Where to shop, eat and get cultured along Queen Street East
Editor’s note: This feature story was published in summer 2015. For up-to-date info about Queen East, refer to our 2016 neighbourhood guide.
WHERE TO SHOP:
Queen East is home to 31 design showrooms and boutiques humming with vintage cool and newly inducted contemporary heirlooms. One notable stop: mid-century modern antique showroom GUFF, which recently relocated to a huge Riverside warehouse (shown above). Take your time walking through the jam-packed space and you’ll occasionally come across a classic by Eames, Leif Jacobsen or Russell Spanner.
The products in the collage above provide more ideas of what can be found in this ‘nabe, including (clockwise from top) Brasiliana sofa by Jorge Zalszupin, at Avenue Road; Eames LCM Chair, at Zig Zag; Dancing Alligator by Plan Toys, at Baby on the Hip; Tanssi cushion by Iittala, at Studio Pazo, Funkii pendant, by Viso Inc.
WORD OF MOUTH:
We reached out to Queen East design shop owners to find out their favourite places to eat in this particular part of town – because who would know better? Below: seven recommendations that will point you to the best looking spots and greatest tasting menu items in the area.
“The Comrade (758 Queen St E) has amazing cocktails. Its decor plays up the character of the building and makes you feel like you are in a ’20s speakeasy. Hi-Lo (753 Queen St E) and Hitch (1216 Queen St E) are other cool options.” – Emilie Dolenc, co-owner, Goodfolk
“Order the ‘Honey, I Ate the Salmon’ salad at Merryberry Café + Bistro (559 Parliament St). Their freshly squeezed juice is another must, and the backyard is an oasis during summer time.” – Regina Sheung, owner, Labour of Love
Held on the third Sunday of each month, the Leslieville Flea (1444 Queen St E from June-October) is full of surprises, with vendors selling everything from records to beautifully worn birdcages. Leslieville is also a great stretch for new art galleries. Parts Gallery (1150 Queen St E) and Project Gallery (1109 Queen St E) both opened in the past two years and focus on emerging talents. Shown above: a photo by Ric Santon, represented by Parts Gallery. Further east, the art deco R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant (2701 Queen St E) is the city’s best-looking industrial architecture. See for yourself with a tour during Doors Open Toronto.
If you’re on your way to Sumach Street, head down Bright Street to take in the curving lane’s short stretch of charming row houses, which seem transplanted from England. Further north, Regent Park’s eponymous green space and aquatic centre have given the neighbourhood two standout civic destinations. Designed by local firm MJM Architects, the spectacular pool features a jutting “dorsal fin” skylight and includes such fun amenities as a water slide and Tarzan rope.
Queen Street East and Broadview is now the east end’s most carefully-watched corner. Formerly home to adult entertainment venue Jilly’s, the old Broadview Hotel property was bought by Streetcar Developments last year and is now set to become a boutique hotel akin to the Drake or Gladstone. The heritage experts at ERA Architects are overseeing the building’s restoration and ensuring additions complement its original character.