The Annex

The Informer

Real Estate

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Condomonium: $1.1 million for a two-level loft in the former Creeds warehouse in the Annex

ADDRESS: 295 Davenport Road, Unit 201

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Annex

AGENTS: James Warren and Kelly Fulton, Royal Lepage/J&D Division

PRICE: $1,069,000

THE PLACE: A two-bedroom, two-level hard loft where the Annex meets Yorkville. The suite is one of 19 units in a low-rise 1930s-era building once used to store furs for Creeds, the fabled department store partially credited with changing Yorkville from boho to high-end. 

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The Goods

Homes

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Great Spaces: five tiny homes that prove tight spaces can be completely comfortable

Toronto homes are getting smaller by the second—250-square-foot units are coming soon to a condo near you. Here, a look at how a few of the city’s early adopters have embraced the life Lilliputian

By Frances McInnis and Marit Mitchell | Photography by Derek Shapton |
Styling by Annie McDonald

Great Spaces: a 579-square-foot one-bedroom condo in the ­Distillery District

1| A 579-square-foot one-bedroom condo in the
­ Distillery District

Great Spaces: a 566-square-foot infill house near Gerrard and Coxwell

2| A 566-square-foot infill house near Gerrard and Coxwell

Great Spaces: a 655-square-foot condo in the Annex

4| A 655-square-foot condo in the Annex

Great Spaces: a 580-square-foot loft in a four-storey building on King Street East

5| A 580-square-foot loft in a four-storey building on King Street East

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $4.4 million for an Annex period home with a rooftop hot tub

ADDRESS: 80 Bedford Road

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Annex

AGENTS: Veronica Lord and Alex Pino, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Brokerage

PRICE: $4,380,000

THE PLACE: A six-bedroom home built in 1889 and completely restored and renovated by the current owners. They worked hard to maintain the integrity of the original design, including keeping the original hardwood flooring, wainscoting and marble fireplace.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Anthony Rose has a location for his first Rose and Sons restaurant

Back in July, Anthony Rose (who led the food program at The Drake Hotel for years until he left in Apriltold The Dish he was planning to open a trio of restaurants over the next couple of years, each with a different concept and all under the banner Rose and Sons. Now, news has emerged of the first, in the form of a new liquor licence application at 176 Dupont Street, just west of Davenport (Rose posted a photo of it to his blog). It seems the good people of the Annex will be the first to sample Rose’s post-Drake fare. [h/t The Grid]

The Informer

People

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THE SCENE: socialites and synchronized swimmers at Greta Constantine’s late-summer party

The closing days of summer are always a little dreary—thoughts of day drinking and cottage life shift back to work and responsibilities—but the third annual Greta Constantine pool party on Thursday proved to be a great distraction for Toronto’s scenesters. At a sprawling mansion in the Annex, we spotted Little Mosque on the Prairie star Zaib Shaikh doing purse-holding duty for CBC’s Kirstine Stewart and Anne-Marie Mediwake, as guests sank into the grass in their spike heels. The evening’s conversations shifted from talk of joining Soho House to TIFF and NYFW plans—guests lamented that they’d love to do it all, but are just “too busy” (we’d love to have problems like that). We chatted Forest Hill real estate with CityTV’s Sandy Pittana, while socialite Catherine Nugent pointed out potential subjects for our photographer, noting one guest looked “like she should be on the cover of Town and Country.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Indian Rice Factory Chai Bar, a new offshoot of the Annex institution (with a great patio)

Introducing: Indian Rice Factory Chai Bar

(Image: Susan Keefe)

The Indian Rice Factory has been a fixture in the Annex for over 43 years. Earlier this month, owners Aman Patel and his wife Deepa opened the Indian Rice Factory Chai Bar as an extension of their existing business. Located just steps from the restaurant’s long-standing Dupont Street location, the grab-and-go café is operated out of a quaint wooden barn connected to the restaurant. Offering a variety of coffees, teas, pastries and a pared-down lunch menu, the Chai Bar is intended to cater to a hurried lunch crowd.

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The Informer

Features

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The Argument: In Take This Waltz, Sarah Polley transforms Toronto into a brightly coloured urban fantasy

The Argument | Unreal City

The urban fantasy depicted in Take This Waltz is as as beguiling and instantly nostalgic as an Instagram pic (Image: Mongrel Media)

In the middle of directing Take This Waltz, recently released in theatres, Sarah Polley hit a snag. She desperately wanted to get Leslie Feist to record a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Closing Time” for the soundtrack. Given how in demand the singer-songwriter is, it was almost impossible to pin her down—even for Polley, a bona fide Canadian celebrity herself. And then one night, around 2 a.m., while Polley and her crew were shooting on a small street in Little Portugal, she heard someone call her name. It was Feist—she and fellow singer Howie Beck, both on bicycles, were on their way to Trinity Bellwoods Park to play glow-in-the-dark Frisbee. Polley asked about the Cohen cover, Feist agreed, and her version of the song is heard at a pivotal point in the film. “That kind of moment is very specific to Toronto,” Polley says now. “It’s a really special place that way.”

The whole scenario sounds like a parody of the lives of hip, young downtowners—the punch line for a skit from a rejected Torontolandia pilot, maybe. But it’s exactly the kind of bohemian and pleasantly casual community that Polley, who also wrote the film’s screenplay, set out to capture.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, the Annex location of the pizza chain from out west

Introducing: Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria

(Image: Susan Keefe)

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria was born in the summer of 2005 after co-owner Justin Lussier visited Pizzeria Sorbillo in Naples. He contacted his friends and future business partners Jason Allard and Christian Bullock and hatched a plan to bring authentic Neapolitan pizza to Canada (granted, he wasn’t the first to have this plan). After opening a handful of locations in Western Canada, Famoso added brothers Dean and Chad Labreche to the team, and they set their sights on Ontario. The Labreche brothers are responsible for two Famoso locations in Toronto: Chad opened his location in Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s revamped food court Dine on 3 in early June. A few weeks later Dean opened his location on Bloor just west of Spadina. We dropped by the freshly minted Annex location to check it out.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Barton Snacks, the Annex’s new spot for ice cream and specialty chips (together at last)

Barton Snacks sits, appropriately enough, on the corner of Barton and Bathurst, just north of Bathurst Station (Image: Susan Keefe)

The corner snack spot is a staple of any neighbourhood worth its salt, and the corner of Bathurst and Barton may have found just that in Barton Snacks. Owned and operated by Katherine Lehto and Chris Sherwood (from the Adelaide St. Pub), the quaint and kitschy shop opened its doors during the first week of June and has been supplying the area with ice cream and munchies ever since. We stopped in to get the scoop.

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The Dish

Features

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Eastern Promises: hearty, meaty, carb-heavy Eastern European food is Toronto’s next big comfort cuisine

The Way We Eat Now: Eastern Promises

Wvrst Sausage Hall on King West

In the ’60s, Toronto had a bustling Eastern European food scene. Polish, Hungarian and German immigrants opened up humble cafés and grocery stores along Schnitzel Row (the stretch of Bloor between Spadina and Bathurst), in Kensington Market and on Roncesvalles Avenue, servicing mostly the expat community, and a few WASPs who fancied themselves adventurous for ordering fried chicken livers or cabbage rolls. By the ’80s, much of that first wave of Eastern Europeans had retired to the suburbs, taking their goulash and spaetzle with them (RIP Hungarian Goulash Party Tavern). The remaining downtown restaurants, like The Prague on Queen West, have turned into haunts for hungover students scarfing cheap smoked salmon palacinky or doughy pierogies.

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The Informer

Features

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Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 2, because we’re pumped for gold

The posse of Torontonians who’ll invade this summer’s London Olympics is determined to return with more medals than ever. Here, five of our top-calibre athletes assess the sacrifices they’ve made on the climb to the podium.

Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 2, Because we’re pumped for gold

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The Dish

Drinks

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Where to watch the 2012 Euro Cup in Toronto

This is what happened to St. Clair when the Azzurri took the World Cup in 2006 (Image: wyliepoon)

Starting this Friday, soccer-loving Torontonians will be facing a serious dilemma: where to watch the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship (i.e. the Euro Cup). There are 16 nations competing in the quadrennial tournament for the next three weeks, and with the gradual winnowing down of teams, venue choices might be as fluid as allegiance. To help, we’ve prepared a Euro 2012 watching guide, identifying the holes where each team’s supporters will gather by an LCD for some footie and liquid courage.

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The Informer

Features

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How Adrienne Clarkson would spend a perfect Saturday in the Annex

My Perfect Saturday: Adrienne Clarkson

I’ve lived within a mile radius of Bloor and Avenue since I came to Toronto in 1956 to attend U of T. My husband, John Ralston Saul, and I love the Annex because we can walk to almost everything. I’d start my Saturday with a private Pilates class at Articulate Bodies (94 Cumberland St.). Then I’d meet John for brunch at L’Espresso Bar Mercurio (321 Bloor St. W.). They do a great hollandaise, so I’d order the eggs Benedict, or maybe their excellent organic burger.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $2.3 million for a traditional Annex home with a contemporary soul

ADDRESS: 405 Brunswick Avenue

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Annex

AGENT: Vicky Tal and Meir Gluzberg, Harvey Kalles Real Estate

PRICE: $2,295,000

THE PLACE: Set away from the Annex’s beer-soaked frat abodes, this five-bedroom semi-detached is a quiet retreat in the downtown core.

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The Dish

The Month That Was

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The Month That Was: the Toronto restaurants and bars that opened and closed in April

Looking down from the mezzanine at Bellwoods Brewery (Image: Gizelle Lau)

Openings:

• The Saint—after three long years of waiting, during which time most of Ossington rapidly gentrified, this neighbourhood tavern from the people behind Buca finally opened its doors. Read our Introducing post »

• Bellwoods Brewery—A highly anticipated new brewpub on Ossington from a pair of Amsterdam Beer alums, with food by Guy Rawlings. Read our Introducing post »

• Lilly’s Lunches—A new downtown-centric bike brown bag bike delivery service from a cubicle escapee. Read our Introducing post »

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