An insider's guide to Toronto with the TTC's Brad Ross
Brad Ross, Executive Director of Corporate Communications at TTC, is kind of cool. That's not a word you often tend to associate with something TTC-related. But with his twelve beautiful tattoos, charming meta-watt smile, obvious love of music (he was even a big heavy metal guy in his youth), unabashed Kat Von D fandom, and enthusiastic social media presence, he is just that: kind of cool. He's the kind of fun, hip, person that Toronto could use more of in visible positions of power.
So, naturally, I wanted to talk to Ross about the city he calls home. Not just because he seems like a great guy. But because, after all, a man who works for the company that takes us all over Toronto, should know a thing or two about it. Here then is how Brad Ross would spend his perfect day in Toronto.
How would you start off your perfect day in the morning?
I'm really liking King East these days. I'm not sure if Corktown is the official moniker yet, but that whole stretch from River to Church has a nice feel to it. On a Saturday, we'll make our way to the Patrician Grill where only they know how to make bacon crispy when you ask for it to be, well, crispy. Trust me, it's a challenge for some. Then we'll head to the island. All on bike. Perfection. [A stop] at a picnic bench on Hanlan's Point.
You've made your way back from the island. Where do you head from there?
Joy's Bistro in Leslieville does a great lunch, and if the weather is co-operating, has some nice patio space to choose from. Afterwards? A bike ride through Cabbagetown is good for the soul. Little wrought iron fences and gates, gables, ivy, big door-knockers. what I like about Cabbagetown are the homes and gardens... just walking the residential streets. Place is a gem.
So you're all tired out from all that biking. Where do you go to spend the rest of your eating?
That's an easy one: The Auld Spot on Danforth. It's our regular. The staff and owners are super-friendly and a lot of fun. The food never disappoints. No better place to be on a cold winter night, frankly. Their Sunday prime rib is almost as good as nana used to make.
Do you have any favorite concert venues you like to hit up post-dinner when shows are happening?
Okay, perfect day aside, I have to ask: what's your favourite subway station and why?
I'll go with Bay. It's white tiles are the closest we have to looking like a Paris Metro station (one can dream!). Plus, of course,Bay Lower sits mere meters below. [It's] a wonderful, mysterious place to some [and] an empty, brake-dust laden station to those who get asked about it all. the. time.
What about favourite neighborhoods around a subway station?
Broadview. Four bus routes and two streetcar lines terminate here - a truly multi-modal hub! OK, that's the nerdy reason. But it's also close to the Don Valley and my stompin' grounds along the Danforth. A walk through the Playter Estates a block east will surprise some with the seriously beautiful homes that are tucked away here. A quiet calm descends, as the typical grid system of streets is briefly tossed out the window allowing for a meander. If that's your thing, get lost!
Since you're in the East End, any spots you especially love in that neck of the woods?
Sauce is a hidden treasure. Great, intimate atmosphere.
And what about places around the TTC Davisville office?
Some of us have been known to share the odd pint post-work. No special spot here - we've been to them all on more than several occasions - but occasionally the boss will suggest we hit The Rebel House down near Rosedale Station. Always a good call.
Brunch: The Senator (breakfast, really).
Restaurant to take someone from out of town: Vesta. That'll teach them to drop in unannounced.
Pub: The Auld Spot
Museum or Gallery: Stephen Bulger Gallery. I have a few precious photos from there.
Bookstore: Book City on the Danforth
Clothing store: Brooks Brothers by day; concert t-shirts by night.
Movie Theatre: Varsity
Secret Toronto place you wish more people knew about: Crothers' Woods.
Previously: An insider's guide to Toronto with Sam James.
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