How to spend a day in The Annex
The proximity to the University of Toronto has always defined The Annex as part student quarter, part home to Toronto's intelligentsia and its particular architecture, known as the Annex style house reflects the elite origins of the neighbourhood.
Here's how I like to spend a day in the Annex from morning to late night.
The Annex is a coffee lover's paradise, with tons of independent cafes strewn about. If you're into atmosphere, The Common is a great place to start while The Coffee Lab as become is a neighbourhood favourite.
Afternoons are spent perusing the various second hand bookstores like BMV and Seekers. There's plenty of typical college shops selling dorm room staples but the best shops are a little off the beaten path on Bathurst - near Dupont you've got Ewanika for beautiful tailored women's wear and near Bloor there is Trove, full of fun accessories.
Harbord has been a culinary destination for years, ever since Splendido opened its doors and The Harbord Room and THR & Co. carry on the tradition. The neighbourhood rival, and where I'd book for dinner, is an area around Dupont. Find yourself at any one of Anthony Rose's three restaurants - Rose and Sons, Big Crow, and Fat Pasha - and you are pretty much guaranteed a memorable meal. Fat Pasha is the most recent of the three and treats you to a lovely selection of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.
The College kids go to the Brunny, or Brunswick House, or the Green Room, but since my uni days are behind me, you won't find me there. I prefer to get my drink on at the slightly more classy Pauper's Pub, they have a great reading series in the piano bar at the top and two patios, one roof top and one massive wrap around.
No experience in the Annex would be complete without a music show. Go to Lee's Palace for the latest indie rock and your favourite 90's band reunion, the Tranzac for unexpected and unusual local acts and experimental music, and Trinity St. Paul's United for classical and choral events, home of the famous Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Otherwise, I stroll over to the Bloor Hot Docs cinema. I don't even bother to look up what's playing; they've got such stellar programming you are sure to get something entertaining and informative.
Late night eats are a student and neighbourhood speciality - Sarah's or Ghazale gets my money for falafel and shawarma, Big Fat Burrito (open to 3:30am on weekends) is my burrito joint, but nobody brings me back more than Vesta Lunch at Dupont and Bathurst. That 24 Hour diner has cracked more eggs before dawn than the local Lothario.
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