Archives

Ossington Business Profile #13 – More Than Pasta

We were happy to introduce the community to More Than Pasta when it opened early this year. This take-out emporium for healthy, freshly cooked Italian fare has thrown open houses, donated food to charity, and plans to do a lot more to serve the neighbourhood.

I spoke with Gabriella, the passion behind the growing enterprise, and she answered the questions for our Business Profile series.

If the photos are whetting your appetite, More Than Pasta is located at 121 Ossington, just south of Argyle.

 

 

 

 

What’s your business?

PRODUCING A FRESH, UNIQUE PASTA PRODUCT
•       High Protein;

•       Low Calories;

•       Low Carbs;

•       Diabetic Friendly (Low Glycemic); and

•       High fibre content;

•       Premium High End Packaging & Product;

•       Using only the  finest, all natural ingredients.

*All our raw materials are purchased in Ontario
“It’s a win-win for all: fresh food for our customers and support for Ontario Suppliers

How is your business unique?

More Than Pasta is produced the old fashioned way – artisan style with an original Italian pasta machine. This beautifully crafted process kneads and works the dough to create a truly homemade pasta experience.
More Than Pasta is lovely textured pasta that is porous and absorbs the “gusto” – the flavour of the sauce.

How long have you been in business here?

Opened in March 2011

What drew you to be here on Ossington?

The eclectic group of businesses tucked into this distinctive and diverse neighbourhood

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

More diversity in terms of new businesses. Lots of weekend ‘visitors’ to the community.

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

As part of the neighbourhood. Supporting community events, welcoming new businesses, active in Business Associations.

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

PARAMOUR – THE SERVICE IS  EXCEPTIONAL, THE FOOD IS SPECTACULAR, AND  CHEF LAURA MALIN IS FABULOUS. SHE ONCE USED OUR MORE THAN PASTA PRODUCT  TO CREATE A WONDERFUL DISH FROM HER GRANDMOTHERS RECEIPES AND BOTH OF US BEING ITALIAN, WAS ONE OF OUR FAVORITES, PASTA CON IL TONNO EH POMIDORO DI LA NONNA   (GRANMOTHER’S TOMATO BASED TUNA & PASTA)

Ossington Business Profile #12 – Lower Ossington Theatre

Since we started the blog, we have enjoyed covering the events and shows at the Lower Ossington Theatre. From the Toronto Youth Theatre, to their support of the Summerworks and other festivals, LOT has a strong artistic presence and value in our neighborhood.

Lately, the Lower Ossington Theatre has added weekend matinees for children like Angelina Ballerina and Pinkalicious, and they continue to add to their evening offerings. Next month, for instance, Reefer Madness takes over the theatre from June 9-18. All of the events at LOT are in our calendar.

For our 12th Ossington Business profile, we posed our usual questions to Joseph Patrick of the Lower Ossington Theatre.

What’s your business?

The Lower Ossington Theatre (The LOT)

How is your business unique?

This year The LOT celebrates 5 years of being “family by day, fun by night!” Our diverse programming includes such popular shows as the children’s series “Pinkalicious” and “Angelina Ballerina”, and cult classics like “Rocky Horror” and “Reefer Madness”. Our Youth Theatre programs engage aspiring teen actors, providing real-life experience in a professional theatre setting.

How long have you been in business here?

Since April 2006, 5 years.

What drew you to be here on Ossington?

The opportunity to bring the arts to a great up-and-coming area on Toronto’s west side.

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

We have watched Ossington grow into a trendy area, full of great arts, retail, and restaurants.

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

We will be the primary destination for arts and entertainment in this area.

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

We love Crafted Coffee. Free wi-fi is our top factor when deciding where to head for meetings on the strip.

Ossington Business Profile #11 – Delux

Since opening in 2008, Delux Restaurant has been one of the restaurants that make Ossington Avenue a destination for Toronto diners. Owner and head chef Corinna Mozo has received acclaim for her Cuban take on bistro classics. Besides the popular dinner menu, Delux also has added a weekend lunch and brunch menu that includes decadently delicious donuts and fritters (of course we’ve tried them!).

Now, Corinna Mozo has responded to our series of questions that we call the Ossington Business Profile.

What’s your business?

Delux is a local Toronto restaurant that serves rustic French cuisine with Cuban Influences. We’re located on Ossington just north of Queen Street.

How is your business unique?

Delux is unique in that it provides our customers with a unique experience, from food to atmosphere. We have a relaxed atmosphere, with an intimate setting and neighborhood feel. The menus are market driven and locally sourced where possible, with an emphasis on simplicity and flavor. We also make a mean Cubano sandwich.

How long have you been in business here?

We opened in January 2008. A lot has changed along the Ossington strip since we opened!

What drew you to be here on Ossington?

When we decided to move to Toronto, we were still living in Boston. I wanted to open a small place and always liked the idea of locating in an up and coming area. When I asked my brother where I should open up, he suggested Ossington. We didn’t see it right away, but I trust his instincts – he was right! It’s an amazing neighborhood and we have some of the best locals in the city.

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

Ossington has evolved into a great neighbourhood. It reminds me of the community we had in Boston – everyone is very supportive of each other.
We’ve seen a lot of change in the neighborhood – more shops, boutiques, and restaurants have opened. Ossington is turning into Toronto’s hottest food destination in the city. The area has a hip, cool and quirky energy.

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

In five years from now, we hope Delux will continue to be a local spot that serves up delicious food. Our new lunch and brunch has been a huge success, and we just started making preserves. I want to stay true to who we are, but continue to grow with customers and neighbors.

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

My favorite spot on Ossington is Jaidens Petals. Dani is a great friend and creates amazing rustic floral arrangements. She also carries a lovely selection of vintage treasures, pots and vases. Her flowers are the perfect compliment to our restaurant.

Cincopa WordPress plugin

Ossington Business Profile #10 – Imperial Tattoo

Our 10th Ossington business profile offers an opportunity for us to highlight Imperial Tattoo, located at #9 Ossington Ave, on the second floor above Interaccess Media Gallery. I spoke with Rob Reid, the manager of Imperial Tattoo, about the business and how they relate to Ossington Village.

What’s your business?

Imperial Tattoo

How is your business unique?

I guess the nature of tattooing as a business is founded on the idea that people want to make themselves more unique. We’re the only tattoo shop in a sea of bars, galleries, and restaurants.

How long have you been in business here?

We opened in January of 2008, so we’re two years deep now.

What drew you to be here on Ossington?

A bit of luck and intention. We knew that Ossington was an ‘up and coming’ neighbourhood and it just happened that we were looking at just the right time. Rent was affordable, and we found a great space for a great price that we couldn’t overlook. I have lived in and around the neighbourhood for the past 15 years, it felt like home.

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

Lots of upperscale restaurants and bars have popped up. The night life dynamic here has become somewhat surreal. The CAMH building has been demolished, and so has the Generator Club that stood empty for years. We anticipate many more changes over the next few years. I’d like to see some more variety to develop day traffic and community, however.

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

Honestly, I can’t and won’t make a prediction. The amount of changes we’ve seen in the two years make 5 years seem like a decade. I can only hope for good things.

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

Sweaty Bettys. We’re right next door and we’ve become somewhat symbiotic.

If there’s anything else you want to add, feel free. We’ll add it.

Please stop with all the condos already…

Ossington Business Profile #9 – Telegramme Prints and Custom Framing

 A newcomer to the neighbourhood is the focus of the 9th in our series of Ossington Business Profiles. Telegramme Prints and Custom Framing opened it’s second outpost in Toronto (the first is in Leslieville) at 194 Ossington just a month ago, and it’s sleek space and beautiful merchandise are drawing people inside. We met Ian last weekend, and recommend you pay him a visit: he is friendly and welcoming and very knowledgeable of his vast product selection.

We are not the only media to cover Telegramme Prints. There has been a lot of enthusiasm for the opening, and we think they add to the perfect blend of retail, dining, service and arts on the strip.  And now, Ian from Telegramme Prints and Custom Framing answers our 8 questions:

What’s your business?

  Our business is really two businesses: sourcing hard to get limited edition prints and posters that you can’t get anyplace else, from Parkdale and Kensington Market to Mexico and Japan. The second business we’re in is custom framing services for artwork we sell, and for artwork that clients bring in for framing. We have all kinds of custom framing services: plak mounting, canvas stretching, any kind of unusual job, but our focus is custom framing of prints and posters.

 How is your business unique?

 There are lots of poster shops and framing shops, but few places like ours in North America. We really work hard at positioning ourselves as an alternative to a bland mall experience. That doesn’t mean our posters and prints are expensive: 80% of our inventory is $25 or less. We have an awesome conservation custom framing package for $99 that is popular. And our prints and posters are the some of the best you can get, we’re always amazed and dazzled by the skills and talents of the designers and printers in the shop.

  How long have you been in business here?

  We’ve been in business since Sept 11, 2010 at 194 Ossington. We’ve also operated a shop since 2006 at 1103 Queen Street East in Leslieville.

  What drew you to be here on Ossington? 

 Much of our requirements involved the space having a specific criteria: parking, space, rear door access etc. We’d had our eye on this spot for 2 years, when it was another custom framing shop. When we saw the For Lease sign this summer, we moved really fast to get a deposit on it. It has everything we need and a lot more. We looked at a few other neighbourhoods, but this is the best.

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

 Not very many, because we’re so new. But I remember about 3-4 years ago, I was having drinks with friends around here. It was dark and cold, kind of menacing. This summer, the streets were full of smart people at night, lots of laughter and a total absence of any grim foreboding like before.

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

 I expect it the retail end things to develop more, it will complement the nightlife. Having small independent shops, restaurants and bars run by passionate people is what gives a neighbourhood like this its soul and quality of life, and I hope that continues. I really feel terrible for some of the small businesses on the street that have been stifled by the moratorium on bars. I can’t imagine putting so much time, energy and borrowed money into an enterprise, only to have the city pull the rug out, long after the point of no return. I hope five years from now, city dickering is not the story like it is now.

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

 Having the Home Hardware so close and with such a nice staff, I think of them as one of my favorite spots because they always save our bacon. There’s a lot else I haven’t seen yet, but I always like going into I Deal Coffee. Sometimes we have meetings at Pizza Libretto, it always feels special. I like BQM and Crafted too; like our shop, they set up their initial location in the east end and opened up another space on Ossington. I have a long list of places that I want to spend time in: Foxley and Crooked Star are at the top of that list… so is Xpace Gallery, one of our employees Tobias Williams, a printmaker, designed a window there recently.

 Even though our doors have only been open five weeks here, all of us at the shop have commented how fantastic the neighbourhood businesses and residents have been. We totally love it here.

Ossington Business Profile – Edition #8 – Christian McLeod arts studio

For the latest in our series of Ossington Business Profiles, we got Christian McLeod to answer our questions. Christian runs his eponymous arts studio and gallery at 89 Ossington Ave. The picture to the left is a sample of his work, a recent painting called “Control Room” which is going to be part of an exhibit in May in Halifax at Gallery Page and Strange.  So, on to the answers:

What’s your business?

Christian McLeod’s arts studio.

How is your business unique?

My situation is unique in that there is no seperation of gallerist and or gallery presentation of works from the viewer, the visitors and collectors see finished works and works in progress,  this is a unique experience as the viewer rarely get a chance to walk into an artists work space.
I have lived off and on all over this area going back to High school and Art School, when The Toronto School of Art was at Queen and Dovercourt back in the early 1990’s.
The gallery scene on Ossington gives way to bars, gives way to fancy restaurants with fancy cars in them. That’s how it goes.
Luft becomes Sweaty Beaty’s, and on up the money chain.

How long have you been in business here?

I have lived and worked on this street for 5 years now. My location is a live/work storefront arts studio. I moved here from the Dundas st. and Ritchie st. building, yet another building that turfed out the artists to make way for Authentic Loft Dwellers.

What drew you to be here on Ossington?

I was drawn to Ossington by a cheap studio for rent on Craig’s list. The studio buildings where for the most part all converted so i jumped at the chance. Frankly  after having moved further and further west as the buildings where converted, it was funny to me that i got to move back down here, felt like the Jefferson’s.

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

During the day and early evening the changes on Ossington are, for the most part good changes, its harder to find a spot to get the oil changed in the car and parking is scarce now that 905 is here to play.
But later in the evening that drunk fools who think the parking lots and fences are their washrooms is disgusting.
The Galleries that have moved onto the street are a great addition, they are serious professional galleries who have years of experience and are very serious about their work.
Two of the best restaurants in the city are on this street, so how can i complain about that, except when i don’t have the coin to enjoy them.
:).

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

Converted into condo’s.

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

Fav Spot is Foxley, its all about the staff.. oh ya and the food that will leave your mouth begging for more. And their list is good too.

Ossington Business Profiles – Edition #7 – YogaSpace

Living in the neighborhood, we often see people toting  yoga mats and heading straight for 148 Ossington, the home of YogaSpace, which is run by owner and director Kathyrn Beet.  For the seventh in our series of Ossington Business Profiles, we spoke to Janice, the administrator of this yoga studio and so much more! Below, the answers to our questions:

What’s your business?
How is your business unique?
How long have you been in business here?

YogaSpace is an established Toronto Yoga studio in it’s 15th year (on the Ossington strip for 6 years).  We offer a wide variety of Yoga classes on an extensive drop-in schedule.  We also offer specialty pre-registered classes and workshops including monthly Introduction to Yoga and Therapeutic Yoga workshops.  We lead two teacher training programs anually and host workshops featuring internationally
renowned  Yoga Teachers.  Our senior teachers lead Yoga retreats annually both locally and abroad.  We are also home to a clinical team who offer integrated therapeutics including registered massage therapy, shiatsu, acupuncture, naturopathy, osteopathy, lifestyle coaching and thai massage.

We are a community made up of people from all walks of life who come together to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the space,  the attentive, down to earth and friendly manner of our staff, and our strong teaching team.  YogaSpace offers something for everyone.  We see Yoga as a therapeutic tool that can
become a foundation for health.  While  some people come to the studio for exercise or to tone, strengthen and increase flexibility, others are working to overcome challenges such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress and low energy.  Whether you are looking for a vigorous vinaysa class, a gentle introduction to yoga, a meditative hatha class or a deeply therapeutic restorative class, our approach is therapeutic, and our intention is to provide students with a wide variety of opportunities to heal mind and body.

What drew you to be here on Ossington?

We wanted to be in the centre of our Queen West neighborhood and we saw Ossingon as the new frontier. We were one of the first businesses to open up here, and it has been exciting to see our vision of the strip manifest.

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

Everything has changed. Ossington went from being one of the ugliest, emptiest streets to a thriving, funky happening strip.

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

We are constantly growing and expanding, and so is Ossington, so we are really excited about the next 5 years.

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

We love Jaiden’s Petals and Cindy Loo Who and they provide us with all of our flowers and furniture. We also love the pizza at Libretto!

Ossington Business Profiles – Edition #6 – C1 art space

The 6th in our series of business profiles is of C1 art space. Located at 44 Ossington, C1 is an interesting spot where they not only display art, but offer opportunities for people to interact with art through classes.

Sandra from C1 answers our 8 questions:

What’s your business?

I run C1 art space, an art shop, art school and clay studio, with my husband Ross Bonfanti for the past 5 years. I am also a cofounder of a second business on Ossington,  AWOL Gallery and Studios, with a collective of seven artists for the past 11 years.

How is your business unique?

C1 art space is a community hub of creativity for all ages that allows people to see art items, buy them or learn to create and appreciate various processes. We have a fun blend of mixed media, clay and silk screening courses offered that draw people of all types of backgrounds.

How long have you been in business here?

5 years with C1 art space and 11 with AWOL Gallery and Studios

What drew you to be here on Ossington?

Initially back in 1999 it was affordability as we were fresh out of school. We needed a large space to house multiple art studios and the commercial/industrial aspect of some of the larger spaces on the street worked out perfectly. Now it’s grown so much and there is such versatility of businesses opening up. This street essentially became our home and where we wanted to remain when Ross and I deciding to open up C1 art space.

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

Many. The street was mostly karaoke bars with very little daytime traffic. It’s developing into an entirely new street.

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

I would hope that  Ossington continues to develop into a community village of sort, like Roncesvalles, that will remain long term and be integrated with the surrounding neighbourhood community. Ross and I hope to still be making things and showing Canadian artists work and handmade gift items we love so much.

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

Jaiden’s Petals and Cindiloohoo. Dani and Stefano are rays of sunshine on the street and have always been about old school  community. You can go in and get one of Dani’s lovely bouquets and chat for a bit about life. They care.

Ossington Business Profiles – Edition #5 – Cantadora

For #5 in our series of business profiles, we visit 216 Ossington and Cantadora Naturopathic Healthcare Centre. We spoke to Erin of Cantadora and she answered our 8 questions, below.

What’s your business?

Cantadora Naturopathic Healthcare Centre

How is your business unique?

We are a community-based wellness centre with a collective of therapists offering services such as naturopathic medicine, registered massage, acupuncture, shiatsu, craniosacral therapy and osteopathy.  We have a small natural products shop, a book-lending library, and offer some educational
programs and cooking classes.

How long have you been in business here?

Since April 2008

What drew you to be here on Ossington?

I lived in the area for years – it’s where I walked everyday, got my coffee, pho, saw live music, and so on.  This area is a beautiful melting pot, with a variety of ethnicities; people of all income levels (all the way from absolutely nothing to too much); musicians, artists & creative people…all kinds of perspectives and states of mind converge here.  All are welcome.

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

There is a lot more foot traffic than there used to be, especially during the daytime, which is great.

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

My hope is for it to be more like Kensington or Roncesvalles (or that it become it’s own special and unique community with a broad range of businesses and residents) and less like Yorkville or King West.

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

Frantic City, formerly Babel Books, is great for unique and cheap finds in the books and music department.  I think Dakota Tavern is brilliant for live music and it’s family-style Bluegrass Brunch is a good time.  Yet I Deal Coffee takes the prize, because it’s delicious.

Ossington Business Profiles – Edition #4 – Lush and Lavish Salon Spa

Lush and Lavish Salon Spa is the 4th business featured in our Ossington Business Profiles, so owners Linh and Trudy have answered our 8 questions.

If you don’t know already, Lush and Lavish is a full service salon located at 200 Ossington Avenue with plenty of great reviews.

With no further ado, let’s get to the 8 questions!

What’s your business?

Lush & Lavish Salon Spa

How is your business unique?

We’re a one-stop-shop for pampering with a full service hair salon, spa and laser clinic, we offer all beauty services from makeup lessons and airbrush tanning to laser hair removal.   All of our spa products are certified organic and our haircare line is chemical free.

How long have you been in business here?

Since October 2008

What drew you to be here on Ossington?

We’ve been watching the strip for a number of years and loved the changes that were happening and wanted to be a part of the community. We have two sister companies in the area, Huh Boutique at 847 Queen St W and Toi Bar on College St.  We also own residential apartments on the Ossington strip.

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

Ossington still has the same fun busy vibe as when we first arrived which is great, but sadly Mr Pantalone is doing his best to stem restaurant growth and the daytime cafes seem to be struggling a bit at the moment, what’s driving that is anyones guess.

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

2010 is already shaping up to be a great year for us and we were recently voted as one of the best spas in Toronto on blogto.com. With all the residential development in the area the buzz on Ossington will continue to get louder and we’re looking forward to growing with it for many years.

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

The House of Horvath fascinates me. It’s been in business on Ossington since 1932! Whenever I walk past it I think of the cigar factory tour I did in Havana, Cuba, I’d love to take a tour of the House of Horvath.