sure to find some of the best handmade jewellery in the city! (and a mean cappuccino!)

Min

Any local volunteers to create a Vancouver guide? I’d love to consult one before my trip in April…

Amanda

Just a note that I believe the Sparrow doesn’t exist anymore.

Amanda

Also Leigh and James is gone from their old spot, but maybe they relocated to somewhere else in the city.

Iscaray

What about Roncesvalles and the Junction? Two fabulous neighbourhoods full of great Toronto history and beautiful old homes. The main streets are lined with unique and independently owned shops, restaurants, galleries, etc. Come check it out. My personal favourite is Hawk Eyes. Vintage home furnishings, great concept store or Post & Beam, good architectural salvage. Try Cherry Bomb, good coffee! The list goes on and on…

Paul Johnston

It’s always fun to walk out-of-towners along queen west near trinity bellwoods – they almost can’t believe it’s Toronto!

Nicolle

Great to see Leslieville featured. Live in T.O, but it is always good to get an outsiders perspective and see it through new eyes! Agree with all your recos I would add Lil’ Baci – great Italian food – especially thin crust pizza – took my Italian friends there – they approved!

Dvorah

Great list – thanks! Queen East needs to be updated though. Some of these spots (like Kubo) are no longer here.

stacey mccool

This guide is very disappointing. It has neglected the Design District entirely, half of these businesses are no longer open and only five neighbourhoods are mentioned? That’s less than half our city!

Oh, and, as a serious foodie… the restaurants listed here are a serious let-down.

grace

stacey

we’ve mentioned this a few times already, but the guides are in the process of being updated. toronto is one of the ones being updated so this closed businesses will be removed and new ones will be added soon.

grace

Yasmina

Saving Grace! Best Brunch in Toronto. On Dundas street west, between ossington and bathurst.

Jennifer Spencer

There is a new store called Metropolis Living that just opened on Dundas Ave. West in the Junction neighbourhood. It has the best selection of old and repurposed industrial furniture, lighting and stuff I’ve ever seen. Quirky and delightful. You definitely need to add it to the new Toronto guide.

Anne

I’ve only been to Toronto a few times. I am glad that once I get to eat at this restaurant called Spice Route, which is an Asian Bistro and Bar. Its on King Street West. Their website says the resto is a space “to captivate the senses”. I truly enjoyed dining there. You have to ask around to find it because it does have an obscure facade. You definitely have to add this to this guide. :D

embee

lovely to see a guide from the hometown. though, the update doesn’t reflect that some of these businesses no longer exist ie. cafe vert, six shooter records, kubo radio, get real etc.

megan

YES! we’re headed to toronto in a little over a week and this is right on time… so excited to stay at the drake! will be printing this out, for sure.

Jenncharina

It’s a good guide for south Toronto but woefully neglects so many vibrant neighbourhoods – Little Italy, Uptown, et al.

I hope the guide gets updated more and more to truly show the diversity and beauty of Toronto.

Thanks for what you’ve done so far.

Stephanie

I went to Toronto for the first time last year and was really charmed by the neighborhoods. I felt so safe walking around by myself.

The Art Gallery of Ontario was amazing. Gehry did a beautiful job with the building. I loved the staircase inside. It’s worth going to if not just for the architecture inside and out.

I fell in love with the store Lileo in the Distillery District. It was so beautiful in there I didn’t want to leave.

niche

terroni on adelaide is a good 10-15min walk from the distillery district

and missing neighbourhoods: the annex, danforth/greektown, ethnic pockets like koreatown, chinatown, little italy (both locations: college and st clair) etc. Toronto is the most diverse city in the world as per the UN and the amazing food options definitely reflects that but is not really well reflected in this guide.

Christine

Great guide!! Toronto is such an amazing city, I’m sure you could never really have a fully complete list (as with most cities, just too much goodness!). Thanks for sharing your selects! Love it!

angelune

Hey guys – I did my best and tried to check to see whether all the businesses were still operating when I worked on the update in March. I’m sorry if there are some errors.
I’m glad people are adding their 2cents because that is what the internet is all about!
I know that there are a few neighbourhoods that were left out, but I tried to focus on the areas that I know and those that have lots of art and design related things to see and do.

Maria Valdivieso-Pakozdi

You forgot to mention:

In leslievilles:
1) Queen Margherita Pizza: One of the best pizza places in the city. Some say is better than Pizzeria Libretto. Truly vera pizza napolitanea

2)Ed’s Real Scoop: Best Ice Cream in toronto. hands down.

In Queen West:

1) Milagros: Mexican Restaurant with La Perla bar on top.

2) The devil’s workshop for some really cool custom jewlery.

West Queen West (Ossington)

Golden Turtle: The best Vietnamese restaurant in the city! I can’t belive this was left out!

If you happen to be in Toronto in the summer don’t miss going to the Toronto Islands is one of the most beautiful spots of the city and the view of down town is breathtaking!

donna

The Mjolk store in the Junction is relatively new and worth checking out.

Marlene

You should call this the guide to Downtown Toronto Hipsterville. Missing many key neighbourhoods.
Your lovely graphic shows the 504 Broadview/King car but doesn’t touch either of the streets it goes to – King W. or Danforth – both major vital areas.
Also missing College St., Yorkville, Yonge St (any of several areas on this long major stretch) and many more.
And Distillery District that you do include is vastly over-rated.
It’s like this guide was written by someone who never gets off the 501 Streetcar and knows little of the city at all.
A very incomplete representation of this amazing city.

grace

marlene

i’m sorry you feel that way- these guides are definitely an edited, curated look at the city. we’ll be sure to consider adding a wider range of locations for the next update.

grace

angelune

Sigh… It is difficult to create a complete guide for this city because it is so big and so diverse.
It’s funny, the 504 King Streetcar passes right outside my window and I take it to work everyday if I’m not biking.
I love discovering new areas of the city and try to get around as much as I can. If you have a suggested shop, restaurant or hub that is a must-see for design and art fans, please leave it in your comment. I’m sure there will be more new and exciting additions for a future update.

Lily

Marlene – Your comment is rude and not constructive. Perhaps next time you should volunteer to help update the guide. This will result not only in a broader range of spots and neighbourhoods represented, but also perhaps you will realize how much work goes into such a task and not be so quick to cut it down.

olivia

in response to marlene – the weird derogatory tone that so often accompanies the word “hipster” is glaring in your comment. toronto is a huge city and one concise design guide obviously isn’t going to cover the whole thing. to me, a major goal of these design*sponge guides IS to showcase “hip” locations in the city that one might like to check out on a brief visit. books could and have been written about worthwhile spots to see in just about every big city, why shouldn’t this guide be one’s person pointers for places she’s familiar with and finds awesome? it’s clearly stated that this is one person’s guide to toronto, it doesn’t claim to be fully comprehensive, and there’s no shortage of other city guides out there. any visitor who really wants to see the city isn’t going to stop here.

niche

just want to add that while I feel some areas definitely need to be added (i.e. some that I suggested) this guide is a great starting point. I lived downtown for years and there are a lot of places listed here that I have never visited. I will be back in Toronto this month and plan to check out some of those places.

leah

great guide angelune!

sigh…it really makes me miss the t-dot.

claire

This is awesome! I’m off to Toronto next week :) Thanks for this great list and I’ve been reading everyone’s comments for their suggestions, too!

Meaghan

Angelune -This is an amazing guide! A lot of work went into this and I don’t believe it can or should include every amazing place in our fabulous city. It is very much an edited guide–edited with a wonderful eye and an amazing sense of design and diversity. love it!

Piper M.

Great guide!!

I live a couple doors up from Cindiloowho/Jaiden’s Petals (Jaiden rules, as do her mom’s beautiful petals!), and across from where Get Real cafe used to be. Get Real has been closed for a while now and the space is now occupied by a great little coffee spot called Crafted (opened by Te Aro coffee of Leslieville).

We live directly above my boyfriend’s photo studio/gallery Oz Studios, and one door south of my family’s business Reposado (an awesome tequila bar http://www.reposadobar.com) where my dad sings with the jazz band every Thursday and Friday! Woo!

I’ve lived in the Ossington and Little Portugal/Italy area almost my whole life and I’m soooo happy to see it taking off the way it is!

Yay Toronto!

Amanda

Hooray! I live in the Bloorcourt area of Toronto (around Bloor and Ossington). Tourism ads for Toronto are consistently terrible. Just take it from someone who lives there that it is an awesome city to visit/live in! Awesome food, music, culture, people, parks, nightlife, everything.

I was so happy to see G.U.F.F. on this list. I purchased a gorgeous teak secretary desk from that store last week. The price was amazing and they delivered it for a very reasonable fee as well! Long live G.U.F.F.!

Amanda

Just wanted to quickly add that Get Real! Cafe is sadly no longer, which sucks because they had a gorgeous garden patio and yummy vegan menu.

Also, I think Sadie’s Diner at Portland and Richmond should be included! Vegan diner food, Hank Williams on the stereo, vintage diner-inspired decor.

Dana

Yay Toronto! I live here LOVE it and highly recommend visiting us. I live and work near ‘Leslieville” If you go a little west of it toward the Don River Bridge, you’ll be in ‘Riverside’, the lines are really blurred but there’s some great stuff on queen east just a bit west of Broadview (right on the 504 line) too:

Quince Flowers
http://www.quinceflowers.com

Downstairs you’ll find “Love the Design” http://www.lovethedesign.com
design*sponge readers will love this one. Boutique stationery (amazing wedding invites) Photography and Art. You’ll see Christine’s art in a lot of the local stores and restaurants.

Prohibition Gastropub is a great place to grab a bite west of broadview. Great selection of beers on tap, local cheese and wines and a great selection of oysters.

Don’t forget to get an amazing coffee and one of Toronto’s BEST chocolate chip cookies at F’Coffee (http://www.blogto.com/cafes/fcoffee)

Here’s some more restaurants you wont want to miss:
Table 17
PicNic
Bonjour Brioche
Joy Bistro
Swirl Winebar
Ruby Watchco
Lil’Baci

(note: six shooter, eye spy and cafe vert are all gone…vert is now ‘the bone house’ great store if you’ve got a dog).

I could go on…maybe i’ll see you on the 504 Angelune, it travels past my window too!

vicki

I totally agree with the shout out to Foxley! YUM.
Great work. I miss my city.

Evie

Any hotel suggestions? We’re going for our second anniversary so this guide has perfect timing! Thanks for all of your hard work!

Evie

Oops! Just saw you included hotels, too. I got ahead of myself :)

Darlene

Hi Design Sponge

Don’t forget about that great store Frontier Sales in the East End of Toronto at Danforth and Pharmacy. They have a huge selection of furniture. It is like a treasure hunt everytime you visit-definitely worth a visit!

katy

hi!
love hearing about my city. I’ll just mention that Kubo Radio went out of business, and in it’s place is a great bar called The Roy http://theroy.ca/
Cheers!
Katy

Ashley Winnington-Ball

Hey, great guide! But you’re missing Shopgirls Gallery Boutique in Parkdale. We carry only Canadian artists and designers of clothing, jewellery and accessories, visual art, furniture, and home and gift items. Over 80 designers, mostly Toronto-based, and most things handmade!

Visit us at 1342 Queen Street West, just east of Brock. We’re neighbours with The Workroom!

Emily Henson

I’m heading to Toronto for a shoot this week so I was thrilled to find this guide. I’ve never been before, I need to do a LOT of prop shopping when I get there and I literally did not know where to begin. I will definitely be referring to this guide – thanks for all the hard work that must have gone into this.

Juli

Great guide, Angelune! Thanks for adding our shop mjölk to the list!

If you don’t mind, I’d just like to fill out The Junction neighborhood a little bit more, since there’s a lot of new things happening:

Shops on Dundas West of Keele:

Mjolk: we import design accessories and furniture from Scandinavia and Japan – and pride ourselves on finding tons of unique items not available elsewhere.

Smash: reclamation (industrial and midcentury) and art gallery

Post & Beam: architectural reclamation (victorian and industrial)

Metropolis: reclamation (industrial redesigned)

World Headquarters: random vintage finds (no name on sign, look for the bluebird near Post & Beam)

Wise Daughter’s Craft Market: local handmade (behind Crema Coffee)

Shops on Keele, north of Dundas – two great new additions to the hood:

Russet & Empire: new and old, quirky and useful objects from Canada and Sweden.

Mrs. Huizenga: vintage clothing and household items

Eat:

Crema Coffee: coffee, panini & treats

The Good Neighbour (on Annette): coffee, panini, treats, cozy atmosphere

The Beet: brunch, lunch, dinner (vegan/vegetarian friendly)

Cool Hand of Girl: brunch and lunch (vegan/vegetarian friendly)

Curry Twist: open for dinner, Indian food made with heart.

We look forward to welcoming you to our neighborhood!

Alice

Don’t miss The Red Teabox at Queen and Euclid, my most favorite lunch spot ever.The lunch bento box is to die for. You won’t believe the artistic and delicious desserts. ooohh, swooon.

Anna

This is a post for Torontonians – I just got a custom headboard made by a great young couple in Toronto, LR Interiors. The owner is an interior designer and she helped me design an awesome headboard for my master bedroom. The headboard came with an home consultation which took the stress out of choosing fabrics, etc. This company is great & the total experience was wonderful. Pricing is very reasonable & quality is great. Check out lrinteriors.ca
Anna

Robin

Hi,
As a life long Toronto resident this was a great guide to some of Toronto’s interesting neighborhoods. However adding my two cents, I might include the Harbord St. area as it has been experiencing a major revitalization lately with tons of new restaurants, shopping and galleries. As well I would mention the Danforth/Riverdale neighborhood, in August it’s home to Taste of the Danforth which is the city’s biggest food festival. As well it has tons of great restaurants, and shopping.

anne

the link with the downloadable guide doesn’t work :-( is it still available? going to toronto on sunday and this will be very helpful!

Kaitlin

This guide, while definitely a curated look, is a great starting point for my day trip to Toronto tomorrow. Thanks :)

Pip

This is a very good comprehensive guide.
I live near the Roncesvalles area, and if you are heading down there, there are lots shops and cafes, etc along that street.
Check out Frock http://www.frock.ca/, and also Mari Cla Ro http://mariclaro.de/ca/bags.html
Awesome and beautiful bags, recycled from salvaged auto materials.
They also feature local designers clothes and accessories.
Some good places to eat and coffee along there – Friendly Thai, Lit Cafe, Mabel’s, Brad’s, Cherry Bomb
A few blocks north of Queen St West on Sorauren Ave is a place called Mitzi’s.
Service is a bit slow, but the food is great if you are up for a slower paced brunch or lunch. They feature a bit of outdoor seating which is great on a sunny warm day.
Its the sister restaurant to Mitzi’s Sister on Queen St W (just down the street) which is excellent for brunch, lunch and dinner, and often has live bands and good beer. Very relaxed atmosphere.
One more place to mention, a bit east of this area on Dovercourt Ave is Julie’s Cuban Cafe, which features Cuban food. Very cute and unique place for dinner!
http://www.juliescuban.com/

Pip

A couple of more!
(couldn’t resist adding these)
Baldwin Street – near the AGO and McCaul Street – is pretty unique with a few interesting stores and cafes/restaurants. Haven’t been there in awhile though. The Ontario College of Art at McCaul also has a student art gallery that is terrific, and a few good art supply stores (Above Ground Art Supplies)
If you happen to be near Roncesvalles, and wander along Dundas St to Howard Park, the BellJar Cafe is terrific. The owners are great, good coffee, nice clean bright and comfortable design in there, and yummy yummy sandwiches.
This is my usual go-to starbucks alternative for coffee. free wi-fi!

Don’t forget to try and check out some interesting street art tucked away in laneways and alleys off of some main streets – Queen West, Dundas, College.
There is some cool stuff going on artistically that I don’t think many are aware of.

Cheers

felix

hey I’ve been to the belljar also. Their turkey sandwiches are to die for. They reasinably priced and packed with actual comtent ! The atmosphere is cool and calm.music is downright comforting. Didn’t know a single track but loved the vibe . Free wifi but I started going for the coffee and the staff are very friendly and cute ! Roncesvalles is average compared to this place. I used to go to the starbucks also to get my morning fix but he belljar kicks ass in the am !

all the best

Stacie Chan

Just a note that Oddfellows has been closed for some time now, but County General has taken over the space, and is also a wonderful place to eat!

Morgan

Real Jerk is closed! And I didn’t even get to try before moving to the east end!

Also, one of the best kept secrets of the Junction is Russet and Empire, amazing little design and houseware place, so so so so so charming, I go every chance I get!

http://www.russetandempire.com

Kate

There are a lot of great places listed on here, but it seems like the writer has never been to many of them. For instance, the description for Mill Street Brew Pub calls the food “upscale pub grub” They make fantastic beers, but they serve chain restaurant slop. My bf used to bartend there, so I’ve eaten quite a few of the foods and also seen the kitchen unloading boxes of Kraft products…
I would be happy to revampp a few of the areas- Kensington Market in particular is missing iconic shops as well as the problem of not listing the best places to get food. Sure there are an incredible amount of restaurants there, but some are outstanding and should be featured. Why bother writing a neighbourhood guide that essentially tells people just to go to the neighbourhood and wander?

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