Usually about once a month, I like to take a Saturday to explore a part of the city that I don’t usually get to visit: basically anywhere way West, way east or way North. Last Saturday was my second “official” trip to the hood, but my first real chance to walk around.
The neighborhood, which as you might have guessed by it’s name, has an abundance of two things: old warehouses and rail-yards, which as you can imagine, has attracted the creative-class and those who follow. Yet despite the huge presence of artists, the strip is maturing at a nice, gradual pace, unlike the mess at Ossington and Queen.
The neighborhood more or less starts at Keele and Dundas West, north of Bloor Street, and extends west (though there are a few hidden gems to the east). To get there on TTC, you can get on the 40 Junction bus at Dundas West, or board a 107 Northbound Keele bus up to Dundas West.
First off, four places make the trip worthwhile: Smash (2880 Dundas West), an industrial-vintage place that I’ve raved about before, the “Pure Scandinavian” design shop Mjolk (2959 Dundas West) which I wrote about yesterday, the Electric Revival Antique Lighting store (3075 Dundas West) and home to one of the city’s other $12,000 dollar Clover coffee maker, Crema (3079 Dundas West).
A few other places worth visiting include Pandemonium, a used book/vinyl/CD shop (2862 Dundas West) that while small, and maybe a little pricey, has a great vibe and lots of obscure gems. I picked up a signed vinyl copy of “A New Celebration for All to Sing” (1972) by The Toronto Mass, and spotted one of the greatest album covers on “Gospel Guitar” by Joe Maphis… as you can see, it has a pile of technicolor squares framing a photo of Joe’s double-neck guitar, what I think is an old delay/reverb unit, an old Fender Bassman amplifier, and a copy of the Bible. Sweet.
There’s also another cool diner/coffee shop called “Cool Hand of a Girl” (2894 Dundas West) which I didn’t get a chance to visit, but I’ve heard good things about. Same goes for Rawlicious (3092 Dundas West), an all raw food restaurant that I was going to visit before getting called away for some urgent business during my day-trip. One of the city’s finer selections of DVDs can also be found at Big Daddy’s DVD Shop (3044 Dundas West), which should be seen just for the sweet sign-age outside.
As for bars, because the Junction enduring several years of modern prohibition, they’ve only recently come up to speed, and now count Axis, The Troubador and Margaret as great places to grab a pint. Otherwise, there’s lots of other interesting stores to browse, including lots of furniture places, thrift and vintage stores and various health food joints.