8 Things to Do in Toronto’s St. Clair West

This neighbourhood happens to have some of the best breakfast spots, eclectic boutiques and unique cityscapes in Toronto.
 

This neighbourhood on the edge of midtown isn’t on a lot of itineraries, but it should be. Multicultural, even by Toronto standards, it is filled with boutiques, art galleries, and no shortage of hip new bars and restaurants. Take a ride on the 512 streetcar and discover for yourself.

1. Eat brunch at Lox + Schmear

Photograph by Natalie Caine.

The vibe at Lox + Schmear, between Glenholme and Appleton avenues, is no-frills (unless you count the 1990s-fabulous bat mitzvah photos on the walls). Instead, the focus is on Montreal-style bagels and smoked fish, which might be the best in Toronto. The latter is prepared in-house, using a custom-built cedar smoker. The menu includes gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.

loxandschmear.com

2. Explore Artscape Wychwood Barns

Artscape Wychwood Barns, photograph by George Mathews.

Check out Artscape Wychwood Barns, a former streetcar maintenance workshop that is now an arts centre and park. The building hosts artist studios and events, including a family friendly story tent with Storytelling Toronto each Saturday. There’s also one of Toronto’s few year-round farmers’ markets, and the park is a perfect place for an afternoon picnic.

artscapewychwoodbarns.ca

3. Browse through books at Ayerego Books

Photograph courtesy of Ayerego Books.

Step inside Ayerego Books, which retains some of the decor from its previous life as a billiard hall, and prepare to spend several hours browsing its titles. It’s a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of rare literary treasures, from vintage pulp paperbacks and obscure international histories, to 1970s cookbooks and Canadiana.

ayeregobooks.com

4. Dine at Shunoko

With fish flown in straight from Tokyo, Shunoko serves up seriously fresh sushi.

shunoko.com

5. Indulge in chocolate from ChocoSol Traders

Photograph courtesy of ChocoSol Traders.

Follow the rich and welcoming aroma of chocolate to ChocoSol Traders, a social enterprise dedicated to working with Indigenous farmers in Central and South America. Its chocolate is between 65 and 100 per cent cacao: all stone-ground and slow-roasted on-site. Book in advance for a tour of the facility. It also sells shade-grown coffee beans from Indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico.

chocosoltraders.com

6. Admire mid-century modern finds at the Vintage Home Boutique

Photograph courtesy of the Vintage Home Boutique.

Redesign your living space at Vintage Home Boutique, a temple to mid-century Danish design (think teak tables, Wegner wishbone chairs and chic curios). Located across from Don Panos Parkette, the store is like a museum where everything is for sale. Don’t have room in your luggage? The boutique ships across Canada.

vintagehomeboutique.ca

7. Discover Toronto’s other Little Italy

This area is home to Corso Italia, Toronto’s other Little Italy. Find bakeries, cafés, pizza and gelati.

torontocorsoitalia.com

8. Conserve with eco-friendly items at EcoExistence

Photograph courtesy of U-Konserve.

Shop for gifts that are both thoughtful and easy on the planet at EcoExistence, near the corner of Arlington Avenue. This elegant boutique, which has been around since before the zero-waste movement began, offers eco-friendly versions of everyday items ranging from kitchenware and linen to pacifiers and beauty products.

ecoexistence.ca

[This story appears in the September 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]

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