Welcome to my blog on Housing, Culture, and Design in Toronto, where I share my insights, ideas and point of view on the many facets of the Toronto Real Estate Market.
From my experience living in Toronto since the 1980s and watching it evolve – both personally and professionally – I’ve learned that no matter where you reside in the central core today, you have access to an eclectic range of amenities; whether they be pragmatic or recreational, for cultural enrichment or for entertainment, there are dynamic offerings in every pocket of Toronto’s ever-gentrifying downtown.
So, when it comes down to it, what is urban living really all about?
On the surface, it’s obviously about choice, proximity, and convenience. But consider the less tangible elements that contribute to a cohesive neighbourhood vibe, or simply to the joyful experience of living in a community. I think urban dwellers gravitate toward each other and also toward opportunity; in particular, we crave the opportunity to experience anything that’s fresh and edgy, and often position ourselves to witness, create, or live the latest trends – communally!
Anyone anywhere can say they love to “get out and do stuff”, but you can’t replicate the frenetic energy, the brisk pace, nor the spontaneity of Toronto! Here, depending on your neighbourhood, easy access provides the gateway to those unexpected daily experiences that enrich the self, both body and mind!
So what’s an ideal weekend in the life of an urbanite?
I thought I’d pick hip Queen West at Dovercourt to represent what I mean in regards to the synergy of city living. I could have easily chosen Queen East at Broadview in Leslievile or Bloor and Lansdowne in Wallace Emerson just south of The Junction for colour and vibrancy, but The Urbaneer Team has sold a lot of properties in this area, and whether you go north, east, south or west from the epicentre of Yonge and Bloor, each quadrant has its own heartbeat!
As far as I’m concerned, the best home base is when you have immediate access to some of the city’s best urban experiences. We’ve all trudged home in a blizzard during the frozen depths of winter to receive a text from our pals just as you walk through your front door saying “Let’s go out!” and to have genuine pause over facing the elements again. I’d go out on a limb to say the less accessible your residence to the amenities you and your social world love, the less likely you’ll change your clothes and head back out the door. However, when you live centrally, like at Queen West and Dovercourt, which has the trifecta of an excellent walk score (84), bike score (54) and transit score (91) which each support pedestrian-friendly living, you’re more likely to have an engaging social life. Which, seriously, is what life in the Bright Lights Big City is all about, right?
What I love about Queen West and Dovercourt, is this is where cool intersects with hip; of the bevy of destinations that are a stone’s throw from this corner, it’s surrounded on all sides by some of Toronto’s “IT” neighbourhoods including Liberty Village, the Ossington Strip and Little Portugal‘s emerging Dundas West scene.
Queen West in particular has a reputation as an influential cultural hub, with global status on setting trends. As far back as 2014, iconic fashion mag Vogue gave Queen West a nod as one of the 15 coolest neighbourhoods in the world (the world!). They attribute the desirability for Queen West among trend seekers to the fact that it is a “verifiable artery of indie patisseries, homegrown labels, and hidden-from-view galleries—hallmarks of hipness if ever they existed”. Over the years since, this hip hood and its surrounding areas have really come into their own.
The Ossington Strip, Liberty Village and Dundas West are huge draws as well. Dundas West because of its status as a mecca for fashionistas, vintage clothing stores and a vibrant nightlife scene. Liberty Village has a cutting-edge cool vibe, with all of life’s necessary amenities right there – provided with incredible style. And it’s positively humming with young professionals and creative types, all lending to that overall creation of cool. The Ossington Strip is one of the best “wander” destinations in the city, with unique retailers and many options for foodies to rejoice.
Let’s say Friday night rolls around after a long week, and you and your friends are ready to consume the city and all it has to offer. The chances are if you live near this intersection, your place is going to be Ground Zero for cocktails first, which will make you the consummate host and mean you get to transition into Friday night with ease. So what’s close to your home at Queen and Dovercourt? My guess – if you’re like me – is you’ll hit up one of the city’s most notable art hotels? The Drake is located a minute’s walk away and is a great spot for Friday drinks. Or maybe you’ll prefer The Gladstone just further west which offers plenty of ‘on the cutting edge of mood’ events throughout the year.
If your Saturday allows, you might reward yourself with a little sleep-in, along with a few extra minutes to savour your morning coffee and plan your day. What’s up? Perhaps today is the day to hunt for cool finds at an area vintage shop (there are some gems on Ossington, on nearby Queen West or on Dundas West). Or check out the unique Indie retailers you’ll find wandering around Queen West where you can expect to find interesting goods and products that will add noteworthy pieces to your wardrobe, art collection or home decor. These links offer inspiration: “The Best Thing To Do In Every Toronto Neighborhood” and “High-Fashion Tomboy’ Brings Street-Style Flair To Toronto” and “Embrace Street Art Culture With Graffiti Tours, Art Festivals And Daring Views On A Hip Trip To Toronto“.
Or perhaps your Saturday will include a leisurely shop to gather ingredients for feasting at home. Have you checked out Longo’s in Liberty Village, which provides an immersive grocery shopping experience at their 32,000 square foot food emporium?
For those who make time to devote to fitness, no matter what your preferred activities are there are loads of stylish studios and gyms nearby. As a bonus, you can get extra steps in before your workout by walking there! Try Misfit Studio on Ossington, which offers a unique core workout combining yoga, Pilates and dance. Alternatively, Liberty Village has lots of fitness options. Yoginis will love Pure Yoga. Have you ever tried indoor rock climbing? It’s fun! – check it out at Joe Rockheads. Or maybe you’d care to try out a dance class? There are lots of options nearby, including Danceology.
Even if you’re cooking for your friends on Saturday night, perhaps you’ll be heading out for after-dinner drinks. There are tons of local bar patios within walking distance. Stroll the Ossington strip and wander Dundas St. West until you find the vibe that moves you this warm summer evening. Want some inspiration? Here are “All The Best Toronto Patios You Should Visit This Summer” and “10 Of The Coolest Places To Check Out On Toronto’s Ossington Strip“.
Do you always find Sunday arrives in a bittersweet fashion as the weekend draws to a close? It’s best to make the most of your Sunday. Maybe start with a Mimosa during brunch? Some of our favourite Sunday morning spots include Wish, House On Parliament, and Insomnia, but when it comes to West Queen West, follow the brunch buzz to “irrefutably cool” Cafe Neon at Ossington & Queen!!
My Sunday often includes a stroll through nearby Trinity Bellwoods Park. Whether you feel like having a picnic, resting underneath a tree while consuming a summer read or doing something a little more active around the large park, it is always refreshing and recharging to spend time outdoors. Another leisurely but active way to enjoy a Sunday is to hop on your bike and head down to the lake for a waterfront cycle along the Lake Ontario Bike Path.
It’s amazing how where you live really helps you to shape the experiences that let you live your best life!
Have you seen this brand new loft listing in the Argyle Lofts – an amazing industrial conversion building near West Queen West? Enjoying exclusive use of a garden terrace, this transformed 2 bed, 2 bath steps-to-everything pad is perfectly proportioned and well-situated at the intersection of creative and hip! Crisp and contemporary, it marries utility, style, and convenience!! Want a private viewing?
Check out Live Contemporary Cool At The Argyle Lofts In West Queen West, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!
We also sold this lovely soft loft last year, in the heat of the pandemic! We called it The Perfect Canvas At Art Condos Near West Queen West! It was an efficient, thoughtful 2bed urban retreat perfect for busy professionals – swinging singles and contemporary couples alike!
Toronto is a city where intricate patchworks of distinct real estate weave together to form a wide variety of housing options and dynamic neighbourhood pockets with their own unique character and vibe! Not sure where you fit in? Here’s a blog you might like: Finding Your Quadrant In The City Of Toronto. And poke through our Neighbourhood Pages featuring flavour videos, city census data on the area, amenity blogs, and past listing!!
Thank you for reading!
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000
– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –
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*Love Canadian Housing? Check out Steve’s Student Mentorship site called Houseporn.ca which focuses on architecture, landscape, design, product and real estate in Canada!