My top 10 favourite places on the Danforth (in no particular order) :
- Treasure Island Toys – This toy store has been magnet for my son for the past 8 years. They stock a variety of toys, books and craft materials, with a focus on creativity and learning. Staffed by young, helpful people with a bank of ideas for those birthday party years.
- Omonia – A family run and family friendly restaurant. The staff never disappoints with a rousing, flaming presentation of “Opa”, and I have it on good authority that they mix a mean Shirley Temple. They also have a great patio, with lots of seating.
- Body Blue – The source for my weekend wardrobe for the past … 20 years. They carry a great variety of clothing, shoes and accessories from lines including James Perse, Fly London and Citizens of Humanity. The staff is hip and helpful. They also have great sales, and my dog is welcome to come in with me.
- Café Fiorentina – I discovered the food at this little gem during Taste of the Danforth, and have been hooked on their amazing Porchetta Panini ever since. This young husband and wife team offers a changing menu that has featured duck confit, beef cheeks, and venison tourtiere. A friend swears their sourdough is the best she’s ever had.
- Small Wonders – My dog always breaks into a run when we’re within half a block of this shop, it’s his favourite place. They stock all kinds of toys, treats and grooming accessories for pets, including natural and Canadian made products. The owner and staff are a great source of advice on training, diet and suggestions on holistic remedies.
- Urban Nails – Amongst the plethora of nail bars along this stretch, this stylish and always busy shop is my favourite stop for a well-priced mani ($15), pedi ($25) – or $35 for both. It’s clean, efficiently run, and the quality of service is consistent.
- The public fountain (at the corner of Danforth and Logan) – this spot is a cheerful hub for the local community. We can rarely pass without stopping to toss a few pennies into the water or linger over gelato from a nearby café. A bust of Alexander the Great overlooks the regular crowd of baby stollers, pigeons and buskers.
- Suckers (tied with) Sugar Mountain – If you have kids (or a sweet tooth), you won’t make it past either of these shops without a stop. The sensory-overload of bulk candy, bobble-heads and lunch boxes is the anesthetic for the sugar rush to follow.
- Envelop – I am a devoted customer of this clothing shop. Owner/designer Jim Smith produces a seasonal collection of simple, classic staples of tops and bottoms for men and women. He limits the collections to a few key pieces cut from unique and stunning fabrics.
- Mezes – This is our favourite restaurant on the strip for a special night out. A little bit classier and pricier than some of their Greek neighbours, their food and service are deserving of the crowds spilling out the door, waiting for a table. The fried calamari is the best. Ever.
My list includes places within the stretch of Danforth Avenue from Broadview to Pape. But the list could go on and on : there are more great places like Danforth Pizza, Cyclepath, Red Tent Sisters, and Sugar Moon further east – just to name a few.
I edited my long list to only 10 places. But I would be remiss to leave out mention of some others like Allen’s and Dora Keogh, Danforth Music Hall, Book City and I will forever miss the now-closed Sun Valley Foods. These are all places I frequent as a local, but each one on the list is one that I would go out of my way to visit, even I didn’t live nearby.