If doomsaying BlogTO is to be believed, Queen West is past it. True, it’s no longer the hidden gem it once was, meaning a move to the mainstream and pricier rent. But, it’s globally recognised for a reason – it’s fucking cool. Vogue even declared it one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world.
I was lucky enough to work just off it, so made it a personal mission to explore as many parts as possible of Toronto’s trendiest road.
The explorations have culminated in these suggestions; you’ll be totally entertained from dawn to dusk.
For caffeine fixes: Early Bird Espresso
Trendy coffee shops are a staple of Queen West life. At Early Bird Espresso, you pay just $1.75 for a small but gorgeous quality brew coffee. The laptop-wielding yuppies in abundance are as cool as the cafe’s minimalist decor. You can’t go wrong.
Other recommendations to kick-start your day include: R Squared, White Squirrel and Dark Horse (more deets on them here).
For an arty stroll: Graffiti Alley
Graffiti Alley runs from Spadina Avenue to Portland Street, and functions as a space to showcase talented, ever-changing works of art, whilst providing attractive photo backdrops for tourists and locals alike.
For more graffiti hotspots in TO, check out this post.
For a sushi stopover: Tone Sushi
For a quick, tasty and relatively low calorie lunch, Tone Sushi is a great go-to. It’s been named one of the best cheap sushi restos in Toronto, and for good reason.
It’s not particularly glam but the fish is fabulously fresh.
For outdoor relaxation: Trinity Bellwoods park
Home to sun worshippers in the summer, and cherry blossom worshippers in the spring, Trinity Bellwoods is a lovely green space in the heart of the city.
For sandwich snacking: Banh Mi Boys
This lively joint is a staple of Toronto’s Vietnamese food scene.
The braised beef sandwich is tender and tasty, though rest assured everything else on the efficiently delivered menu is too.
For sweet treats: Clafouti/Dlish
The street has no shortage of destinations for dessert, but among the best have to be French bakery Clafouti and award-winning cupcake shop Dlish.
For a cultural quickie: MOCCA
The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is the least intimidating cultural entity ever: there’s only two exhibition spaces and it’s free, so there’s no pressure to spend hours contemplating abstract bizarrities i.e modern art.
The artists and themes are always very current and interesting, and it doesn’t hurt that the museum is bang slap in the middle of the dynamic art and design district.
For shopaholic heaven: all over
The entire street is those revelling in retail heaven.
Between the Eaton Centre and Spadina is a few too many global chains, so head west of Spadina for the cutest cutting-edge boutiques.
For burger brilliance: The Burger’s Priest
This 8 chain-strong burger is both ridiculously busy and ridiculously yum. The chilli cheese fries, pictured above, are well worth a try.