Neighbourhood Watch: Dufferin Grove
Dufferin Grove is the place I call home in Toronto. The area is bounded by Ossington Ave, Bloor Street, Dufferin Street and Dundas Street. To me this is an electric neighbourhood. The area has many Portuguese people which becomes more than apparent when the national soccer team is playing. It is loud at times but it makes the area come alive.
Dufferin Grove was settled in 1792 by the Denison family who immigrated from England. Their country villas had names like Rusholme, Dover Court and Heydon Villa, which are now street names in the area. In the 1880s the area was developed into houses and the modern Dufferin Grove neighbourhood was born.
I live in a renovated Coach House with my two cats Sally Sally and Sagan. It's pretty cool with the lovely exposed brick and beams. It was one of those apartment finds that come along when you don't expect it. As soon as I walked into the place, I knew I wanted to live here. Of course my home TTC station is Ossington Station. It was opened on February 25, 1966
The boys in blue from 14 Division watch over my area. It was cool to find a mailing list for police updates in the area. It's a good thing I don't receive email from them very often. The neighbourhood is very quiet and there are a lot of families around. It's amazing that one street south of Bloor is such polar opposite to the chaos that can be Bloor street. Even in my neighbourhood, Bloor street can be an adventure. Just today there was some man screaming about Jesus. He's not new to the area either, I've seen him before.
Dufferin Grove has just about everything anyone could want in a neighbourhood. Dufferin Mall is a 5 minute walk away. Even thought I dread heading to the mall, I do like to visit the Winners and H&M. Grocery shopping is really good too, there is a No Frills in Dufferin Mall.
Little mom and pop shops along Bloor also help out. Strickly Bulk has a great selection of bulk goods with some organic produce. I always go there for my organic short grain brown rice, corn salsa and blue corn chips.
If I feel like shopping for shoes, I often head to Joe Singer's Shoes. I always end up spending some time talking to the owner Joe, who is a super sweet man.
Food in the area is great. Ethiopian, Mediterranean, Portuguese and Japanese are at your fingertips. I love the Queen of Sheba for my Ethiopian fix. There are many Portuguese BBQ places around. I love the food at House of Wraps. If you are into smoking a hookah you can sit on the patio and enjoy the fruity treat. Slightly out of the area is Rikishi, who I visit occasionaly for some Tsukemono and Sashimi. I once ate at Chiado which is a Portuguese fine dining experience. Known for their selection of fish, the salted cod I had that night was perfection. The waiter will bring the days selection of fish to your table and will explain what they are. Boom Breakfast & Co has an amazing breakfast. It is always lined up on the weekends.
Dufferin Grove Park is a huge part of the neighbourhood. This beautiful park is used by many families for picnics in the summer due to the strategically placed BBQs. The park holds many community art events like plays and dance productions.
You can find basketballers and skaters playing into the night at the park's basketball and skate park. Of course it wouldn't be complete with soccer. During the summer there is a soccer game going on every day.
One of the big draws is the year round farmers market. It takes place every Thursday from 3pm - 7pm. You can find all sorts of organic produce from local farmers. Beretta Organics also has a stand where you can get tasty organic meat. I've had the most fantastic lamb burgers from the Seldom Seen/Seldom Heard Farms.
The Cob Courtyard is something to see in the park. Want to spend a cool Fall night with some friends, well the park also has a fire permit that can be used. Of course in the winter there is skating and lots of hockey.
This is my favourite pastry shop, Osogood Pastry. Suchada Promchiri, makes some of the most heavenly mini pies like blueberry lemon cream and grapefruit pistachio. Besides sweets you can get tasty sandwiches like the cucumber, Smoke salmon and cream cheese on rye. Suchada is a huge hockey fan and you can find her talking it up with residents during the season.
When I'm looking for an Applewood smoked chedder fix, I head to La Fromagerie. This high end cheese shop specializes in extremely rare, non-pasteurized farmhouse and organic cheeses from Quebec and France. Fresh baguettes and croissants arrive daily from Pain Perdu
Additional pictures of Dufferin Grove at boldts.net and flickr.
Sources - torontoneighbourhoods.net
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