A few days after moving into our Scarborough digs a year ago, a neighbour dropped by to welcome us to the neighbourhood, share tomatoes from her garden, and offer a few pointers for us newly-minted locals. One of the things she mentioned by way of guide to the area was a short-cut to the closest grocery store, a Food Basics. I thought it was a great tip.
In 12 months I have never had occasion to go to the store. It is generally a lot more convenient for my car-less self to hitch a ride with family or friends as they run their errands, or to pick up groceries along the subway line on my way home. (Woodbine Station is excellent as there is a Valu-Mart steps from the metro so I can hop on, hop off and get my shopping done).
On a recent Sunday afternoon, however, I decided to go get groceries and it occurred to me to try out this famous short cut to Food Basics.
It was extremely foggy around 6p.m. when I set off. As I headed north to Lawrence Avenue via Crockford Boulevard—an industrial street with barely any sidewalks, barely any cars, no people and two guard dogs—I was quite a bit creeped out. It also felt like I was walking forever (‘short cut’ certainly seemed a misnomer). The fog didn’t help with either of these perceptions.
In order to quell my slightly nervous state, perhaps, I started daydreaming about what Crockford could look like in a somewhat alternate universe. With a new direction, new zoning bylaws, and a lot of investment — if it were to become a pedestrian-friendly precinct.
I envisioned how different the place would be if some of the vacant or underutilized buildings became loft-style apartments; if the warehouses were revamped and converted to offices, funky restaurants and party venues; if a renewed Crockford became Toronto’s latest Distillery District or Liberty Village northeast.
It was a pretty big stretch but a fun place for the mind to wander. Who knows what the future holds, in any case?
I am a big fan of our neighbourhood movie theatre, the Cineplex Eglinton Town Centre. For one, we randomly run into friends there (always nice), and secondly—as I found out earlier this week when two of us went to see Fantastic Mr. Fox for a grand total of $10.52—’cheap Tuesdays’ still exist in Toronto (or Scarborough, anyway!). Even on a regular night tickets cost a reasonable $10.50 each. This is at a very modern theatre with big screens.
Scarborough legend has it that several years back management at the theatre tried to introduce the higher pricing that is the norm pretty well everywhere else in Toronto, and it simply did not fly. They lost a lot of business, and ended up keeping with (what was then) status quo. Maybe they increased the price of popcorn to make up for it?? Who knows how long it’ll last but in the meantime…bonus!
The theatres I know of in Toronto stopped offering half-price Tuesdays years ago, but I looked into it and turns out there is actually something cheaper than Eglinton Town Centre! Here’s a quick guide of where to go for cheaper movies in Toronto, if you’re willing to make a trek…
Note: Shortly after completing this entry, I remembered Rainbow Cinemas down at Market Square on Front Street. This is a smaller theatre with ’90s-era tiny screens but it does show many first-run films. Prices here appear to take the cake as the cheapest in the city—tickets are $4 for Tuesdays, $6 for matinees, and $8.50 on regular evenings—but there is a compromise in terms of the quality of the space.
When I got the keys to our new place a week ago, it marked the beginning of a lot of things: the start of life as a home owner, for one. Among the other firsts is a biggie: by the end of the month, I will no longer call Little Italy home. Home will be the Far East. Home will be Scarborough.
To put this in perspective, I have never in 20-going-on-30-odd years of Toronto dwelling, resided east of Yonge Street. Born more or less at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor, I am a serious downtowner/Westender (admittedly, not quite as hardcore as my mother, who believes the boundaries of Toronto are Dufferin, Eglinton, Greektown and the lake). A story I often tell is how wonderful it was as a kid going to an elementary school that had an atypical catchment area consisting of the whole city of Toronto. My classmates and friends were bussed in from High Park, Regent Park, Cabbagetown, Rosedale, the Danforth, the Beaches, or Dufferin Grove. Yet as broad a sense of the city as this might have impressed upon me, these were nevertheless pre-Mega City years and Scarborough was not really on my radar.
Enter my now fiancé, who was born in Calgary, raised in Scarborough and more recently lived in Pickering. In the time we’ve known each other I’ve been on more GO Train rides than I care to count, and have a clearer picture of what it looks like east of Victoria Park. So it was a little less of a mental shift when this past summer we began our house hunt, and decided to focus our search on the east end, knowing that this was a more affordable area than the downtown and that many of our friends and family have settled in the area.