Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods. If you ask anyone where he or she lives, they will give you a name. It might be Little Italy or Riverdale, Forest Hill or Cabbagetown. Each has it’s own characteristics and own history. Some are defined by their physical boundaries while others by the culture that inhabits them. These small neighbourhoods give Toronto a distinctly small town feel within a larger urban city. Chances are, you will know your green grocer, the person who works at the post office and have a friendly relationship with the barista who makes you coffee every morning. If you visit Toronto make sure to take the time to visit some of these neighbourhoods and immerse yourself in the fabric of the city.
Hoi Bo is located in the Distillery District, a collection of Victorian-era, industrial buildings that were originally part of the Gooderham & Worts distillery. In 2003, the area was transformed into a place where art and culture mingle among good restaurants and independent boutiques. Hoi Bo, is the vision of artist Sarra Tang. Along with a small team, they hand make finely crafted bags out of materials like waxed cotton and leather in a palette of white, grey, black, navy and khaki. There is also a curated selection of jewelry and clothing available.
This Middle Eastern restaurant can be found in Leslieville, a hip, young community in the lower Eastern part of the city. Designed by the of-the-moment firm Commute Home, the space is as pleasing to be in as the food is good to eat. Turquoise tiles in traditional geometric patterns mingle with space-age light fixtures and rich wood detailing. The menu features traditional Middle Eastern cuisine like fried eggplant, labni – a homemade Lebanese yogurt cheese mixed with garlic and topped with za’atar and falafel. There is a spacious patio out back and on Monday and Tuesday’s there are no corkage fees for their BYOB program.
If you’re looking for the perfect bouquet or just want to be inspired, stop by the charming, whimsical flower studio, Coriander Girl, owned by Alison Westlake in Parkdale. With its whitewashed brick walls, vintage furniture and numerous vases and pots for sale you won’t be disappointed. There is often a roving menagerie of animals floating around as well from the resident rabbit Harry to a King Charles spaniel to lovely feathered friends.
Type Books likes to call itself “your friendly neighborhood bookstore.” With two locations in Toronto (Queen Street in the West and Spadina Road in Midtown) it adapts itself depending on the neighbourhood it is in hosting readings for local authors and supporting homegrown artists with its innovative window displays. This one, in the Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood is definitely worth a visit. Pick up a book or magazine, head next door to Chippy’s and grab some fish and chips. Then head across the street to Trinity Bellwood’s park and wile away the rest of the afternoon under a tree.
Emma Reddington is the designer and editor behind The Marion House Book. She is also the Home Editor of Chatelaine, Canada’s most widely read magazine.When she’s not busy doing all of the above you can find her over on Pinterest keeping her close to 4 million followers inspired.Emma has a degree in Interior Design and has worked in the field as both a residential and commercial designer. She occasionally moonlights as a prop stylist.