Now Toronto released their annual readers’ choice lists of top businesses in Toronto, and lots of local businesses ranked high. Here’s a recap of the bars, stores, restaurants and people to be voted best by Toronto locals. Congratulations to all!
Trinity Bellwoods Park ranked as runner up for Best Park (High Park won)
Congrats to Mike Layton – runner up as Best City Councillor
Tocino Boys are moving their popular Filipino street food kitchen to La Porte on Ossington.
About Tocino Boys
Tocino Boys is run by chef John DeBlois, and serves street food with a Filipino twist, including tacos, burgers, poutine, and more. Located out of the kitchen at Midpoint on Queen West for the last couple of years, the move to Ossington is for more space, and a great location! They’ve been lauded with good reviews from Now Toronto and are part of a burgeoning Filipino food scene in Toronto.
About La Porte
La Porte, generally known as one of Ossington’s clubby bars for drinking and dancing, hasn’t served food in the entire 3 years they’ve been in business at 214 Ossington. The addition of this kitchen to their space changes their hours and, probably, their clientele to an extent.
Tocino Boys on Ossington
According to their Facebook post, the kitchen will be open from 6-10PM (days are not specified) and late night from 10pm-2:45am on weekends. Location is 214 Ossington, on the west side of the street near Dundas. No word on when exactly the grand opening will be, but we’ll stop in for some Filipino eats and post about it here.
Ossington and adjacent Dundas West, is a snack food capital of Toronto, and the addition of this well reviewed kitchen to our hood is only making it harder to not eat out every single night.
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
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!
Map of Ossington Crit Course
Save the date: July 23rd
Ossington between Dundas and Queen – street party, music, cycling and shopping: 11am-11pm.
The Toronto Jazz Festival is one of the world’s biggest jazz events with musicsuperstars 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:
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
A lot of local restaurants are getting some good press lately. As spring and summer near, those south of the border are exploring where to travel. The neighbourhood is getting mentioned in all sorts of publications, both local and international, pointing out both the tried and true, and some hidden gems..
Omaw, the new southern style joint run by Matt Blondin and The Food Dudes, is booked nightly and probably will continue be in the near future, is rated #3 on the list. Located at the corner of Ossington and Humbert, Omaw opened late summer 2015.
Omaw is closely followed at #4 by Imanishi, the izakaya that opened late last year on Dundas West near Rusholme Road.
Dundas West newbie Antler gets some love here too, with raves for game meats, especially venison. This spot opened last fall and has been packing in diners to the small space at 1454 Dundas Street West.
Hanmoto, the tiny spot on Lakeview, and brother to Ossington favorite Oddseoul, is listed at #15. It’s tiny, but the food packs a lot of flavour.
When it comes to bars in Toronto, a few of Now’s favorites are also located in our part of town. Local beer and arcade bar Get Well rates #7 for both of those things, plus their recent addition of North of Brooklyn Pizza. Always reliable Reposado is recognized not just for it’s stellar selection of tequilas, but it’s great live music too, with a ranking of #14 on Now’s list. Dundas West wine bar Archive, located near Trinity Bellwoods Park, ranked #15. Check out the full list: there are a lot of great bars!
Toronto restaurants are getting quite a bit of press in the U.S. media; who can blame them for wanting to take advantage of our dollar?
After over a year of silence, Baby Huey started posting on Facebook today. We thought to ourselves, what’s that all about? Well now we know and it’s big news: Baby Huey, an old Ossington establishment known for it’s patio, karaoke and late nights, which closed for a while last year to little fanfare, is returning in a new Ossington space this weekend!
There are a lot of changes happening on Ossington including new buildings and businesses, so we did a walk around and took some photos to highlight some of the most recent ones on the street.
The small location at 104 Ossington just north of Lower Ossington Theatre most recently housed a onesie shop called Kigurumi, has also been a record store and a vintage shop, and will soon be home to a tattoo parlour called Bellwoods Tattoo.
Baby Hueys is now gone from 72 Ossington, and the space appears to be renovating into a new storefront. Next door there’s a logo for TA2, a recording studio with headquarters on the east end, and may be expanding to Ossington.
Motif Lofts has been under construction for a few years and looks closer to being ready for tenants. In the next few months we may also see some new retailers on the ground floor at 41 Ossington.
At the corner of Ossington and Queen, Stussy is now closed as we anticipate the arrival of the American retailer who took over the lease:
The building at 114 Ossington, which houses Venezia Bakery, is has been undergoing a massive transformation, adding two floors above, most likely for residences.
Finally, The Crooked Star, at 202 Ossington on the corner of Roylat St, is in the midst of a transformation. We have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors, but a lot of people are hoping the renovated Crooked Star opens soon!
This Sunday, February 7th, is one of the big sporting events of the year, the Super Bowl, where the Carolina Panthers will play the Denver Broncos for the NFL championship. While some will be interested in the game itself, lots of others – aficionados of marketing – will tune in for the biggest day in TV ad launches. Yet others will tune in for the entertainment, whether it be Lady Gaga singing the national anthem or Coldplay and Beyonce, who are scheduled for the half-time show. The Ossington neighbourhood now has no shortage of great venues to get together with friends and watch the action.
Some of the local venues that will have big screens for the game areOpera Bobs, on Dundas east of Ossington, The Dock Ellis, also on Dundas but west of Dovercourt, which always has solid food options. The Contenderis probably the biggest sports bar in the neighbourhood, with lots of screens, so you won’t miss any action.
The Reposadists, led by Reposado owner Sandy McFayden on vocals, is a 5 piece jazz band showcasing the talents of Toronto’s best musicians. They play regularly at Reposado, entertaining patrons with a mixture of jazz standards. The party on Saturday night will be a foray into a different venue, and on top of the music, you can enjoy a special tequila beverage served by Tromba Tequila. Tickets are $20 and reservations are recommended.
If for whatever reason, you can’t make it to the show this weekend (we get it – January is a good time to leave town!), but are a fan of the classic lounge styles of Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra, the CD is available for sale online at CD Baby.
The Painted Lady is doing what they do best for New Year’s: burlesque dancing on the bar and DJ NV playing soul and funk hits. The party starts at 9pm with appetizers, the music will be pumping all night, and there’s a champagne toast at midnight. Entry is $10 and you can buy tickets in advance.
The Ballet on Ossington has big plans for New Year’s Eve. The nightspot will have music by CRSB & Teo Neo and live burlesque dancing. Their Minutes to Midnight party is a big night out, with a variety of package options and bottle service choices, all including a complimentary champagne toast at Midnight.
Reposado house band The Reposadists will be playing all night, so you can listen to their jazz stylings while sipping tequila with your friends.
Dining and Drinking
Boehmer is hosting a special dinner service on New Year’s Eve. In addition to their usual menu they’ll offer some very special additions including; Fire Roasted Oysters, Dry Aged Tomahawk Steak for 2, Turbot fillet with Spotted Prawns and Acadian Caviar, Muscovy Duck Breast with White Truffles.
The newly opened Southern eatery Omaw is offering 2 seatings with their a la carte menu for New Year’s Eve, or you can pay $10 after 10PM which includes a midnight toast and party favors.
Soos is open on New Year’s Eve – no prix fixe, the usual delicious menu and some “great features.” Make reservations now.
The Saucy Pierogi, newly opened on Dundas, will have two seatings for a $35 5 course prix fixe menu. They’re touting complimentary cocktails and special giveaways, so if you want some Polish dumplings for your December 31st dinner, make reservations now!
The Dock Ellis has a different take on New Year’s Eve. Their “Happy New Beers” event is a tap takeover with some new brews from local breweries like Beaus and Junction Craft Brewing. Stop by anytime after 8PM, no reservation required, and toast the new year over some new craft beers.
Do you know of other local events for New Year’s? Let us know! Happy New Year!