2014 in Review: Openings and Closings on Ossington

2014Ossington continued to grow in 2014, but we also lost some favorites. We’ve always seen Ossington as a microcosm for our city’s culture, and a lot of the bigger trends happened on Ossington: the move from fine dining to snack bars; the evolution from hip and trendy arts to a more gentrified retail playground; games and comfort. And as Ossington gets busier and more expensive, Dundas West keeps growing, and our options for nightlife, dining and shopping expand. Now that 2014 is a thing of the past, we review it.  Moving forward, pledge to continue supporting our local businesses and try at least one new place in 2015, especially this cold and miserable part of 2015 when the businesses need it the most.

RETAIL

In 2014, Ossington became a much bigger destination for shoppers, extending along Queen up towards Dundas. The first addition was Victoire Boutique, an Ottawa-based women’s fashion store showcasing a lot of Canadian designers. The cute shop with friendly management opened in February 2014. Victoire is at 129A Ossington.

There’s a huge new furniture and design store on Ossington, which will do very well with all the new residents moving into all the new condos in our neighborhood. StyleGarage moved from Queen to Ossington and the space is gorgeous. StyleGarage is at 78 Ossington.

Brides-to-be and their friends have another reason to come to Ossington besides girls’ night out. LoversLand opened this fall to serve all those ready to wed. LoversLand is at 215 Ossington.

ARTS

Eclectic and always energetic Oz Studios closed down this past spring. The music, arts and every community is sad to see it happen. A host to NXNE parties, celebrity photography shows, and underground arts events, Oz Studios and it’s owner/curator Joe Fuda made Ossington a fun, hip and always friendly place to see and do something different. Oz Studios was at 134 Ossington and the space remains empty.

Another loss for the arts was the closure of AWOL Gallery in June. The art gallery, located at 78 Ossington, put on clever shows, and has not re-opened anywhere yet.

DINING AND DRINKING

In 2014, we welcomed new restaurants which filled niches we were missing, but we also lost some of Toronto’s best. We’ll start with the good news.

Mamakas Taverna, a lively upscale Greek restaurant serving authentic and delicious food, opened last August. The reviews have been strong from the startMamakas is at 80 Ossington.

Ossington got it’s newest – and maybe hottest – restaurant in November when upscale old-world Canadian spot Borealia opened. It’s been getting positive press ever since so make a reservation. Borealia is at 59 Ossington.

Delux, one of the most established restaurants on Ossington, announced they were closing last June. The French-Cuban bistro closed it’s doors, but the owners made us happy when they informed us they will be re-opening a more casual Cuban diner similar to their popular Roncesvalles spot, La Cubana. Delux is at 92 Ossington.

The Well, a new bar, enhanced the scene in April, and it’s not your typical Ossington bar. They’ve brought the board game trend to our street, and threw in fresh baked goods to complement your beer, wine, cider and more. The Well is at 121 Ossington.

In May, a new ice cream shop brought the masses to the street all summer long. The line-ups sometimes went into the street and made for some traffic jams on the east sidewalk, but the homemade ice cream, made into ice cream cookie sandwiches and more, made Bang Bang a huge success and a welcome addition. Bang Bang Ice Cream is at 93 1/2 Ossington.

Already a dining destination, the strip of Dundas near Ossington welcomed some new restaurants in 2014. The Goods, a healthy lunch option with take-out and delivery, opened on Dundas West in February 2014. They serve soups, smoothies, juices and delicious vegetarian plates of salads, wraps and more. The Goods is at 1255 Dundas West.

Snack bars are a trend in Toronto right now, and Dundas West is no different. Last June, Ossington Stop started serving cheap  drinks and tasty comforting treats like dumplings and tacos. They’re open late. Ossington Stop is at 1164 Dundas West.

Jewish food found a home on Dundas West when Portuguese flavored Quinta converted to traditional Jewish cuisine Essen. Serving hearty old-world fare for lunch, dinner and brunch, now there’s somewhere to get both traditional dishes like brisket and bagels, plus new twists such as Jewish Banh Mi. Essen is at 1282 Dundas West.

This fall, Dundas West (and hopefully all of us) got a bit healthier when Veghed opened it’s doors. The vegetarian offerings are also mostly organic and vegan, and tasty. A good way to start the year. Veghed Bar is at 1199 Dundas West.

The opportunity to enjoy a big sports event with friends and strangers – at a time when local teams are winning – got much easier when The Contender opened in October. Lots of screens, good food, and Toronto teams in contention! The Contender is at 1166 Dundas West.

Unfortunately for us all, experimental and always exceptional restaurant Yours Truly closed in September. Although the service waned in the last few months, the food was always stellar.  Yours Truly was at 229 Ossington. No word on a replacement.

After the loss of Yours Truly, we didn’t want to face the news that The Grove was closing too. But after some delicious meals – and cocktails – The Grove closed in November. after two short well-reviewed years. It will probably be replaced by a snack bar. We don’t know. The Grove was at 1214 Dundas West.

Levack Block was another local spot to close, and with its long lines and sometimes rowdy late night crowds, the loss wasn’t as deeply felt as the others. There have been many rumours about what is taking over that premier corner space, with the latest being a boutique hotel. While that is only in the planning and application stage, we’ll keep you updated. Levack Block was located at 88 Ossington

We look forward to what’s to come in 2015. For the seventh year, we’ll be blogging about what’s going on in the area, and we hope you’ll be reading and sharing with us. Happy New Year!