Friday, February 22, 2013

Where to Visit: The Junction (Part 1)

The Junction neighbourhood, in Toronto's west end, has been through some dramatic changes in recent years. An influx of young families, professionals, and artists have flocked to the area breathing new life to a previously sketchy part of town. Galleries, restaurants, coffee shops, antiques and vintage shops, handmade and local fare now dominate the landscape.
As a new owner of a bricks and mortar shop I am proud to be a part of that which makes the neighbourhood unique. I'd like to share with you some of my favorite spots and give you a little taste of what I get to experience every day. Also, I encourage you to visit - whether you are an out of towner or live in another part of the Greater Toronto Area - and to use this info as your guide.

Wise Daughters @ Quebec & Dundas W

Okay, so I am biased! Wise Daughters is the shop directly over my head (the upper level shop above LadeeBee) and the reason why I am where I am today. Wise Daughters opened four years ago and carries an array of locally handmade goods. Many of the artists work represented in the shop are folks that live right in the 'hood. Now who needs a cheesy mass produced souvenir when you can get a quality hand crafted item right here?

What's in store: Fine jewelry, quirky and everyday accessories, pottery, greeting cards, art prints and originals, wood work, textile crafts, baby and child gifts and toys, paper goods and a workshop space.

The Good Neighbour @ Annette & Quebec

The Good Neighbour is an indie coffee place located almost directly across the street from my home. They serve the best coffee I have ever tasted!

What's in store: Fresh brewed coffee, espresso based drinks, specialty teas and tea lattes, paninis, amazing pastries and treats. Free wifi. Outdoor seating. Friendly as can be barristas.

Little Fish @ Dundas W, west of Quebec on the north side

Little Fish is the breakfast joint of the Junction. I almost always get the French toast with a side of home made sausages. Little Fish closes whenever they are ready, so don't wait too long to satisfy that grumbling tummy or you'll miss out. Also, there is usually a line up for seating.

What's in store: Delicious coffee, exquisite French toast, kick ass eggs benny and Florentine, scramble of the day, home made sausage, super sweet staff, a way talented cook.

Delight @ Dundas W, near High Park

Delight is an artisan, fair trade, organic chocolate and hand made ice cream joint. Only a couple of tables for seating and an outdoor bench. Plan to get your goods to go.

What's in store: I recommend the spicy hot chocolate. The chocolate ice cream is the best you've ever tasted. Truffles never disappoint. There are also vegan options.

Metropolis @ Dundas W, east of High Park on the south side

Metropolis is a well curated collection of antique and antique style home decor and furnishings for those with taste and lots of cash. That doesn't deter me from checking out the shop and lingering over the curiosities such as tiny child sized antique crutches, industrial doll arm forms, and medical lab cabinetry. I just love old stuff!

What's in store: furniture, home decor, candles, vintage, antiques, and vintage inspired.

Smash @ Dundas W, east of Pacific

Smash is another shop filled with old stuff but on a much larger scale. You just never know what you are going to find. Get ready to take a step back in time and to become overwhelmed by nostalgia.

What's in store: reclaimed industrial and institutional furniture and material, art prints

Kid Culture @ Dundas W, west of Pacific

This is the #1 hippest place to dress the kiddies.

What's in store: locally made kids clothes and toys, babies to preteen, playful accessories, greeting cards, soap, knits, outerwear.