There are a lot of changes happening on Ossington including new buildings and businesses, so we did a walk around and took some photos to highlight some of the most recent ones on the street.
The small location at 104 Ossington just north of Lower Ossington Theatre most recently housed a onesie shop called Kigurumi, has also been a record store and a vintage shop, and will soon be home to a tattoo parlour called Bellwoods Tattoo.
Baby Hueys is now gone from 72 Ossington, and the space appears to be renovating into a new storefront. Next door there’s a logo for TA2, a recording studio with headquarters on the east end, and may be expanding to Ossington.
Motif Lofts has been under construction for a few years and looks closer to being ready for tenants. In the next few months we may also see some new retailers on the ground floor at 41 Ossington.
At the corner of Ossington and Queen, Stussy is now closed as we anticipate the arrival of the American retailer who took over the lease:
The building at 114 Ossington, which houses Venezia Bakery, is has been undergoing a massive transformation, adding two floors above, most likely for residences.
Finally, The Crooked Star, at 202 Ossington on the corner of Roylat St, is in the midst of a transformation. We have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors, but a lot of people are hoping the renovated Crooked Star opens soon!
This Sunday, February 7th, is one of the big sporting events of the year, the Super Bowl, where the Carolina Panthers will play the Denver Broncos for the NFL championship. While some will be interested in the game itself, lots of others – aficionados of marketing – will tune in for the biggest day in TV ad launches. Yet others will tune in for the entertainment, whether it be Lady Gaga singing the national anthem or Coldplay and Beyonce, who are scheduled for the half-time show. The Ossington neighbourhood now has no shortage of great venues to get together with friends and watch the action.
Some of the local venues that will have big screens for the game areOpera Bobs, on Dundas east of Ossington, The Dock Ellis, also on Dundas but west of Dovercourt, which always has solid food options. The Contenderis probably the biggest sports bar in the neighbourhood, with lots of screens, so you won’t miss any action.
The Lower Ossington Theatre, also known as LOT, is becoming a mainstay in the Toronto local theatre scene. They are mostly known for recurring productions of several popular musicals: Avenue Q plays there a few times a year, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rocky Horror, Spamalot, and Cabaret have all returned more than once. For 2016, they’ve produced a new show: The Last 5 Years.
While The Last 5 Years may not be as well known as the others mentioned, it was successful enough Off-Broadway to have a movie version made with Anna Kendrick. The stars of LOT’s version, Victoria Scully as Catherine and David Light as Jamie, are not as famous, yet they are two very talented singers. And singing is all they do in this musical about the deterioration of a relationship.
Before you go, be prepared. This is not a traditional musical. The cast is only the two stars playing Catherine and Jamie, and they don’t speak. The entire musical is sung and most of the time, except for one scene in the middle, the actors are not singing to each other. Catherine is telling the story backwards from the end of their relationship, while Jamie is starting from the beginning after the two first met. It is a challenge sometimes to follow it; it’s not uplifting, either. Thankfully, the performers have great voices and keep your attention.
The LOT always puts on unique productions, utilizing the small spaces they have to good effect. In this case, the stage is a long strip in the centre of the theatre and audiences sit on either side. The sightlines are very good for this general admission show.
The Reposadists, led by Reposado owner Sandy McFayden on vocals, is a 5 piece jazz band showcasing the talents of Toronto’s best musicians. They play regularly at Reposado, entertaining patrons with a mixture of jazz standards. The party on Saturday night will be a foray into a different venue, and on top of the music, you can enjoy a special tequila beverage served by Tromba Tequila. Tickets are $20 and reservations are recommended.
If for whatever reason, you can’t make it to the show this weekend (we get it – January is a good time to leave town!), but are a fan of the classic lounge styles of Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra, the CD is available for sale online at CD Baby.
Dundas and Ossington is going to get a whole lot more appealing to music lovers. Long-established music shop – and indie ticket outlet – Rotate This just announced on their blog that they’ll be moving from their Queen West location to Dundas and Ossington.
We are not sure where they will be situated, but there are a couple of spaces for lease on the south side of Dundas west of Ossington and west of used and vintage record shop Grasshopper Records.
Rotate is one of the city’s best curated record shops and we have always loved them for offering tickets to great shows in the city for minimal added fees. A few years ago they moved from their space on Queen near Bathurst to further west on Queen nearer Manning. The plan is for them to move west again to Dundas and Ossington by end of February. We’ll keep following the news and let you know the exact location as soon as we confirm it.
The neighborhood has it’s first opening of the year! Ufficio Restaurant, an Italian fish spot, is now open at 1214 Dundas West. We’ve been missing the former restaurant in the spot, the much admired The Grove, and have anticipated this opening for almost a year when we wrote about it last February. Well, now it’s open and last night was the first night of service.
The restaurant, from a team including Chef Craig Harding from Campagnolo, focuses on seafood and vegetarian fare, distinct from much Italian food on offer in the city. We checked it out last night and there is a lot to choose from on the menu: crudo (raw fish), salads and vegetable dishes, pastas and cooked fish. Try it out for yourself. Photos of the bar and delicious cocktails below; the restaurant has an instagram account with more professional photos
In the years we’ve written this blog, one thing is constant: change. There were a lot of changes on the street this year, with plenty of new restaurants, retailers and services opening on Ossington and Dundas. With those new openings, there were also some closings, notably in the art gallery scene as they move further west. So let’s look back at 2015’s changes in our neighborhood.
February brought more restaurant openings, including Junked Food Co at Dundas and Dovercourt, and the long-awaited second site of La Cubana. Both seem to be keeping busy so let’s hope they keep serving us delicious snacks and more!
The last few months have been very busy, with businesses moving, closing and opening.
In November, Saucy Pierogiopened in the former Quinta and Essen space on Dundas West, Community 54 opened an outpost on Ossington selling sportswear and sneakers; Lola Salon revamped the Lush and Lavish space on Ossington, and Jimmy’s Coffee opened on the south end of the strip. Imperial Tattoo moved from Ossington to the corner of Dundas and Dovercourt.
Sam James and Stussy are being moved out of the Ossington and Queen corner at the end of the month to make way for an American retailer, and Pop Up 120 already moved out from corner of Argyle and Ossington.
The Painted Lady is doing what they do best for New Year’s: burlesque dancing on the bar and DJ NV playing soul and funk hits. The party starts at 9pm with appetizers, the music will be pumping all night, and there’s a champagne toast at midnight. Entry is $10 and you can buy tickets in advance.
The Ballet on Ossington has big plans for New Year’s Eve. The nightspot will have music by CRSB & Teo Neo and live burlesque dancing. Their Minutes to Midnight party is a big night out, with a variety of package options and bottle service choices, all including a complimentary champagne toast at Midnight.
Reposado house band The Reposadists will be playing all night, so you can listen to their jazz stylings while sipping tequila with your friends.
Dining and Drinking
Boehmer is hosting a special dinner service on New Year’s Eve. In addition to their usual menu they’ll offer some very special additions including; Fire Roasted Oysters, Dry Aged Tomahawk Steak for 2, Turbot fillet with Spotted Prawns and Acadian Caviar, Muscovy Duck Breast with White Truffles.
The newly opened Southern eatery Omaw is offering 2 seatings with their a la carte menu for New Year’s Eve, or you can pay $10 after 10PM which includes a midnight toast and party favors.
Soos is open on New Year’s Eve – no prix fixe, the usual delicious menu and some “great features.” Make reservations now.
The Saucy Pierogi, newly opened on Dundas, will have two seatings for a $35 5 course prix fixe menu. They’re touting complimentary cocktails and special giveaways, so if you want some Polish dumplings for your December 31st dinner, make reservations now!
The Dock Ellis has a different take on New Year’s Eve. Their “Happy New Beers” event is a tap takeover with some new brews from local breweries like Beaus and Junction Craft Brewing. Stop by anytime after 8PM, no reservation required, and toast the new year over some new craft beers.
Do you know of other local events for New Year’s? Let us know! Happy New Year!
Ossington is ending 2015 with the loss of another vintage shop. Vintage Mix 1, at 186 Ossington, just south of Bazara Sushi, is closing up shop as of December 31. Until then, you can purchase clothing, shoes, handbags, jewellery and much much more (smurfs! Video discs! books! Wrestling figures!) at 50% discount.
Vintage Mix has been on Ossington for as long as I remember – blog.to did a write-up in 2007, so at least that long – and it will be missed as we continue to witness vintage shops and art galleries leave for less expensive rents in other parts of town.
Until the 31st though, you have a chance to try on some Japanese imports,
70s dresses and more! Photos of the current wares below: