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PED.Toronto – Free Bike Art Tours

A worldwide art and cycling organization PED.Toronto is bringing free bike art tours of the Ossington and Trinity Bellwoods neighborhood. The initiative is based out of Koffler Centre’s summer exhibit at Artscape Youngplace on Shaw.

The PED Collective organizes these community focused bike tours, exposing citizens to different layers of their cities in Buffalo, Rio, Belfast, St. John’s and Chongqing, China. And now we are lucky to have the opportunity to take a ride in our own city, our own neighborhood, all summer.

These free bike tours can be done individually or with a friend. There is no tour guide: you will borrow a bicycle at the gallery which comes equipped with the tour on speakers.

Start the experience at Artscape Youngplace

PedSign

Ped Toronto Exhibit at Koffler Gallery

Getting There

The experience is pretty simple, actually. Just head over to the Artscape building on Shaw Street, and follow the signs to the Koffler Gallery – it’s straight ahead through the front door. The bikes can be taken out whenever the gallery is open – no need to call in advance. Opening hours are Tuesday to Friday from 12 PM – 6 PM and Saturday & Sunday from 11 AM – 5 PM.

Getting a Bike

The PED Bikes

The PED Bikes

The bikes are all lined up and plugged in. You’ll need to sign a waiver and leave your ID and a credit card as security – you won’t be charged unless you damage or lose the bike – and then you’re eligible to ride!

These bikes are equipped with speakers – you just need to choose which tour you want to take, and turn it on. As soon as you do that, the tour starts on your speakers. There are helmets available to borrow too.

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The built-in tour set up

Tour Options

The routes

The routes

You can choose 1 of 3 cycle tours, each about 20 minutes in length. They are called Toronto the Good, Toronto the Better and Toronto the Best and that they go from easy (little road riding) to hardest (mostly road riding). After our tour (we did Best), we learned there is much more to it than that. Each option takes a different route and has a different theme:

  • Good, which covers mostly the CAMH grounds, focuses on Toronto as a location for film and fiction
  • Better travels Trinity Bellwoods and West Queen West and talks about the streetscape and local culture around the gallery
  • Best was an out-there scifi narrative about endangered species and floods. I think. It took us across Queen West to Dovercourt, up to College and back east to Shaw and south back to the Artscape building.

Take Your Tour

Bike Ramp out of the Gallery

Bike Ramp out of the Gallery

Once you’ve chosen your tour route, follow the red dots out of the gallery and the building. Take your time pedalling the route as the tech on the bike recognizes where you are and will cut over some of the commentary to alert you when to turn. We may have missed some of the tour as a result of moving too fast, and there is no way to rewind the recording. There is also no way to change the volume, so while you’re inside the gallery it sounds really loud, it won’t sound that way out on the streets.

On the PED bike on College Street

On the PED bike on College Street

Back at The Koffler

Posing with the bikes in front of Artscape Youngplace

Posing with the bikes in front of Artscape Youngplace

The gallery features exhibits from the other cities where PED tours have been run. The exhibit and tours run throughout the summer at Koffler, until August 21st.

Toronto Bike Share Opens Ossington Riders to More of the City

bikeshareTOlogoToronto’s bike share program may finally become usable to Ossington Village residents.

Expansion plans were announced a few months ago, and today the organization issued a map of future stations, spreading out this system to more areas of the city after 7 years in operation. And, good news! They are adding several more bike stations beyond the one at Queen and Ossington and you will be able to take them west of Ossington!

The bike share program’s history has been tumultuous in Toronto.

Original operator Bixi went bankrupt, so the city’s parking authority took over management. While smaller cities like Montreal and Washington DC have successful programs that cover large swathes of downtown, Toronto’s started with bike stations along the subway line. So, as opposed to offering transport options where little were available, the bike share was a superfluous service where one already existed.

We waited a long time before the bicycles even made it past Bathurst, and those just a little west of us have waited longer, as the Ossington and Queen stop has been the furthest west for years:

Furthest West Location at Queen and Ossington

Furthest West Location at Queen and Ossington

Now there will be places to pick up and drop off your bicycle in Liberty Village, the Exhibition and Dufferin. Sorry, Roncy, you still have some waiting to do.

The upcoming bike stations include Trinity Bellwoods Park, Dundas West and more on West Queen West:

BetterBike

More bike share stations in the west end

Residents and visitors in other parts of the city will be interested too: bikes are coming to the Distillery District and Leslieville!

This is long overdue, so let’s celebrate! Toronto’s bike share is actually starting to look legit! Expansion begins today and will be ongoing through July 11, as they add 120 new stations and 1000 new bikes.

Since you may now want to try using these bikes, here are the details:

  • 24 hour access pass: $7
  • 48 hour access pass: $15
    • As long as you return bikes within 30 minutes of each trip, no extra charges beyond those access fees
  • Annual membership: $90

Will you be trying these bikes out this summer? Tweet us or let us know on Facebook.

Ossington Area Restaurants Offer Summerlicious Deals

summerliciouslogoSummerlicious is celebrating another year of prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner across Toronto. This year, there are over 220 participating Toronto restaurants. Three Ossington Village spots are offering Summerlicious discount menus for the duration of the promo, between July 8 – 24th. Here’s our guide to Summerlicious on Ossington.

All the restaurants offer 3 courses with vegetarian options. All 3 are participating in Summerlicious for dinner.

Hawker Bar, 164 Ossington

  • Enjoy some of the city’s best Singapore street food with their $28 dinner deal.
  • Options include their refreshing cucumber salad, highly regarded chicken wings, and trademark laksas for appetizers.
  • Entree choices are among the best: fried chicken and ribs or shrimp or a vegetarian entree, and you really must try the banana fritters for dessert.
  • In fact, all the dessert options sound good. Maybe bring 2 friends so you can try a little bit of everything!

The Saint, 227 Ossington

  • Joanne Kates ranked this place among her best “spend a lot” spots for 2016.
  • Here’s your chance to live the good life for only 28 dollars for dinner!
  • Includes the option of one of the city’s best burgers along with the fish meuniere, hot fried chicken or penne ala vodka
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The Saint’s much lauded burger

  • For dessert: choose from creme caramel, ice cream or profiterole
  • Again, we suggest you bring friends who share

Ufficio, 1214 Dundas W

UfficioSummerlicious

Ufficio’s branzino

  • This is a new-ish restaurant on Dundas West so Summerlicious will give diners more opportunity to try their delicious seafood!
  • Options on their special $28 dinner menu range from apps like swordfish crudo and tomato panzanella salad
  • Entrees include branzino (photo above) and veggie spaghetti

It may seem like planning ahead, but you can make your reservations now! Try all three and let us know how much you loved it!

 

Love Letter to The Great Lakes: Street Art Around Ossington

lovelettertThis week, Ossington is a major location for a new Toronto arts festival. This one brings some beautiful new murals to our streetscape. Love Letter to The Great Lakes as an event runs until tomorrow at Rally Ossington, but the street art will live on our local buildings for a long time.

Today, the team behind the project at Rally led a bike tour of the murals, starting behind their site at 12 Ossington. We stopped at several murals in and around Ossington, the street and alleyways. We checked out the murals as they were being painted, and got to hear from some of the artists. While this was a one-time experience, you can still go for your own walk or bike and have a look for yourself!

I took some photos and notes on where and who.  The website also showcases a map with the sites and bios of all the talented artists working on the project, so you can conduct your own personal self-guided tour in the days to come. Also, Rally is holding a pop-up shop and art exhibit with materials related to the project, so stop in tonight or tomorrow for more information.

Please note – these murals are not finished. The artists have been working on them in the hot sun all week and they are elaborate so expect a few more days before completion.


Alleyway East side of Ossington, behind Rally:

We started behind Rally, where several different artists are painting their own work:

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The tour begins at Rally Ossington

First, a mural by Caratoes:

Caratoes

In the same alleyway, a work by Peru evoking shipping lanes:

PeruShippingLanes

Peru in front of his mural in the west alleyway behind Ossington


Alleyway West side of Ossington, at Humbert

Then, we went back onto Ossington and across to the other side of the street, behind House of Horvath, the cigar factory on the east side. First, we saw Birdo‘s street art which focuses on disappearing species:

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Birdo Disappearing Species Mural

Right next door, Chris Konecki‘s mural of shipping lanes sparked attention:

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Chris Konecki mural Ossington


West Side of Ossington at Rebecca

 Just a little bit further south, across from 41 Ossington at the south side of Rebecca Street, Bruno Smoky is in the midst of his mural. Apparently, there are a lot of restrictions and he is being held up, but try to check him out this weekend. You can see it is a very large piece and not finished!

Bruno Smokey mural

Bruno Smoky mural Ossington and Rebecca


Queen West Self-Storage building, 21 Ossington, west side

Right at a very busy part of Ossington, Toronto local Jon Todd has been painting some very detailed wildlife of the Great lakes.

JonToddMur

Jon Todd mural, 21 Ossington


Parking Lot next to Jimmy’s Coffee, 15 Ossington

We met Valinas, a muralist from Mexico who made his first trip to Toronto to participate in this project. 3 different pieces fill the wall in the parking lot north of Jimmy’s Coffee.

Valinas

Valinas, posing in front of his mural


Rally, 12 Ossington

Olivier Bonnard from Montreal painted the front of the Rally building, with fish swimming up and down the exterior.

Bonnard

Oliver Bonnard at Rally Ossington

Get Buck A Shuck Oysters In Ossington Village

buckashuckYou may not believe it, but there was a time not long ago where you couldn’t get an oyster in Ossington Village. Now, they are plentiful, and some local establishments even offer “Buck a Shuck” specials where you only have to shell out $1 for each oyster. These are only on certain days of the week, so stick with us and we’ll tell you where and when to get your fill of these delicious bivalves, for cheap! While we’re at it, we’ll fill you in on some other great dining deals in the hood. If you’re a big oyster fan, you may be able to make your way through most of the week eating oysters on the cheap!

 

The Saint Tavern, Sundays and Thursdays 

buck a shuck the saint

The Saint sells buck a shuck every Sunday after 4PM and Thursdays from 5-7PM. The Saint is located at 227 Ossington, just south of Dundas on the east side of the street.


Boehmer, Tuesdays

boehmert

Boehmer Tuesdays is famous in some circles, with $25 lobsters, buck a shuck and 1/2 price bottles of wine. Book a reservation or get there early. It is very popular and the oysters and wine can sell out. It’s at 93 Ossington, on the east side near Humbert.


Mr. Flamingo, Wednesdays

mrflamingobuckashuck

Mr. Flamingo serves up buck a shuck every Wednesday and adds in select bottles of sparkling wine for only $30. You can find Mr. Flamingo at 1265 Dundas West, on the south side at Dovercourt.


Ufficio, Wednesdays

oysterweds

Ufficio is also offering buck a shuck on Wednesday nights. Happy Hump Day indeed. Ufficio is located at 1214 Dundas West, on the north side at Grove.


Let us know if we missed any local oyster deals! Happy eating!

Toronto Jazz Fest Events On Ossington

tdjazzfestlogoThe Toronto Jazz Festival is one of the world’s biggest jazz events with music superstars performing across the city. Two local music venues are featuring some Toronto Jazz fest acts right here on Ossington.

Toronto Jazz Fest starts this Friday and runs from June 24 – July 3.  As part of the “club series” of Jazz Fest, two Ossington clubs,  Reposado and The Painted Lady, have full schedules of live music.

Many of the club acts are Toronto natives, and the jazz fest is a great opportunity to check out some of these talented locals.  You will also have the chance to hear and see performers from Montreal and further afield.

Below are some of the highlights of the local club series for Jazz Fest. As always, check our calendar for full listings of events in Ossington Village:

Reposado:

  • Parc X Trio: This Montreal instrumental jazz trio has won awards at the Montreal Jazz Fest, is influenced by rock and urban music, and supposedly puts on a lively show. Playing Reposado on Saturday, June 25 at 9:30pm. Cover $8
  • Rob n Bob Power Duo: Great Bob Scott is widely recognized as one of Toronto’s best drummers. See him perform at Reposado on Saturday, July 2 at 9:30pm. Cover is $8
  • Reposado is hosting Jazz Movie Nights both Sundays of Jazz Fest. They’ll be showing Ken Burns Jazz episodes and other vintage TV jazz. No cover

The Painted Lady

  • Elise LeGrow: A solo artist and member of Whale Tooth, Elise LeGrow’s music is pop and her voice is jazz standard. Enjoy her in the intimate Painted Lady on Saturday, June 25 at 8P for $10 cover.
  • Donne Roberts: An accomplished guitarist and singer-songwriter with roots in Madagascar, Russia and Toronto, check him out on Thursday, June 30th at 8pm. Cover is $10

As in past years and for other festivals, participating venues have extended hours during Jazz Fest. The Painted Lady usually offers a late night jam session with jazz musicians, staying open until 4am. So get out there and enjoy some jazz on Ossington.

Ossington Village Patio Guide

Summer is finally here and with it, patio season! We in Toronto love spending this warm season outside, enjoying a beverage – or two – and food. Ossington Village has a wide range of choices for you to eat and/or drink in the fresh air.

We’ve summarized all the Ossington Village patios and the highlights of each. Share your faves with us on our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram.

Bellwoods Brewery

Bellwo

Recently anointed one of the best patios in the city, Bellwoods Brewery can’t get any busier. Get there early or be prepared to wait in line. The reward will be tasty snacks and their award winning beer.


Boehmer

Bohmerfront

There are only a few tables on the front patio at Boehmer, but they offer good people watching, especially of the Bang Bang Ice Cream line. Plus, high quality food and drinks.


BQM

BQMPatio

BQM‘s side patio at Ossington and Rolyat is a hot draw in the summer. It gets lots of sun and is open for both lunch and dinner and offers great people watching on the strip.


Crafted by Te Aro

craftedpatioThe backyard at Crafted allows you to enjoy your coffee in a quiet garden. It’s not a big space, but it rarely seems to fill up. If you can’t get a seat out back,  the front is also nice when the big garage doors are open. You’ll still get some fresh air with your coffee and snack!


Churchill

churchillpatChurchill, at Dundas West and Lakeview, has a nice side patio that fills up early. You can have some cocktails and bao while listening to DJs spin, but the party does have to end at a reasonable hour. They close the patio well before last call to keep from bothering the residents with noise.


Enoteca Sociale

enotecaside

Enjoy delicious Italian food and wine while dining on the shady side patio at Enoteca Sociale on Dundas West and Coolmine. This is a top restaurant, so try to get a reservation for prime times.


Foxley
FOXLEY2

The fenced off back patio at Tom Thai’s South Asian bistro is a lovely oasis in the summertime. The fusion food is among the best in the city too. Foxley does not take reservations, so expect a bit of a wait, but they’ll call you when your table is ready, so you can explore more of the neighborhood and even enjoy a beverage.


Golden Turtle

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Rua Vang Golden Turtle is probably the winner in the Ossington pho wars for the patio alone. The side space, on Argyle Street, fills up all summer long with diners enjoying the cheap pho, and other Vietnamese specialties, along with some cold beverages.


Ideal Coffee/ Bobbie Sue’s Mac & Cheese

Idealpatio

The side patio at Ideal, on the corner of Ossington and Foxley, is a popular spot in the summer months. During the day, enjoy the company of locals over a coffee and pastry, and in the evening, join others enjoying their Bobbie Sue’s comfort food al fresco on the next door patio.


Julie’s Cuban

Juli

Over on Dovercourt, Julie’s Cuban has been packing their front garden for decades. Make a reservation and have a romantic date over Cuban cocktails and tapas.


Lakeview Restaurant

lakeviewp

Popular all year round and at all hours, The Lakeview has a prime patio on Dundas West. If you don’t mind the traffic and the lines of people waiting for a table during weekend brunch, you’ll enjoy the wide menu selection and people watching.


Opera Bob’s

operacitystore
It’s just a few seats out front, but you can technically say Opera Bob’s has a patio. If you aren’t watching the Jays or English football, watch the Dundas West locals with a beer in your hand.


Reposado

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The back patio at Reposado has lots of seating and you can get friendly with others while enjoying a wide selection of tequilas and tapas. Look for special pop-up barbecues on summer weekends.


Sweaty Betty’s

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Sweaty Betty’s, an Ossington institution – it’s been open for almost 12 years – has a great patio tucked in the back. Bring your friends, order some cheap drinks, and spend some time enjoying the night air and the antics of the dive bar’s many customers.


Union

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Not only can you get a top quality meal at Union, including weekend brunch, the backyard is a lovely oasis for your feast!


Rashers

Ra

So Rashers just installed seats out front. If you choose, eat your bacon sandwich on Ossington.


We also have to mention two local favourites whose patios are in limbo.

  • The Crooked Star has been closed since December. We have seen some work going on inside, but don’t know when the renovated space will be open. That side patio is a popular one on summer nights and weekends, so here’s hoping it will be operational soon.
  • The Red Light is another story, one which we are still investigating. This hip bar with friendly staff serves craft beer and a great selection of whiskey, especially bourbon. The back patio was a really fun place on Dundas West until it was unceremoniously shut down 3 years ago. It costs a lot of money to get approvals to reopen. Stay tuned for more details from us and let’s all hope the patio can reopen soon.

None of these places are secret, so definitely plan ahead or arrive early to ensure a good seat. Have a great summer and let us know your favorite local spot to hang outside!

 

Harley Davidson Cafe on Ossington

A Harley Davidson Cafe is opening on Ossington tomorrow, June 17. They’ve taken over the space under the Lower Ossington Theatre, at 96 Ossington.  It is now filled with motorcycles and signage for Harley Davidson Cafes.

A quick google search for this name in Toronto brings up a placeholder for “1903: A Harley Davidson Cafe.” 1903 is the year Harley Davidson was founded, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 5.47.31 PM

There’s a Harley Davidson Cafe in Vegas, which is similar to a Hard Rock Cafe, only with motorcycles as decor. In this case, their twitter account  presents as a coffee shop than a burger joint.  They plan to be open 7 days a week starting at 7am and will be serving all the typical cafe fare. The idea is for customers to have an espresso while admiring the assortment of bikes on display. UPDATE: the coffee is from Toronto’s Fahrenheit Coffee.

Here’s a shot from their twitter account:

1903

And a photo of the exterior:

harleycafe

With Town Moto just up the street, maybe some of those motorcycle aficionados will check out the space for the coffee and conversation. UPDATE: We stopped in a took more photos so make sure you’re following our Facebook.

Two Music Festivals Near Ossington This Weekend

greatheartfestGood news for local music fans: this weekend we’ve got not one but two music festivals nearby. No heavy fees and no trekking to The Portlands to hear quality music.

From Friday June 17- Sunday June 19, the Live in Bellwoods Great Heart Festival brings free music to Trinity Bellwoods Park. On Friday and Saturday, The Garrison hosts No Fest for a small entry fee.

The Great Heart Festival has been a constant in Trinity Bellwoods the last several years. While there were issues with permits in the past, our Mayor is helping make this year’s fest a go!  No charge. The mostly acoustic music Friday from 4p-7p, Saturday and Sunday from 2-6p. Acts include Toronto rockers Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs on Saturday at 4pm, and Jane’s Party on Sunday at 4:30PM. Look for the group near Dundas north of the Dog Bowl. Bring a blanket, picnic, and enjoy.

greatest-heart

 

The inaugural No Fest brings two nights and a day of local music to The Garrison. This will feel more like what we used to have with NXNE.  Toronto indie bands are filling the back room both Friday and Saturday nights. Plus, Beau’s is sponsoring a free day party in the front room on Saturday afternoon. (remember those?) The No Fest music festival passes are on sale for $20 and each night alone for $12. Below are the schedules for Friday and Saturday nights:
nofest

Enjoy good music at a good price this weekend! And, as always, check our calendar for info on all local events.

Canna Clinic Coming to Ossington and Eden Dispensary Now Open

The addition of new dispensaries to the area is not stopping. Just today, we noticed a new dispensary already opened and one opening soon.

edenlohoEden Dispensary has filled the empty space on the ground level of 1269 Dundas Street West, below Imperial Tattoo. Some online research shows they’ve been open since the end of May, so a couple of weeks already at that location. They were established out west in B.C., have many outlets there, and are adding more in Toronto. Word of advice: if you’re going to hit up Eden and Imperial on the same trip, probably pick out the tattoo design first.

The sign on the front of 1269 Dundas West:

EdenAnd the building itself:

eden ext

 

The former homcannaclinice to Di Nardo Kitchen at 213 Ossington is soon to be Canna Clinic. Signs are up on the storefront, a space which has been vacant for a while. It’s on the east side of Ossington just south of Loversland.

The Ossington and Dundas area already includes a few dispensaries which have all opened in the past few months. Canna Clinic is a chain, with several locations in B.C. and 4 others in Toronto, including Kensington Market and Dundas West, before this affiliate. They were not included in the raids a few weeks ago, and a statement on their website says they are complying with Toronto regulations by not offering edibles.

Here’s the space Canna Clinic will soon occupy:

Di Nardo ext

And a close-up shot of the sign, which advertises a job fair at this location on Thursday. They’ll be hiring for both the Ossington shop and another new one on Queen West:

canna clinic

So it now seems as if any vacant storefront is most likely going to be rented by a dispensary. The question becomes: Can our neighbourhood sustain this many dispensaries? We’ll wait and see.