Like any metropolis, you are defined by the neighborhood you live in. For Torontonians, neighborhood pride is a way of life, with emerging neighborhoods such as The Junction garnering the spotlight at the moment as the coolest hood to live or just party in. Anchored by the intersections of Dundas street West and Keele Street, The Junction was largely overlooked due to its ‘dry’ status and alcohol ban lasting from 1904 to 2000 and lack of close public transportation. Ironically it is now one of the most popular destinations for nightlife, craft beer, and live music. Fast forward to the present, over 200 local independent businesses have set up shop here and it’s considered one of Toronto’s premier art and design destinations, with plenty of cool shops to find one of a kind treasures, with shades of hipster. Here are some spots to get your groove on. Thejunctionbia.com
Melding the minimalist and intellectual design aesthetics of Scandanavia and Japan, Mjolk is both a gallery and a lifestyle store that showcases products and works by artists and artisans from these respective regions- that “look to everyday life to find inspiration.” Mjolk believes that when you can derive beauty from the uttermost simplistic tools, then you have something special. store.mjolk.ca
This 4,300 square foot showroom is a den of curiosities where one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and the front window is a stage for performance art. Owner Paul Mercer’s background in antiques, art, and salvage allowing him to see the value in other people’s junk and combs estate sales and junkyards to repurpose vintage antiquities.
Indie Ale House
Known for their creative craft beers, Indie Ale House creates their own IPAs in house to pair with seasonal dishes. Reflecting the creative spirit of the Junction, brews have been dubbed names such as Broken Hipster, Zombie Eclipse, and Don’t Judge Me- that reflect the character of the flavor profile. Indiealehouse.com
At first paying $45 CAD for a drink may seem steep, but at Barcraft, the art of mixology is brought to a visceral level that uses molecular gastronomy to create imaginative cocktail experiences that challenge what is possible with flavor, smell, and texture. One of the Modernist concoctions exemplifies this vision- The Mezcal, White Chocolate and Eucalyptus that features balsam fir and white chocolate dipped rosemary that melts with Eucalyptus ice. To enhance the experience each ingredient is encapsulated in tasting dots to give a different flavor with each sip at this trendy Queen Street West hotspot. Barchef.com
Where to Stay
Le Germain Hotel at Maple Leaf Square is conveniently located adjacent to the stadium in downtown Toronto in the heart of the entertainment district. The chic rooms are filled with natural light and feature a modern décor with contemporary artwork that pay homage to the Toronto Maples. An urban oasis of comfort, rooms are generously proportioned with pillow top beds topped with down filled comforters and plenty of sumptuous modern furnishings to sink into while the bathrooms feature a glass wall to allow natural light to fill the airy space.