“My husband, Nic, and I chose to set up our shop on Ossington because of its mix of new, dirty, gritty and dynamic. I can’t imagine Jonathan and Olivia being anywhere else. In the morning, we’ll go to Crafted by Te Aro (135 Ossington Ave., 416-645-0273). Nic is a coffee-head, but I like their raspberry lemonade and fantastic chocolate cookies. We have a 20-month-old son, Phoenix, and we take him and our French bulldog, Estelle, to Trinity Bellwoods Park and to the community rec centre there (155 Crawford St., 416-392-0743) for a swim. We’ll wander back up Ossington to Côte de Boeuf (130 Ossington Ave., 416-532-2333) to pick up sausages and little jars of imported condiments for dinner. Nic knows the owner from Paris, where he’s from, and the shop has a French style that makes him feel at home. Just because we’re parents doesn’t mean we don’t go out. We’re always at Union (72 Ossington Ave., 416-850-0093) drinking wine—usually a French red—and we like to split the charcuterie plate and fries. When you’re in a neighbourhood for a long time, you find places you love and stick with them. Sweaty Betty’s (13 Ossington Ave., 416-535-6861) is one of those spots for us. We’ll end up on their great patio—the one with the tree in the middle—at the end of the night with a couple of pints.”
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How Jackie O’Brien, owner of streetwear shop Jonathan and Olivia, would spend a perfect Saturday on Ossington
Of the many vintage shops along Dundas West, Black Flower Vintage is the first to focus almost entirely on menswear. The stock includes basics like fall sweaters, blazers and designer dress shirts ($35–$140), but it’s more fun to hunt for offbeat pieces sourced by owner Sacha Laberge, a Montreal transplant known to pair a dashiki with formal trousers or a vintage basketball jersey with ornate jewellery. Spotted recently: a Vivienne Westwood polka-dot dress shirt ($140), an intricate Nepalese wrist cuff ($160) and a ring bearing Chewbacca’s face ($40). Laberge also carries new items like Montreal brand Cease and Desist’s Lego rings ($20-25), hand-made leather shoes by England’s Grenson ($180) and leather espadrilles from Spain ($60). The small ladies’ section is full of prints and ‘80s vintage, though women in search of boyfriend-fit pants and slouchy tops might want to browse the guys’ racks, too.
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Crywolf, the five-year-old brand started by Toronto artists Rose Chang and Stephanie Drabik, now has its first standalone store on the boutique-dotted Ossington strip. After gaining a devoted following selling their handcrafted accessories and screen-printed T-shirts online and at local craft fairs and pop-up shops, the DIYers decided to gamble on a brick-and-mortar shop (which is being funded in part through a crowd-sourced campaign). Doubling as the duo’s studio space, the shop carries Crywolf’s collectibles and clothing for men, women and kids, alongside jewellery, stationery and trinkets from a roster of mostly local designers. The stock ranges from practical preppy rope leashes to downright quirky monster-shaped ring holders and cartoon sumo pins. Teeth-achingly adorable? Yes. Cool? Very.
91 Ossington Avenue, crywolfclothing.com
Ossington’s cadre of hip boutiques keeps growing, most recently with the launch of Pop-Up 120, a wholesale-retail hybrid from fashion distributor Agency One. Each season, the revolving pop-up store in the front of the agency’s head office will feature one of the international brands that it also distributes to stores like Barneys, Holt Renfrew and TNT. First up: rocker clothing label Religion, whose hard-edged, East London roots are reflected in goth chandeliers, paintings of British monarchs and silver skulls. Starting in August, the space will be pared down for Ganni, a line out of Copenhagen with a clean, modern aesthetic, followed by artsy Australian brand Something Else.
Open W-Su 11– 7. 120 Ossington Avenue, 416-703-2916, Facebook
It’s 4 p.m. on Friday, and you don’t have a dinner reservation. Still, there’s no need to fret (or waste your night waiting for a table). We just called some of the city’s hottest restaurants and found three that can squeeze in two for dinner tonight. Now it’s up to you to get dialing and snag a table before they’re all gone. Today: Union, Origin Liberty, and Aria. Read the rest of this entry »
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Name: Ardor Bistro
Contact Info: 59 Ossington Ave., 647-351-5100
Owners: Brothers Ivan Tarazona and James Bailey (Celestin)
Chef: Ivan Tarazona
The Food: A modern take on traditional Latin American food. Dishes include fish ceviche, grilled octopus salad and Peruvian riffs on classic bistro mains, like steak frites with chimichurri, duck confit with quinoa and sous-vide chicken with yellow pepper sauce. There’s also a six-course tasting menu for $45.
Rock Lobster Food Co. graduated from a wildly popular pop-up shop into a wildly popular brick-and-mortar restaurant when it opened on Ossington Street in December. Less than six months later, it’s already launching a second location only a few blocks away in the space currently home to Shanghai Cowgirl (owner Darryl Fine is also one of three partners at Rock Lobster). Rock Lobster 2.0 is going to be bigger, open longer and have a larger menu—plus a new 80-seat patio and a retail counter for prepared sauces, soups, and sustainable seafood. Shanghai Cowgirl closes next week and the new Rock Lobster is scheduled to open June 1. [The Grid]
The latest arrival to the Ossington strip’s burgeoning south end is a colourful, quirky departure from the owner of Yorkville personal shopping institution French Accents. At Annie Aime, Parisienne expat Annie Mesenge emphasizes clever, avant-garde clothing and accessories that cater to the artsy set: favourites include zippered shoes from Italy’s Veeshoo and collapsable leather bags from Dutch label Frrry.
After two years and more than a little controversy, the trendy mass-market giant finally arrived in Canada. Now open: locations in East York Town Centre, Centrepoint Mall, Shoppers World Danforth, Cloverdale Mall and Square One Shopping Centre.
For store addresses and hours, see target.ca
Tiger of Sweden
The popular European maker of slim-cut suits and minimalist separates opened a spacious flagship on Ossington Avenue catering to young professionals of both sexes. Learn more »
56 Ossington Ave., 416-588-4437, tigerofsweden.com
90 Ossington Ave.
From Leeto and Leemo Han, the brothers behind Swish by Han in the Financial District, comes this new Ossington dive. It follows a winning formula: deliciously junky Asian-American bar snacks, cheap tall cans, bourbon cocktails and a ragged dining room. Read the rest of this entry »
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Yours Truly’s 29-year-old head chef, who came to Toronto by way of some of the world’s most celebrated kitchens, is exiting the Ossington strip restaurant and the city. Replacing Claudio is Lachlan Culjak, who has worked in the kitchens of Toronto institutions Splendido, Nota Bene and Scarpetta and trained at Noma, a world-renowned Danish restaurant that receives close to 100,000 reservation requests a month. The new chef says he’ll continue Claudio’s lauded 20-course tasting menus, which propelled Yours Truly to the top of our list of the city’s best new restaurants last year. Claudio plans to travel around the United States indefinitely before moving to London, England, where he hopes to start his own restaurant.
Name: Tiger of Sweden
Sells: Clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women
Contact info: 56 Ossington Ave., 416-588-4437, TigerOfSweden.com
Hours: M–W and Sa 11–7, Th and F 11–8, Su 12–5
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Though Ossington remains a mecca for vintage hunters, the neighbourhood now has its share of more upscale boutiques. The latest to land: Tiger of Sweden, whose slim-cut suits and minimalist separates have made it extremely popular in Europe. The label’s hip Scandinavian spirit fits in on the Ossington strip, although with garments targeted to the office and high-mid-range prices (men’s suits run $700–$1,000 and women’s, $450–$650), it caters to the area’s professionals over its hipster faction.
Putting back a bottle of Bellwoods Brewery’s Witchshark Imperial India Pale Ale is a heady experience. Since the buzzing Ossington brewpub launched last year, the city’s growing class of beer geeks have flocked there for the changing raft of inventive craft brews, and the powerful, hoppy Witchshark is one of the most fervently sought-after creations. With nine per cent alcohol and 80-plus international bitterness units (Molson Canadian has closer to 20), the first sip is a shock to the palate. The second sip settles on the tongue to reveal citrus and pine flavours, and by the third, the beer’s malty caramel and peppery notes take over. Soon a pleasant, boozy haze descends, interrupted only by a mounting desire to hasten back to the brewery’s new bottle shop to pick up another round. $8.