Get to know a street: Millwood Road
Millwood Road between Airdrie and Randolph roads is a concentrated little section of Leaside that's rich with one-off businesses. Now obviously the number of chiropractor offices and family-sized sedans say something about the area, but there are a few spots on this stretch that would surely draw people from all over the city.
If you're in the market for a rare mystery book, or looking to design your own skateboard deck, or have a celebration worth enjoying with a Cuban cigar or two, you'll find it all here on Millwood Road (the latter, oddly enough, in a pizza parlor). Here are some places to check out when you're not watching a little league softball game at the diamond nearby.
The Sleuth Of Baker Street
With resident greeter, Percy the poodle, welcoming the mystery-minded at the entrance, The Sleuth Of Baker Street offers perhaps the best selection of crime and mystery books in Toronto. Operated by Marian Misters and JD Singh, the little shop offers all of your Lars Kepler and Clive Cussler favourite, and will also track down a coveted title (a little detective work of their own) and arrange a special order.
Bravo Pizza is definitely one of those don't-judge-a-book type places. The space is cramped and narrow with miscellany cluttering the counter, but the pizza — classic Italian — is truly mouth-watering. A Leaside staple since 1969, Bravo is the neighbourhood source for a Mediterranean pizza and veal cutlet sandwich, as well as a vast selection of Cuban cigars. Eh, why not?
Churchill Gourmet Gifts
For when your misstep merits something more substantial than flowers and unique than chocolates. How about a dainty little box, wrapped in a sparkling ribbon, encasing delicate shortbread cookies and "heavenly" pecan bars? (Or, you know, diamonds work too.) Churchill Gourmet Gifts specializes in such elegant deliveries, as well as guest favours for special events and other custom arrangements. It's not exactly a Tiffany's blue box, but it'll do.
Core Body Science Pilates
The sign doesn't look like much, but this pilates studio doesn't care much for frills — and that's probably a good thing. Owner Kelly Dolson is much more interested in the science of body strengthening and flexibility, catering her classes to students' individual needs. The schedule incorporates all sorts of specialty classes of varying skill levels, as well as the option of private lessons or personal training. Flower water must be sourced elsewhere.
Leaside's very own gourmet grilled cheese stop. Millwood Melt offers such creative concoctions as grilled cheese with Nutella, mascarpone, and crushed walnuts (I know, right?) and its "Green Machine" with spiced avocados, arugula, basil pesto, and Monterey jack. You can also opt to create your own with ingredients such as tuna salad, scrambled eggs, caramelized onions, and all sorts of cheeses. All on organic sourdough bread.
Every street, of course, has its go-to sushi spot, and for Millwood it's Nigiri-Ya. The shop has barely enough room for a couple and their friends, but an extensive take-out menu that includes all sorts of classic and signature rolls as well as fresh sashimi. The house specialties are the aburi (seared) pieces, which can be ordered in a platter of salmon belly, scallops, eel, and butterfish. There's also the family-friendly platter (this is Leaside, after all) where all items are cooked.
Stars Food Shop
This shop has pretty much everything; hot food to eat-in, fresh food to take-away, espresso pulled to order, and beer for the patio. And Reserved parking in the front just tops the list. In business for more than 30 years, Jennifer Jackson and Janis Targum also run their catering business from their Millwood food shop, where would-be customers can stop in for a wrap or hot soup. The shop runs daily $10 lunch specials as well.
Now, here's one that gives Leaside a little edge (or should that be, "rail?"). Roarockit is a one-stop skateboard shop that offers everything from custom deck design (the mainstay), skate accessories, tutorials, and workshops. Conceived by Ted Hunter and his wife, Norah Jackson, Roarockit offers Leaside kids respite from another summer at science camp (or whatever) with its summer board-building camps and after school programs. Or, of course, you can just stop in for a new board.
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