Neighbourhood spotlight: Parkdale

Near Queen and Sorauren Ave. in Parkdale
Near Queen and Sorauren Ave. in Parkdale

I have to keep reminding myself of how lucky I am to live in a place like Toronto. The city boasts some of North America’s best cafes, restaurants and bars, and is home to innovative and world-renowned chefs. What sets Toronto apart though, are the unique and vibrant neighbourhoods. There are so many living, breathing food communities within our metropolis that have much to offer gastronomers.

Since moving to Toronto’s west side, I’ve become especially fond of Parkdale. Not only is it easy to get to, for me it’s an area of emotional significance with a fascinating history. It’s also a great place if you have an empty stomach.

In the 1970s, my parents bought their first house together on Pearson Ave. in Parkdale. At the time, they thought they were buying into an area that was just about to turn into an up-and-coming area. The truth is, the neighbourhood is still in the midst of gentrification 40 years later.

What makes the area dynamic is that it’s home to people from so many different backgrounds. While traditionally a working-class area, the the community has experienced an influx of new families, young professionals, immigrants and artists. It’s an area where old architecture meets modern design and where a men’s rooming house is across the street from a shop selling $3 artisan donuts.

Through my explorations on foot in this lively neighbourhood, I’ve discovered a ton of cool eateries for any occasion. Here are some of my top choices:

1. Glory Hole Doughnuts: If you haven’t yet been to this famed doughnut shop, go this weekend. Or go right now. Flavours including Spiced Apple Pie, PB & J and Lemon Pistachio do not disappoint.

2. Parts & Labour: Go for Sunday brunch with a friend and split the pancakes and the spicy tofu bowl.

3. West End Food Coop: Incredible produce and friendly staff, plus they sell jarred, fermented delights from the Alchemy Pickle Company.

Have a recommendation to add? Leave a comment!

Glory Hole's unforgettable PB & J doughnut
Glory Hole’s unforgettable PB & J doughnut