Tag: WHAT TO DO

“East Side” – Leslieville

We're trying to thoroughly explore Toronto's neighbourhoods, one neighbourhood at a time. It may take us awhile, but that won't stop us.

Every single day as we walk around our city, we experience that each area offers something different to each person. Our intention is to highlight what we think is great about our city, one neighbourhood at a time.

Enter LESLIEVILLE - our next neighbourhood vlog in this "neighbourhood series". A family friendly district settled somewhere in the middle of Riverside, Distillery District, Greektown, The Beach and the soon to be re-vamped PortLands.

Both Jon and I are "west-enders" by default. (Torontonians know that many times there seems to be 2 factions. The west-enders and the east-enders.) It was time for us west-enders to highlight that Toronto isn't just the west end. The east end offers so many amazing pockets and neighbourhoods that beg to be uncovered and discovered!

We have simply fallen in love with Leslieville. 

What we've discovered over the past few months is that there's an incredible sense of community in this neighbourhood. Community combined with many parks, trendy shops, restaurants, close to the Don Trail, the lake + one of our favourite Loblaws... (Yes, yes, we judge neighbourhoods by their grocery stores and we have a list of our favourite Loblaws.)

Leslieville was named after "George Leslie" and first came to life in the 1850's. It was home to light industry for decades and since 2000 has been gentrified at a rapid rate. Gentrification brought those trendy cafes, shops, restaurants, bars, places & spaces. For example; Carlaw Avenue's revamped industrial buildings that have been turned into loft and condominium spaces. As well, for those of you wondering, Leslieville does have a little crossover with the Riverdale neighbourhood (think the brand new Broadview Hotel). 

We could go on and on, but now is when you should stop reading and just watch the video: 

Our top 5 of trendy shops and stops that made our do not miss list:

1. Leslieville Pumps (a gas station/convenience store that is not your normal gas station/convenience store)
2. The many cafes and coffee shops (Te Aro, Mercury Espresso to name a few)
3. Culinary gems such as Gare De L'Est, Descendent Pizza, Barrio and Ed's Real Scoop
4. Gerrard India Bazaar (a.k.a Little India)
5. Leslieville Farmer's Market (Sundays, May thru October @ Jonathan Ashbridge Park)
5a. Greenwood Park's off leash dog parks (we love dogs) <-- 5a is still 5, right?

That's all for now.
See you in the next neighbourhood!

Toronto’s Newest Dog Park – Berczy Park

This park has become a little passion project for Jon. I think it's safe to say that he may have a crush on it. 

It all began just over a year ago when the fences went up and there was news that our neighbourhood park was getting a makeover. The signage said it would be open early fall of 2016 and Jon waited patiently until then for the unveiling of our park. He would force me to cross the street at times, to get a closer look through the fences at what the construction was looking like. The open date was nearing and it didn't look ready. They pushed the date back to open later in the fall. Jon was getting antsy, he wanted "his" park to be opened. Okay Jon, YOUR park? (That's when I began to realize that my boyfriend may have a crush.) 

It didn't open in the fall, the date now pushed again! This time the signage told us it wouldn't be open until the spring. Slowly over the course of the spring, the park began to come together. Some of the fencing was taken down and we could now walk through the new beautifully tiled walkways. It was an every day occurrence now, Jon dragging me across the street to look at the progress. Imagine his excitement this past week when they started the fountain. And just like that it was opened! 

The first incarnation of this park was in 1980. It replaced a parking lot. Something the area seemed to have had an abundance of. That first park was lovely and we used to sit in the chairs around the small fountain from time to time. Or sit on the grass under one of the big trees. Revitalization began in 2015 and we thought, what was wrong with the park? It was already so lovely.

They outdid themselves. The small fountain has been replaced by a much larger, 3-tiered fountain with spouting ceramic DOGS on all 3 tiers. Yes, dogs. Watch the video and you will see:  

More than the 27 fountain dogs (and 1 cat), the park is now home to a plethora of comfortable seating, beautiful greenery and modern curb less borders to integrate the entire 3,606 square feet of park space. The park the last couple of days has been filled with people taking photos of this incredible fountain. 

There a few pieces still to be installed but we hear that the opening celebration is slated for June 28. Come check it out, Berczy Park! (Bring your dogs and watch them sniff the ceramic dogs!)

*For more information on the revitalization project, click HERE.
*For more information on the Montreal landscape architect firm that designed the park, click Claude Cormier & Associés.

What to do in Toronto – May 2017

It's almost May and spring will be officially in full bloom. Now that the weather is beginning to warm up, our city is coming to life. 

We've compiled a calendar of our favourite events to give you some ideas of how you can explore the city during the month of May.
(Psst, many of the events are even FREE!)

For more information on each event, click on the orange links.  

MAY 1:
Hot Docs Canada's International Documentary Festival starts April 27 and comes to a close on May 7. The event schedule is up, check out the link! 

Scotiabank Contact Festival This yearly photography festival runs throughout the entire month of May. You will find exhibitions and events, meant to provide a forum for education and conversation, strewn throughout the city. The list and map of where to find exhibitions can be found in the orange link.

AGO's Georgia O'Keefe exhibition The Art Gallery of Ontario is running a major retrospective on the pioneering American painter until July 30. This exhibition is an extra $5.50 for adults above the regular admission price. If you happen to be an AGO member, it's free!

Toronto Raptors - Eastern conference semi-finals begin against King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Game 1 will be in Cleveland. This is going to be great. #WeTheNorth (Update: WE LOST.)

High Park is predicting that their cherry blossoms will be in full bloom by the start of May. This only happens once a year, so see it while you can. And visit the High Park zoo while you're there, it's FREE!
(Or judging by our Instagram feed of cherry blossoms this weekend, head down to Trinity Bellwoods Park, NOW!)


MAY 4:
AGO's First Thursday

Loud bands, DJs, performance pieces and art, a lot of art. One Thursday a month, the party happens after the gallery closes, 7pm - 11:30pm. The May First Thursday is titled, "Gender Trouble" as an ode to Georgia O'Keefe who declared, "I am not a WOMAN painter!"
Advance tickets can be purchased for $23 via the link. Cash bar.

Light vs. Dark on May the fourth. An ode to Star Wars, Drink Inc. is hosting a tasting event at the Berkeley Church on Queen Street East. Beer, wine, spirit and cider vendors will produce a light and a dark beverage for you to sample. Which side will win? $25 tickets (includes 3 sample tickets). May the 4th be with you. 

MAY 5:
ROM's Friday Night Live - Splash
The ROM's Friday Night Live happens only in the spring and summer, so come and get it. The first event of the season is called "Splash", to celebrate the Blue Whale that you will be able to view in wonder while you attend a FNL session. You can purchase tickets online for $17. Cash bar.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada - Splash
A 5 part SPECIAL EVENT series is coming to us also called, Splash. It begins on Friday May 5 and it will pop up throughout the entire year. The theme for the first event is The 90's. Sharpen up your Jenga skills and iron those jean overalls to wear! $30.97 admission + food & drink extra. 

Cinco de Mayo - A day to commemorate the Mexican Army's victory over France in The Battle of Puebla, 1862. It has also become synonymous with celebrating Mexican-American culture. Hot spots to celebrate while eating tacos and drinking margaritas across the city are: El Catrin in the Distillery District, El Caballito in the Entertainment District, Fonda Lola in West Queen West, Playa Cabana in the Annex, and of course our friend Andrew's La Carnita Uptown, College Street, Leslieville or Central, just to name a few. 

MAY 6:
Cinco de Mayo doesn't have to end on May 5th. And it's doesn't in Toronto. Baro & El Cabalitto are partnering up for CincoFestTO and is sponsored by none other than our favourite tequila company, Tromba! $25 admission.

MAY 8 - 10:

The Blue Jays host a 3 game series with the Cleveland Indians (and welcome Edwin Encarnacion on his first visit back to the Rogers Centre!)
Tickets are going for as little as $6 USD (plus fees) on the Blue Jays official re-seller, Stub Hub.


MAY 11 - 14:
The Blue Jays host the Seattle Mariners for a 4 game series.

MAY 12:
ROM Friday Night Live - Fashion 
Celebrate the fabulous world of fashion in the second installment of the ROM's Friday Night Live aptly called 'Fashion." 

Ripley's Aquarium Friday Night Jazz - Ivory and the Sugar Daddies
The second Friday of every month the Aquarium hosts live jazz music. $25.98 admission to enjoy the live music throughout the Aquarium while hobnobbing with the sharks. Cash Bar.

MAY 13:
Color Me Rad All those fun photos of people doing a 5k run, covered in colour? That's Color Me Rad. The runs happen all across North America and Toronto's turn falls on May 13. Your outlook on running WILL be brighter. That can be guaranteed.
 

Toronto Comic Art Festival
Do you like Comics? Graphic Novels? Then TCAF may be worth checking out. This 2 day event is hosted at the Toronto Reference Library, only the coolest (and quite possibly the largest) library we've ever been to. And you won't believe this, it's FREE to attend!

Spring into Parkdale
There will be many all spring and summer long, but the first neighbourhood festival of the season happens in Parkdale. It's a day sidewalk festival and a night market that surges summer life into this west end neighbourhood. Queen West from Dufferin to Roncesvalles is where you'll want to be. When you're there, get your ice cream fix at our friend Mel's Boreal Gelato. 

MAY 15 - 16:
The Blue Jays host the Atlanta Braves for 2 games.

MAY 18:
National Caesar Day. And not the salad.

MAY 19:
ROM Friday Night Live - Get Out of Town 
If you aren't "getting out of town", begin your Victoria Day long weekend with the third Friday Night Live of the Month, celebrating the British invasion!

MAY 20 & 21:
**J&C's choice**  Toronto's Festival of Beer - Spring Sessions
The spring sessions are the slightly less expensive and less busy baby sister to Toronto's Festival of Beer that normally happens mid summer. It is a little bit smaller, with maybe a few less beers to sample, but the fun is still supersized! Garrison Common (Fort York) - $30 admission 

MAY 22:
Victoria Day (It's Queen Victoria's birthday but you may know it by the name we do, Firecracker Day!)
You can catch fireworks display at our favourites: Ashbridges Bay (free, you only have to deal with the traffic) or Canada's Wonderland (free with price of admission).        

Electric Island Nothing says summer is here more than music festivals. One of the first of the summer happens on Centre Island. 2 stages of electronic music, food trucks & BBQ, games & activities and the views... that skyline. Bring a blanket! (To sit on... or it works in the case that it's a bit chilly. It is May and you never know.) (*Update - Due to Toronto Island being unsafe for visitors, Electric Island has relocated to Woodbine Park for this event.)

MAY 26: 
ROM Friday Night Live - Flash
Photography is in the air at the final affair for Friday Night Live in May. The new ROM exhibition 'The Family Camera,' will be front and centre on this night. 

MAY 26 - 28:
Blue Jays host the Texas Rangers for a 3 day stint.

MAY 27 & 28:
**J&C's choice**  Doors Open One weekend a year, the City of Toronto opens it's doors at a slew of different, normally off limits, buildings. In honour of Canada's 150th birthday this year, the theme is "15 Decades of Canadian Architecture." Plan your route and see as much as you can. Last year we were able to see inside the Sony Centre, Osgoode Hall, City Hall, Redpath Sugar Building, the Toronto Police Marine Unit,  Railway Museum just to name a few. And the price of admission? FREE!


Woofstock 
The first festival that let's us celebrate DOGS! There will be a kid zone too, so it's family fun. This year it will be all weekend at Woodbine Park in the Beaches. Buy tickets online, $10 for the entire weekend. 

May 28:
**J&C's choice**  Kensington Market - Pedestrian Sunday 
The 14th season of this very popular neighbourhood street festival happens the last Sunday of the month, from May until October. You won't find Dr. Oetker handing out free pizza or the drink out of a fruit that seems to find it's way into every festival in Toronto. You will find a celebration of the unique community with different foods to try, performers to watch and art to admire. In our opinion, it's a do not miss. 

MAY 29 - MAY 31:
Blue Jays host the Cincinnati Reds in the final series in May.