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Cafes

Wunderland

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on October 4, 2011

Wunderland TorontoWunderland feels more like a log cabin than an urban coffee shop. Just plug your ears when the Queen streetcar rattles by and summon up a bit of that earth imagination. Owner Peter Styrsky--that is, Reverend Brother Peter Styrsky of the Church of the Universe--built the furniture and fixtures from 200-year-old wood salvaged from an old barn. Peter's family has lived in the house on Queen near Woodbine for over a decade, barista David Silveira tells me, but Peter just recently took an interest in the indie coffee scene.

"People are discovering us really slowly," David says. "They pass by all the time, then suddenly discover that we're here."

Wunderland TorontoWunderland (which was named for the Tim Burton movie, tweaked with a "U" to reflect the family's German ancestry) has the propensity to fade into the background. It's several paces from the street, not terribly ostentatious in terms of signage, and opened six month ago without so much as a helium balloon.

"Our focus is on coffee," David says. "So we let people find us that way. There's not a lot around here in terms of good, independent coffee."

Wunderland TorontoWunderland uses certified organic and fair trade Ethiopian beans from Classic Gourmet Coffee. Of course, my mind was on another substance, given the Church of the Universe's previous battles over pot legislation, but since Peter wasn't in to field questions of that nature, I kept my eyes on the list of lattes.

The list of drinks is pretty standard; latte ($3.50), macchiato ($2.25), espresso ($2.00), and such, plus a dubiously deceiving drink named the "Canadiano" ($2.25).

"It's an Americano," David says. "Like everything else, we wanted it to be local."

Wunderland TorontoThere's certainly a local feel to the space, which displays pieces new by Toronto artists every month, as well as article clippings about Ford shenanigans under the glass atop its wooden bar. Drinks can be accompanied by baked goods by Dimpflmeier Bakery, and free WiFi and dairy milk alternatives are also available to customers (at no extra charge).

Wunderland TorontoThough my Canadiano is solidly bold and slightly (and pleasantly) fruity, it's the creaky floors and dark beams that have me swooning. A quiet cabin in the city--minus the, uh, country grass.

Wunderland TorontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

27 Comments

Arby / May 6, 2011 at 08:48 pm
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Wunderland is wunderful! Peter is the owner and he's very friendly and the kind of person I love to find running an indie coffee shop. Peter is gracious, thoughtful and oh so chilled! Here's where you go when your day has been rough and you want a risk-free good espresso or drip.

I hope Peter's passion for indie coffee continues for a long time. The biz is not easy. Small business owners, I believe, have their challenges. As the owner of the house in which this cafe is located, in The Beach, Peter has dodged one big challenge let me tell you.

Peter's using Classic Gourmet coffee for now. It's okay and I haven't really had much of Classic's organic roast before now. I like it, although Classic, overall, is a harsher tasting bean than I prefer. Peter will soon be sampling some Reunion coffee, courtesy of Kirby of Noir, courtesy of Adam from Reunion. It's a funny story. I hadn't been to Noir in a while and stopped in the other morning to see Kirby and enjoy my first real espresso in a couple of days. My shift is no good for visiting indie coffee shops. When Kirby wasn't in, I made me way over to Wunderland. While I was sitting in Wunderland, Kirby and his beautiful wife popped in. So everyone had a good time. And when Kirby left the shop, he ran into Adam and told him that Peter wanted to try another organic bean, not as a replacement for the Classic but just to have something else, if I have that right. And so Adam, who showed me and Sean (Voulez Vous) around his Oakville roastery came into the shop and we had some fun, again.

Warning: You will end up making lots of friends quickly at Peter's coffee shop. It's just that kind of place.

Oh yes, Parking is easy. There are new condo/retail buildings to the west of Woodbine, on the south side of Queen. There's parking behind them, easy to get to and reasonably priced. TTC of course, runs past Wunderland.
Tdotlib / October 4, 2011 at 11:44 am
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Wasn't this the 'Church of Pot' house for a while?
Darren / October 4, 2011 at 12:05 pm
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Just a poke on these reviews -- would very much prefer more time to be spent on the coffee and less on the decor etc. Not that the setting isn't important, but I don't have a great feel based on the above how they compare to other coffee shops on the, you know, coffee.
Poochie replying to a comment from Arby / October 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm
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cool story bro
Wunderbar / October 4, 2011 at 01:00 pm
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Peter? Is that you?
Seanna kerr / October 4, 2011 at 01:27 pm
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I've walked by a few times bit was unaware they had changed their product. I'll have to check it out
NotPotato / October 4, 2011 at 02:56 pm
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I have a comment. Will the Reverend come on here into these comment sections and explain to the public what he did with all the personal and private user information and medical data that was collected when Wunderland was formerly known as G13, where marijuana was openly sold? They collected personal IDs and photocopied passports and health cards when they were actively selling dope.

The Church of The Universe, Sharooz, the Minister, and all the other guys who get baked there off of one guys Medical Marijuana card should be ashamed that the promote the sale of drugs under the guise of church sacrament.

If the supposedly honourable church believed in their cause, they wouldn't be selling weed, it would be given away, especially to the poor and needy. If they believed in their own religion, they wouldn't be using the organized crime model to price their bags of pot.
ConcernedCitizen / October 4, 2011 at 03:04 pm
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Gee, organized crime really pays off well these days....

Will the Reverend come on here into these comment sections and explain to the public what he did with all the personal and private user information and medical data that was collected when Wunderland was formerly known as G13, where marijuana was openly sold? They collected personal IDs and photocopied passports and health cards when they were actively selling dope.

The Church of The Universe, Sharooz, the Minister, and all the other guys who get high there off of one guys Medical Marijuana card should be ashamed that the promote the sale of drugs under the guise of church sacrament.

If the supposedly honourable church believed in their cause, they wouldn't be selling weed, it would be given away, especially to the poor and needy. If they believed in their own religion, they wouldn't be using the organized crime model to price their bags of pot.
420 / October 4, 2011 at 03:25 pm
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If BlogTo.com had real journalsts, they'd find out what the Church of The Universe has done with hundreds, maybe thousands of user data from the G13 public pot-selling days.
NotPotato / October 4, 2011 at 03:29 pm
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I wonder if they'll comment on the irony of selling "fair-trade coffee" while the drug trade which they actively participate in features oppressing working conditions and non-unionized labour?

What's fair about the former G13, now Wunderland, convicted drug dealers, who now make their game official by welcoming friends to their cult in a more secret manner than before they caught the eye of the po-po?
420 / October 4, 2011 at 03:39 pm
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If the neighborhood crack dealer opened up a Tim Hortons, would blogTO be there to cover it as well?

Before people start claiming that taxpayer dollars shouldn't be used to support harm reduction clinics, it's places like G13/Wunderland that should be directly under the microscope of the authorities.

Get one of these freaks to come on here and claim they aren't still running the dope biz from this house.

ConcernedCitizen / October 4, 2011 at 03:49 pm
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"Kids Cocoa" at a church slash marijuana front. That's consumer safety.
420 / October 4, 2011 at 04:13 pm
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http://www.thestar.com/news/article/938846--pizza-restaurant-shut-down-after-drug-charges-laid

GiGi's Pizza caught the eye of the cops, so how long until the backroom sales of pot at Stursky's Wunderland kicks both him and the other brother revernend back to the Don Jail?
Andy / October 5, 2011 at 12:11 am
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Hey ConcernedCitizen, 420 and NotPotato. Stop being whiny little bitches. If a crack dealer opened a Tim Hortons I wouldn't go there because Tim Hortons coffee is garbage. This is an article about coffee, not some hippie church.
NotPotato / October 5, 2011 at 08:34 am
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Same owners, same church, same dope.
Ryan L. replying to a comment from Andy / October 5, 2011 at 09:12 am
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Lets say you didn't think Tim Horton's coffee is garbage (which is a rather strong opinion of a coffee that is consistently rated very high among people who know a thing or two about coffee). Then what the owners do on the side is quite relevant since its YOUR money they'd be reinvesting in their side projects. If you disagree with those side projects then its completely reasonable to discuss them in context of the coffee shop.

T.O.Artist / October 5, 2011 at 02:45 pm
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NotPotato.

Nice job at character assassination and rumour starting… Wunderland is a fantastic up and coming coffee shop that deals in nothing more than espresso shots and Art.
Beacher / October 12, 2011 at 01:07 am
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420, notpotato,

You both seem to have some really loaded opinions to share with regards to the G13 history, the reverend and pot in general. I imagine you were both either directly or indirectly involved with the churh in its day to have such strong and allegedly informed opinions about it. What is unclear is what you stand to gain from smearing an otherwise hard working, friendly, honest family... I have spoken to them many times, in and out of wunderland, they are upstanding, honourable folk who treat people with respect.

It is apparent that you each feel the need to act out when you feel strongly about something. I would ask that you do some thorough research on a subject/issue that has a significant impact on the lives of millions (take your pick), and invest your time and effort into helping those people.

FYI cannabis is illegal because it was bad for business in the early 20th century (*watch "The Union: The Business Behind Getting High" for all the facts). Also, marijuana has not bin linked to a single death, ever (while caffiene causes roughly 7,000 a year in North America).

So please, enough with the dramatics, this repetetive attempt to demomize the owners of Wunderland, comparing weed to crack, pot dealing to organized crime and
Beacher / October 12, 2011 at 01:15 am
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Wasted effort. Move on to something important. Find something to do with your "complaint" time that will affect PoSiTiVe change in peoples lives and refrain from these non-sensical, fruitless, negative attack campaigns.

Please...
Jimmy / October 12, 2011 at 10:55 am
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NotPotato
420
ConcernedCitizen

So How was the coffee? That's what I would like to know.... If your so "Concerned" why don't you stop hiding behind your computers and go talk to the owner in person, And stop wasting all of
our time? Thank you

secretsquirillz / September 20, 2012 at 06:48 pm
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NotPotato
420
ConcernedCitizen

All "three" of you fully agreeing with each other within minutes of each other is a pretty flimsy attempt at trolling. You know where this place is...maybe go chat with the own about your concerns in person instead of skulking about on the internet slandering people?

If anyone is interested in the COFFEE... it's great.. particularly the 2 shot "Canadiano". They also do a great grilled cheese, pesto and veggie sandwich.

I live in the area, it has become our "local", so I sit in there for large parts of the day at least once a week and have gotten to know the staff and owners. My partner had a little art exhibit there a while back.

No-one has ever tried to "sell" us anything other than coffee.

BRB I gotta go -agree with my own comment under a different name real quick... [/sarcasm]
SweetbeetSkilla / September 20, 2012 at 07:16 pm
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I TOTALLY agree with secretsquirillz
AntiGravity / February 11, 2013 at 02:07 pm
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So I'm not following. Can you, or can you not get pot here?
AntiGravity / February 11, 2013 at 02:09 pm
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Errr. As in, a pot of coffee. Or herbal tea. Or herbs.
?
Kat / June 14, 2013 at 08:18 pm
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My fiance and I discovered Wunderland when we first moved to Toronto months ago. Our first experience there was not too bad. My fiance enjoyed his conversation he had with the owner, Peter. I noticed however, as time went on and the more we went there, it became more and more uncomfortable. When his wife would work, she looks slobbish, in jogging pants, a ratty shirt, almost in her pyjamas when she serves you, she looks unclean. But people say looks don't count, but her personality suits the clothing in this case. She is very miserable to deal with, ungrateful for the business, no hellos when you walk in, no thank yous when you leave, she gets annoyed easily. One time when we were there the whole family was eating their dinner out where we were sitting and it made us feel like we were in someones living room. I felt very uncomfortable. Also there were times when we went and they didn't even have coffee brewed and wouldn't brew it for us! THEY ARE A COFFEE BAR!!! So I told my fiance that I am never going back. He agreed.
However, big mistake, I did. I met a new friend around the area and I didn't know of any other places to go and we bypassed Wunderland. I decided, okay, one more shot. As we walked in, "The Wife" was there behind the counter and she just stared at us walking in. No hello, nothing. I felt like leaving but we were there and my friend didn't notice so I just left it alone. We were deciding who was going to pay and we were just joking with each other, when I noticed that "The Wife" started to get annoyed, mind you she wasn't even done pouring our drinks, so she wasn't waiting for us. So we just paid and decided to sit down. We chatted away and all of sudden she comes up to us and says, "You two are just going to have to keep it down, you are too loud, and you are giving me a migraine." Then she walked away. I said, "Let's go." I said, "Only in Toronto." I even told the people outside, who had come in to order who agreed that we were not being loud. She didn't like us from the start. Probably because we were happy to have each others company. So I guess if you go there you just have to keep your mouth shut. It's probably because people don't talk in Toronto they keep themselves on their damn phones and then when someone does it's alien. I took pictures and I am going to post it and network and I will tell everyone I know what happened. There has never been many people in there when I go. NOW I KNOW WHY!!!! For sure this time I will never go back. They should be embarrassed of their business.
NativeTorontonianAl replying to a comment from Kat / September 8, 2013 at 09:09 pm
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Well said and very helpful for cafe-goers and the public. Your last part about people in Toronto not talking to anyone or being glued to the excess technology (electronic leashes) and making it alien when someone does talk, hit it on the spot. Toronto was already naturally a bit cold, reserved or uptight as known, but the "modern" era, ways and its bad habits is really making Toronto worse and setting it back. As for Wunderland, what an ironic business name they have, eh? Professionalism, friendliness, manners, civilized, helpfulness and appearance/grooming is a must....in business but in life overall.
espessoyourself replying to a comment from Ryan L. / May 19, 2014 at 11:39 am
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Anybody who knows "a thing or two about coffee" knows that TH uses stale (not freshly roasted beans)and a lower quality bean. It's cheap and fast.
Saying Tim Hortons makes good quality coffee would be like saying McDonalds makes a good quality burger.

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