The evolution of Dundas off Ossington

The Garrison sign

It seems that the Ossington moratorium has benefited Dundas Street West, turning it into the new, new thing. The proliferation of galleries, bars, restaurants and more continues this fall with the opening of several spots between Crawford and Beaconsfield alone.

What was once a mixture of Portuguese sports bars, hair salons and video stores is now a booming strip of fine dining restaurants, hipster bars, and a new gym. Let’s explore Dundas just east and west of Ossington.

While some of the better known spaces have been around for years, such as The Communist’s Daughter and The Lakeview, many of the go-to places opened less than 2 years ago: The Red Light, Show and Tell Gallery and Opera Bob’s come to mind. Continuing that trend, The Garrison took over a huge sports bar and turned it into one of the better live music venues in the city, with on-the-verge acts playing most every night. Enoteca Sociale is an expansion of Ossington’s Pizzeria Libretto family, and the rustic Italian wine bar is packing them in after approximately 6 months in business. Loop Gallery opened a year ago just west of Dovercourt, adding to Dundas West’s cachet in the arts’ community.

One of the more recent newcomers is Brockton General, which is getting rave reviews for it’s small menu of daily specials on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  Academy of Lions, a cross-fit gym, just opened in a former auto service station on Dundas a block east of Dovercourt. Churchill, a lounge-bar, opened last month at Dundas and Lakeview, and Bunda Lounge is opening soon just east of Ossington.

Since Dundas doesn’t have a moratorium, it is much easier to open a restaurant or bar there than on Ossington. We’re not going to get into the fact that maybe they should be revising some bylaws so there are different licenses for bars as opposed to restaurants, and that we don’t need to force bars to serve food because we are all adults and smart enough to know when we need to eat. Ok, maybe I did go into that. Seriously, it’s 2010, can our government treat us like grownups? Anyway, the point is, we assume the tough restrictions on Ossington have caused some of the spill-over onto Dundas, and we see so many “for lease” and “for sale” signs that this will probably continue for some time. We’ll be here to cover it.