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What To Expect During Ossfest

ossfest logoOssfest is this Saturday. From 11a-11p, Ossington Avenue will be closed for a music fest and bike race and more. We’ve already detailed those schedules and provided links here. So, what is the “more” I speak of that will be happening on the street? As the big day approaches, we have information on what the local businesses are doing to make Ossfest a one-of-a-kind Toronto street festival.

Sidewalk Shopping and Sales at Ossfest

Food and Drink at Ossfest

  • Boehmer’s front patio will be busy serving special dishes and a view of Ossington Crit
  • BQM already has a great patio, so expect some drink specials like beer or caesars and enjoy the sun!
  • Cote De Bouef is having a front patio where you can get some of their delicious sandwiches and a Pimms or cold beer to go with it; The butcher shop will also co-host oysters and Cava from the patio further down the street at Tiger of Sweden
  • Crafted Coffee is bringing their chilled delivery bike to the sidewalk for some cold brews
  • Golden Turtle – the pho spot’s patio will be even larger for Ossfest and they’ll serve fresh rolls and spring rolls to go on the sidewalk
  • Ideal Coffee – enjoy the smell of roasting coffee beans as you watch the Crit from the patio at Ossington and Foxley
  • Indian Grill – the family run restaurant will have a new location outside Lola Salon this Saturday.  Serving a few of their choice dishes from the sidewalk patio at 200 Ossington, just south of Rolyat
  • La Cubana will be serving hot cubanos and cold drinks on this hot summer day
  • Mamakas Taverna is going all out with a 100 person extended patio on the side alley featuring meats grilled outside on the spit for a real summer barbecue vibe
  • Moliceiro‘s special front patio will be open with full menu and a Portuguese sandwich special
  • Rashers is going to be busy with $5 hogtown sandwiches and free bacon samples this Saturday
  • Reposado will expand next door with seating and drink specials at the Ossington Tire parking lot. Stop by for some buckets of beer in the Sol and Tecate beer tent and expect mezcal specials and a performance by Led Zep cover band Zeppelinesque
  • Salt Wine Bar will make you your choice of a special veggie or chicken chorizo paella and cinnamon churros from their special front patio for Ossfest
  • Union Restaurant is having a special front patio and will feature the usual favorites from one of Toronto’s top kitchens

Art and Kids at Ossfest

  • Stylegarage will feature some custom designed art pieces and a silent auction for CAMH this Saturday
  • Telegramme Prints stands out for parents with their plans for a kids art workshop for 12 and unders! Sounds fun!
  • William’s Craig is setting up a vintage bicycle lounge – fitting for the Crit and likely very instagrammable

Ossfest is tomorrow, Saturday July 23 from 11a-11pm. Shop local and Meet Me on Ossington

Canna Clinic Ossington Open

Canna Clinic Ossington Sign

Canna Clinic Ossington Open

Canna-Clinic-logo

The Vancouver based marijuana dispensary chain Canna Clinic has opened it’s doors on Ossington. Located at 213 Ossington, it is the 6th Toronto outpost for the brand since the new year.

Dispensaries in Ossington Village

We have a lot of marijuana dispensaries in the Ossington and Dundas area – at least four in a very small radius. Canna Clinic joins Dundas West’s The Epicure, Eden Dispensary and Twisted Smoke Haberdashery, not to mention Ossington’s The Ossington Dispensary, right across the street at 198 Ossington. While Dundas and Ossington may not be the epicentre of THC trade in the city, as Kensington Market ranks up there, this addition certainly pushes us towards peak pot purveyorship.

 

Toronto’s Climate for Dispensaries

Medical marijuana dispensaries fall within a grey area of criminality in Toronto. Not officially deemed legal yet by the government, some have suffered the consequences with police raids and shut-downs becoming big news earlier this summer.  While it’s been a few weeks since this kind of police crackdown, there’s no way of knowing if they’ve made their point or want to keep fighting these clinics. It’ll also be interesting to see if the market is strong enough for all of these marijuana merchants in this small area.

Canna Clinic Specifics

Canna Clinic Ossington has daily specials and happy hour deals. Memberships are required. If you are already a member of any of the Canna Clinics in Toronto your membership will be accepted at the Ossington spot.

Due to the police crackdowns, Canna Clinic is not selling any edibles, but offers a vast variety of buds, salves and oils. The sign says it’s open 7 days a week. On the marijuana information site Leafly, the Kensington location of Canna Clinic has very high reviews from customers – and a lot of them. So if that’s your style, get out your pipe and go.

Experience Virtual Reality Theatre

VividVRLogoOur neighbourhood has another entertainment option this summer. Vivid VR has opened a pop-up virtual reality theatre on Dundas between Dovercourt and Ossington in the space run by local art gallery and event space Milk Glass.

Overview

The experience last about an hour and costs $20 and you get to ‘live’ in three different short films, each using the new virtual reality medium in a different way. The shows run about every hour in the evenings on weekdays and from 1pm on on weekends. Reserve your tickets online here.

About the films

Vivid VR headset

The VR head set at Vivd VR

The three films screening now offer a variety of styles, which is a great way to imagine the possibilities of this art form. First is The Visitor, a creepy horror-style film shot in 3rd person showing a couple mostly talking to each other. The second is called Imago which is shot in first person and follows a former dancer with her family. Last but not least is the sci-fi adventure set in space called Sonar. You can read a little more about each here, but try not to so you won’t be spoiled before you go!t This slate of three shows runs until August 12th. Then, you can return and see a new and different group of 3 until Vivid VR ends it’s run at Milk Glass on September 11th.

The Experience

When you arrive, you’ll need to check in and sign a waiver. You’ll sit in one of about 20 swivel chairs which allow you to turn around completely and see the whole scenery. You’ll also be given  Oculus headsets to wear – these are equipped with Samsung hardware and high-quality Sennheiser headphones to hear. The staff will take you through an intro and “how-to” and are there to help you when you need it during the experience.

We’re fortunate because this is the first VR pop-up theatre in North America, and it’s not only in Toronto, it’s right in our neighbourhood. Check it out this summer while you can.

 

Playing Pokemon Go in Ossington Village

pokemongologo

Pokémon Go launched in Canada on Sunday, and we’re already hooked and so are many other locals. There are PokéStops and gyms all around Ossington Village. Thanks to a lot of nearby graffiti, churches and parks, you can get a lot of Pokémon Go activity nearby.

Last night, we walked around the back alleys of our neighbourhood, taking in graffiti PokéStops, and meeting other people doing the same thing!

PokéStops

Collect balls and other items to use in the game for free. These locations have multiple PokéStops:

  • Trinity Bellwoods Park: signs, graffiti, memorials, statues: all of these are PokéStops
  • Ossington alleyways to the east and west of Ossington, there are so many alleyways with graffiti art that are featured in this game
  • Ostler Park playground: this is a good stopover between alleyways, and people were setting lots of lures there last night!
  • BQM has a mural on the side of the building which is a PokéStop
  • “Black and White” is the Black wall of OMAW across the street from the White wall of Mamakas at Ossington and Humbert

Here are some photos of some of the stops:

The Poke Stop at Ossington and Argyle

Poke Stop Ossington and Argyle

Martial Arts Graffiti

Martial Arts Graffiti West of Ossington and North of Queen: Also a PokéStop

 

Ossington alley art

Gamers lured some PokéMon and were trying to catch them among the art in the Ossington alleway

Gyms

The PokéMon gyms are for level 5 and up. Nearby gyms include:

  • The lumberyard behind the Downtown Lumber on Ossingon north of Foxley
  • The convenience store at Foxley and Dovercourt
  • Canada Herb at Ossington and Argyle

Are you playing Pokémon Go in the neighbourhood? Let us know in the comments and share your photos with us on Instagram.

Ossington Street Festival Ossfest July 23

See Also: What to Expect During Ossfest

ossfest logo

On Saturday, July 23rd, Ossington will be closed to traffic for the first ever Ossington street festival.  Ossfest will highlight local businesses and the community and features Toronto’s only city bike races, outdoor music, and a lot of patios and partying. Mark off your calendars for Ossington’s first – but hopefully not last – street festival. In addition to the major events listed below, sidewalks will be open for shopping, drinking and dining. All of this is being organized and executed by the Ossington BIA.

The Ossington Street Festival

Ossfest is a local street fest in which every business can participate. Details of each business’ activities will be updated to the BIA’s Instagram account. To give you an idea, expect lots of outdoor patios for food and drinking, sidewalk sales, and activities for kids as all of these and more will be along Ossington on July 23rd. We’ve been informed that Pizza Libretto, The Painted Lady and Mamakas will have extended outdoor patios. Get ready for a great day and night! We’ll post here as we find out what other businesses have in store for the 23rd!

Oss Fest Free Live Music

An exciting component of the Ossington Street Festival is the live music stage at Ossington and Dundas. The music starts at 2pm and continues with various great local acts through until approximately 11pm. With acts ranging from the reggae stylings of Bredren, to Saul Torres’ Latin music, to a brass band parade featuring The Heavyweights Brass Band, and roots rock from Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar, everyone should be entertained. These are bands you would normally pay a cover to see at local spots like The Dakota Tavern or Painted Lady. More details on the musical line-up in the poster below:

Ossington Street Festival Live Music

Ossington Street Festival Live Music

The Ossington Crit

A key component of the Ossington street festival is the Ossington Crit. From 11am to 6:30 pm, you can watch and cheer during this series of bike races officially sanctioned by the Ontario Cycling Association. The races begin with kids races, by age group, at 11am so be there by 10:30am with your kids and their bikes and helmets so they can join the fun!

After the kids races, it’s all licensed adult riders from 12 noon. Participants will ride as many laps as they can within their allotted race time. The early races are shorter races for beginners, and they build up to the elites who race for 90 minutes, with the final race ending at 6:30PM. The map (below) shows the race route: along Ossington, east on Halton, south on Givins, and west back to Ossington along Rebecca. It’s a short and narrow route and should be exciting to watch the races!

Crit Map

Map of Ossington Crit Course

 Save the date: July 23rd

Ossington between Dundas and Queen – street party, music, cycling and shopping: 11am-11pm.

Meet me on Ossington!

Introducing: Té Restaurant’s New Patio

Te PatioTé Restaurant Now Has a Patio

Last week,  Restaurant launched a beautiful backyard patio. That’s right, now you can enjoy the Asian fusion food and delicious tea-infused cocktails in the outdoors.

For those of you who missed our earlier posts, Té is at 70 Ossington, next door to Union. Like it’s northerly neighbour Union, the new backyard patio at Té is a beautiful oasis. Quiet and shaded, it’s a nice spot to take a break from the sun and the crowds on Ossington and Queen West. Today, a hot afternoon, when I stepped onto that patio, the air felt a few degrees cooler than the street temperature!

Below are some of the photos I took of the newly launched outdoor space. Té is open for weekend brunch and from 4PM each night excluding Tuesdays.

 

Backyard Patio Té

The relaxing backyard at Té

Te Backyard Patio

Te Patio with lights

The Té patio has shade and twinkly lights

Té joins the many other illustrious patios in Ossington Village. Check out our patio guide for more!

Ossington Business Profile #19: TA2

Unedited TA2 West (7 of 9)In our return to profiling local businesses after a long hiatus, we focus on local business TA2, Tatoo Sound + Music. Located at 68 Ossington, this business opened this past February.

You’ve probably seen their bold sign on the building in between Academy of Lions and Té Restaurant but didn’t know what TA2 is. Now you can find out! When an award-winning employer opens an office on Ossington, they are bringing people to the neighbourhood to work and enjoy the other amenities, so kudos to TA2 and a late welcome!

For those of you who don’t know, the Ossington business profile allows the business owners and employees to share their opinions on Ossington, what it’s like operating on Ossington, and tell us their favorite place (or places) on Ossington.

And now onto our business profile of Tattoo Sound + Music.

What is your business?

Tattoo Sound + Music (TA2) is a post audio production company that specializes in making stuff sound better than you ever expected!

How is your business unique?

By combining our audio obsession with a controversial business tactic called ‘being nice’®, we’ve attracted a group of insanely talented composers, sound designers, directors, music licensers, and producers. Together we’ve crafted award winning audio for every medium – TV, radio, apps, games, animation, feature films, even transit sounds. We are also proud supporters of local art and double as an art showcase space with an in house curator.

How long have you been in business here?

TA2 has been in business for six months here on Ossington and as a company for nine years. Our second location is in the East End of Queen St. in Leslieville.

What drew you to be here on Ossington?

We wanted to have the city covered from East to West. It’s important to be in close proximity to our advertising agency network and we thought that Ossington (or “OZ” as we like to call it) was the most vibrant place to be on the West end. We loved the feel and the energy of street and felt we would fit in perfectly and add to the culture of the area.

What changes have you seen on Ossington since your business has been here?

A lot of revamping on the strip! Plenty of new restaurants, pop up shops and art murals.

How do you see your business and Ossington five years from now?

We see Ossington at its peak in five years, and TA2 being a part of its strong collaborative community.

What is your favorite spot on Ossington other than your own? and why?

We are still exploring the street and surrounding area, but so far our favourite spots on Ossington have to be Rashers and Union – Rashers seems to have followed us! With their original location by our East end studio, we were thrilled to find out they opened up one down the street from us on Ossington. Bacon strips, and bacon strips, and bacon strips for the win!

Again, I mentioned we took a break from the business profiles, but we will attempt to provide more of these in the near future so you can get another look at who and what are keeping the street vibrant and growing. Reach out if you want to be profiled!

Vector Festival Brings New Art to Ossington

Vector-Teaser-2-e1465493775720Do you want to stay current on the coolest digital and new media art in town? Then Vector Festival is for you and it’s happening this week! Hosted by Ossington’s own cutting edge art space InterAccess, the festival features music, video games, lectures, films and more.

We attended several of the events last year, and it’s interesting, eye opening and enjoyable. It’s all very accessible too, with multiple locations in our area. You can buy a festival pass for $25, or pay as you go for individual performances and showcases.

The festival kicks off this Thursday at InterAccess with a launch party from 7-11p. This party is free to the public and should provide a sneak peek at the rest of the fest, with a lot of the attendees contributors to the art.

Many of the Vector Festival’s workshops and shows will be held at InterAccess’ Headquarters at 9 Ossington, including the festival’s main exhibit The Algorithmic Imagination, running there through August. You can also attend a music making workshop at InterAccess on Saturday, with paid admission.

Artscape Youngplace on nearby Shaw Street is another locale for Vector Fest, and notably will be hosting a performance on Saturday night with music, coding, and more. This is a paid event, or included with the pass.

To top it all off, after a weekend of workshops and art, local tequila and music hotspot Reposado Bar hosts the final closing party on Sunday night from 8-11PM, with a live musical performance by Castle If.

The Vector Festival is bringing all sorts of new art methods and viewpoints to Toronto, and Ossington. In addition to parties, there are lectures and workshops, so lots to keep you entertained this weekend in our neighbourhood!

As always, look at our calendar for all the local Vector Fest events and anything else going on nearby.

Shinola Now Open Queen/Ossington

shinolalogoShinola opened at Queen and Ossington this weekend, further marking Ossington as a Toronto shopping destination. The luxury watch, bicycle and leather maker from Detroit makes the 1000 Queen Street West location its first Canadian retail outlet.

Shinola is a brand with a strong and sellable story: bringing factory work back to the beleaguered Detroit, and reinvigorating and spreading pride for the city. Needless to say, that story of doing good and giving back resonates with millennials, so opening in Ossington Village was a no-brainer. If the U.S.A. pride will resonate in the land of “Toronto vs. Everybody” remains to be seen, but considering that seems to  be a rip-off from Detroit of all places, Shinola is poised to be very successful here!

I checked out the store today. The space looks great: Warm, open and bright with lots of natural light. The products are high quality leather goods, watches enjoyed by Bill Clinton and Ben Affleck, and very hip looking bicycles. There’s even a bicycle display in place of a light fixture from the ceiling.

I took some photos today, but check the place out for yourself! It’s right around the corner.

ShinolaBikes

Shinola makes and sells bikes, and incorporated them into a cool in-store display

 

ShinolaLeatherbag

Shinola Leather Goods – from wallets and journals to totes and backpacks

 

ShinolaWatchesLeather

The famous – and celebrity endorsed – Shinola watches

 

ShinolaMachine

In amongst the wares is some well preserved manufacturing equipment

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.

BikeEquipment

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.