This week I was presented with a pretty great opportunity. My father is passing through Bowling Green on his way to Toronto. He is going for just two days, but has offered to let me tag around. He’s there for business, and I’m going to just walk around the city for the day. It’s been a while since we’ve gone, and I’m excited to go back.
A friend gave me a really quick guide to some things I should not miss:
Get a day pass for the subway each day you’re in the city, it’s around 9 bucks but you’ll probably save money rather than paying $2.75 for each ride.
KENSINGTON MARKET – This area is always very lively in the summer months. There’s great vintage clothing shops, whole, bulk and organic food stores, jewlery shops, meat and cheese markets, cafes and some pretty interesting restaurants including a few that cater to vegan and vegetarian menus. This area is basically a new age/ artsy/ middle aged hippie/ teenage punk rocker/ yoga practicing indie rocker’s hideaway. (To get there on the subway get off at Spadina Station, walk along Spadina toward College Street (just ask someone to point you in the right direction)turn right onto Kensington.
QUEEN STREET WEST – Home of Much Music and City T.V….this is one of Toronto’s most popular destinations for people visiting the city. There’s some pretty cool clothing stores here as well as “The Friendly Stranger,” a cannabis culture shop, a number of tattoo shops, Lush, The Body Shop, Mac and Kiehls, and of course, The Condom Shack. There’s also a bunch of “goth shops” with alternative clothing and body jewlery…this area of the city was (in the late 80s, early 90s a central Goth hangout)….there’s still a few kicking around. There’s some awesome restaurants on Queen West, I’d reccomend “East” and “The Rivoli.” There’s also a bunch of night clubs if you head further west past Spadina Ave….There’s “The Bovine Sex Club” an intimate alternative night club, “The Velvet Underground” depending on the night you go they play a variety of different rock music, not #1 choice for dancing but great for drinks and hanging out…cool atmosphere. There’s also “Savage Garden” a goth club, The Kathedral and The Reverb (both pretty dingy, especially The Kathedral) these two hold all age punk shows a lot. (Get off at Osgoode Station and walk west along Queen Street.
THE ANNEX – Located on Bloor Street between Bathurst Street and Brunswick Ave this is a hot spot for the university crowd. There’s lots of bars and restaurants that offer student discounts and even if you’re not a student, it’s pretty inexpensive to have a night out in this area. Check out the famous “Honest Eds” a discount store and Sonic Boom for used CD’s. For some yummy food check out Insomnia, a little on the posh side, but the food is really good and the atmosphere is awesome (ask about their drink specials) also, their kitchen is open till 2am. There’s also Lees Palace…a pretty good concert venue…the upper level of the building is home to “The Dance Cave” which is dingy but the music is usually good, there’s no cover with a student card and drinks are cheap. (Get off at Bathurst Station and walk to Bloor Street. The shops along Bloor make up the Annex neighbourhood)
YORKVILLE – This used to be Toronto’s hippie village in the sixties….Bob Dylan hung out here a lot aparently…anyways, now it’s a celebrity hot spot. During the film festival, this is basically where they all go for food and drinks. It’s not cheap to eat/drink in this area but if you’re looking for a nice night out, check out Cumberland Theatre for a movie (they often show indie flicks aswell) and Sassafrazz for a bite to eat. (Get off at Museum station and walk to Bloor street, walk away from the huge bulding that looks like a glass crystal (the museum)…shit….then ask someone where Yorkville is….lol
YOUNGE STREET (The stretch between Bloor and Queen) – This spot on Yonge has tons of shitty tourist shops and rock t-shirt/piercing places. There’s also Nathan Phillips Square, which has an ice rink in the winter for public skating, the Hard Rock Cafe and The Eaton Center.
(Get off at Dundas and walk up to the street)
Also check out the University of Toronto (the St. George campus) I swear I’m not just saying this because I go here…lol…the university buildings are quite beautiful and Queens Park is a cool place for a picnic. (Get off at Queens Park and walk toward College Street (again not sure which direction that will be….) turn right when you see the University of Toronto main entrance.)
I’m very excited. For sure I’m checking out Kensington Market and Queen Street West. I leave Sunday afternoon, and will arrive back in Bowling Green on Tuesday afternoon.