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Baked Goods

North Pole Bakery

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on March 15, 2012

North Pole Bakery TorontoNorth Pole Bakery — like most of Toronto's shrouded gems — doesn't look like much. It sits on a stretch of the Danforth that has more than its share of vacant retail units, where the shell of the former Allenby cinema now pitifully houses a Tim Hortons and On the Run.

North Pole BakeryThe bakery itself is simple at best, with a hot table in the window, a crucifix over the front entrance, and a counter of cookies, cakes, and a Faema espresso machine. There is no seating and little in the way of aesthetic adornment, but those who know Lucy Loizzo's cooking know that it needs anything but adornment.

North Pole BakeryI meet Lucy as she works on a crossword puzzle while keeping post by the hot table one afternoon. As we make our introductions I'm quickly able to see that Lucy herself is part of what gives North Pole its appeal; she has that nurturing "nonna" vibe and becomes animated when she starts talking about her foods.

North Pole Bakery"I did catering for a long time," she says. "But then my husband and I, we wanted to buy a place." So they took over a business called North Pole and decided to keep the name, but expanded the selection from just bread to include pasta and other hot options, as well as cookies, pastries, and a small selection of grocery items. That was back in 1973, and since then the Loizzos have kept the recipe pretty much the same.

North Pole BakeryMost everything at North Pole comes from traditional family recipes — that is, the bread, the lasagna, the veal, the focaccia — and the winner among the lot is clear.

"The cannoli," Lucy says. "People say it's some of the best in Toronto."

North Pole BakeryPart of the secret behind North Pole's Sicilian cannoli is that the filling isn't piped in until the order is filled. Most bakeries leave their cannoli behind the counter to encourage sales, but I suppose North Pole's versions ($2/ea) are so well known that they can forgo the front-of-house spot in favour of the perfect taste and texture.

North Pole BakeryLucy ducks into the back bakery area to fetch me one for the road, and returns with a caramel-coloured shell filled to the brim with a fresh ricotta mixture. The shell, indeed, has maintained a perfect crispiness, and the filling — though slightly sweeter than I had anticipated — tastes of light, creamy ricotta. It may not be a chic Italian bakery, but they sure make a good cannoli.

Additional Photos:

North Pole BakeryNorth Pole BakeryNorth Pole BakeryNorth Pole BakeryPhotos by Christian Bobak

Discussion

6 Comments

critic / March 15, 2012 at 10:13 am
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This place is awesome but by no means should Greenwood and Danforth be considered East Danforth. Pharmacy and Dan is easy.
Raphael / March 15, 2012 at 11:07 am
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This place is awesome, my go-to bakery, veal sammie, sweets, etc. place when I lived in the East end. Nice pics showing off Nona!
jennydots / March 15, 2012 at 11:15 am
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I'd also like to add that The North Pole has the most delicious bread that should not be missed (it often sells out as soon as it's delivered to our local grocery store). Plus, The North Pole sells fresh pizza dough, and if you ask, Lucy will instruct you on how to make the perfect calzone. You can't beat this neighbourhood staple for quality food and charming service.
movers in toronto / March 16, 2012 at 02:09 am
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I like north pole because i looked many kinds of food like sweet ice-creme chooklet,I am coming soon.
Rob / May 22, 2013 at 12:57 am
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They have the best cannoli's probably in the world, not that I've tried them all lol but seriously I have never had any better in my life and believe me I love cannoli's and have tried them from many different places...none compare!
d house / June 21, 2013 at 04:29 pm
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Very good aranci too! With columbos closing down your options are limited. I'm sure there's some places in little Italy to get arancini, but I don't know of them. They sell out by lunch usually. Delicious.

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