Yorkville and The Annex are two neighbourhoods along Bloor St where downtown Toronto meets midtown. Helped by the University of Toronto and the stately homes in the area, the district has a different feel than the downtown neighbourhoods to the south with their modern condos and busier lifestyles. So take a walk along Bloor St, browse through the designer boutiques in Yorkville or take an afternoon (or a day) to roam the halls and exhibits of the Royal Ontario Museum.
The Annex is one of Toronto's oldest neighbourhoods and its first streetcar suburb, characterized by its distinctive tall narrow houses, lively community along Bloor Street, and indeed its name. Considered a food and shopping mecca, this district is well known by Torontonians as one of the friendliest neighbourhoods in the city. Due to the proximity of the neighbourhood to the University of Toronto and Central Technical School with its famous art school The Art Centre - there is a large population of students and faculty, the commercial strip along Bloor Street has quite the feel of a college neighbourhood (albeit an affluent one). Most of the commercial activity in the neighbourhood takes place along Bloor St, which is filled with small restaurants, pubs and bookshops. The side streets are mostly residential, with long, narrow townhouses to the south of Bloor and large, stately mansions to the north. The borders of the neighbourhood are, to some extent, debatable, however, less so than many other neighbourhoods in the city. The eastern and western boundaries are generally agreed to be Avenue Road and Bathurst Street respectively and the southern boundary is generally agreed to be Harbord Street. The northern boundary is generally considered to be Dupont Street.
During the 1960s, Bloor-Yorkville served as the centre of Toronto's hippie culture. After large scale development in the 1980s and 1990s, it has become Toronto's upscale shopping district, containing boutiques dedicated to haute couture. It has also become a focal point during the Toronto International Film Festival, making the area "ground-zero" for celebrity watching.
Along the narrow Cumberland Street and Yorkville Avenue, between Bay Street and Avenue Road, you will find smaller but expensive independent clothing stores. Near the corner of Yorkville Avenue and Hazelton Avenue, you will also find a number of private art galleries with more on Dupont Street near the northern end of Hazelton Avenue.
In 2018, the Yorkville is being redeveloped again as condo towers are beginning to replace the low-rise buildings that give the neighbourhood its character.
The Mink MileEdit
Bloor Street from Yonge Street to Avenue Road is known as the "Mink Mile" for its pricey, high-end stores such as Tiffany and Holt Renfrew.
Much of the district is synonymous with being Toronto's Discovery District, so named as it contains many of Toronto's most important centres of education, such as the University of Toronto (U of T), the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Royal Ontario Museum. Canada's foremost centres of medical research are also located in this neighbourhood, with several of Canada's most prestigious hospitals arranged in a row along University Avenue between College and Dundas Streets.
Yorkville and the Annex are within walking distance of many major attractions and a central point for the Toronto's subway system. Streetcar and bus connections link the subway stations to the surrounding neighbourhoods.
From the Don Valley Parkway: exit at Bloor Street, follow Bloor Street West to Spadina.
From the 401: exit at Allen Road. Follow Allen Road south until Eglinton. Turn left on Eglinton, and right on Bathurst. Follow Bathurst to Bloor. Or: Exit the 401 at Avenue Rd., proceed south to Bloor St, where you make a right turn and continue until you reach spadina.
From the Gardiner Expressway: exit at Spadina. Follow Spadina north until Bloor St.
Parking: Finding a parking space on Bloor Street or any of the side streets is extremely difficult at the best of times and basically impossible during regular business hours. There is one parking lot in the neighbourhood, a commercial one just off Bloor Street, on Lippincott Street, one block east of Bathurst Street.
The neighbourhoods are well-served by the subway. Subway line 1 (Yonge-University) runs to Spadina Station; the St George Station on the same line is several blocks east of the Annex. Museum and Queens Park stations provide access to the University campus and some of the museums.
Subway line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) runs underground immediately north of Bloor Street, it stops at Spadina Station and Bathurst Station, on either end of the Annex, while the Bay and Yonge-Bloor stations access Yorkville. The Spadina and Bathurst stations have transfer-free connections to 510 and 511 streetcars respectively.
The 510 Spadina LRT Streetcar runs from Union Station south to Queen's Quay in the Harbourfront neighbourhood, along which it runs west to Spadina, it then runs north on Spadina to Spadina Subway Station where it connects to the Bloor-Danforth line. The 510 runs entirely in its own right-of-way. The 511 Streetcar runs from Exhibition Place in the Harbourfront neighbourhood, along Fleet Street to Bathurst, it then runs north on Bathurst to Bathurst Subway Station. The 511 runs with traffic for most of its route.
Route 506 runs along College, Carlton and Gerrard Streets from High Park to the west to Main Street station to the east. It runs across the southern edge of the University of Toronto and connects with the subway line 1 (Yonge-University) at College Park and Queen's Park.
Route 94 runs along Wellesley, Hoskin and Harbord from Castle Frank station to Ossington station and connects with the Yonge line at Wellesley station. It runs straight through the U of T campus and stops at the north end of Queen's Park.
Route 5 runs along University Avenue and Avenue Road from the coach terminal to Eglinton station, connecting with the University-Spadina line at Queen's Park and Museum. This route runs straight through Queen's Park.
Route 6 runs along Bay Street from Queen's Quay to Yorkville, stopping at Union station and Bay station as well as the coach terminal. This route runs along the eastern edge of the U of T campus.
There are bike lanes running east-west on Harbord and College Streets. Bloor St is also quite bike friendly despite not having a bike lane. There are poles reserved for bike locking along all major streets, including Bloor.
This area is very walkable and cyclists can easily navigate around the neighbourhoods. It is well served by public transit. Driving is not advised due to expensive parking, many one-way streets and turn restrictions. Park your car and walk.
- 1 Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor St W (at St George St; Subway: St George), ☏ +1 416-979-7799. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. One of Toronto's more unusual attractions, this offbeat museum is devoted to shoes and footwear. Exhibits include Napoleon Bonaparte's socks and footwear from cultures all over the world. Also interesting is the building's unique deconstructivist architecture, meant to resemble an opening shoe box. Adult $14, senior $12, student (with ID) $8, child (5-17) $5. Free on Sundays.
- 2 Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, 111 Queens Park (between Bloor St and Charles St; Subway: Museum), ☏ +1 416-586-8080. M-Th 10AM-6PM, F 10AM-9PM, Sa Su 10AM-5PM. Galleries featuring a collection of rare ceramics, 18th-century yellow European porcelain and Chinese white and blue porcelain. Free guided tours take place daily at 2PM. Adults $15, Seniors(65+) $11, Students $9, other rates. Admission is half price on F after 4PM.
- 3 Mary Pickford Memorial, 555 University Ave (At Elm St just south of entrance to Hospital for Sick Children). Silent film star Mary Pickford, known as "America's Sweetheart", was born in Toronto in 1892. A bust and historical plaque marks her birthplace, now the site of the Hospital for Sick Children. The plaque was unveiled by her third husband (of 42 years) Buddy Rogers in 1973. The bust by artist Eino Gira was added ten years later. There is also a plaque for Mary Pickford on Canada's Walk of Fame on Simcoe Street just south of King Street.
- 4 Mural about Portuguese exploration of the New World (Queen's Park Subway Station) (mezzanine level). This ceramic tile mural, a gift from the Government of Portugal, is located within the fare-paid area of the subway station mezzanine level. The mural's theme is Portuguese exploration of the New World. TTC fare or pass required to view the mural up close..
- 5 Museum Subway Station (along subway line 1 at the Royal Ontario Museum). In order to evoke exhibits at the neighbouring Royal Ontario Museum, the supporting columns along the platforms of Museum Station were modelled to resemble the ancient Egyptian deity Osiris, Toltec warriors, Doric columns found in the Parthenon, China's Forbidden City columns, and First Nations house posts. This makes Museum the most impressive station on the subway system. TTC fare or pass is required.
- 6 Queen's Park (Subway line 1 to Queen's Park Station or 506 Streetcar to University Ave). Queen's Park is an urban park in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Opened in 1860 by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), it was named in honour of Queen Victoria. The grounds are a pleasant place to stroll or people-watch. The park's centrepiece structure is the Ontario Legislative building.
- 7 Ontario Legislative Building, Queen's Park, ☏ +1 416-325-7500. 8:30AM-5PM. This grand Victorian building is home to Ontario's provincial legislature. Tours are offered every weekday year-round and on weekends during the summer.
- 8 Statue of Queen Victoria (at the front of the legislature building, east of the main door). The seated figure of Queen Victoria is facing south towards University Avenue. To Queen Victoria's left is a small grove of cherry trees that bloom in early May.
- 9 Statue of Edward VII (on a large mound north of the Legislature building). The equestrian statue of Edward VII first stood in India, but was moved to Canada after 1969, when India became a Commonwealth republic.
- 10 Royal Ontario Museum (the ROM), 100 Queens Park (at Bloor St; Subway: Museum), ☏ +1 416-586-8000. Tu-Su 10AM-5:30PM; Extended hours to 8:30PM on 3rd Tuesday of each month. Closed Mondays. One of the larger museums in North America, and the largest in Canada. Thousands of artifacts and specimens are featured in over 20 exhibits; including dinosaurs, Ancient China, native Canadians, Canadian furniture, medieval Europe, art deco, ancient Egypt, textiles, middle east, India and Pacific islanders. The world's largest totem pole, which is over 100 years old, is also housed in a place of honour. The original building was built in 1910, and is a handsome romanesque revival, with many carvings of people and events. The newer addition is a large deconstructivist crystal, made of steel and glass. General admission: adult $23, student/youth (15-19)/senior (65+) $18, child (4-14) $14, with extra rates for special exhibits.
- 11 Trinity-St. Paul's United Church, 427 Bloor Street West (just west of Spadina Avenue), ☏ +1 416-922-8435. Trinity-St. Paul's is a landmark in the Annex completed in 1889. The church has advocated for same-sex marriage, fair trade and improved conditions for the homeless.
- 12 Toronto Fire Station 312, 34 Yorkville Ave (between Yonge St and Bay St, 2 blocks north of Bloor St). Operating fire hall; interior not open to public. This is one of the city's oldest active fire halls, built in 1878 for the Yorkville Fire Department before the City of Toronto annexed Yorkville in 1883. The two-storey structure has a five-storey clock tower with three bays (there used to be only two), and it has a coat of arms from the old Yorkville Town Hall. This is probably the cutest looking fire hall still in operation in Toronto. Its architectural style is "Victorian Gothic".
- 13 Toronto Fire Station 315, 132 Bellevue Ave (3 blocks east of Bathurst St at the corner of College St and Bellevue Ave). Operating fire hall; interior not open to public. Built in 1875, this is one of the city's oldest fire halls. It is a two-storey structure with an eight-storey clock tower. It has three bays, only one from the original building. The current tower was partially rebuilt in 1972, after a fire set by an arsonist. The tower's clock was not salvagable, and a replica replaced the original when the tower was rebuilt from 1972 to 1973. Both Stations 312 and 315 are examples of "Victorian Gothic" architecture but have a much different style of tower. Fire Station 315 is a landmark building and can be easily seen from Spadina Avenue.
Yorkville has a mix of Victorian and modern buildings with many Victorian houses having been converted to shops, eateries and offices. On summer days, the neighborhood is crowded with locals and visitors alike.
- 14 Church of the Redeemer, 162 Bloor St W. There is a quiet square with benches around the church. On the east side of the church, there is an urban vegetable garden.
- 15 Courtyard murals, 99 Yorkville Ave. on the side of the Christian Louboutin Yorkville shop, there are large murals best seen by climbing to the second story walkway on the east side of the building.
- 16 Hazelton Avenue, Yorkville (between Yorkville Ave and Davenport Rd). Hazelton Avenue is a beautiful residential street within Yorkville lined with older houses with small but very attractive front yards. There are private art galleries at the south end of the street. Sometimes, a sculpture is displayed in front of the art gallery.
- 17 Heliconian Hall (Heliconian Club), 35 Hazelton Ave (1 block north of Yorkville Ave), ☏ +1 416-922-3618. The Heliconian Hall was built as a church in 1875, when this part of Toronto was still rural. The Heliconian Club, an association of women involved in the arts and letters, acquired the building in 1923. (The club was formed because the all-male Arts and Letters Club denied membership to women at that time.) The hall has "Carpenter's Gothic" architecture with a board and batten exterior, intricate trim, a carved rose window and a wooden spire. The hall's vaulted ceiling provides excellent acoustics, making the club ideal for musical and dramatic presentations. See the club's website for events open to the public. The hall is a designated National Historic Site of Canada; it is the only wooden church structure remaining in Toronto today.
- 18 Love Negotiation (Sokoloff Lawyers), 120 Scollard St (just east of Hazelton Ave). Love Negotiation is an amusing bronze statue of a man and woman sitting at an outside patio table. However, the sexy lady has the head of a rabbit, and the gentleman has a dog's head. It's worth a little detour to see.
- 19 Old York Lane (between Cumberland Ave and Yorkville Ave opposite Hazelton Ave at its north end). This is a narrow pedestrian lane lined with shops and restaurants. There is a mural along the lane.
- 20 Village of Yorkville Park, 115 Cumberland St. The park features a water fountain, clusters of various types of trees, plant beds and the Yorkville Rock, a 700-ton granite rock transported from Muskoka. There are numerous tables and chairs under the park's trees, and there are two coffee shops on the edge of the park.
University of TorontoEdit
The University of Toronto St George Campus lies immediately south of Yorkville and The Annex. With its green spaces and many interlocking courtyards, the campus forms an urban park of 71 hectares (180 acres). Most buildings on the eastern and central portions of the campus were built between 1858 and 1929 using a combination of Romanesque and Gothic Revival architecture.
The central campus lies between Queens Park Crescent and St George Street, and can be reached by taking the 506 Streetcar to McCaul St. The courtyards within the surrounding walls of the University College and Knox College buildings may make you feel that you are within Harry Potter's Hogwarts.
- 21 Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research, 160 College St (just west of University Ave). The building features a 4-metre high bamboo grove just inside the main entrance. Effectively, it is a small interior park with benches within the bamboo grove.
- 22 Front Campus, King’s College Circle. The Front Campus, the traditional heart of the university, is focused on the oval lawn enclosed by King's College Circle. It is dominated by University College on its north side.
- 23 University College, 15 Kings College Circle, ☏ +1 416-978-7516. University College, an eclectic blend of Richardsonian Romanesque and Norman architectural elements, is the centrepiece of the University of Toronto's beautiful campus. It was built in 1857, when the surrounding area was hinterland to the north of the town. Both the university and the city have grown all around it, but the building remains important both academically and architecturally. The building was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1968. Take a look at the building's front lobby and take a look at the woodwork along the corridors. If you go to second floor above the lobby, you might be able to peek into a quaint old-fashioned lecture hall. Also, look at the courtyard and the fanciful architecture surrounding three of its sides. The simplest way into the courtyard is from an entrance through the western side of the building, which in itself is worthy to see. Free admission.
- 24 University of Toronto Art Centre (within University College). Tu-Sa noon-5PM, W to 8PM. This gallery has several rooms and two types of exhibits. Most rooms contain changing exhibits of contemporary art. There is also the permanent Malcove Collection containing Byzantine and Eastern Orthodox religious art plus some Greco-Egyptian-Roman items dating from as early as the first century. Free.
- 25 Convocation Hall, 31 King’s College Circle. Built in 1907, Convocation Hall is recognizable for its domed roof and Ionic-pillared rotunda. Besides the annual convocation ceremonies, the building serves as a venue for academic and social events throughout the year. Its design includes neoclassical features from both the Greek and Roman periods including columns, the building's entablature, and its domed roof. There is an emphasis on principles of proportion, symmetry, geometry and uniformity of parts.
- 26 Sandford Fleming Building, 10 King's College Road (near the College St entrance). The Sandford Fleming Building is the traditional centre of activity in the University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. The building was built in 1907 originally for the physics department. It is named after Sir Sandford Fleming, the chief engineer of the Intercolonial Railway of Canada, the chief engineer on Canadian Pacific Railways surveys, and is famous for helping to establish a standardized 24-hour system of international time zones.
- 27 Knox College, 59 St George St (on west side of King’s College Circle). The sandstone buildings of Knox College epitomizes the North American collegiate Gothic design, with its characteristic cloisters surrounding a secluded courtyard. Knox College is a postgraduate theological college founded in 1844 and today is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The college moved into its current building in 1915. Take a look at the building's lobby on the eastern side of the building. It has a castle atmosphere. Pass through the lobby to the courtyard surrounded on all four sides by impressive, old-fashion architecture.
- 28 Hart House & Soldiers' Tower, 7 Hart House Circle (NE of King’s College Circle). Hart House is a Gothic-revival student centre complex overlooking a lawn within Hart House Circle. Among its many common rooms, the building's Great Hall is noted for large stained-glass windows and a long quotation from John Milton's Areopagitica that is inscribed around the walls. The adjacent Soldiers' Tower stands 44 metres (144 ft) tall as the most prominent structure in the vicinity, its stone arches etched with the names of university members lost to the battlefields of the two World Wars. The tower houses a 51-bell carillon that is played on special occasions such as Remembrance Day and convocation.
- Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (within Hart House), ☏ +1 416-978-8398. Tu-Sa noon-5PM, W to 8PM. This small gallery has two rooms displaying contemporary Canadian art. The exhibits change monthly. Free.
- 29 Trinity College, 6 Hoskin Ave (north of Hart House). The main building of Trinity College displays Jacobethan Tudor architecture, while its chapel was built in the Perpendicular Gothic style of Giles Gilbert Scott. The chapel features exterior walls of sandstone and interiors of Indiana Limestone, and was constructed by Italian stonemasons using ancient building methods. The building's cornerstone was laid on April 30, 1851. Trinity College was incorporated as an independent university in 1851, and a charter was granted by Queen Victoria the following year. Trinity College was originally an arts and divinity institution but, by the end of the 19th century its scope included medicine, law, music, pharmacy and dentistry. The college admitted its first female students in 1884. In 1904, Trinity College became part of the University of Toronto. Be sure to see the courtyard, with its geometric patterns, between the wings of the building.
- 30 Philosopher's Walk (southern entrance to the east of Trinity College on Hoskin Ave; northern entrance just to the west of the Royal Ontario Museum). Philosopher's Walk is a scenic footpath that follows a meandering, wooded ravine linking Trinity College to Bloor Street on the west side of the Royal Ontario Museum.
- 31 Queen Alexandra Gateway (At Bloor Street behind the Royal Ontario Museum). The Bloor Street entrance to the Philosopher's Walk was built in 1901 to commemorate the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. It was moved to its current location from the corner of Bloor Street and Avenue Road in 1962.
- 32 Amphitheatre. The small amphitheatre midway along the Philosopher's Walk was designed to be acoustically vibrant for lectures and performances.
- 33 Art Museum at the University of Toronto, 15 King’s College Circle, ☏ +1 416-978-1838. Tu, Th-Sa noon-5PM; We noon-8PM. One of the largest visual art exhibitions with rotating exhibitions. Free admission.
- 34 Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, 7 Hart House Circle (From the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, walk northwest 50 m), ☏ +1 416-978-8398. Tu, Th-Sa noon-5PM; We noon-8PM. An extension of the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. Free admission.
The eastern campus lies on the east side of Queens Park separating it from the rest of the university. It contains two colleges with several older buildings. Museum Subway Station is adjacent to the eastern campus.
- 35 Victoria College (Victoria University in the University of Toronto), 73 Queens Park Cres E. Victoria college, founded in 1836, features several older buildings.
- 36 Old Vic (Victoria College). Build in 1896, "Old Vic" is the main building and an example of Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style.
- 37 Annesley Hall, 95 Queen's Park. Built in 1903 in the Queen Anne style, Annesley Hall is the first university residence built for women in Canada. It is the oldest residence within the college and is a National Historic Site of Canada.
- 38 Burwash Hall. Burwash Hall is the second oldest of the residence buildings at Victoria, being completed in 1913. The building is an extravagant Neo-Gothic work with turrets, gargoyles, and battlements. The portion of the building opposite St. Mary Street is called the Gate House with a attractive oval portal under a castle-like tower.
- 39 St. Michael's College (south of St Mary St and west of Bay St, just east of and adjacent to Victoria College). St. Michael's College, founded in 1852, is an undergraduate college for liberal arts and sciences within the University of Toronto. It has a Roman Catholic affiliation.
- 40 St. Basil's Church. Consecrated in 1856, St. Basil's Church is the oldest building at the University of Toronto in continuous academic use. It serves the college parish.
The western campus lies between St. George Street and Spadina Avenue and contains a mix of old and modern buildings. It can be reached by the 506 streetcar at Beverley Street or St George Street, or by the 510 streetcar to Willcocks Street.
- 41 Robarts Library, 130 St George St (NW corner of Harbord St & St George St), ☏ +1 416-978-8450. The most significant example of Brutalist architecture is the massive Robarts Library complex, built in 1972 and opened a year later in 1973. It features raised podia, extensive use of triangular geometric designs and a towering fourteen-storey concrete structure that cantilevers above a field of open space and mature trees.
- 42 Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library (passage on the left after entering the Robarts Library from St George St). M-F 9AM-5PM. The largest repository of publicly accessible rare books and manuscripts in Canada, the library is several stories high with shelves around an open atrium. The old books give the place a noticeable musty smell. Behind the entrance and one floor below is an area for changing exhibits. Free admission.
- Cherry tree blossoms (NE corner of Harbord St & Huron St next to the Robarts Library). There is a grove of Japanese cherry trees on the SW side of the Robarts Library. The trees bloom in late April or early May (depending on weather) and blooming lasts for only one or two weeks. There is a web page to find more precise information about when cherry trees bloom in Toronto.
- 43 John H. Daniels Building, Faculty of Architecture (former Knox College), 1 Spadina Crescent (506 streetcar to Spadina Ave or 510 streetcar to College St). The John H. Daniels Building was built in the Gothic Revival style in 1875 and a highly visible landmark along Spadina Avenue. The building was used originally for Knox College until the college moved to the central campus in 1914. During World War I, it was used as a military hospital where once Amelia Earhart worked as a nurses aide. It became a medical research lab in 1943. It again became an academic building in 1972 for the Faculty of Arts and Science. Today, it is used by the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, and has a modern extension on its north side. The grounds are nicely landscaped. Pedestrian access is on the east side of the building.
- Annex Neighbourhood Stroll. If you're interested in Victorian architecture, the Annex is a great place to just wander. The area includes countless detached and semi-detached homes, most built in the elegant Victorian style at the turn of the century. North of Bloor are the mansions, south of Bloor are the rowhouses; both are equally worth a look. Admiral Road and Elgin Avenue are particularly attractive.
- 1 Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, ☏ +1 416-637-3123. Restored 1913 movie theatre that screens documentaries and independent film festival fare, and often features classic favourites. Definitely the place to go if you feel like watching Dr. Strangelove on the big screen. If you're in town for Halloween, the midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is recommended.'
- 2 The Fringe Theatre Festival, 720 Bathurst St (1½ blocks south of Bloor St and Bathurst Subway Station), ☏ +1 416-966-1062. One of the city's cultural highlights, the Fringe Festival is an annual summer event featuring comedy, drama, dance, and a range of other independent productions put on in and around the Annex. 11 days in early July. It was founded in 1988. Tickets $13.
- 3 Snakes & Lattés Annex, 600 Bloor St W. (1½ blocks west of Bathurst St and Bathurst Subway Station), ☏ +1 647-342-9229. Su-W 11AM-midnight, Th-Sa 11AM-2AM. Board game café; a $5 cover charge gives access to a huge library of games.
- 4 Snakes & Lattés College, 489 College St (2 blocks west of Bathurst St on the south side), ☏ +1 647-342-9229. Board game café with over 1000 board and card games.
True to its bohemian character, The Annex is dotted with small bookshops and independent record stores centred around Bloor and Bathurst. You'll find the predictable headshops and ethnic/tribal stores, but there are also some truly exceptional places to shop.
- 1 BMV Books, 471 Bloor St W (between Major St and Brunswick Ave; Subway: Spadina), ☏ +1 416 967-5757. M-Th 10AM-11PM, F Sa 10AM-midnight, Su 10AM-10PM. Carries a formidable selection of new and second-hand books on two storeys in subjects ranging from literature and spirituality to self-help and travel books. Their DVD selection caters to an impossibly wide range of taste, and is a real steal at around $5 each. Also has bargain-priced, slightly out-of-date travel books (though they don't yet stock the excellent Wikivoyage brand).
- 2 The Green Beanery, 565 Bloor St W (at Bathurst St; Subway: Bathurst), ☏ +1 416 588-7700 ext 249. M-F 9:30AM-6PM. Cafe & roastery housed in a former bank (the vault still remains) selling an array of coffee gear. A fair-trade, non-profit organization that offers a mind-boggling selection of coffees and teas.
- 3 Four flower shops, 126, 128, 130 & 132 Avenue Rd (west side of Avenue Rd between Davenport Rd & Bernard Ave). Four flower shops (Grower's Flower Market & Gifts, Jong Young Flower Market, Ken's Flowers On Avenue, Yang's Flower & Fruit Market) form a "flower district" competing side-by-side with each other within the same block on Avenue Road.
Bloor Street between Avenue Road and Yonge Street is often called "the Mink Mile" because of its cluster of expensive, high-end stores. Along Cumberland Street and Yorkville Avenue, one and two blocks north of Bloor Street respectively, there are rows of shops, restaurants and art galleries.
- 4 Holt Renfrew, Holt Renfrew Centre, 50 Bloor St W (just west of Yonge St), ☏ +1 416-922-2333. High-end department store with provision for valet parking at the front door.
- 5 Hudson's Bay Centre, 2 Bloor St E (just east of Yonge St; direct connection to subway at Bloor-Yonge Station). The start of a small network of tunnels lined with shops and connecting to two other malls: Cumberland Terrace (at Bay St with a tunnel to Bay Subway Stn) and Manulife Centre (south of Bloor St). It also connects to the Holt Renfrew high-end clothing store. It's similar to the downtown PATH but much shorter.
- 6 Tiffany & Co., 150 Bloor St W (just east of Avenue Rd), ☏ +1 416-921-3900. High-end American retailer known for fine jewellery, china & silver.
- 7 William Ashley, 131 Bloor St W (2nd floor of The Colonnade building), ☏ +1 416-964-2900. Upscale store offering high-end porcelain, china, crystal & luxury items. The merchandise displays are very colourful, and are worth seeing even if you have no room in your baggage for a new set of china. There actually was no real person named William Ashley; the founder of the store was a woman,Tillie Abrams], who felt that a masculine moniker would give the retailer credibility as, at that time in 1947, "gentlemen ran businesses, not ladies".
The Annex has more restaurants packed in per square metre than any other part of the city. Keeping true to Toronto's multicultural flavour, you're likely to find sushi restaurants, pizzerias and falafel stands within a few steps of each other. Whatever you crave, you can find it in the Annex.
- 1 Annapurna Vegetarian Restaurant, 1085 Bathurst Street in The Annex (Just south of Dupont St), ☏ +1 416-537-8513. Closed Sundays. Vegetarian & vegan. South Indian dishes.
- 2 By The Way Cafe, 400 Bloor St W (at Brunswick Ave), ☏ +1 416-967-4295. Middle Eastern cuisine with a Latin influence. Very popular patio weather-permitting, as well as good food with daily specials at decent prices. The weekend brunch specials are especially good and you can stuff yourself on a specialty omelette with all the sides for under $10. $10-20.
- 3 Cora Pizza, 656 Spadina Ave (just north of Harbord St), ☏ +1 416-922-1188. Popular among the thin crust crowd. Specialty pies. Late-night delivery, takeout & counter seats.
- 4 Fresh on Bloor, 326 Bloor Street West (at Spadina Ave), ☏ +1 416-599-4442. A large menu of modern vegetarian & vegan dishes plus made-to-order juices in a lively eatery.
- 5 Future Bakery & Cafe, 483 Bloor St W (at Brunswick Ave; Subway: Spadina or Bathurst), ☏ +1 416 922-5875. 9AM-2AM daily. Popular among students. Famous for excellent bread, delectable cakes (try the strawberry-mango cheesecake) and friendly staff. Also serves a complete cheap breakfast all day which is even cheaper for University of Toronto students. $10-20 (Less than $5 for the U of T special).
- 6 Ghazale Restaurant, 504 Bloor St. W (next to Bloor Cinema), ☏ +1 416-537-4417. noon-4AM everyday. Excellent Middle Eastern food for incredibly affordable prices. Not so much a restaurant as a counter and a lineup, the staff is friendly and quick, and there's always some interesting conversations waiting in the line. Many vegetarian options. $5-10.
- 7 Harbord Fish & Chips, 147 Harbord St (just west of Brunswick Ave). Daily. This friendly hole-in-the-wall serves up fish and chips wrapped in newspaper the old fashioned way. Portions are generous and tasty. Haddock/salmon meals for one come with freshly-cut chunky fries, a soft drink and coleslaw. Dining space is limited to two picnic benches on the outside and a few stools inside. Meals start at around $8.
- 8 LG Amato Pizza, 380 College St (2 blocks west of Augusta St at Borden St), ☏ +1 416-972-6286. open to 4AM. Offering thin-crust pizzas & Italian dishes with the widest selection of toppings.
- 9 New Generation Sushi, 493 Bloor Street West (Just west of Brunswick Ave), ☏ +1 416-963-8861. M-Th noon-1AM, F Sa noon-2AM, Su noon-midnight. The Bloor Street West strip between Spadina and Bathurst plays host to no fewer than five sushi restaurants. All are quite popular and have their own devotees. $5-24.
- 10 Sneaky Dee's, 431 College St (SE corner at Bathurst St), ☏ +1 416-603-3090. Open M Tu 11AM-3AM, W Th 11AM-4AM, F 11AM-4:30AM, Sa 9AM-4:30AM, Su 9AM-9PM. Inexpensive yet tasty Tex-Mex fare and cheap pitchers of beer. Particularly popular among the post-bar crowd, due to its absurdly late closing time. Live music can be heard upstairs, catering to the punk orientated. $8-15.
- 11 [dead link] Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, 700 University Ave (SW corner of College St & University Ave), ☏ +1 416-260-8574. A popular Canadian chicken chain famous for their "Chalet Sauce".
- 12 Aunties & Uncles, 74 Lippincott St (one block east of College St & Bathurst St), ☏ +1 416-324-1375. Open until 3PM. Located at the extreme south end of the Annex, this jam-packed little cafe is very popular with the younger crowd for its simple yet sophisticated meals. Also a very popular weekend brunch spot. Space is extremely limited and the restaurant closes for all long weekends, so it's best to call ahead. Meals from $10.
- 13 Country Style, 450 Bloor St W (2 blocks east of Bathurst St), ☏ +1 416-536-5966. Not to be confused with the donut chain, Country Style has been serving up Austro-Hungarian dishes for decades and has become somewhat of a legend for the warm atmosphere and old-country authenticity served up by the couple who've run the place from the start. The schnitzels are the biggest in town and are quite tasty, and with generous sides of rice, beets, or potato dumplings. If you have room, crêpes are a good choice for desert. For the truly gluttonous, the "wooden plate" special, piled high with about as many different meats as can be imagined, will have you thankful for all of the heart research going on nearby. Unfortunately, prices aren't what they used to be. $15-40 for more than you could hope to eat.
- 14 Dynasty Chinese Cuisine, 69 Yorkville Ave (just west of Bay St), ☏ +1 416-923-3323. Canotonese cuisine. Better quality than in Chinatown but also more expensive. Dim sum $25/person including tax & tip.
- 15 Eataly Toronto, 55 Bloor St W, Manulife Centre, ☏ +1 437-374-0250. Hours vary by eating area. A collection of several Italy-themed eating areas mostly grouped on the second floor, that include a restaurant, a food court, a delicatessen, a café (ground level) and a pub (basement).
- 16 Free Times Cafe, 320 College St (2 blocks west of Spadina Ave), ☏ +1 416-967-1078. M-Sa 10AM-2AM, Su 10AM-midnight. Offers a fabulous brunch from 11AM-3PM every Sunday featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet of traditional Jewish dishes (bagels, assorted fish dishes, French toast, croquets, blintzes, Danish, pickled salads, etc.). Very popular, costs $24.95 per person. Arrive early if you don't want to wait, reservations essential for groups larger than 4. Don't eat the night before, and wear loose pants. Meals from $15.
- 17 Harbord Bakery, 115 Harbord St (2¾ blocks west of Spadina Ave). M-Th 8AM-7PM, F Sa 8AM-6PM, Su 8AM-4PM. Very popular for breads, and their famous quiche.
- 18 Live Organic Food Bar, 264 Dupont St in The Annex (just east of Spadina Rd and Dupont Subway Station), ☏ +1 416-515-2002. Brunch Sunday 11AM to 4PM; closed Mondays and holidays. Raw & cooked vegan fare. Freshly squeezed juices accompany complete meals that cost $35.
- 19 Yamato Japanese Restaurant, 24 Bellair St (Yorkville, near Bay subway station), ☏ +1 416-927-0077. Tables with or without teppanyaki grill; sushi bar
The expensive restaurants tend to be found in Yorkville just north of the Mink Mile.
- 20 One Restaurant, 116 Yorkville Ave (at Hazelton Ave and the Hazelton Hotel). Eclectic dishes by celebrity chef and restauranteur Mark McEwan. Expensive.
- 21 Sassafraz, 100 Cumberland St (at Bellair St, 1 block west of Bay St), ☏ +1 647-560-2003. This fashionable restaurant, located in an array of Victorian rowhouses, serves French-inspired Canadian cuisine. During the Toronto International File Festival many celebrities visit Sassafraz making it a magnet for celebrity spotters. Expensive.
- 1 Einstein Cafe & Pub, 229 College St (between Huron St and Ross St just east of Spadina Ave), ☏ +1 416 597-8346. Although it is run independently of the university, it is very much a student bar, offering food, drinks and good times. On Thursdays, their home brew is $8.50 a pitcher before 9PM. Fridays and Saturdays are also quite busy. Wednesday is open mic night, you've been warned.
- 2 Madison Avenue Pub, 14 Madison Ave (1 block east of Spadina Ave along Bloor St, ½ north on Madison Ave), ☏ +1 416-927-1722. A very popular meeting place and singles bar populated by young professionals, frat boys, and preppy students. They also serve food but do not expect to find a table if you do not arrive early, despite several floors and an extensive patio. Pricier than most Annex options.
- 3 Labyrinth Lounge, 298 Brunswick Ave (1 block south of Bloor St), ☏ +1 416-925-7775. A small bar attached to Future's Bakery (see Eat section). A more subdued place that stands in stark contrast to the often-raunchy Brunswick House across the street. Drink prices are comparable to other bars in the area. Live music on Tuesday nights.
- 4 Lee's Palace and the Dance Cave, 529 Bloor St W (2½ blocks west of Bathurst St, south side), ☏ +1 416-598-0720. Lee's is one of the premier performance venues for current live music, catering to a wide range of tastes. Bands play almost every night of the week and ticket prices at the door range from $2-25, depending on who's playing. The Dance Cave, upstairs from Lee's, is a club that runs almost every night of the week, leaning towards house/goth/industrial music. Of note is that the age range in the Cave is unusually broad, so if you are 19 or approaching 40 and like to dress up in black and go dancing, you won't be entirely out of place.
- 5 The One Eighty (Panorama), 51st Floor, Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor St W (SE corner at Bay St). A restaurant and lounge on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre offers a great view of the downtown Toronto skyline. They have a patio as well which is open in the summer.
- 1 College Hostel, 280 Augusta Ave (near College St; 506 streetcar), ☏ +1 416-929-4777. In Kensington Market. Great location. Private and communal rooms available. $17-42.
- 2 The Planet Traveler, 357 College St (between Augusta Ave and Bellevue Ave; 506 streetcar), ☏ +1 647 352-8747. Eco-friendly hostel at the north end of Kensington Market. Features a laundry room, kitchen, rooftop bar, free wi-fi, and free computer terminals. Dorms $30, private rooms $75-90.
- 3 Philomena and Dave Bed & Breakfast, 31 Dalton Rd, ☏ +1 416-962-2786. Cheerful B&B, while although basic, still serves up a free breakfast each morning as well as hospitable hosts who speak French, German and Italian for their international visitors. Built in 1910, the B&B still contains some of its original fixtures, such as oak doors and trim and large stained-glass bay windows. under $100.
- 4 Rose Garden B&B, 1030 Bathurst Street, ☏ +1-416-992-0746, firstname.lastname@example.org. Fairly low prices, well-regarded hosts, and service in English, French, or Mandarin. Parking next door for a fee. Breakfast and wifi included. $120-150/night.
- 5 Suite Dreams Toronto B&B, 390 Clinton St (1 block east of Christe St and Christie Subway Station, north of Bloor St), ☏ +1 416-898-8461. Very nice suites with friendly atmosphere.
- 6 Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, 60 Yorkville Ave (east of Bay St, 2 blocks north of Bloor Dt), ☏ +1 461-964-0411, fax: +1 461-964-2301. A five-star hotel with 259 rooms on offer. Spa, large indoor pool, and a world-class restaurant with international chef Daniel Boulud.
- 7 W Toronto, 90 Bloor St E (just east of Yonge St; north side beside The Bay store), ☏ +1 416-961-8000. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Hotel with direct access to subway lines 1 and 2, features Matisse Restaurant and Bar. From $159/night.
- 8 The Yorkville Royal Sonesta Hotel Toronto, 220 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1T8 (Across the street from the Royal Ontario Museum), ☏ +1 416-960-5200. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $275+.
- 9 Park Hyatt Toronto, 4 Avenue Rd (at Bloor St W), ☏ +1 416-925-1234. The hotel has displays of Inuit art and its restaurant displays ceramic art. The 17th floor has a lounge and outdoor terrace.
- 1 Internet Minimart, 519 Bloor St W (Located on second floor), ☏ +1 416-818-6246. Internet Cafe
- 2 FedEx, 459 Bloor St W (at Major St), ☏ +1 416-928-0110. Check website for opening hours. FedEx has a number of Internet-connected computers as well as fax machines and photocopiers. FedEx packages can also be sent from and received there.
- 3 The Wicket - Canada Post Outlet, 55 Bloor St W (in the ManuLife Centre, SE corner at Bay St), ☏ +1 416-923-8532. Closed Sundays & holidays. Stamps, shipping services, money orders.
Here is a list of adjacent districts:
- Downtown East: Church-Wellesley Village, Cabbagetown.
- Kensington-Chinatown: Kensington Market, Chinatown, Art Gallery of Ontario.
- Midtown: Casa Loma
- West End: Koreatown, Little Italy, High Park
- Yonge-Dundas: Yonge-Dundas Square, City Hall
|Routes through Yorkville and the Annex|
|Vaughan/North York ← Midtown ←||N S||→ Yonge-Dundas → Entertainment and Financial Districts|
|Etobicoke ← West End ←||W E||→ Downtown East → Scarborough|