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No. 421—NAK Design Strategies
This spring, the regal old bank building at Howard Park reopened as the offices and storefront of the landscape architects responsible for such pristine city spaces as Ledbury Park and Mel Lastman Square. 416-340-8700.
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No. 413—The Westerly
Beth Davyduke and Tom Earl, the owners of this new brasserie, make simple, seasonal dishes, like delicious smoked trout on latkes. 416-551-6660.
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Last fall, owner Leah Eyles reno’d a former Cashmax and filled it with knick-knacks and accessories sourced from Canadian artisans, which explains the pervasive wildlife motif: antler-handled mugs, squirrel-front journals and owl-print tea towels. 416-546-6922.
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No. 401—Fresh Collective
The new outpost of this mini-chain specializes in Etsy-esque jewellery and frocks made by a dozen Toronto designers. A plethora of ruffles and polka dots attracts free-spirited teens and their moms. 647-352-7123.
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No. 385—Roncy’s Bean
To the delight of anti-franchise purists, a Second Cup at Neepawa Avenue shut down during the strip’s construction and the locally owned Bean popped up in its place last December. It still looks exactly like a Second Cup, but house-made waffles compensate for the lack of indie café cool. 647-350-2326.
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No. 365—Green Light District
David and Deborah Peets moved their Ottawa furniture shop here last November. The space, filled with uncommon finds like cork and walnut sideboards, resembles the living room of a wealthy anthropology prof. 416-272-5005.
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No. 325—Hopgood’s Foodliner
Chef Geoff Hopgood’s restaurant, named after his parents’ Nova Scotia grocery stores, opened this spring. It’s already renowned for Maritime dishes like fancified crab dip with Triscuits, and Halifax donairs served on paper bags. 416-533-2723.
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No. 321—Pizzeria Defina
The brick room looks like every other slickly rustic pizzeria to open last year, but there’s a Roncy-appropriate lack of pretension at Defina—substitutions are encouraged, pizzas comes pre-sliced, and staff joke with regulars. 416-534-4414.
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The smokehouse that kicked off Roncy’s poly-gastronomic boom last April has become a neighbourhood nerve centre. The scent of apple wood–smoked meat wafts down the block. 416-532-7700.
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No. 291—De La Mer Fresh Fish Market
In May, one of the city’s best sustainable fishmongers opened a second location in the old Spring Creek butcher spot. Residents tired of driving miles for Malpeques uttered a collective “Finally!” 647-350-3355.
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No. 287—Smock Café and Wonder Workshop
Sara Wood spent nearly a year negotiating the lease on a former Polish souvenir shop. In May, she finally opened a coffee shop with an upstairs craft room for kids. 416-530-0888.
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Matt Lewis-Strauch and Stuart Reid ditched IT jobs to open a frozen yogurt and bake shop in the space left behind by The Queen of Tarts. They pipe the Dirty Dancing soundtrack through speakers onto the sidewalk. 647-725-2138.
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No. 231A—The Ace
Last November, Maggie Ruhl (co-owner of The Dakota Tavern) and Greg Boggs turned a long-defunct Chinese eatery into a laid-back resto-bar. The room retains its pagoda wallpaper and booths, which are crammed well past midnight with couples debating whether to have one more. 416-792-7729.
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No. 231—Grateful Head
Lysa Fina moved her five-year-old Dundas West hair salon to Roncesvalles last fall. After a three-month overhaul, the space looks like an artist’s loft as reimagined by Siouxsie Sioux—a fitting venue in which to get an asymmetrical bob. 416-915-4323.
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This new green body and home decor boutique caters to the many earth-embracing Roncesvallians devoted to things like organic cotton sheets and bath towels in various shades of hemp brown and unbleached cream. 416-516-2234.
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No. 175—Name TBA
Granowska’s, a 40-year-old Polish bakery of paczki renown, closed last December when mother-daughter owners Elizabeth and Kathy Klodas retired. A green grocer is rumoured to be opening in the coveted corner space this summer.
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Landscaper Sarah Jameson turned the old Buddha Dog space into an eco-aware florist, miniature garden centre, stationery shop and occasional purveyor of shabby-chic home stuff (Jameson’s mom sells her hand-made quilts for $150 each). 416-537-3700.
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In March, Beata Kowalczyk turned Lala Bistro, her tattered Polish watering hole, into a cute speakeasy. Young couples now outnumber stoic old-timers, and expert booze slinger Vanessa Handford has replaced cheap pints with fancy cocktails, like blood orange manhattans. 416-516-2577.
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No. 133—Masquerade Waffles and Crêpes
The waffle shop that took over the Abstract Tree space (an old Polish restaurant) early this year is like an indie IHOP with its colourfully upholstered booths, $3 kids’ meals, old-school sundaes and all-day breakfast menu. 416-828-1698.
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No. 89—Hey Meatball
This spring, the artisanal College Street sub shop will open a second location in the two-floor space formerly occupied by the fair-trade café Tinto.
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No. 67—Sushi 67
Gleeful hellos greet you at the door of the minuscule room. It’s a cheery place to have a bite, but most patrons nurse complimentary oolong tea while waiting for takeout orders of strange yet tasty Canadianized sushi, like scallop pot pie rolls. 647-717-8744.
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Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 5, Because 21 new businesses opened on Roncesvalles