Last month, our company’s offices moved from Bloor West Village (where we’d been located since I started working there three years ago) to the strip of Yonge St. between Rosedale and Summerhill subway stations.
The change has been significant. Living as I do in the east end of town, the new location is welcome firstly because it cuts down on my commute time by almost an hour a day. And the new neighbourhood, while a little pricier than Bloor West, is cheery and full of the energy that comes with loads of people walking up and down Yonge St. all day long. (It doesn’t hurt that spring has sprung, filling patios and putting a little extra jazz in everyone’s step).
Though I wasn’t very familiar with Bloor West prior to starting at the firm a few years back, I will be missing some of the local businesses that were in and around the old digs. Here are some of the neighbourhood shops I came to be thankful for:
Alfredo’s – Local grocery store with a deli and everything. Very handy for last minute lunch purchases of all kinds.
Java Joe’s – Slightly quirky folk but the panini I used to think was expensive and only got as a treat every so often is looking mighty reasonable relative to a panini in midtown!
The Pastry Chef – Sadly this lovely little bakery has recently closed due to the owners retiring (maybe not so sad for them!) These guys supplied all our office birthday cakes and satisfied all sorts of early morning and late afternoon cravings for sweets. Local chatter says the place will now be occupied by a dentist’s office, which makes me wonder: why wouldn’t a new bakery come along to buy the old business with its ready-made clientele that’s been built up over the years…? I asked myself the same question when Peter’s Place closed down. This seemingly very successful greasy spoon with the most wonderful characters closed last year when the owners decided to retire, but nothing has yet sprung up in its place. Again, someone could have probably set up a great business coming in where this one had closed down (because its closure was certainly not due to lack of interest in burgers, greek food and all-day breakfast from us local folk).
Evymama – Very cute maternity wear shoppe — only went in here once to pick up a gift for a friend, but they had the friendliest staff, and apparently it is ‘Toronto’s only breastfeeding boutique’.
The Coffee Tree – Cute independent coffee shop and roastery. Among other baked goods, they serve empanadas!
Roach Tackle – I would pass by the workshop and gallery of folk artist Kevin Roach nearly every day and finally did walk in one day to have a good look around. I absolutely loved the pieces, many of which are functional items decorated with colourful fish themes. It made me want to have a cottage or home that would scream out for one of the pieces, or else a friend who was intensely into fish who would appreciate these works. (Alas I currently have neither, so I have to just admire rather than collect for the time being).
The new office location offers plenty of eye candy (in the form of high end furniture stores and the odd clothing store), and several lunch options that are a real treat. Some first impressions from two weeks in the neighbourhood:
Caffe Doria – packed little patio at the corner of Yonge & Roxborough – lovely for freshly pressed sandwiches and fancy salads.
Patachou – a cute French bakery where you can get a variety of quiches and salads
All the Best – upscale grocery with all sorts of goodies you would want to take home (pies, fancy marshmallows) and several sandwiches made and wrapped daily
Black Camel – tiny little galley-style coffee house and sandwicheria. Filling chicken, pork, grilled veggie or steak sandwiches on a kaiser bun with millions of options in toppings and sauces. My first try was an amazing pulled pork sandwich with BBQ sauce and chipotle mayo. FABULOUS. Makes me never want to pack a lunch.
Rebel House – great atmosphere and a patio in the back! Lovely selection of beers and slightly ‘upscale’ pub food that’s just a little out of the ordinary (e.g. chicken pot pie with apples, kettle chips, yum!).
And the best part is: there’s so much more to explore!
In Bloor West:
- Alfredo’s, 405 Jane Street
- Java Joe’s, 399 Jane Street
- The Pastry Chef, 385 Jane Street (now closed)
- Peter’s Place, 784 Annette Street (now closed)
- Evymama, 266 Jane Street
- The Coffee Tree, 2412 Bloor Street West
- Roach Tackle Folk Art, 355 Jane Street
In Rosedale/Summerhill area:
- Caffe Doria, 1094 Yonge Street
- Patachou, 1095 Yonge Street
- All the Best Fine Foods, 1101 Yonge Street
- Rebel House, 1068 Yonge Street
- Black Camel, 4 Crescent Road