How to spend a day in Dundas West and Ossington
I had a friend, ten years ago, who walked out and stood in the middle of Ossington Avenue and lifted his hands into the air. It was midnight on a Saturday. "This shit is going to blow up," he said, speaking into the quiet darkness. I don't think, drunken prophet that he was, he could have guessed at how that neighbourhood exploded. It's brought Dundas West along with it; few would argue the growth of these two streets isn't closely intertwined.
Here's how to spend a day in Dundas West and Ossington, from morning to late night.
BREAKFAST AND COFFEE
Starting the day with Saving Grace has been a neighbourhood tradition for over ten years, and there is still no rival for breakfast in the area. There is however, for your morning coffee. I live on Dundas, so I go to Ella's Uncle; those located a little more centrally hit Crafted or the new Sam James Coffee Bar.
You might want to burn those extra breakfast calories at the CrossFit-affiliated Academy of Lions - or just have another coffee at their paleo-friendly cafe, this time with yak butter. If yoga's more your speed, check out YogaSpace for hatha, vinyasa, and specialty yoga classes.
The area used to be kind of dead for lunch, with everyone piling into the Golden Turtle for pho, but now you can enjoy lunch on the patio at Union, or finally bypass the line and get a special lunch deal at Pizzeria Libretto, both excellent options. There is no greater definer of the Dundas aspect of this neighbourhood than the Connor family at Caffe Brasiliano, and their lunch counter may be one of the best deals in town.
SHOPPING AND CULTURE
I love spending hours in the Monkey's Paw bookshop, where the specialty is old, intriguing and odd, and pick up some reading material before wandering to the galleries. Cooper Cole and Le Gallery are very close, and in an alleyway between Argyle and Foxley you'll find G Gallery, where I saw an amazing show by Lisa Di Quinzio last year.
Ossington has become something of a shopping mecca with a mix of vintage and high-end designers. Tiger of Sweden and Stussy stock the latest duds, while Penny Arcade and Vintage Mix 1 keep us well heeled without breaking the bank.
Come afternoon I'm ready to hit Trinity Bellwoods, and I'll grab an ice cream at Bang Bang or a snack at Lucky Penny and find a spot on the grass, watch the dogs in the bowl, or cheer on the local pickup soccer game.
Dinner is tough, with new choices like Mamakas and Branca competing for attention with old favourites. The Black Hoof still holds strong and remains a first stop destination for visitors, but when I want to abscond the hype and still have an amazing meal I go to Nathan Isberg for the hands-on dining experience of The Atlantic. It manages to be both comforting and challenging at the same time.
DRINKS AND ENTERTAINMENT
It's great to be able to go to the Dakota for the early shows and then swing by the Garrison later, making it a nice double-header of music (or for dancing - the monthly Turn Styles or Pressure Drop is legendary), and you can do the same for drinks too. I start the night at The Communist's Daughter and end it at Bambi's; somewhere in between I may find myself at the Hoof's Cocktail Bar, Bellwoods Brewery, Get Well or Unlovable. You really could do a different bar crawl every night for a week and barely find yourself in the same place twice.
LATE NIGHT EATS
Thoroughly imbibed and peckish, I head to Rhum Corner for a last snack and a fun cocktail. But if it's past last call, there is only one place to eat and everyone makes the trek - The Lakeview, open 24 hours, to satisfy all those late night cravings.
What did I miss? Add your suggestions for how to spend a day in Dundas West and Ossington to the comments.
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