Late spring is my favourite time in Toronto. The trees are lush, the flowers are in bloom, and people are happy because they can actually go outside again. Recently, I poked around the little shops in one of my favourite neighbourhoods, Roncesvalles Village. Downtown can feel a bit slick in certain areas, so it was refreshing to venture to the west end where ma and pa shops are still thriving.
My family immigrated to Canada when I was a little kid, and one of my parents’ first businesses was running a little fruit and vegetable store. Naturally, I’m fond of supporting family businesses.Â When corporations and chains take over small boutiques, I believe the neighbourhood starts dying. Finding a Starbucks every two blocks is not convenience but a bad omen.Â Luckily, areas such as Roncy still exist. I’m not sure what’s going to happen to Toronto as it becomes increasingly unaffordable and artificially trendy in the way of Manhattan and London. For now, I’m just going to keep exploring the authentic nooks of my city and support local shops whenever possible.
My fave spots in Roncesvalles
Cherry Bomb Coffee â€” a local institution.
Simple Kitchen â€” a quick, healthy eatery.
Cafe Polonez â€” hearty Polish food in Toronto’s Little Poland.
The Knit Cafe â€” if I ever want to knit and hang out with other knitters, I’d come here.
Ecotique â€” an eco boutique shop for your zero waste needs.
Tealish â€” all the fine teas you didn’t know you wanted.
The Mercantile â€” quirky gourmet food and gift store.
Coal Miner’s Daughter â€” one of three locations in the city. Stocks mostly Canadian clothes and accessories.
FrockÂ â€” retail clothing store with some ethical or local brands. I actually bought the jeans I’m wearing from Frock.
Stella Luna â€” my fave vintage shop that nobody knows about.
Another Story Book Shop â€” Do they curate books based on covers? Because everything is so beautiful here.
MY ETHICAL OUTFIT
SILKÂ â€” EVERLANE RELAXED SILK SHIRT IN PALE PINK
JEANS â€” IRIS DENIM ‘WHATTA MAN’ JEANSÂ
BOOTS â€” BROTHERS VELLIES ‘KAYA’ BOOT IN STARDUST
EARRINGS â€” GENERAL GOODS NY 18K GOLD-FILLED HOOPS
Photos by Catherine Li-Abrams
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