Archives

2016 In Review: Openings and Closings in Ossington Village

2016 is almost over, and we look back at all the new businesses we welcomed to the neighbourhood this year, and the ones that closed. Here is our 2016 in Review of the changes in Ossington Village this past year.


Ufficio Restaurant opened January 2016

At the very start of the new year, we welcomed new Italian fish focused restaurant Ufficio. Still serving dinner most nights, Ufficio is located at 1234 Dundas West.


Bridge + Bardot closed January 2016

Women’s fashion boutique Bridge + Bardot was open on Dundas West for 3 1/2 years. The shop closed in January to focus on their online store, which is still operating.


Rock Lobster Closed, Baby Huey Moved Into the Space, March 2016

Continue reading 2016 In Review: Openings and Closings in Ossington Village

2015 Look Back: Openings and Closings on Ossington

2015In the years we’ve written this blog, one thing is constant: change. There were a lot of changes on the street this year, with plenty of new restaurants, retailers and services opening on Ossington and Dundas. With those new openings, there were also some closings, notably in the art gallery scene as they move further west. So let’s look back at 2015’s changes in our neighborhood.

After building up clientele from the back of Lost & Found, Town Barber opened it’s own spacious location on Dundas West just east of Ossington, serving men’s grooming needs from 1114 Dundas since January 2015.


Hanmoto also opened in late January, and the tiny Japanese snack food venue on Lakeview just north of Dundas has been filling seats and getting good reviews ever since.


 

junked windowFebruary brought more restaurant openings, including Junked Food Co at Dundas and Dovercourt, and the long-awaited second site of La Cubana. Both seem to be keeping busy so let’s hope they keep serving us delicious snacks and more!


 

The closings began in March, with Philip Sparks moving his shop from Foxley Street into his studio in the west end, and long-standing salon Lush and Lavish closing for good.


 

La Saucisserie, which opened in May, brought sausage and beer to Ossington. Recently they changed their name to LAS.


 

In June, Indian Grill opened, bringing a small family run business to the space which used to hold Amaya Express.


anicelogohome

July saw the opening of a local jewellery store: Anice Jewellery, expanding from Kensington Market, now offers Ossington crowds unique and custom jewellery and workshops.


 

Sustainable seafood restaurant Fishbar closed in July, and in September Return to Oss opened and then closed by mid November in the same location.


 

The Grow Op, a juicery and eatery, opened on Ossington in August, and Omaw, a southern food restaurant, soft opened at around the same time.


We saw some new openings in September: Bobbie Sue’s Mac and Cheese, which is serving the masses with creative takes on the comfort food dish.

obornlogo

Also in September, O’Born Contemporary, a top gallery focused on photography which had been open since 2010, closed it’s doors for the final time.


 

The last few months have been very busy, with businesses moving, closing and opening.

c54In November, Saucy Pierogi opened in the former Quinta and Essen space on Dundas West, Community 54 opened an outpost on Ossington selling sportswear and sneakers; Lola Salon revamped the Lush and Lavish space on Ossington, and Jimmy’s Coffee opened on the south end of the strip. Imperial Tattoo moved from Ossington to the corner of Dundas and Dovercourt.


 

Sam James and Stussy are being moved out of the Ossington and Queen corner at the end of the month to make way for an American retailer, and Pop Up 120 already moved out from corner of Argyle and Ossington.

Crooked Star closed last week and will hopefully open again soon after their renos.


Today, December 31st, is also the last day of vintage shop Vintage Mix One. So, once again we realize that the world of retail and restaurants is a fickle one and everything changes.

 

What was your favorite opening and/or least liked closing of the year? Let us know in the comments, and Happy New Year!

 

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!

2013 in Review: Openings on Ossington

opensignEvery year we celebrate the opening of new restaurants, services and retail shops, and this year was no different. Ossington is growing richer and more vibrant as we watch, and people from downtown and across the city are enjoying everything it offers.

A welcome addition in 2013 was Pedal Stop Bicycle shop, a much needed resource for our cycle friendly neighbourhood. The shop replaced an art gallery at 127 Ossington just in time for summer, and sells bicycles and bicycle accessories, as well as replacing parts and doing tun-ups and fixes.

New restaurant openings this year included Ardor Bistro, a Peruvian bistro serving piscos at 59 Ossington Avenue, Soos, which offers delicious Malaysian snacks and entrees at 94 Ossington. Early in the year, Bazara Sushi became the street’s first sushi restaurant when it opened at 188 Ossington. More recently, Malaysian cuisine joined the growing options on Ossington when Soos opened in October. The latest addition to Ossington is La Porte, which has taken over the space at 214 Ossington.

After a soft sneak preview before Christmas, Cote de Boeuf became everybody’s go-to butcher and sandwich maker when it officially launched in March.

Bellwoods officially opened it’s retail brew store in January, and now sells craft beer and merchandise daily.

Adding further proof to Ossington’s rise as a fashion hotspot, the European brand Tiger of Sweden opened an outpost on Ossington in March.  This was swiftly followed by Annie Aime‘s move from Yorkville to 40 Ossington last spring, selling original and beautiful European clothing, with a lovely sense of French style.

In July, Crywolf Clothing, with some help from fans online, opened a retail store selling their whimsical and adorable t-shirts, prints, jewelry, and more, including some Rob Ford themed merchandise. They are open at 91 Ossington.

Another fashion retailer, Pop Up 120, which will change designers every few months, took over the space at 120 Ossington last summer, and this fall, Lost and Found, a mostly men’s clothing store, moved from Dundas to 44 Ossington Avenue.

On top of all that, Hero Heroine, a full service unisex salon, opened in the spring at 216 Ossington.

Those are all the new spots that opened on our part of Ossington this year. If you haven’t tried them, this is a reminder to get out there.

Top 10 Posts of 2012

It was a busy year in the Ossington area. In reflection of the year end, we like to share some of the posts that received the most traffic over the course of the year. The list is filled with posts about the openings of restaurants, topped off with The Saint Tavern, and including some of our and your favourites like Get Well, OddSoeul, Yours Truly, Arrow Cafe and Bellwoods. Other popular posts related to the new condos being built at 109 Ossington and the very interesting art project in the alleyway behind the west side of Ossington north of Queen. From high to low, the top posts of 2012:

  1. Now Open – The Saint Tavern
  2. Get Well adds craft brews to Dundas West
  3. Let Ossington Grow – 109 Should Be Built
  4. Table d’OZ comes to 109 in support of The Stop
  5. Opening Soon: ODDSEOUL
  6. The Arrow Cafe and Ice Cream Opens on Dundas and Ossington
  7. Yours Truly Now Open
  8. Ossington LaneWay Art Project Benefits Community
  9. Amaya Express finally opens on Ossington
  10. Bellwoods, A New Brewery, Chooses Ossington

Other fun 2012 facts.

  • July was the busiest month for site traffic.
  • 22% of visitors this year accessed the site through a mobile device compared to 12% last year
  • The busiest day of the year was November 20th when we posted Let Ossington Grow

We look forward to experiencing and sharing another great year. Here’s to 2013!

 

Ossington Restaurants Receive Kudos in 2012

Toronto is becoming a great restaurant city, and part of that is due to the excellent ones in the Ossington and Dundas area. At this time of year, a lot of publications and websites post their top restaurants of the year, and our locals are among the favorites.

Now Toronto just recently published their Top 10 Restaurants of 2012, and ranks Hawker Bar among the best. Yours Truly made the Top 10 of Joanne’s Kates’ best Toronto restos this year, and Enoteca Sociale, Union, The Saint, Foxley, and Pizzeria Libretto all made her 100.

The Star’s Amy Pataki eschews the best restaurant list for a Top 10 Moments of the year, and one of them features the presentation and food at Yours Truly.

Yours Truly again comes up, along with The Grove, within the top 10 restaurants from the DineTO critic, and The Lakeview won the reader’s award for best late night munchies.

The Grove received kudos from Jacob Richler back in September, when he named the Dundas West British-influenced restaurant the best new restaurant in Canada for Macleans Magazine.

2012 Look Back: Openings

open_sign2012 was another big year for new businesses in the area. Some opened with controversy, and some with great fanfare. Here’s a recap of the new retailers and restaurants in Ossington Village.

Unleashed in the City opened in March, bringing joy to dog owners with their walking and boarding service, and a retail store with toys, snacks and other useful wares for pet owners.

Also in March, Philip Sparks shut down his pop-up and opened a beautiful store for his designs on Foxley just behind Ideal Coffee. He’s having some great sales for Boxing Day, so go check it out.

The Grove, just west of Ossington at 1214 Dundas West, also opened in March. It has since been lauded as one of the best restaurants in the city, so if you haven’t tried it, make a reservation.

In April, some long awaited and some controversial restaurants opened. The Saint, which had been in the works for a few years, finally opened at 227 Ossington. Their bacon-laden breakfast is recommended!

Despite some fearful neighbors, Hawker Bar also opened in April, and they remain very popular for Singaporean street food and no crowds out front.

Bellwoods Brewery made the April restaurant openings a trifecta, and the popularity of the restaurant and the retail store means they are already working on expanding.

Town Moto brought motorcycles and associated gear to the neighborhood in May, and in June, Rescue Vintage started selling beautiful clothing and jewelry at 102 Ossington.

Another business that opened in June is Get Well Bar, a local craft beer bar on Dundas West, followed by lots of new retailers and restaurants in July. Quinta, The Arrow Cafe and Bridge and Bardot launched on Dundas West near Ossington, and Amaya Express opened an outpost at 108 Ossington.

Showing that Ossington isn’t just restaurants and retail, The Lot Stand Up Comedy Club opened within the Lower Ossington Theatre in August, and still continues to offer stand up and other comedy shows on weekends.

Our neighborhood continues to see new businesses flourishing. Ending the year with a bang, Rock Lobster Food Co has opened to great success, followed quickly by the late night snacks and drinks bar Oddseoul. We also noted Buffer Nails and Waxing at 123 Ossington, Gravity Pope and Stussy bringing fashion to the Queen and Ossington corridor, and Teo from Union Restaurant‘s exciting new butcher and gourmet foods enterprise, Cote de Bouef.

We are lucky to live in this neighborhood and enjoy all of these new and established businesses around the corner. Just 5 years ago, we traveled a lot further for everything we can access nearby today. And we’re sure, living in changing Toronto, that there are more to come. If we get even half of what we got in 2012, we’ll consider that a success.

We are still waiting to see who is taking over the spaces formerly occupied by Paramour, Goed Eten and Beau Lieu Bistro, and we’re sure there are more to come in 2013. We’ll be watching, and please, let us know what you see!

2011 Most Read Blog Posts

About this time of year, we like to look back and see what people have been reading on the site and highlight the most popular posts of the year by traffic.

The list is interesting, reflecting not only what’s been popular, but also highlighting places and events we have covered first, been the only ones to cover, or which do not have their own web presence.

1) The Port – updated local spot keeps traditional Beef Shishkabob The first on the list is actually a post written in 2010 about The Port on Dundas. They did an overhaul at the end of last year but decided to keep the one menu item the new managers thought would sell, a delicious beef shishkabob which comes to the table on a sword.

2) Fishbar Opens their Doors – In second place was our post about the long awaited Fishbar, which opened in May and has been going strong ever since. We especially like their Oyster matinee on weekend afternoons.

3) Havana Cultura Starts Today! – This post, written in 2010 for the first edition of the festival, is still more popular than the post we wrote about this year’s festival in July. We’re looking forward to many more years of this Cuban cultural festival remaining in the neighbourhood.

4) Beau Lieu Bistro is Now Open – We wrote this post in September 2010 and it’s still popular. It’s probably because this quiet French bistro hasn’t had much publicity in other media and audiences online are looking to know more.

5) The evolution of Dundas off Ossington – Another post from October 2010 remained popular through 2011. As the moratorium came to a close in 2010, we noticed the quick transition of Dundas to a more food-centric strip. At that time, many new places were opening, including Churchill, Enoteca Sociale, Brockton General,  The Red Light, The Port, Camp 4, and more, all taking the local food and drink culture which had started on Ossington to a new place around the corner on Dundas.

6) Opening Soon: Amaya Express – There’s no doubt it takes a long time to get a restaurant open. We wrote about this Indian restaurant chain soon-to-be opening in March. Here it is December and we’re still waiting.

7) Cosmopolis shoot brings stars to Ossington and Dundas – It seems vampires are popular. When we wrote in May about how Robert Pattinson was filming in the neighbourhood, his fans immediately retweeted and shared our post. The day we posted this was one of the busiest days this year for traffic on the site.

8) Psst – There’s an Ossington Village Alleyway Party – In early August, local musician and bartender at Communist’s Daughter and organizer Michael Louis Johnson organized a party in the alleyway between Argyle and Foxley. This post was shared widely, letting people know of this no-so-secret event.

9) Yours Truly Now Open – Despite only being on the site for about 14 days, this post, written on December 16th about the new restaurant Yours Truly, is still in our top 10. We ended up stopping by later in the week and the food was outstanding. We’ll be back there a lot.

10) Queen West Music Fest Marks Year 3 in Trinity Bellwoods Park – Finishing off our list of the top 10 posts of the year was our story on the 3rd year of the Queen West Music Festival. This local charity and music event included some great musicians including Stephen Prickett, Miss Emily, Mike Evin, Lazybones and Adam’s Rib.

Looking forward to another exciting year ahead!

2011 Look Back: Ossington Openings

Over the past year, we welcomed a number of new businesses to the neighborhood, not as many as in 2010, but quite a few! We hope they’ll grow and succeed, so to help, we’ll remind you of these restaurants, stores and art galleries. If you haven’t visited them, you can add them to your “check out” list for 2012.

More than Pasta opened it’s doors officially at 121 Ossington in March 2011, but we got an advance look at the delicious pastas, sauces and prepared foods they make in-house.

Fishbar opened in May, serving happy hour and dinner at 217 Ossington Ave, and since then they’ve added a lunch menu for all the fish lovers around. Also in May, the Lakeview Storehouse opened, selling produce and groceries, along with poutine, adjacent to the Lakeview Restaurant on Dundas.

Just in time for summer, Eagle’s Nest Espresso and Ice Cream opened at 1199 Dundas Street West.

November was a busy month for openings: we noted the return of Lennox Contemporary, now at 44 Ossington, and the opening of The Dog Bowl at 984 Dundas West. Also new is G Gallery in the back at 134 Ossington.

In December we welcomed two of the newest businesses on the street: Yours Truly is now open 6 nights a week (closed Tuesday) for dinner at 229 Ossington, and Don’t Tell Mama is a gallery and art space.

There are also a lot of places we’ve been talking about opening but are still waiting for – like Amaya, The Saint and Bellwoods Brewery. More to look forward to in the new year!

 

2011 Look Back: Festivals

Ossington is a destination for people from across Toronto and beyond, partly for the mix of eclectic festivals that draws us and others to the strip. 2011 was no exception, so we’re looking back at the festivals this year on Ossington.

The year in festivals kicked off in January with a dance festival called Connect TO at Lower Ossington Theatre, which is a prime festival location.

The music festival season began with the Canadian Music Festival in March. Musicians and bands performed at local venues including The Painted Lady, The Garrison and The Dakota Tavern.  Juno Fest also hit Toronto, and Ossington, in March, with Canadian musicians featured at The Garrison and The Dakota Tavern.

The music came back with the return of NXNE in June, and we saw some amazing shows right here in Ossington Village. This July, the Painted Lady created a new festival to coincide with the Toronto Jazz and Fringe Festivals. Maybe next year, we’ll see more venues join the fun.

The Contact Photography Festival covered art galleries for the entire month of May, and didn’t miss Ossington, with exhibits at The Painted Lady, Angell Gallery, Brockton General and Levack Block.

Jane’s Walks, which take place all over the globe on a May weekend, were also led in our neighborhood. Maybe next year you’ll see an Ossington Village Jane’s Walk instead of “the Hipster’s Guide to Ossington!”

Summerworks returned in August, bringing music and theatre to Lower Ossington Theatre and other local venues. The hugely popular Havana Cultura returned for it’s second year in August, with Cuban music, art and food on offer at almost every spot on the street. Who can forget the cigar roller surrounded by scantily clad women? Another returning event was Queen West Music Fest, which celebrated it’s third year this summer in Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Some was sipped, and some was likely chugged, but either way, Toronto Beer Week also returned to Ossington in 2011, with tastings and pairings at local restaurants and bars. Ossington also saw the return of TO Sketch Fest, with lots of comedic troupes taking to the stage at LOT this past November.