This should be invisible

davenport village

Davenport Village is the little neighbourhood that could

In the same moment when Toronto condo developers are determined to make new neighbourhoods in this city, our old villages rise up in the absence of big development and make their mark on the urban landscape. Such is the case with Davenport Village.

"When we opened here three years ago, people thought we were crazy," Sovereign co-owner Ross tells me over a coffee the other day. He's talking about the coffee shop's first spot at Davenport and Dufferin, but the sentiment remains true now that they've taken over the former Rockabilly Rock space.

davenport village

He's one of the various people making this former retail wasteland a place where you might chat over coffee and wonder if the Green Line will actually happen. And he knows everything about the neighbourhood. There's a passion on display here that bodes very well for the area. Every time we chat for five minutes, I learn something new about this little village.

davenport village

I've wanted to write something about this strange small town/big city neighbourhood for a while, but now seems like the right time. Between Ossington and Dovercourt, new businesses are opening for the first time in ages. Joining the Sovereign's second outpost, Seesaw Cafe has brought some DIY spirit to the neighbourhood, while Dante's Inferno promises panini for all.

davenport village

"There hasn't been enough retail here," Ross notes. "Now that's changing, but it can't get too full." This is an area that's been starved for services and restaurants for a while, and new development is marked with an obvious excitement from locals.

Over and above the activity at Dovercourt and Davenport, condo development at Lansdowne is bringing new businesses to the area. In the near future, the Foundry Lofts will have an Against the Grain Tavern and an indie coffee shop to call their own. Given that there's absolutely nothing else in the immediate vicinity, that's rather noteworthy for the neighbourhood.

Still, it's a slow process. When Picea 997 opened at Dupont and Doverourt, it seemed to hail a mini-restaurant boom in the area. It has since closed, offering a reminder that you have to do most things right to establish a foothold here.

davenport village

Davenport won't be the next Ossington -- please don't think that. But, it is changing for the better. The street level presence of Workshop Architecture, a firm that's been instrumental with Green Line proposals, is indicative of the future here. This is a community oriented business that literally invites those passing by to come inside and chat.

There's real community here. And real desire to see businesses succeed. That's a good recipe for success. An influx of condo residents doesn't hurt either. When I leave the Sovereign it's closing time, so Ross packs up the remaining baked goods and sends me home with them. This isn't for good press. It's just how things work around here.


Latest Videos



Latest Videos


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Ontario politician takes heat after boasting about province's lack of regulation

Somebody in Ontario just won a $5 million jackpot and might not even know it yet

Toronto under extreme cold warning with temperatures that will feel like -30 C

Toronto adds 25 more speed enforcement cameras to nab reckless drivers

Why the rest of Canada hates Toronto according to artificial intelligence

Toronto police seize $500K worth of fake gift cards in massive retail fraud bust

That time Moscow and Toronto had a petty fight over the world's tallest structure

10 notable businesses that closed in Toronto last month