#ShopTheHood never looked this good!

Your Perfect Parkdale Day to #ShopTheHood

By Carolyn Grisold

Parkdale is a microcosm of Toronto: it’s where you’ll find almost every ethnicity represented, almost every language spoken, and almost every walk of life accounted for. That’s what makes it the perfect place to Shop The Neighbourhood – no matter what your style. What kind of day in Parkdale is perfect for you? From November 28th and throughout December tag us online in your perfect #ShopTheHood day in #Parkdale!

The Girly Girl

You’re a girly-girl, through and through. Femininity is your favourite style and spendingFullSizeRender (004) time with your girlfriends makes you smile. Start your perfect day getting your hair done at the delightfully eclectic Quinn West Salon. Then, head over to Sylvie and Shimmy for the prettiest shopping experience ever. You’ll love browsing the uber-feminine displays. Afterwards, take a little break at Kitten and The Bear’s tea room. Seated in a cozy window nook, indulge in house-made preserves, scones and tea served in beautiful pastel china or visit them online to learn more about their ‘pastel christmas tea party’ ideas and inspirations. Then finish off with a stop at charming floral boutique Coriander Girl, where you can pick up an artistic bouquet of fresh flowers or vintage vase to remember the occasion.

The Rock-and-Roller

A true rock-and-roller, your soul belongs in music. Start your perfect Parkdale day at a selection of vintage shops, including Stella Luna and The Public Butter, picking up FullSizeRender (008)some authentic duds from whatever era rocks loudest in your heart. Then head over to Playdead Cult for some unique art that will bring out your dark side, before lining your belly with an Easy Rider all-day breakfast at Easy Restaurant. Party away the rest of your perfect day at Stones Place or the Cadillac Lounge. They always have something going on – from trivia to karaoke and live bands.

The 6ix Styler

Drake is your god and you wear the 6ix style with pride. Kick off your day in Parkdale with a classic shave and a haircut at Lionel’s Barber Shop before stocking up on top FullSizeRender (00C)gear at Community 54. With headwear, tees & tanks, footwear and bags, this Parkdale style mecca has got you covered. Once you’re sufficiently decked out, saunter down the Milky Way Graffiti Alley to check out some cool street art. Afterwards, head over to the Parkdale Drink and dance the night away to old school ‘90s and R&B.

The Dapper Gentleman

The masculine version of the Girly-Girl, you’re a dapper gentleman and you only want to present your best. Parkdale has the perfect day for you and it starts at Elevator, a FullSizeRender (003)clothing and accessories shop with a classy and vintage feel. From brogues and Oxfords to ties and bow ties, everything you need for a polished persona can be found here. Then head over to the west end’s year-round indoor market, the Toronto Designers Market, to pick up some thoughtful holiday gifts. Finish off your day with a pan-Asian dinner at Miss Thing’s, followed by a nightcap at The Grand Trunk.

The Locavore

You shop the neighbourhood every day, and support local establishments whenever IMG_6966possible. Decked out in Canadiana cool from North Standard Trading Post, you pick up your organics at Good Catch General Store. Your perfect Parkdale day includes sipping on craft beer at Toronto beer baron Mike Duggan’s Brewery and chowing down on 100-mile Ontario beef. Then head down to appropriately named The Yukon for some oysters while you browse Worker Bee Supply Co.’s online shop for your next order of inspirational Prints from local artists.

The World Traveller

You get around, but you always come home. And when you’re home, you like to remember what it was like to be out travelling the world. In Parkdale this is easy to do – FullSizeRender (006)you can eat your way through Tibet, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Italy, India, Asia, Mexico, South America and more. Plus, there are so many shops featuring items from around the globe that you will feel like you’re still travelling. End your perfect Parkdale day at The Shameful Tiki Room. This brand new destination is the first Toronto outpost of a Vancouver favourite, and features wood totems inspired by Polynesian culture that are hand-carved by the bar’s owner.

The Hipster

Not that you want to admit you are one, but the Hipster is to Parkdale what the Yummy FullSizeRender (009)Mommy is to Leslieville: an integral icon. Your perfect day starts by picking up a cup of Sam James Coffee at The Tempered Room before your bike tune-up appointment at Metro Cycle TO and MacBook service at Garuda Tech. Grab some quality vintage duds at Three Fates or In Vintage We Trust, before heading to Parts & Labour for dinner. If you want to keep the night going, pop downstairs for some sweet DJ sets.

The Artiste

For the Artiste, Parkdale offers a myriad of antique shops to peruse like Captains Treasures and Black Pug DMK. The gallery selection here is just as vast, from the FullSizeRender (005)florescent strokes at Shawn Skeir Gallery, to the contemporary art at General Hardware and the cultural centre at Black Artists’ Network in Dialogue (B.A.N.D.). Parkdale is a hub of creativity; check out the exhibits at the non-profit Gallery 1313 or join the Poetry Circle at the Toronto Public Library’s Parkdale Branch. And when you’re all done, stop by the Rustic Cosmo Café for a coffee and a chat about your perfect day.

The Philanthropist

For the Philanthropist, a perfect day is not complete without a charitable component, and there’s many ways to give back in Parkdale. You can donate to less-advantaged youth at West Neighbourhood House, volunteer to serve lunch at St. Francis Table, or attend a fundraiser for one of Parkdale Intercultural Association’s many programs. Why not cap off your day by donating your gently used clothing to The Salvation Army’s Thrift Store or drop off baby/kids clothing at the Creating Together Family Resource Centre.

The Green Goddess

Green Goddesses love to create a holistic lifestyle that’s gentle on themselves and the environment. Parkdale is the perfect place to spend a healthy day for this health-FullSizeRender (007)conscious lady. Begin your morning with a Far Infrared Sauna at The Well of Alternative Medicine to release toxins and relax your body & mind. Afterwards, pick up an all-natural fresh fruit smoothie made with almond milk at Boreal Gelato. You’ll love the canning and cooking workshops at the West End Food Coop. And JR’s Natural Health and Bulk has all the organic ingredients you need for tonight’s vegan dinner. Stop by the Toronto Tool Library to pick up a hot glue gun for your weekend D.I.Y. project, before ending your perfect day with restorative yoga and meditation at Parkdale Prana Room.

Shop Local NOW Mag - 2015

Canadian Pickers picks Parkdale

Hit television series shoots latest episode in Captain’s Treasures Antiques thanks to Parkdale resident and producer, Allegra Hill
By: Carolyn Grisold

When Allegra Hill, local Parkdale resident and production manager of History channel hit Canadian Pickers, needed a location for a picking challenge, she looked no further than her own backyard.

“We wanted to find a location where [hosts Scott Cozens and Sheldon Smithens] would really need to do some digging,” says Hill.  The team settled on Captain’s Treasures Antiques at 1424 Queen Street West; the shop stood out because of its sheer volume of items. “Captain’s Treasures Antiques allowed us to create the feeling we were looking for,” she says. “It was all about the hunt on this shoot, so we needed the guys to be able to do some rooting around.”Slide1

Canadian Pickers is known for digging out a deal or two; stumbling onto a lucky find in flea markets, warehouses, basements or yard sales is like discovering a masterpiece.

With a degree in art history from Queen’s University, Hill herself “fell into” a television career that’s so far spanned eight years. “TV was an unlikely career path for me and I haven’t looked back.” She’s now been a part of the Canadian Pickers production team for two seasons; the show is currently shooting its fourth.

“The characters that Scott and Sheldon meet along the way are central to the episodes,” says Hill, adding that Canadian Pickers differs from its American counterpart in the sense that the landscape functions as an additional character. The show prides itself on highlighting Canada’s diverse geography, culture and people. “Canadian Pickers does its best to explore that for its viewers,” she says.

And where better to look for multiculturalism than in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood? Hill has called it home for the past year and a half. “I was living on Gladstone for seven years [before] I crossed over Dufferin into Parkdale.”

It was the area’s eclectic mix of businesses and residents that drew her here. “I love the mix of old and new,” she says. “I love the variety of Parkdale. I truly have everything I need within blocks of my home. I am a bargain hunter by nature and there are many great deals to be found.”

Captain’s Treasures Antiques is definitely a local bargain hunter’s paradise, and its owners Captain Errol Boyd and wife Joan have been in the antiques business for almost 35 years. Their entrepreneurial ventures have seen quite a few location changes over the years: from St. Catharine’s to Eglinton West, Queen and Roncesvalles, Weston Road, and even Ottawa Street in Hamilton. Their current flagship location is now run by the Captain’s daughter, Lisa Boyd, who is also a home staging professional and realtor.      

“I had a lot of fun,” says Boyd when asked what it was like having a national television program filmed in her store. “The guys were great, however they kicked the Captain out of his own shop because there were so many people [inside] and he didn’t want to be on camera.”

But he was okay, she says. “He wanted his First Mate to take care of [the crew].”

Although their current Queen Street store only opened this past December, Boyd is not new to Parkdale and has been active in the community for years. She has used her voice to support initiatives such as changing the direction of the streets to reduce prostitution, fight badly-behaving bars and rally to get parking times changed for directional traffic. This endeavour helped their Queen and Roncesvalles location at the time. Since then, she has noticed an increase in young families, young couples and women shopping on a regular basis.

It’s effort like this that’s helping to improve the area in countless ways.

Hill agrees.

“Parkdale is definitely becoming more gentrified,” she says. “It is great to have fantastic restaurants, clothing stores and cafes at my doorstep, but also have a discount store all on the same block. I hope that it is possible to maintain that balance.”

One thing’s for sure: the neighbourhood is definitely a treasure.

Canadian Pickers airs Mondays at 8pm on the History channel. To learn more about the show, please visit http://www.cineflixproductions.com/. To find “The Best Booty Around,” don’t forget to stop by 1424 Queen Street West or visit http://www.captainstreasures.biz/

A new series that profiles female entrepreneurs in Toronto: Rustic Cosmo Cafe!

Check out a recent interview with long time Parkdale business owner Nicole Crowe as she shares her journey with contributing writer Carolyn Grisold for the online publication the Toronto Standard.  

   Petite Bourgeoisie: Nicole Crowe, Owner of Rustic Cosmo

Do you think it’s important for small businesses to be involved in the community?

Oh, totally. If the people running businesses in the neighbourhood don’t step up to make it a great place to be, then it’s not gonna get done. Parkdale is full of so many wonderful business owners. It’s such a mix of old and new businesses on this strip now, it’s great. Everyone interacts; we all help each other out whenever we can, and do what we can to bring people down to Parkdale.

What made your parents choose to move to Parkdale?

I’m not sure, but we’ve been here over 20 years now. Parkdale’s always been a very eccentric neighbourhood. It’s great, very community-based. It was a different neighbourhood 17 years ago when we started the restaurant.

How has your restaurant evolved as Parkdale becomes more gentrified?

When we opened, we were Parkdale’s original coffee house; there were no other coffee houses around. We started off with just coffee and desserts – cappuccinos and fun coffee drinks – and then, over the years, we just gradually evolved. We put in the kitchen about 10 years ago. We always did quiches and salads, so we had food options, but not much at the beginning. I had a hot plate before. Now we’re a full-service restaurant.

Do you find keeping up with food trends challenging, or is that something that you thrive on?

We follow food trends to a point; a lot of what we serve has been on the menu for the whole 17 years we’ve been here. We can’t take it off; people just order it anyways. Like the chicken, avocado and brie sandwich. It’s been on the menu since the day we opened the doors.

To read more from the interview, click here.

Photo: Carolyn Grisold