We’re losing art galleries on the street. Established art gallery AWOL Gallery, is closing up at 78 Ossington, and Oz Studios also closed at 134 Ossington this spring.
AWOL just finished its last show, after 15 years on Ossington, and they don’t know where they are going next. We guess that rising rent is why they are leaving: check out the official facebook post for more information. AWOL had many many interesting exhibits over the years, and the owners and artists were always friendly and welcoming. They also hosted some fun pop-ups, sales and more. One of our favorite AWOL events was the Annual Square Foot Sale - every piece of art for sale was one square foot and priced at $225, featuring a wide variety of artist from the city. It was a fun and accessible event, something AWOL has a knack for creating. We are happy we got to experience some of their shows over the years and hope they find a new place so we can continue to visit.
We don’t know what is going to be filling the voids or the spaces left by these two notable businesses on Ossington. However, we do see signs – real world signs – of a change happening at 1166 Dundas West. Formerly home to a clothing store named Linalgo – here’s the google maps photo:
This large retail space is being converted into a restaurant or bar – the sign on the window a liquor license application for a venture called “The Contender.”
Is it a sports bar with a focus on boxing? Let us know if you are involved with or have any information about “The Contender”.
Early Canada Day celebrations, World Cup watching, restaurant renos and condo growth: All that and more happened this weekend on Ossington, and we took some photos. How are you spending your long weekend?
The next in the series of elections for our neighbourhood, the Trinity-Spadina By-Election, takes place June 30th. If you didn’t vote early, head out on Monday and have your say.
The federal Trinity Spadina seat is being contested to fill the empty seat left by Olivia Chow, who resigned to run for Mayor of Toronto in the Oct 27th election. With no incumbent to vote for, this opens up a new set of candidates to run in this riding.
There have already beencontroversiesin this election, ranging from sign stealing and party infighting. There was also a local debate which aired on Rogers TV; unfortunately, unless you are a Rogers customer, you’re not privileged enough to watch or listen to this debate.
There are six candidates running to be the Trinity Spadina MP and we encourage you to read up on all of them and pick the one you feels represents you and this neighbourhood. Below is a list of the candidates and links to their websites where available.
Joe Cressy is running as the New Democrat candidate. He is in the incumbency party and has strong ties to the neighbourhood. He comes from a political family, and is close friends with city councillor Mike Layton. His website is here.
Adam Vaughan is running for the Liberal Party of Canada. Adam was a city councilor in Ward 20, an area that covers downtown Toronto. Meet Adam on his page here.
Running for the Green Party, which seems to be running a strong campaign in the riding, is Camille Labchuk.
We just stopped in and met the staff, who were all very friendly, took some photos and tried some of the menu items. The dumplings were delicious and the beers were from Creemore and Granville Island and only $4!!
As we said, it’s a soft opening so expect more offerings in the days and weeks ahead. The plan is to officially launch next Tuesday, June 24th. So “stop” in and say hi and try some of their offerings!
Summerlicious reservations just opened, and this annual event, founded when SARS stopped people from visiting Toronto, is still going strong. Participating restaurants will serve prix fixe lunch and/or dinner menus from July 4- 20, 2014, and some of those restaurants are in our area.
Quinta, located at 1282 Dundas Street West, serves modern Portuguese food along with craft beer, wine and cocktails in a large and comfortable setting. Open for 2 years, they’ve carved a space with inventive dishes and regular specials like Southern Sundays and Date Night, but we’re still guessing some of you have not been there. Here’s your chance! Their Summerlicious dinner menu is $25 and offers some good choices: Steak frites or their awesome Piri Piri Chicken are the meat choices for the main, and the vegan option is a Falafel plate.
Rock Lobster at 110 Ossington is also participating this year, so seafood lovers can get dinner for a deal. This friendly and fun dining spot usually offers some pretty good deals – the Sunday night Lobster Roll dinner is a bargain – and they are offering $25 prix fixe dinner this July. You can have lobster in your app and main, or go for the steak or fried chicken and waffles. Sounds filling.
The other local spot offering a prix fixe $15 lunch and $25 dinner is Portuguese restaurant First Choice Restaurant at 1116 Dundas St West, just east of Ossington. We have not tried this restaurant yet and now we are compelled to do so! We’ll choose from feature Portuguese staples like sardines and cod (lunch) and Caldo Verde soup (dinner).
Have a good meal, and definitely don’t forget dessert!
World Pride is in Toronto this year and people are coming from all over to celebrate and attend parades and parties on Church Street. There are lots of events happening in Ossington Village also! Pride officially runs June 20-28, but there are some affiliated events beginning as early as tonight.
That’s right, get over to The Ossington on Wednesday, June 18 for a special edition of the storytelling show “Tales of Toronto” - Tales of Pride! It starts at 8PM and is pay-what-you-can.
One big event this weekend is a new city-wide all night art party called Nuit Rose, on Saturday, June 21st. Called a queer focused contemporary art event, there are exhibits on Church Street, plus there is a West Queen West brach. That hub is at The Gladstone Hotel and other local spots include Artscape Youngplace, The Theatre Centre and MOCCA. This one-night extravaganza celebrating World Pride features photography. painting and sculpture exhibits and installations and performances and runs from 7PM Saturday night through until 3AM Sunday morning.
Another happening this weekend that’s a little outside the box but still tying itself to Pride is Unleashed in The City’s Pup Pride Event in the Dogbowl at Trinity Bellwoods Park. This Sunday, June 22 at 1pm, bring your pups to the park for races, goody bags and conversation. It’s an open event, so if you have a dog and are in the area, head over and say hi!
Next week, The Garrison is hosting three nights of Pride parties. Stiff Cocks kicks off the weekend on Thursday, June 26th with several DJs and a fundraiser for the Friends for Life Bike Rally. On Friday night, the club becomes Electric Circus with more DJs and lots of dancing. Finally, the Saturday night event is Hotnuts World Pride. All events go late – The Garrison has extended hours until 4am for Pride.
Know of any local Pride events we may have missed? Please share in the comments or via our Facebook or Twitter and have fun out there!
After months of delay, the Ontario Municipal Board, aka OMB, finally issued a decision on the condo development at 109 Ossington, aka 109 Oz. After numerous hearings which concluded last November, the decision was issued last week, June 12th. The ruling declared that the revised proposal issued by the developer is compatible with the surroundings on Ossington and would not adversely affect the the neighbourhood to the east.
The only suggestion made by the OMB was that there be consideration of a pedestrian pathway for foot traffic in the lane behind the building, for those who don’t care to walk along either Ossington or Givens. They also found it reasonable to limit the maximum retail size to 500 sq m, to ensure only small businesses are allowed on Ossington.
We invite you to read the document below or on the OMB site here.
We are glad to finally see some movement on this location as it has been sitting empty for over a year. Expect work to begin soon, as there are lots of people eager to move in to a home in this area. We, and we’re sure the local businesses, look forward to welcoming our new neighbors.
Toronto’s NXNE Festival turns 20 this year, and the organizers are making a big deal of this fact, acting like longevity alone means everything. We’re not saying we agree or disagree: we’re waiting to see how this festival plays out before we decide, although we do notice diminishing choices in our area. The Ossington and Dundas area usually hosts a lot of the NXNE action, and this year we’ve still got a big presence, however there are some glaring omissions.
NXNE is primarily a music festival, but, following the SXSW model, they are trying to expand it to cover movies, comedy and interactive. Still, in our neighborhood, music is what you’ll get. Which is a shame, as in years past the Lower Ossington Theatre played host to comedy events, providing a little variety. This may simply be because the LOT is full – which wouldn’t be surprising considering the popularity of their shows.
Another sad loss, in our opinion, is that The Painted Lady was removed as a venue this year. As they were told, the organizers were paring down the list of venues and they didn’t make the cut. This is unfortunate, as we’ve seen some great performances in that little bar – plus you can’t beat the staff or the location! The Painted Lady isn’t cutting back their schedule, though: there’s music every night, including FUNxNE with Papermaps and more on Wednesday, June 18.
The venues which are participating in NXNE are all great local spots which we are sure will host great music. NXNE started June 13 and runs through next Sunday, June 22.
The Dakota Tavern has NXNE shows from Wednesday, June 18 through Saturday, June 21. The focus is usually music with a country influence, but you never know! One year we saw an Icelandic blues band and they were a blast!
The Garrison is one of the bigger local venues and the bands which play here range from synth-pop to super loud metal to everything in between. They too are hosting shows from Wednesday night through Saturday.
A new official venue this year is The Edward Day Gallery on Queen West just next to MOCCA. If you’re looking for the venue on the NXNE website or app, you won’t find it under it’s name because that would be too easy. No, it’s labelled The NXNE Festival Village at Edward Day Gallery – it’s very intuitive like that! Stupid names aside, we saw a free Stars show there a few festivals ago, and it’s indoor/outdoor space is a great place for live music. There are night shows there Thursday and Friday, Macauley Culkin’s Velvet Underground cover band plays Friday morning, and there’s a DIY Label and Art Fair, with bands, on Sunday afternoon.
Trinity Bellwoods Park once again plays host to some FREE concerts, thanks to the fine folks behind The Great Heart Festival. From Thursday – Sunday, musicians will be performing free unplugged concerts in our favorite park. Just look for the group of people sitting on blankets or the grass and listening for the beautiful sounds. Artists include The Wooden Sky from Toronto and Wake Island from Montreal.
Other local venues involved in NXNE are The Great Hall, serving as both a comedy and a music venue, and The Drake Hotel Underground, both on Queen West.
In other beer related news, local beer bar and micro-brewery Get Well Bar is already celebrating 2 years in business! Head over to 1181 Dundas West for their 2 Year Anniversary Spectacular on Thursday, June 19 from 5p-2a. They’ll be serving all Get Well house-brewed beer for $5 a pint all night long.
Kim Cattrall is the star of HBO Canada’s upcoming new series Sensitive Skin, but Ossington features prominently in the promo. The promo spot gives some screen time to several Ossington businesses, including Lush & Lavish Salon, BQM Burger, Fishbar, El Nardo Kitchen Supply, and the a-frame board for Crooked Star.
The show itself is an adaptation of a BBC series and Cattrall stars with Don McKellar as a couple who downsize and move downtown to a hip condo to change their lives and begin again. That explains why they’re showing her on Ossington!
You’ll have to watch it for yourself; we’ve embedded it below. Whether there will be more Ossington exposure in the show – we’ll have to wait until it premieres in July.