Toronto is a city of many neighbourhoods, and it is fascinating to watch them change over time. Despite being linked to the ultra-arty-trendy West Queen West strip, until recently Ossignton Avenue between Queen and Dundas was lined with booze cans and long-dead storefronts. While the area retains some of its original flavour with Vietnamese Karaoke bars and Portuguese Bakeries still intact, there are more than a few gems to be found by visitors interested in art, fashion, and vintage.
Since it is more than likely that you will be coming from a Queen Street stroll, we will start from there. On your first stop north of Queen Street pop into shop & gallery C1 art space (44 Ossington) to peruse art and craft objects handmade by local designers. Residents or longer term visitors can also pick up cool art skills here such as ceramic silkscreening. Next, cross the street for upscale vintage treats at I miss you (63 Ossington), which carries a carefully curated and impeccably restored collection of frocks and accessories.
Having your design-buds stimulated will make you hungry for more and Ministry of the Interior (80 Ossington) will deliver. A former auto body shop painted bright yellow & charcoal, this design shop and gallery stocks cutting-edge conversation pieces from around the globe. Find furniture, wallpaper & home accessories from designers such as Dwell, Marimekko, and fun NYC design collective Areaware.
For those with vintage tastes that tend towards fringed leather cowboy boots, sequins and shoulder pads, (or flannel & tees for the gents) stroll along to Badlands Vintage (104 Ossington). Then, stop to smell the roses at Jaiden's Petals (130 Ossington) and enjoy the vintage botanical books and Mason jars and recycled bottles filled with simple blooms. As you walk by, just try to resist the pull of Virginia Johnson's vibrantly simple textiles & clothing at her mothership store (132 Ossington).
Get your final vintage fix at Vintage Mix 1 (186 Ossignton), stocked full with an evolving stock of vintage suitcases, shoes & accessories from the 70s & 80s, and men and women's clothes from the 60s-80s.
By now you'll be ready for a rest, and handy for you the retro-cozy & no-fuss bar Communist's Daughter is located just around the corner at 1149 Dundas Street West (no sign). Pop a loonie in the jukebox, order yourself a pint, and chow down on some gourmet pickled eggs while admiring your newly acquired goodies. (For those with a taste for the refined there are plenty of stylish bars & restaurants along this strip as well!).